Rachel Carson Trail

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Rachel Carson Trail
Freeport bridge.jpg
View of the Freeport Bridge from Rachel Carson Trail
Length35.7 mi (57.5 km)
LocationAllegheny County, Pennsylvania
EstablishedFebruary 1975
Hiking details
Trail difficultyModerate
HazardsSevere Weather, Hazardous Terrain

The Rachel Carson Trail is a 35.7-mile (57.5 km) hiking trail in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The trail stretches along a meandering path from Harrison Hills Park to North Park, crossing through a variety of dense woodlands, open meadows, streams, steep bluffs, power line clearings, as well as skirting the boundaries of local farms and suburban areas.[1] There are no camps or shelters along the way, meaning the trail is intended for day-hiking. The trail contains hazardous terrain[2] and is steep, rising 8,151 feet and dropping 8,214 feet.[3] Few bridges have been built, causing hikers to cross waterways.[4]

Because the trail passes close by the birthplace in Springdale of Rachel Carson, one of the early ecologists, the trail was dedicated in her name.[5] Some offshoot spurs from the trail offer alternative routes to Hartwood Acres Park and the Rachel Carson Homestead.

Every year since 1996, the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy hosts a "Rachel Carson Trail Challenge". Participants attempt a 34-mile long, one-day, sunrise to sunset endurance hike along the trail.[6][7] The stated challenge is simply to finish the entire stretch before sunset, or approximately 15 hours. Two shorter challenge routes of 18 miles and 8 miles are offered, as well.[8] The trail has also been part of the 100 Mile Quest, a challenge to hike 100 miles in one year.[9]

Points of interest[edit]


  1. ^ "Rachel Carson Trail, North Park | Hiking Project". Hiking Project. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  2. ^ Hayes, Liz (March 16, 2009). "Children rescued after Rachel Carson Trail fall". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  3. ^ Aupperlee, Aaron (August 14, 2017). "Lyme disease and the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge: Why I wasn't going to give up". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Rachel Carson Trail hike offers challenge". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  5. ^ "Rachel Carson Trail". Rachelcarsontrails.org. Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Rachel Carson Trail Challenge — Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy". www.rachelcarsontrails.org. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  7. ^ "Rachel Carson Trail Challenge marks its 20th year". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  8. ^ Ban, Charlie (May 31, 2009). "Family finds bond in hiking Rachel Carson Trail Challenge". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "Hike 100 miles ... but take your time". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-10-06.

Coordinates: 40°39′44″N 79°41′57″W / 40.662127°N 79.699203°W / 40.662127; -79.699203