By: Andrew Carrera
With spring coming right around the corner, it is an opportune time to go out and enjoy nature and fresh air. Here are some walking and hiking trails you can explore in the Pittsburgh area.
- “Around the Island”— Washington’s Landing, North Shore.
- This 1.5-mile walk gives you a glimpse of some of the history surrounding Pittsburgh. The trail takes you from the 31st Street Bridge to “Washington’s Crossing” on the 40th Street Bridge. Washington’s Crossing marks the point where George Washington crossed the Allegheny River and encountered a near-death experience in 1753 while returning from an ambassador trip, in which he relayed an ultimatum to the French to concede the Ohio Valley to Great Britain.
- Directions: From Downtown Pittsburgh, merge onto PA 28-N and drive 1.3 miles. Then turn right onto the 31st Street Bridge. After that, turn right onto River Avenue, then turn left onto the 30th Street Bridge. The 30th Street Bridge becomes Waterfront Drive, where you will find parking.
- “Walker’s Mile”— Walker’s Mile is located in Collier Township.
- Walker’s Mile is part of the Panhandle Trail, which goes for 29 miles from Walkers Mill to Colliers, West Virginia. The walk, which takes you from Walkers Mill to Gregg Station, is 4.6 miles round-trip. At 0.3 miles, you encounter Quarry Windmill, which pumps air into a large quarry pond to increase its oxygen content. At 1.5 miles, you go under Nike Site Road and on the hillside you see the former installation of the Nike missile launch sites of the 1950s. At 2.3 miles, you arrive at Greg’s Station, where you’ll find a picnic pavilion, trail information and a portable toilet (those are important). From there, you turn around and go back to Walkers Mill to complete the walk.
- Directions: Take exit 57 off I-79 (Carnegie exit), and go right on Noblestown Road for 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Walkers Mill Road by Doug’s Family Restaurant. The trail is two blocks from this intersection.
- Boyce Mayview Park— Boyce Mayview Park is located in Upper St. Clair.
- The park has 8 miles worth of trails and an array of ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, open fields and stream valleys. Some of the trails in the park are Loop Trail (0.54 miles), Upland Trail (0.97 miles), the Overlook Trail (0.45 miles) and Boyce School Trail (0.08 miles– takes you to Boyce Middle School).
- Directions: Take exit 54 off I-79 (Bridgeville exit), take a right off the exit ramp. Make another right onto Washington Pike. Drive on Washington Pike for 2.1 miles, then take a left onto Boyce Road. After 2 miles, make another left onto Morton Road. Make a left, followed by another immediate left, and you will find a dirt parking area.
- Butler/Freeport Trail
- The Butler/Freeport Trail runs all the way from Freeport to Butler, a span of 20 miles. The south end of the trail is at Laneville Trailhead near Freeport, while the north end is at Kaufman Drive Trail Head near Butler. The trail travels along the Little Buffalo and Buffalo creeks.
- Directions: From Pittsburgh, take PA 28-N to exit 17. Turn right onto PA 356-N. Drive for 0.5 miles, then turn right onto Monroe Road and drive 0.8 miles. There will be bike crossing signs before a small parking lot on the right. To go to the north end of the trail, take PA 8-N into Butler. Turn right onto Wayne Street, then continue onto Center Avenue. Then turn left onto Ziegler Avenue, followed by a right onto Kaufman Drive. The parking lot will be on the left.
These are just a few of the trails you can walk in the Pittsburgh area. There are many places you can explore both in the city and in the suburbs. Don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy the great outdoors as the new season approaches.