Last Updated on June 14, 2022 by Jeremy
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Brady's Run Park is a roughly 2,000-acre park just outside of Beaver Falls that offers a wealth of things to see and experience ranging from active experiences like walking and hiking to other fun options on the lake and nearby.
But while this one is decently sized, those who visit will likely want to do some advanced planning prior to arriving as spotty cell signal and few interconnecting trails make navigating this park slightly tricky.
What You Can See at Bradys Run Park
Brady's Run Park is one of those places that has something for everyone. There are many miles of hiking trails, a small lake (with a modest beach, a boat launch, and fishing spots), a horse arena, tennis courts, a paved walking path, and so much more. In all honesty, this one reminded me of a smaller version of Pittsburgh's aptly named North Park and South Park, albeit on a much smaller scale.
As such, you really could visit this park for any number of reasons be it just to leisurely enjoy the lake, do laps on the gorgeous walking path, hike, or do a bit of everything like I did!
For hikers, what you can see along the trails here is very much dependent on where you go. The paths along the lake offer gorgeous views of the water, and the ones that go up into the hills offer somewhat straightforward views into the forest. I cannot share many overt highlights beyond those, but my hikes ended up being a relaxing escape in nature all the same.
That being said, the Calland Arboretum Trail was one of my favorites during my visit as this 0.75-mile trail featured about two dozen signs calling out the names of the trees in the area including serviceberry, black locust, hickory, white pine, and so much more. A small stretch of the trail close to the parking area even had some fun signs for kids to guess the name of forest animals based on context clues provided. However, many of these signs were also quite dated and a few were so worn they were becoming hard to read.
As most of the unique areas and trails within this park are not large, those who want to make a half-day or full-day visit should plan to check out multiple areas in a single visit. Over the course of about two hours, I was able to explore the arboretum, lake, and the walking loop plus drive all throughout the park with ample time for relaxing- but that was only just scratching the surface of what was available.
Unfortunately, to really get the full experience at Brady's Run Park, you'll likely have to visit a few times as the hiking trails could be better in a few key areas.
Hiking at Brady's Run Park
It may seem weird to say, but hiking at Brady's Run Park is both easy and not easy at the same time.
Overall, the trails here should be quite easy for most visitors. The walking trail mentioned above is fully paved and completely flat, whereas most of the proper trails are gravel or dirt of varying conditions, width, and grades. While we wouldn't say any of the non-paved trails are accessible, they aren't terribly difficult to walk for those who hike somewhat regularly all the same.
There are, unfortunately, three main issues to consider when visiting Brady's Run Park.
First, while this park has many miles of trails, they aren't interconnecting and are dispersed over a wide area. Some are close that you could connect them for a full hike with proper planning, but some appear to require a long walk on the park road which did not feel to be the safest. As such, you will likely be hiking out and back on most trails and driving between trailheads if you are planning on more than one hike on any given visit.
So while the trials may seem short, you may not be getting any benefits of hiking in full loops on many of them.
Second, don't expect many blazes to indicate where you are. Apart from trailhead signs at the beginning of a path, I don't think I saw any proper blazes on any of the trails I hiked, including on the arboretum trail, and this made it tricky when other trails intersected. I had to use some rough instincts to figure out which one was the path I wanted as the signage was non-existent. (For example, taking the trail that was pointing back towards the parking lot as opposed to one diverging away.)
Finally, be sure to download the map to your phone prior to visiting as depending on your service provider cell signal is pretty spotty throughout the park. There is also a large map published near the park entrance off Route 51 by the walking loop as well if you need to take a photo. This is especially helpful when wanting to find the trailheads when you do not have that great of service.
Overall, while Brady's Run is an immensely gorgeous park with a lot of activities to enjoy beyond conventional hiking, you really need to go into this one with a plan ahead of time for what you want to see, do, and experience. I made this mistake on my first visit to the park and had to give up on a few trails simply because the layout was somewhat confusing and the trail structure was difficult for the time I had. I was much more prepared for my second visit as discussed in this one, but it is worth highlighting that a bit of planning goes a long way here!
Brady's Run Park is located at 121 Bradys Run Rd in Beaver Falls, PA.
Looking for more to do in the area when visiting Brady's Run? Check out Buttermilk Falls, grab a slice at D&G Pizza, enjoy a beer Beaver Brewing Company, or if you are visiting early in the day, get some donuts at Oram's Donuts!
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