A Guide to the Best Pittsburgh Parks, Trails, and Spaces

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

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When it comes to parks in Pittsburgh, hiking trails, and other green spaces, we certainly have a lot to choose from.

In fact, it seems like you can pick any direction, drive a few minutes, and find yourself surrounded by beautiful nature. So if hiking near Pittsburgh (or even in the city limits) is on your radar, you are really in luck here!

In this guide, we wanted to share some of the best Pittsburgh parks, trails, and hiking options nearby for those who want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors!

Map of Pittsburgh Parks

To start, explore parks in Pittsburgh and the greater metro area in this interactive map! This map features all available parks we know about in southwest Pennsylvania, and certainly highlights the many options available to choose from!

After exploring the map, scroll down to read more about parks within the city limits, inside Allegheny County, and additional parks in southwest Pennsylvania at large. If you find a park that looks interesting, click the link to read more about it!

Note: In this guide, we are sharing parks and green spaces that are equipped with trails for hiking, biking, or general exploring in nature. We are not featuring parklets and smaller green spaces that are primarily used for gathering spots (such as a neighborhood park with a children's play area or for picnic facilities). Likewise, we are not featuring state game lands at this time either. 

Parks in Pittsburgh City Limits

If hiking in Pittsburgh proper is on your radar, we have many parks and green spaces within the city limits worth checking out.

  • Highland Park – Highland Park – 748 acre park in the neighborhood of the same name featuring a water reservoir and European inspired gardens.
  • Riverview Park – Perry North – 251 acre park with primarily wooded hiking trails and an Observatory at the center.
  • Point State Park – Downtown – 36 acre park right at the confluence downtown with river trails, fountain, and historical fort markers.
  • Schenley Park – Oakland/Squirrel Hill – 456 acre park just steps away from Pitt and CMU.
  • Frick Park – Squirrel Hill/Regent Square – 644 acre park with numerous hiking trails and recreational amenities. Check out the Nine Mile Run extension trail on a subsequent visit to take a brisk walk down to the Monongahela River.
  • Mellon Park – Shadyside/Point Breeze – 120 acre park tucked between two neighborhoods with a walled garden and a memorial only visible at night.
  • Seldom Seen Greenway – Beechview – ~90 acre greenspace off of route 51 with a train line, graffiti, and a few small hiking trails.
  • Emerald View Park – Mount Washington/Duquesne Heights – 280 acre park wrapping around Mount Washington with trails offering stellar views of the city and nearby.
  • Hays Woods – Hays – 660 acre park of mostly undeveloped woodland in the South Side.

Parks in Allegheny County

Fall Run Park

If you are looking for hiking near Pittsburgh, but do not want to go too far, there are a number of great Allegheny County parks worth checking out. 

  • Girty's Woods – Millvale – 155 acre greenspace right on the outskirts of Millvale. Be prepared for a steep climb here!
  • Deer Lakes Park – Tarentum – 1,180 acre park with man-made lakes, numerous hiking trails, and many recreational amenities.
  • Harrison Hills Park – Natrona Heights – 500 acre park featuring several hiking trails including one with a view of the Allegheny River.
  • Hartwood Acres Park – Hampton/Indiana Townships – 629 acre park that has numerous hiking trails, a historic mansion, amphitheater, and stable.
  • South Park – Bethel Park/South Park Townships – 2,013 acre park featuring numerous recreational facilities, several hiking trails, and more modern amenities.
  • North Park – Hampton/McCandless/Pine Townships – 3,075 acre park including hiking trails, a large lake for kayaking, boat house, and more amenities.
  • Boyce Park – Plum – 1,096 acre park with numerous hiking/biking trails as well as ski and tubing hills in the winter month.
  • Settlers Cabin Park – Collier/North Fayette/Robinson Townships – 1,610 acre park with a historical log cabin as well as a very small waterfall.
  • Round Hill Park – Elizabeth – 1,100 acre park that doubles as a working farm with animal exhibits and more.
  • White Oak Park – White Oak – 810 acre park that is primarily used for gatherings via picnic pavilions. 
  • Kane Woods Nature Area – Scott Township – 77 acre reserve that once was home to General Neville- tax collector during the Whiskey Rebellion, during which his mansion was burned to the ground.
  • Beechwood Farms – Fox Chapel – 134 acre nature reserve in Fox Chapel managed by the Audubon Society of Western PA.
  • Sewickley Heights Borough Park – Sewickley Heights – 1,000+ acre park that is friendly towards off-leash dogs (rules apply).
  • Trillium Trail – Fox Chapel – A small park with a ~1 mile trail that protects the trillium flower bloom which occurs near the end of April.
  • Eliza Fox Trail – Fox Chapel – A trail network loosely connecting a number of small parks in Fox Chapel.
  • Fall Run Park – Glenshaw – 94 acre park just off of Route 8 that features one of the largest waterfalls near the city of Pittsburgh.
  • Montour Woods – Moon – 300 acre park on the grounds of a former Nike Missile site that has been long abandoned.
  • Robin Hill Park – Coraopolis – 140 acre park with a few hiking trails and a historic mansion on site.
  • Boyce Mayview Park – Upper St. Clair –  A 475 acre park in the South Hills featuring paved and rugged hiking trails and many natural features.
  • Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens – Oakdale – 452 acre private botanic gardens with many themed zones to explore (fee for entry).
  • Panhandle Trail – Rail Trail from Coraopolis to Clairton – A 29 mile trail on a former rail line that extends into West Virginia.
  • Montour Trail – Rail Trail from Oakdale to West Virginia – A 60+ mile trail on a former rail line that explores the area just southwest of Pittsburgh.
  • Great Allegheny Passage – Bike Trail from Downtown Pittsburgh – A 150 mile trail that connects Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, and onward to Washington DC via the C&O canal trail.

The following are conservation areas that can also be found in Allegheny County. For more information on most of the below, please check out the Allegheny Land Trust website. We are only starting our exploration of these areas and only have limited insights at this time.

Please note that conservation areas in the county are often quite small and are purposefully underdeveloped. In some cases trails are present. In others, not so much.

As such, it should be noted that these are simply much more wild spots than the parks listed above, and additional care and advanced planning should be taken when visiting. Likewise, hiking rules and regulations vary considerably from place to place.

When available, we link to our full article for the respective green space below.

Pennsylvania State Parks

We are fortunate to be located close to many state parks in Pittsburgh. 

  • Point State Park – Downtown Pittsburgh – 36 acre state park in downtown Pittsburgh at the confluence of the rivers with outlines of historic forts that once stood in the city's early days.
  • Raccoon Creek State Park – Hookstown – 7,572 acre park with numerous hiking trails, a creek, a waterfall, and a wildflower preserve with a stunning April bloom (said to have more plant species than anywhere else in the state!).
  • Hillman State Park – Burgettstown – 3,600 acre park just south of Raccoon Creek that is a bit more wild and features a gorgeous covered bridge.
  • Ohiopyle State Park – Ohiopyle – 19,052 acre park with hiking trails, a gorgeous waterfall, natural waterslides, and the Youghiogheny River running through it.
  • Moraine State Park – Portersville – A 16,725 acre park with the prominent Lake Arthur as the centerpiece. 
  • McConnells Mill State Park – Slippery Rock Township – A 2,546 acre park featuring a historic mill, numerous waterfalls, and hiking trails.
  • Laurel Hill State Park – Somerset – 3,935 acre park featuring primarily forested hiking trails as well as a small lake on property. One of our favorites!
  • Laurel Summit State Park – Laurel Highlands – 6 acre park that is the trailhead access point for Forbes State Forest and Spruce Flats Bog.
  • Kooser State Park – Somerset – 250 acre park with a gorgeous lake and trout run.
  • Forbes State Forest – Laurel Highlands – 50,000+ acre forest in southwest PA accessed via Laurel Summit. Home to Spruce Flats Bog.
  • Mount Davis – Somerset County – The highest point in Pennsylvania.
  • Laurel Mountain State Park –  Ligonier/Jenner – 493 acre park that is primarily used for the ski resort of the same name.
  • Linn Run State Park – Rector – 612 acre park used for camping and hiking along the idyllic stream.
  • Laurel Ridge State Park – Rockwood – 13,625 acre park featuring the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail and select groomed trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
  • Keystone State Park – Derry – 1,200 acre park featuring a 78 acre lake of the same name.
  • Ryerson Station State Park – Graysville – 1,164 acre park offering many recreational options and 13 miles of trails.

