Braddock's Trail Park in Westmoreland County that, unless you are specifically looking for it or live nearby, you've probably never heard of before.
That is because this 148 acre park is relatively off-the-beaten-path for most hikers, and even we overlooked it for several years until our friends at UncoveringPA told us there is a modestly sized waterfall there to check out.
So we all hopped in a car and went down to see what the park is like!
What You Can See at Braddock's Trail Park
Although Braddock's Trail Park is small, there are three notable highlights that you can see on any given visit.
The first is the waterfall– a 20 foot waterfall that has a couple of small cascades due to the formation of the rocks. This waterfall is normally a small trickle / stream during low flow, so it is best to visit this park immediately after a big rainfall to get any appreciable water going over the falls (but note that the trails will be quite muddy then!).
The second is the historic house foundation– the footprint of a house that was built quite a long time ago (exact years are not well known). Suffice it to say, you do not necessarily need to detour for this one.
The final is a lookout over the Youghiogheny River– a nice river view at the end of a mile-and-a-half out and back hike up a hill.
Naturalists will also enjoy looking at the trees at this park and on bright, sunny days make for beautiful rays of light to shine through (we were only fortunate enough to see this for a moment), as well as seasonal wildflowers in late spring and early summer.
While this park itself is quite small, it makes up for it with a few highlights that are worth the stop if you find yourself in the region (especially after a strong rain event!).
Hiking at Braddock's Trail Park
Hiking at Braddock's Trail Park is fairly easy even if most of the trails are not actually blazed.
After you park your car at the lone parking lot, you have two options for hiking. The first is to find the trails coming off the paved road that is blocked off with a gate. The second is to enter a dirt path at the end of the open field directly across from the car park.
If you do the former, several trails become available. The first path to the left will lead to a small bridge, which goes up a hill to the lookout on the Youghiogheny (it is up the whole way). Keep going and you'll hear a waterfall and see a small walkway with a bench just off to your right that only requires you to walk on the dirt path about 50 feet.
If you do the latter behind the field, you'll take a dirt path down to the waterfall the long way (a few hundred feet at most). Follow the path to the left at the fork (the right goes to an “advanced” trail) and you'll reach the waterfall in just a few minutes and also see the foundation of the old building along the way.
But note that if you hike the waterfall trail during rain events the path will be muddy and will have a small stream of water flowing- so sticking to the paved trail above may be a good idea.
Overall, a trip to Braddock's Trail Park can be brief, and unless you visit during exceptional rain events you may not get much out of the waterfall (even if the rock formation is neat all the same). But if you can time it right for a visit right after a strong storm event, a really nice waterfall will be your reward!
Now to return for the spring wildflowers!
Braddock's Trail Park is located in Irwin, PA off of Robbins Station Road. A fairly solid map (pictured) is available at the entrance to the park for reference (no copies so shoot a photo of it for later reference).
On your way back to Pittsburgh, be sure to stop at Quinn Brewing, Fury Brewing, or Brew Gentlemen for a post-hike beer! Or, if you're looking for more waterfalls near Pittsburgh, check out Fall Run Park, Settlers Cabin Park, Buttermilk Falls in Beaver Falls, or Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle!