05 Oct Trail Discovery Guide
Welcome to the Allegheny County Parks Foundation’s
Trail Discovery Guide
Here’s your quick, easy-to-follow snapshot of featured trails in the 9 Allegheny County Parks. Download the free Allegheny County Parks Trails app available at popular app stores for the comprehensive mapping of all the trails but use this quick resource guide with easy-to-follow directions to get started.
This handy guide is designed for hikers who want to explore all 9 Allegheny County Parks but aren’t sure where to start their adventure. Each park has unique features and our Trail Discovery Guide offers a variety of distances, surfaces, scenic features and elevations. There are trails for everyone and every ability. Visit a park you’ve never seen before. Try them all!
Print off this quick guide and head to the parks!
White Trail: At 2.4 miles, this trail is the most popular loop in North Park’s South Ridge. Start at the Pie Traynor parking lot and look for Deer Browse 1 Shelter. The loop starts at the end of a gravel road just past the shelter and winds between Deer Browse Shelters 2 and 3. The trail is on the right, just before the soccer fields. This is an easy-to-moderate trail to navigate, with streams to cross, an Eastern Hemlock to spot and pine overstory.
Lake Trail: This scenic, five-mile paved loop around North Park Lake attracts fitness enthusiasts of every ability all year long. It’s often accessed at the Boathouse and has easy-to-follow signage that guides hikers back to the start. Upgrades to the trail were made by Allegheny County, in partnership with the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, that have widened this busy trail for safer use by pedestrians and bicyclists.
Hartwood Acres Park
Purple Trail: This is a loop of moderate difficulty with minor elevation changes. It’s 2.25 miles and starts and ends at the Hartwood Acres Mansion parking lot, accessible from Saxonburg Road. Look for the paved path just beyond the security gate to the left of the lot. A purple blaze marks the trailhead. The historic Hartwood Acres stables are visible from this trail. There’s a pleasing variety of shaded and sunny sections.
Paved Trail: Hartwood Acres features a paved trail system that stretches from one end of the park to the other. It measures 1.5 miles and is the perfect surface for walkers and strollers alike. Park at the Mansion lot and access the trail beside the towering North Light sculpture (1982) by David von Schlegell, which is part of the Sculpture Garden at Hartwood Acres. The road is restricted from motor vehicles and leads to the Amphitheater, passing lush forestry and abundant meadows along the way.
Deer Lakes Park
Purple Trail: The trailhead is off Cattail Drive, at the back of the Anglers Shelter parking lot. Enjoy a view of the quiet upper lake on this moderately difficult course, with oak trees lining both sides of the trail. Cross a small footbridge and walk through a shallow stream. The trail continues across the access road, past mature pine trees, and crosses the road again. The path descends into a valley, where it takes a curve. Pass the Disc Golf Course; the foot bridge will lead back to the starting point, a total distance of 1.5 miles.
Green-with-Red-Dot Trail: This one-mile trail is an easy loop and ideal for all experience levels. It starts at the Carp 1 Shelter, where a restroom is conveniently located. The trail shares this section with the Blue Trail. The Green-with-Red-Dot Trail continues straight, diverging from the Blue Trail.* The first section of trail is flat and will lead to mild elevations changes. The trail then flattens out as it approaches a cemetery on the right, just beyond the park’s boundary. The trail gets rocky before it enters the meadow habitat. This leads to a much wider section of trail that then returns to the beginning. *Add about two miles to the hike by reconnecting with the Blue Trail.
Harrison Hills Park
Green Trail: The trail starts across the street at the lower Environmental Learning Center parking lot. This is a moderate loop trail of 2.13 miles with mild elevation changes. A restroom is located at the beginning of the trail. The first section is very wide, meandering above a creek bed that attracts birds, mammals and amphibians. This low, flat section takes a left turn and follows a tributary uphill. After crossing the spring that feeds the tributary below, the trail descents a fairly steep rocky section, passing under a dense tree canopy. It leads back to a road, which is a short walk to the parking lot starting point.
Red Trail: This five-mile loop circles the park, starting and ending at the Overlook parking lot. It’s a moderate-to-difficult hike that offers stunning views of the Allegheny River. Restrooms are located at the trailhead and benches are scattered throughout. Find red blazes on the trees lining the fence at the end of the parking lot, marking the start of the loop. Turn left for a rigorous uphill route or turn right and cross a bridge at the top of a canyon. Follow the edge of this canyon to enjoy views of the Allegheny River. The trail leads toward the South Pond, where a boardwalk passes over sensitive plant species and takes a steady ascent. Pass Baneberry Shelter to begin the descent and continue through a meadow and eventually back to the lot.
Montour Connector Trail: This crushed gravel, unblazed trail is family-friendly and four miles long. It meanders through the woods, into a quiet valley with a stream crossing before it connects to the Montour Trail. Park at the Game Preserve on Sesqui Drive and look for the trailhead to the right of the bike racks. This trail is not a loop, so it can be shortened by turning back at any time. Once it passes the model air field, it is a continuous downhill path to the creek. Be prepared for an uphill journey on the way back. This trail is mostly shaded but does have some sunnier spots along the way.
Vale of Cashmere Trail: At just under one mile, this short, easy hike winds through some of the earliest historical features of South Park, dating back to the 1920s. Look for the trailhead in the small parking lot off East Park Drive. It starts in the middle of the lot, off to the edge. This unblazed trail quickly finds the creek and crosses a bridge. A short walk leads to the Vale of Cashmere, a series of five interconnected stone pools. It gets its unusual name from a beautiful place described in a poem. The path follows along the stone walls and up the valley, passing more of the Vale along the way. It moves into a sunny wetland area; stay to the right and cross a shallow creek. The trail climbs back up almost to the road and then stays to the right following the creek downstream. Pass a small stone-lined spring and see views of the Vale below. The trails leads back to the bridge where the hike began.
