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Rachel Carson Trail: North Park to Harrison Hills Park

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(101)
Springdale, Pennsylvania

Rachel Carson Trail: North Park to Harrison Hills Park is a 37.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Springdale, Pennsylvania that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 37.1 mi Elevation gain 6,302 ft Route type Point to Point
Dog friendly Hiking Nature trips Walking Running Forest Partially paved Views Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy
Description
Waypoints (5)
Contact
Getting There

The Rachel Carson Trail is 37 miles of yellow-blazed trail from North Park to Harrison Hills Park. The trail has many access points and can be done in either direction. The route does not have to be done as it is shown on this page. At almost any intersection with a road, the trail is accessible. There is no camping, so this trail is for day hiking. Power line cuts are popular throughways which means that the trail will often climb straight up or down steep hills. The annual Rachel Carson Challenge covers the entire 37 miles in one day. Most don't complete the event.

Springdale Police Department 724-274-9022 (non-emergency)

Parking in Springdale can be had at the VFW/American Legion parking lot on Freeport Road near Butler St. The sign there says parking is at your own risk. (lat: N40 32.584 lon: W79 46.371) There is a place to park at the entrance to Agan Park on Riddle Run Road. (lat: N40 33.603 lon: W79 46.906) And there is a lot on Crawford Run Road behind the Sheetz at Freeport Road. (lat:N40 34.930 lon: W79 46.760)

Weather
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Reviews (103)
Photos (80)
Recordings (103)
Completed (137)
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Bryce Babbs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking

Pretty challenging. Really enjoyed it. Plan on doing the entire trail someday soon

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b herg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Ice Rink to Route 8 (8mi). Really enjoyed it. When I hit the railroad tracks I could not find the blazes. Quick check with all trails and I was back on course.

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Kestrel Hyde
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Hiking
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Scott P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
Hiking

Pretty wide most of the way. Some parts along a road and a few houses.

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Brad King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 27, 2020
HikingBugsPrivate propertyRocky

One of my favorite hikes, an 11-mile out and back starting from the North Park ice rink. Bug spray for sure, and you won't be sad if you have poles. A few streams to refill water if you need!

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Timothy Dunn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 5, 2020
HikingScramble

A really great nature walk with a couple good inclines in there to make it feel like you’re getting a good workout! I did a 10.5m loop, starting and ending at the North Park Ice Skating Rink. A great hike for those who don’t want to be *too* far out in nature, bc you‘re at least in faint earshot of roads the entire hike. But really nice! Mainly higher ground and pretty well established pathways. I saw a bunch of deer, too! I’d totally do this hike again!

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Jessica Scoratow
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HikingMuddy
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Jenny MacBeth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 8, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful.

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Pietari Sulkava
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HikingMuddy
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Aldrin Parras
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HikingMuddyOff trailOver grown

The second worst trail I have hiked/walked after Sam Houston forest trail. No maintenance or thought in the trail. In addition to almost getting run over

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Joe Burns
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 15, 2019
HikingMuddyRocky

HARD! but great!!!! volunteers do great work keeping trail marked and clear, thank you!!

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Tom Loughran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 7, 2019
HikingMuddy
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Mike U
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 28, 2019
HikingMuddy

Emmerling Park to Lefever Road was a good out & back hike, about 8 miles. It's pretty well marked. The couple places not marked are easy to determine. It was a little bit muddy when I went, from recent rains.

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Ralph Browning
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2018
Hiking

The Rachael Carson Trail Challenge is an organized event held on the first Saturday closest to June 21st (first day Summer). It alternates start/ finish each year from Harrison Hills to North Park and vise versa. Rain or shine. There's a check in/ rest stop about every 7 miles with food and water. It's limited to 600 participants with a big cookout at the end. If you've never done this and appreciate a good challenge then I highly recommend this.

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Kaylee Graf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 6, 2018

I love it. I like all the views and it is tricky but awesome. It gets very muddy but it is so fun. I recommend you try it.

