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 email@example.com.
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.
- A 1973 trip report by Robert Beck of Chalfont, PA (410kB, PDF format)
- A 1969 letter by Paul Smith of Beach City, OH about some family-related history along the trail (76kB, PDF format)
These are the volunteers who have adopted and committed to maintain a section of the trail:
|Northern terminus||Route 66 crossing||3.6|
|Route 66 crossing||Greenwood Rd crossing||4.2|
|Greenwood Rd crossing||Forest Rd crossing (central)||3.8|
|Forest Rd crossing (central)||Fire tower||3.0|
|Fire tower||Gravelick Rd (south)||2.8|
|Gravelick Rd (south)||Iron Bridge Rd||2.3||Mark Gibson|
|Iron Bridge Rd||Work Dr at Summerville Dr||3.8||Mark Gibson|
|Work Dr at Summerville Dr||McCanna Run at Mill Creek||3.5||Mark Gibson|
|McCanna Run at Mill Creek||Mill Creek cable bridge||4.1||Mark Gibson|
|Mill Creek cable bridge||Markel Rd at Route 949||4.2||Jason Strohm|
|Markel Rd at Route 949||Route 28 crossing||5.6|
|Route 28 crossing||Redbank Valley Trail||4.2|
|Redbank Valley Trail||Fryer Rd (north)||2.6|
|Fryer Rd (north)||Sandy Hill Rd at Route 536||4.3|
|Sandy Hill Rd at Route 536||Route 839 crossing||5.9|
|Route 839 crossing||Creek Rd||5.1|
|Creek Rd||German Rd (north)||3.9|
|German Rd (north)||Route 839 (south)||3.7|
|Route 839 (south)||Dry Knob Rd at Dayton-Smicksburg Rd||4.3|
|Dry Knob Rd at Dayton-Smicksburg Rd||Wilson Rd at Sinktown Rd||4.7|
|Wilson Rd at Sinktown Rd||Route 954 at Matty Rd||6.0|
|Route 954 at Matty Rd||Hollow Rd at Barks Hill Rd||5.0|
|Hollow Rd at Barks Hill Rd||Miller Rd at Wood Rd||4.6|
|Miller Rd at Wood Rd||Route 210 crossing||5.2|
|Route 210 crossing||Pine Hill Rd||2.6|
|Pine Hill Rd||Cherry Run Hill Rd at service road||4.7|
|Cherry Run Hill Rd at service road||Private road at Gibson Rd||2.6||Bill Dietrich|
|Private road at Gibson Rd||Horney Camp Run covered bridge||4.0||Bill Dietrich|
|Horney Camp Run covered bridge||Cr Crk Dm Rd at picnic||3.1||Crooked Creek Watershed Assn|
|Cr Crk Dm Rd at picnic||Bethel Twp bldg at Ridge Rd||3.6|
|Bethel Twp bldg at Ridge Rd||Taylor Run||1.9||Dwight Fox|
|Taylor Run||Jack Rd at Johnetta Rd||2.9||Dwight Fox|
|Jack Rd at Johnetta Rd||Godfrey Rd at Kiski Railroad||2.3|
|Godfrey Rd at Kiski Railroad||Kiski River bridge (CLOSED)||3.2|
|Kiski River bridge (CLOSED)||Southern terminus||1.9|