A 132-mile hiking and backpacking trail north of Pittsburgh, PA
The Baker Trail is a 132-mile (212 kilometer) hiking and backpacking trail, following forest paths, old jeep trails and dirt roads through woods, farmlands, along rivers and creeks. The Baker Trail is one of the 18 state-designated hiking trails and is included on the trails map of Pennsylvania.
The black line in the shape of a "J" in the center of this map is the Baker Trail.
At all times while hiking the Baker Trail, please:
- Be courteous to people living along the trail.
- Remember, you are generally on private property.
- Respect the land and its owners. If asked to leave, do so.
- Stay on the trail.
- Do not camp or build fires along the trail except at designated shelters.
- Refrain from bringing dogs and bicycles on the trail.
- Keep off the trail with motorized vehicles.
- Carry out your own trash; help by picking up others’ litter.
- Recognize your limitations and your assumed risk. The Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy and the landowners want you to enjoy your hike; neither will take the responsibility for personal injury or losses while using the trail.
Use & Trail Guide
Currently, there are nine campsites with openfront "Adirondack" shelters located on side trails. There are no signs pointing to the shelters, so they must be located by consulting the Baker Trail Guide. The Guide includes a detailed description and maps of the trail. For ordering information, see the Merchandise page of this web site. The Guide includes a section-by-section trail description, locations of shelter sites, a set of topographic maps, information on the use and history of the trail, hiking tips, information about campgrounds, cabins, food stores and park facilities within walking distance of the trail.
Besides the shelters, there are primitive campsites along the trail where tents can be used. All hikers should be equipped for the season. Carry with you food, water purification and the gear you will need. There are a few stores convenient to the trail (see the Guide for locations).
Try to leave a supply of wood in the shelter for the next hiker. Do not cut trees. Before leaving the shelter, put out your campfire and leave the site clean. Pack out cans, foil and all other unburnable items. As with most trailside shelters in the U.S., burying trash is no longer acceptable.
Presently the trail needs work in some areas. Volunteer work crews address problem areas in the spring. If you encounter any difficulties with trail conditions, blazing, or landowners, please email the trail manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Baker Trail was established in 1950 and named for the late Pittsburgh attorney Horace Forbes Baker, who was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Pittsburgh Council of the American Youth Hostels after World War II. The trail originally extended from Aspinwall to Cook Forest State Park (133 miles). However, extensive development along the Allegheny River caused the Aspinwall-Freeport section to be abandoned. In 1971, the trail was extended northward from Cook Forest Fire Tower to near the Allegheny National Forest, making the trail 132 miles long.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: First Person / Hiking the Baker Trail
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Hitting the Trails: An adventure-in-waiting on the Baker Trail
Here are some interesting letters and documents from the Baker Trail archive.