Cedar Creek Park is a 479 acre park located on the shore of the Youghiogheny River in Westmoreland County, just under an our southeast of Pittsburgh.
Although known for its picnic pavilions, access to the river, and being home to a section of the Great Allegheny Passage trail, Cedar Creek Park is also home to a beautiful one-mile hike through a shaded gorge that makes for a perfect morning out from Pittsburgh.
What You Can See at Cedar Creek Park
When you first enter Cedar Creek Park, you'll notice that most of the area is for picnic pavilions. Venture all the way in to the park and you'll wind up on the shores of the stunning Youghiogheny River and be able to take the roughly 1.5 mile hike through Cedar Creek Gorge- the only blazed trail in the park.
The trail does a loop around Cedar Creek Gorge which is relatively wide and contains the creek the park is named after.
While hiking you are able to see two small suspension bridges, the creek, a number of wildflowers (which are said to be present most of the summer), an array of different trees (that we sadly cannot identify ourselves), and occasionally some wildlife- we saw a snake and frog while hiking ourselves.
On the surface the hike is relatively straight forward and offers views of the creek from shore level (on the right side of the creek after entering from the parking lot) and from the top of the gorge on the left side.
Throw in the fact that the gorge is more or less shaded the entire way through and you have the makings of a really nice and easy hike that can be completed in under an hour.
Hiking at Cedar Creek Park
Cedar Creek Park has one main trail that takes you out and back through the gorge mentioned above. Hiking here is fairly easy as the trail follows a loop between two suspension bridges located in the gorge.
If you start your day by driving to the last parking lot at the end of the road, near the boat ramps to the Youghiogheny, you'll see a sign marked Cedar Creek Gorge and is a fairly flat and well maintained trail.
Head into the park and cross the first suspension bridge (you'll be on the right hand side of the creek when going forward) and you'll have a fairly easy trail for just over a half mile until you reach the second suspension bridge.
From here you have two options. The first is to turn around and take the trail you just went on back, or cross the second suspension bridge, turn around at the grist mill marker, and head up onto the hillside to hike back along the top of the gorge.
The trail on this end is a bit more wild and is a fairly narrow path, so you'll be running into foliage quite a bit (wear tick spray and possibly long pants if doing the loop). It is still a fairly easy hike, but towards the end when you descend it is likely you'll catch a few steep and muddy segments that are a bit slippery.
Overall, the round trip hike through the park will take about 45 minutes and the shade of the gorge offers a nice reprieve from the summer heat. If you are wanting a surprisingly beautiful and relaxing morning out, this one is sure to please.
Cedar Creek Park is located at 453 Evergreen Drive in Belle Vernon, PA. For a park map, click here. This hike is outlined in the book “60 Hikes in 60 Miles: Pittsburgh Edition” which we are working through on this site. If you are looking for hiking recommendations nearby (other than on our site of course), we highly recommend picking up a copy!
Looking for more things to do in the area after taking a hike around the park? Head over to Vinoski Winery just a few minutes away to enjoy what is perhaps the most beautiful winery in southwestern PA or grab barbecue at Area 51 Barbecue.