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



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BEST BLOOMS
Raccoon Creek State Park Wildflower Reserve
INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP


photo by laura petrilla

A wide range of 700 species of wildflowers has been recorded in this 314-acre section of the park located along Raccoon Creek; the growth occurs because of a confluence of habitats in a relatively small area that include floodplains, hardwood forests of sycamore and oak-hickory as well as pine forests, meadows and recovering farm land. Although they are present throughout the growing season, blooms are at their peak from late April through early May and again from August through early September. On the heels of winter, the spring thaw will produce buds of trilliums and bluebells before summer brings forth crimson torches of iron weed and lively splashes of Joe-Pye weed. Cooling temps yield to vibrantly rich fall foliage. The hike is considered to be relatively easy; you must descend (and then ascend) a higher elevation to access the creek, however, so expect to get your heart pumping. After that, it’s cake. Maps are available online.

Trailhead
Jennings Trail, 482 Route 30, Independence Township, Beaver County

Level of Difficulty
Easy to Moderate

Dog-Friendly?
No

Kid-Friendly?
Yes

Mileage
5 miles

Don’t miss
Shafer’s Rock. Accessible from the high elevation of Audubon Trail, the overlook provides outstanding views of the floodplain and horseshoe bend in Raccoon Creek.
Learn more: dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/raccooncreek/wildflowerreserve/index.htm
 

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