Southwest Pennsylvania Parks in Nearby Counties

  • Butler-Freeport Community Trail – Butler to Freeport – A 20 mile rail trail with relatively flat surfaces for walking and biking.
  • Loyalhanna Lake National Recreation Area – Loyalhanna Township – 467 acre park surrounding Loyalhanna Lake maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers for flood control. Fee may apply for day use of some facilities.
  • Crooked Creek Horse Park – Ford City – 150 acre park with a large section suited for equestrian use.
  • Todd Nature Reserve – Sarver – 334 acre nature reserve operated by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. Great for bird watching.
  • Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve – Latrobe – A 50 acre nature reserve on the Saint Vincent College campus in Latrobe, many themed areas and historical log cabin / barn.
  • Westmoreland Heritage Trail – An 18 mile rail trail split in two sections between Trafford and Saltsburg.
  • Hoodlebug Trail – A 10 mile rail trail between Indiana and Black Lick.
  • Ghost Town Trail – A 46 mile rail trail located between Black Lick and Ebensburg. One of our favorites!
  • Twin Lakes Park – Latrobe – 467 acre park in Latrobe featuring a 2.5 mile trail along the two lakes.
  • Armstrong Trail – A 35 mile rail trail connecting Ford City and East Brady.
  • Roaring Run Natural Area – Kiskiminetas Township – 3,593 acre park with a 15 mile hiking trail.
  • Powdermill Nature Reserve – Laurel Highlands – A small research park operated by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History with on-site education center.
  • Bear Run Nature Reserve – Laurel Highlands – 5,000 acre park that is home to Fallingwater and wild nature experiences.
  • Jennings Environmental Education Center – Slippery Rock – 300 acre park offering a protected prairie home to the Massasauga rattlesnake plus other hiking zones.
  • Bradys Run Park – Beaver Falls – 2,000 acre park in Beaver Falls with many recreational facilities and small lake.
  • Buttermilk Falls – Beaver Falls – A small waterfall easily accessed from the road.
  • Cross Creek County Park – Avella – A 2,000+ acre park primarily situated for access to Cross Creek Lake.
  • Cedar Creek Park – Belle Vernon – 479 acre park on the banks of the Youghiogheny River with several hiking trails.
  • Braddock's Trail Park – Irwin – 148 acre park in Irwin with access to a small waterfall that is best seen after a rain.
  • Mingo Creek County Park – Finleyville – 2,600 acre park primarily used for recreation in a low lying area between two covered bridges.

Get More Advice in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: Pittsburgh

60 hikes in 60 miles

Looking to have a hiking resource that you can take with you on the go? We love our copy of 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: Pittsburgh Edition as it features many great maps, hiking tips, and other practical information for getting out and exploring the region. It would not be a stretch to say this is one of the books we refer to the most, and we highly recommend it!

So, now all we have left is one question to ask- which Pittsburgh hiking trail will you hit first?

For frequently asked questions about Pittsburgh parks, check out the following.

How many parks does Pittsburgh have?

There are well over 75 city parks, county parks, state parks, nature areas, and green spaces within 90 minutes of Pittsburgh.

What is the biggest park in Pittsburgh city limits?

Frick Park is the largest park inside Pittsburgh city limits at 644 acres.

What is the biggest park in southwest Pennsylvania?

Ohiopyle State Park in the Laurel Highlands is just over 19,000 acres in size and is the largest park near Pittsburgh.

What are some good lesser-visited parks in Pittsburgh?

Fall Run Park, Raccoon Creek State Park, and Cedar Creek Park are favorites that are still fairly under-the-radar.

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