Hiking Dead Man’s Hollow for Factory Ruins and Nature

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on April 22, 2024.

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Dead Man's Hollow near McKeesport is a 450-acre park with approximately 8 miles of hiking trails. While this one could be considered a beautiful green space on its own right, there are actually a number of highlights you can see here when hiking as well!

We visited this one on a beautiful spring day and had a rather amazing time out in nature.

What You Can See at Dead Man's Hollow

Rock Formations at Dead Man's Hollow

The main sights at Dead Man's Hollow can be found on two trails- the Cool Spirit Trail and Dead Man's Run Trail. Naturally, these were the two trails we opted to explore in our first visit.

The Cool Spirit Trail offers a relatively gorgeous hike through nature. The main highlight here is simply being out amongst the trees, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that there are a few gorgeous rock formations found along the way, a dirt bike jumping trail, and an almost non-existent waterfall that you can also see when hiking. 

A Barely There Waterfall

It is worth noting that this waterfall is only barely a trickle, and we suspect that even after a good rain it may only be moderately exciting so its best to temper your expectations with this one a fair bit. That being said, the rock formation that goes into the waterfall is also a beauty on its own. In the spring we also saw a number of wildflowers as well, including a few trillium here or there.

Ruins of a Factory with Graffiti at Dead Man's Hollow

On the Dead Man's Run Trail you get to see some fairly unique sights as far as local parks are concerned. The first is the ruins of a pipe factory that is said to have burnt down in the 1920s. The shell of the building remains (just steps from the trail) and is covered with an array of graffiti. A few steps away is the Enchanted Staircase which is a curving stone staircase leading up a hill that has a bit of moss overgrowth on it.

An Enchanted Staircase

For those who enter the Dead Man's Run Trail via the parking area at the Boston access point for the GAP, you'll also have a beautiful 0.9 mile walk along the Youghiogheny River before reaching the entrance to the park. This was also a highlight of our visit despite not being inside the hollow itself.

Hiking at Dead Man's Hollow

Dead Man's Hollow Local Map

Prior to visiting Dead Man's Hollow, we had read that the trails can get overgrown and muddy. On the two trails that we walked on, we only noticed a few patches of mud despite rain earlier in the week. Likewise, as it was pretty early in the season the overall path quality was quite good with little overgrowth to be seen anywhere.

One of the problems with hiking Dead Man's Hollow is that the online map did not match up to the maps displayed at the park when we visited. Specifically, the 0.29 mile Table Rock Trail that connects the two we hiked on does not exist on the local maps. When hiking there are no signs or blazes indicating this path, so you may have a hard time making a connection out of the two and have to go on a leap of faith that you're taking an appropriate unmarked connector. (We should note that there appear to be fading blazes visible on some trees on the Cool Spirit Trail but no context for what they mean. The blazes for the main trail are quite prominent).

Average Trail Condition at Dead Man's Hollow

As we did not see much signage we opted to drive around to the parking area for the Dead Man's Run Trail instead and enjoyed a 0.9 mile walk along the GAP Trail and Youghiogheny River to get to it. Once you reach the trailhead for Dead Man's Run, the factory ruins and enchanted staircase are only a few steps away, which makes these sights a bit more accessible than others (the factory ruins especially).

Beyond this, the park also has about three other marked trails ranging from 0.3 to 1.7 miles which are listed as difficult on the park's maps with larger elevation changes. We look forward to returning to check these out in the future!

GAP Trail to Get to Dead Man's Hollow near the Youghiogheny

Overall, Dead Man's Hollow was a nice outing just outside of Pittsburgh with a lot to see. Apart from this, the park is a gorgeous green space that seemed to be relatively light on the crowds (apart from the GAP Trail connector). While we could see this one getting overgrown throughout the season, during our early-May visit we had no issues hiking around this one at all and thought things were well maintained. 

Dead Man's Hollow is located near McKeesport, PA. The upper trailhead near the waterfall is located at 600 Scene Ridge Rd, McKeesport, and the lower trailhead is on the GAP trail about 0.9 miles from the Boston parking lot at 1906 Donner Street, McKeesport.

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2 thoughts on “Hiking Dead Man’s Hollow for Factory Ruins and Nature”

  1. We just hiked Dead Man’s Hollow yesterday and started at the Boston GAP trailhead. We walked the Dead Man’s Run Trail and did find the Table Rock trail that connects to the Cool Spirit Trail. We also found at the Boston Gap trailhead, there was an updated map of the trails. I will say though, the trails were not labeled and we just ended up walking where we wanted to walk. It wasn’t till we discovered the waterfall that almost isn’t that yes we were indeed on the cool spirit trail.

    • Thanks for letting us know! I did wonder if the trail connector from the Boston Trailhead direction would be a bit more obvious than the reverse. When we started near the waterfall it wasn’t readily apparent which path went down that way.


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