With the recent growth in Settlers Ridge in Robinson Township, this would be the last place you'd expect to find a 1,600+ acre county park. But go just a few hundred feet away from I-376 and you'll come to Settlers Cabin Park, one of the largest public parks west of the city.
Featuring several hiking trails, many recreational facilities, the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens (ticket required), and even a mini waterfall, this park truly has something for everyone!
What You Can See at Settlers Cabin Park
Settlers Cabin Park features maintained walking paths along the main roads, plenty of recreational facilities including tennis courts, field hockey, and play sets for kids, as well as hiking trails for those who want to get out in the middle of nature.
As lovers of the outdoors, our most recent visit to this part was to explore these hiking trails which are located in the heart of the park.
The highlight of a visit to these trails is the miniature waterfall that is located on the green trial. The word miniature here is a fitting description of the waterfall as it is only about 4 feet tall at its highest point, but it is a great landmark to seek out in between walking through the trees and the gradual up-and-downs of the hills.
Other than the waterfall, do not expect much in terms of unique highlights at this park (for those, you'll probably want to pay for the private Botanical Gardens next door), but we did quite enjoy our visit for the relative ease of hiking and its close proximity to the city.
Hiking Settlers Cabin Park
The trails at Settlers Cabin Park are out-and-back style loops which are color coded. There are three major hiking trails in this configuration (blue, green, and purple), and they link up to each other to form a chain. Individually the trails are approximately 1.5 to 2.5 miles long, and connected the trails would amount to a roughly 6 mile loop for those who start at one end of the park and hike it all (only hiking two trails is also possible, which is what we ended up doing, and covers about 4.5 miles).
During our visit we parked at the tennis courts to begin our hike on the blue trail, as this appeared to be one of the easiest trails to find from the online maps. After some initial confusion we ended up finding the entry to the trail behind the back-left of the field hockey rink if facing it from the parking lot (the opposing end of the trail begins on the back-left of the tennis courts if facing from the parking lot).
The trails have color coded markers painted on the trees, which for the most part is helpful when exploring. The trails sometimes cross the main roads in the park and it is not obvious on where it picks up again from there, so be sure to have a copy of the map with you or on your phone to use as a reference point.
For visitors who wish to visit the mini waterfall, trail markers are present that will guide you the right way while on the green trail. You will have to cross a shallow stream in a few places, so be prepared for your shoes to get wet slightly and for some mud (especially if it has been raining).
For those wishing to carry on to the third hiking trail (the purple trail), signage is not as obvious and we ended up missing the connection to this last segment we were hoping to hike even though we had a map.
Overall, Settlers Cabin Park is the perfect half-day out for those who want to hike anywhere from 1.5 to 6 miles.
The park also contains a private botanical garden and historical log cabin which, although pet friendly on the trails, requires paid admission- making it a perfect add-on for those who want to turn this trip into a full day trip from the city.