7 Pittsburgh Day Trips Within an Hour Drive of Downtown

Pittsburgh is truly fortunate to have a number of things to do in the city. But outside of the city there is a whole world of different opportunities ranging from discovering nature to learning about the region's rich history.

If you're looking to get out and explore on a longer day trip, check one of these attractions- all within an hour of the city limits!

On your way back, take the long way home to check out a few great spots in nearby towns.

Read more7 Pittsburgh Day Trips Within an Hour Drive of Downtown

Ohiopyle State Park – Hiking Cucumber Falls to Cascade Falls

Ohiopyle is a 19,000 acre state park located in southwestern Pennsylvania, about an hour and a half south of Pittsburgh.

It is often considered to be one of the star attractions of the region as the park offers numerous hiking trails, historical landmarks, and so much more- making it impossible to see it all in any single visit.

During a recent trip we tried the hike from Cucumber Falls to the Cascade Falls and quickly found out why it is one of the best trails to experience in the park (and the perfect hike for a day trip from the city)!

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Raccoon Creek State Park – An Empty Park All For Yourself

Raccoon Creek State Park is a 7,500 acre park located about 30 miles west of Pittsburgh. With a 100+ acre lake, a 300+ acre wildflower reserve, over 40 miles of hiking trails, and relatively little infrastructure beyond these, this park is perfect for those who want to experience the great outdoors as it was meant to be.

During our recent visit we decided to try out two of the most popular hiking trails, the Forest Trail and Lake Trail, to capture a cross-section of the nature this park offers.

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Kennywood – A Visit to Pittsburgh’s Closest Amusement Park

As far as day trips from Pittsburgh are concerned, perhaps the most popular of all is visiting our regional theme park: Kennywood!

When the folks at Kennywood invited us out for a visit during the 2016 season, we jumped on the opportunity. I am a roller coaster enthusiast who loves the most extreme experiences imaginable and Angie, well, she agreed to join me with the promise of potato patch fries- something she has been craving since her last visit several years prior. So on a gorgeous July day we made the trip out of the city to take in as many flips, dips, spins, and fries as possible.

But why should you make the trip out to this park? We share our favorite reasons below.

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Exploring the Trails and Public Areas at Pittsburgh’s South Park

We are very fortunate in Pittsburgh to have many parks located in close proximity to the city. One of the largest outside of the city limits is South Park, located in Bethel Park / South Park Township, and is home to many amenities and activities suitable for just about everyone- including hikers like us!

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Moraine State Park – A Perfect Day Trip Outside of Pittsburgh

The 16,725-acre Moraine State Park is one of the largest parks in western Pennsylvania and is located approximately 40 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh.

With land and water activities aplenty, this park is one of the crown jewels in the region and should be on everyone's radar when looking for a great park to visit on a day trip!

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Hartwood Acres – Exploring the Mansion and Hiking at the Estate

The estate at Hartwood Acres is often called the crown jewel of the public parks in Allegheny County.  Featuring numerous hiking trails, a gorgeous mansion open for touring, and other unique features, this destination is one that truly lives up to its reputation and is a perfect half or full-day out for visitors from Pittsburgh.

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Harrison Hills Park – An Easy River View Hike Outside of Pittsburgh

Harrison Hills Park is a 500 acre park on the edge of the Allegheny River in Natrona Heights. Thanks to its relatively close proximity to the city it is the perfect spot for those looking for a half-day out to explore nature.

On our recent visit we hiked the out-and-back Rachel Carson trail (one of approximately eight trails within the park) which is known for having stunning overlooks of the river and surrounding region.

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The Montour Trail – Where You Can Walk for Miles in Pittsburgh

Most hiking trails we visit around the city of Pittsburgh are often out-and-back loops that can be completed in just a few hours.  For those who want to see all of the Montour Trail, you may need to pack your bags and plan for an extended journey, as this 40-mile trail is part of the 400-mile Great Allegheny Passage which connects Pittsburgh to Washington DC!

Although we are planning on biking this trail in the future to see it all, today's entry covers the segment of the Montour Trail beginning at Cliff Mine Road near the Pittsburgh airport through to the town of Imperial- perfect for those looking for an afternoon walk.  As we cover more sections of the trail in the future, this guide will be updated with more photos and tips!

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North Park Pittsburgh – A Little Something for Everyone

North Park Lake in Pittsburgh

The aptly named North Park in northern Allegheny County is a popular spot for those looking to enjoy a day out for hiking in the woods, walking along the paved lake path, or taking in one of the many other activities available.

No matter why you visit this one, there is enough to keep returning time and time again!

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