Green Loop Trail: Park at the Boyce Park Soccer Fields to access this 2.25-mile trail. Walk about 100 feet past the Chimney Swift Habitat Tower to find the first green blaze on the right. The first half of this hike meanders through mixed woodlands. This easy-to-moderate trail then crosses the gravel service road and stays in the forest for a short distance before it quickly turns back out adjacent to the road and then back into the woods for the remainder of the hike. The last section follows along some of the largest Oak trees in Boyce Park. The exit is up hill from the Archery Range. Cross over the service road and back to the Soccer Field parking lot.
Carpenter Log House Loop: This 1.2-mile, easy-to-moderate hike begins at the Carpenter Log House on Pierson Run Road. The trailhead is across the road, marked by a log house trail sign. Cross the stream and walk to the utility corridor and back into the woods. Stay left at the “Y” and follow the trail to a clearing by the airfield. At the open field take a sharp right (almost 180 degrees) to stay on Yellow. Entering back into the woods, make a left on an unblazed trail and follow a series of flowing turns downhill. This trail crosses an old access road (Yellow with Black Dot) and drops down into a scenic valley of large Oak trees. Stay to the right at the bottom of the hill (Yellow with Red Dot), which eventually crosses a small bridge at the bottom of a valley. Stay to the left, back to the parking lot.
Round Hill Park
Harmony House Trail: This unique park features a variety of farm animals and crop fields. This easy-to-moderate trail is unblazed and just under two miles long. Park at Harmony House Shelter. The trailhead is marked by two split rail fences that flank either side of the trail. Follow this path through the forest and fields when it traverses to a wide clearing with a fire ring. The trail continues at the back of the clearing. Take the first trail that cuts through the small strip of forest and proceed through a small downhill section into another field. Continue straight to the clearing at the trail junction, then to the utility corridor. Turn right and descend to the bottom of the hill. Turn right and walk along the creek. This leads to a field; go back up the hill along the side of this field. Turn right at the top, then take a left turn until it intersects with the trail entrance.
Settlers Cabin Park
Waterfall Trail / Green Trail Loop: One of the newest features of Settlers Cabin Park, the Waterfall Trail has been reconstructed to allow greater access for the whole family. It is an easy-to-moderate hike. Park at the Waterfall Trail/Off Leash Dog Park parking lot. The trailhead entrance is located between two stacked stone piles and marked with a sign and green blazes. This trail leads to a picturesque natural waterfall nestled in a cool hemlock ravine. The trail winds through the woodland, offering views of the valley bottom along the way. It descends to the valley bottom, where two stepping-stone crossings lead to the base of the falls. Follow the trail back to the lot for a one-mile round trip.
Looking for a longer adventure? Continue along the Green Trail as it meanders along the creek in the valley and then climbs back out to eventually loop back to the parking lot for a hike that is two miles long.
Red Trail: Something for the more adventurous. Bring a lunch and enjoy an all-day trip. Park at the Panhandle Connector lot to access this 7.75-mile, moderate-to-difficult adventure. The trailhead marker is underneath the large tree at the corner of the parking lot. Take the trail into the woods to a clearing in the utility corridor; follow this down the hill and back into the forest. At times, the trail parallels a small stream that cascades over rocks, leading to a pond. Go right for better views of the pond and continue the hike along the beautiful Pinkertons Run valley. The trail winds its way back up to a utility corridor and into an open meadow. Follow the Red Trail to the left to Greer Road. Cross the road and follow the trail to Gilbert Love Shelter parking lot. The trail crosses the park entrance road and into Algonquin Shelter parking lot before dropping back into the woods. The Red Trail meets the Blue Trail and together they pass the Dek hockey rink and tennis courts before returning to the woods. The Red Trail crosses the Waterfall Trail/Green Trail. (Follow the Green Trail through the valley and connect back to the Red Trail for a scenic detour.) The Blue Trail breaks away from Red at the Tomahawk Shelter parking lot as Red continues along the valley. Red joins Green for a short distance and then with Yellow before breaking away the final time and crossing the Panhandle Connector Trail. (Cut the hike short by taking the Panhandle Connector uphill back to the parking lot.) The Red Trail drops down into a small valley and then back up the hill before entering into the lower Pinkertons Run Valley. Pass a picturesque cascade on Pinkertons Run, to the first utility corridor. Head up the hill to the right and return to the parking lot.
White Oak Park
White Trail: This moderately difficult trail is about 2.5 miles long and travels nearly the entire perimeter of the park’s main section. Start at the Wedding Gardens parking lot; the trail starts downhill from the lot. The trailhead is on the right side of the field below the lot, about halfway between the lot and the restrooms. Cross the creek, then proceed sharply uphill for a short section. The trail meanders through forested areas with eye catching valley views on the left. Once in the field behind Beech Shelter, cross the street to the small open area and go straight into the woods to continue on the White Trail. There are several options leading off this trail; to return to the start, choose the options on the left at the junctions. To reach the end, look for a short sign with directional stickers pointing to the Wedding Gardens lot.
Parks for People. People for Parks.
The Allegheny County Parks Foundation partners with Allegheny County to improve, conserve and restore all 9 Allegheny County Parks.
Boyce Park | Deer Lakes Park | Harrison Hills Park | Hartwood Acres Park
North Park | Round Hill Park | Settlers Cabin Park | South Park | White Oak Park
Allegheny County Parks Foundation acparksfoundation.org 724.327.7627