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H. Elwood Gilliland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 21, 2018
Hiking

@Greg Michaels and whomever else needs to know: The easiest way to get to the trailhead is to either go to North Park (near Hampton, PA, western trailhead) or Harrison Hills Park (northern most part of Allegheny county, near Freeport, PA, eastern trailhead). Going from West to East: Going from West to East though is rather complicated. Basically you start by walking from North Park to Hampton Community Park. A few years back a large part of the trail ended up in a suburban development, despite protests from the community. Then you walk to Hartwood Acres, following Dorseyville Road and meander along roads and power lines, and eventually end up at Emmerling Park, Rural Ridge area, Indianola, on Rt 910, north of Harmerville, which is near Springdale. You walk from Emmerling to Springdale, and Springdale through New Ken to Harrison Hills Park near Freeport, PA. It's several ups and downs, starting in the mountains of North Park and heading to the river valley near Springdale, then back along the river and eventually along the cliffs that lead to Harrison Hills above Freeport bridge. Going in reverse you simply start at Harrison Hills and follow the yellow blazes -- though sometimes it is unmarked. One time I did bridge a gap between Hampton and Hartwood on the Google Maps but it's very hard to find that information today (it seems to be missing). Takes some serious research or go with a group to map it out. It's too bad people didn't find the proper way to protect this trail, some of it has been paved and some of it has been built on.

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Greg Michaels
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 21, 2017

I'm not sure where to start on this? We followed our GPS and parked by the VFW. We followed a couple up what we thought was the trailhead. From there we ended up at the Rachel Carson House about a half mile after getting slightly lost. From there we asked several people how to get to the Rachel Carson Trail and no one knew. So after walking about an hour through the streets of Springdale we found our way back to our car. And then there we decided to head the opposite direction by foot, and finally found what looked like a trailhead. There were no signs, no designation. So this was actually the trail, about an 1/8 of a mile past the VFW. The trail itself was subpar at best. We hiked 3 miles and most of it was on a 4 wheel drive/pipeline trail. There was one decent view of the river at the top about 30 minutes in, and that was the highlight! After roughly 3 miles the path led us to a major road. We walked it for nearly a quarter of a mile, with no berm, as the cars sped by. Again we thought we were lost, but after seeing hikers going both ways and the trail still marked on the highway, we realized we weren't! We decided to turn around before we were run over. This might be the worst hiking experience we've ever had and I'm surprised this trail is even listed on any site!We'd never go back!

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Elena Tate
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 23, 2016
Hiking

Did this last year. The beauty and views were incredible. It is a bit of a workout.

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Tatiana Brower
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 17, 2016
Hiking

We did this on Mother's Day 2016 and my 6 and 9 year old enjoyed it! We did the land-side trail, leaving the cliff-side trail untouched as they were tired. Lots of fun!

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Tom Mcclain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2016
Hiking

Parts were pretty steep. It was ok in dry conditions but mud may be an issue. The views were cool.

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Samuel Samuel Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 26, 2016

Nicely maintained trail with views of the Allegheny from the western bluffs. Southern sections are within a powerline right of way.

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Taryn Haas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 28, 2016
Hiking

Overall, really fun trail. It actually offers some really great views of the river and surrounding area and it's only 30 minutes from Pittsburgh. My only complaint was all the mud, but that's hardly the park's fault. Trials were otherwise well maintained.

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Alan Bourne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 28, 2015
Hiking

This trail was much harder than I was expecting. I think once I sleep tonight I won't get up until noon. The trail is mostly hardwoods. Popular with dogs.

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Michael Hester
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 25, 2015
Hiking

Challenging first hike of the season. Includes two steep climbs.

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Amy Jessop
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 29, 2014
Hiking

1st half of trail (emerling end) is in open space with not much to see. In summer, sun can be hot! Second half is wooded and more pleasant. Steep in spots, but good hike for the area

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