Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area



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BEST OVERNIGHT HIKE
Gerard Hiking Trail
OIL CREEK STATE PARK


photo by chuck beard
 

Test your survival skills by packing up your gear for an overnight hike that will take you along the east and west sides of the Oil Creek Valley, a looping trail that passes scenic overlooks, steep hillsides, wetlands and seasonal waterfalls. Nature has reclaimed most of the former drilling areas in the region, providing a glimpse at how its beauty bloomed wild before the oil boom of 1859. You’ll still see the historic Drake Well on the northern end of the park. It was named after Col. Edwin Drake, who oversaw the drilling of the world’s first successful commercial oil well. No need to rush. Pre-pay a nominal fee to reserve charming, rustic Adirondack-style shelters that offer respite for up to four weary travelers for one-night stays. Their stone fireplaces provide warmth and the opportunity to savor open-range cooking, and water is provided in spring and summer. Communal metal bear boxes keep your snack supply from luring curious wild visitors. Maps are available online

Trailhead
1080 Petroleum Centre Road, Oil City, Venango County

Level of Difficulty
Moderate to Difficult

Dog-Friendly?
Yes (state laws apply)

Kid-Friendly?
Varies

Mileage
36 miles

Don’t miss
Miller Farm, Shaffer Farm, the Pioneer and Petroleum Centre, and Boughton, sites that played pivotal roles in the early drilling days. Keep an eye out for old oil barrels and machinery frozen in time. Also, the fly fishing is said to be tremendous.
Learn more:  dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/oilcreek

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