When it comes to getting out into nature, we love the great outdoors and will do everything we can to find a unique hike regardless of how rigorous it ends up being (which has gotten us in trouble a few times if we are to be honest).
But we know that this level of exertion is not always for everyone, and sometimes you just want to get out somewhere for an easy stroll. For those who seek out this kind of outdoors experience, The Panhandle Trail at Walkers Mill is for you.
What You Can See on the Panhandle Trail
The Panhandle Trail is a predominantly flat trail that runs along Robinson Run creek for roughly 29 miles. As such, the scenery at times is somewhat consistent with intermittent breaks in the trees for where the creek passes through.
Along the way there are numerous small sights to see, including many decorative bird houses, several memorials (including one to an avid runner as well as a children's 9/11 memorial), a few old quarry ponds, and more.
The Panhandle Trail also has two unique offerings including a cave which requires pre-approval for a tour, as well being in close proximity to a Nike missile site from the Cold War (although you'll likely also have to beg a historical association to get a tour and they are quite far off the main trail).
Overall, for leisure walkers, runners, or bikers, the Panhandle Trail is simply a serene spot to enjoy a few miles of activity on relatively flat terrain, much like other trails nearby such as the Montour Trail. The trail itself is beautiful and well maintained, so it is well worth a visit, but do not be expecting much beyond a few small highlights here or there.
Hiking the Panhandle Trail
Exploring the Panhandle trail is one of the easiest excursions you can make as the trail is wide open, flat, and paved (insofar as the few miles we went during our first visit). This means that all you have to do is park at one of the many entrances (we started at the Walkers Mill entrance), walk or bike as far as you are able, and then turn around for the trip back.
That being said, there are numerous opportunities to get off-trail on this one to get out into nature even more. These trails are more in-line with standard hiking trails and have minimal signage at times and are maintained to various degrees as well. As such, most visitors will likely stick to the main path for easy exploration.
More information on The Panhandle Trail, including maps, can be found at the Friends of the Panhandle Trail website.
The Panhandle Trail is also one of the features in the amazing book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Pittsburgh Edition” that we are working through as a part of this series. If you are interested in day hikes near the city we highly recommend picking this one up!