Participant Information - Family Challenge

Rachel Carson Trail Family Challenge 2007 - Saturday, June 23

This document is for the 8-Mile Family Challenge.
For the 34-Mile Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, click here
For the 19-Mile Homestead Challenge, click here


The Family Challenge will take place rain or shine. Upon arrival at the trailhead in Emmerling Park, all participants must first check in at the designated shelter near the parking lot. This is so we can record your participation and you can pick up your family ID tag and maps. You may optionally pick up your tag and map Friday evening, in which case you don't need to check in at the shelter. Please have the family leader pin the tag on his or her right side at waist level so it can be scanned at each Checkpoint. Memorize the number on the tag as it will be called out at each checkpoint when it is scanned. The family leader is responsible for ensuring all members of the family stay together and the tag is properly scanned! Registration opens at 7:45 AM.


To reduce trail congestion, the Challenge has no group start time. You may start when all family memebers are present and ready, as early as 8:30 AM and as late as 9:30 AM. Make sure you stop at the trailhead and let the Trail Marshal there scan your tag so we know you've left and have an accurate start time. Registration closes at 9:30 AM.


There is one checkpoint on the Family Challenge, with water, snacks, basic first aid, cell phones and radio communications.

CheckpointMiles OutOpening TimeCutoff Time
Emmerling Park Registration (map)0.08:30 AM9:30 AM
Log Cabin Road Checkpoint (map)3.79:00 AM2:00 PM
Rachel Carson Homestead Finish (map)8.09:45 AM3:40 PM


There is no shuttle service to the Checkpoints! If you drop out at a Checkpoint and cannot arrange your own ride, the Trail Marshals will do their best to assist you in securing transportation. However, this is not guaranteed and you will almost certainly be required to wait, perhaps for several hours, for someone to take you. If you drop out between Checkpoints, you will need to find transportation yourself or wait by the trail for the Trail Sweeps to come through and they will assist you as best they can.

ID Tags

You must turn in your ID tag in order to receive your t-shirts. If you drop out and don't make it to the finish, please give the tag to the supervisor of the closest Checkpoint. If you do not return your tag you will be charged a $5 replacement fee.


The t-shirts are distributed at the Homestead finish. You will be required to turn in your ID tag in order to receive your shirt. If you drop out, be sure to stop by the Homestead and collect yours.


The Family Challenge is a point-to-point course, not a loop. When you finish you will be 8 miles away from where you started. You have two parking options:

  1. Park at the Springdale High School (near the Family Challenge endpoint) and carpool to Emmerling Park on your own. There is no pre-event shuttle service. The benefit of this option is you will be at your car when you finish the Family Challenge.
  2. Park at Emmerling Park (the Family Challenge trailhead), do the Challenge, then wait for the shuttle to take you back to Emmerling Park from the Rachel Carson Homestead. The benefit of this option is you don't need to get up quite as early. The drawback is you will need to wait for the shuttle (perhaps 90 minutes or more) after you finish the Challenge (also note that the shuttle starts running at noon). However, there will be snacks and drinks at the Homestead for you to partake while waiting.


  • To Emmerling Park: Take Route 28 to Exit #11 and follow Route 910 (Yellow Belt) west about 4 miles and turn right on Cove Run Road. Travel about 0.5 mile to park entrance on the right. Map
  • To Springdale High School: Take Route 28 to Exit #12A (Pittsburgh Mills). At the end of the ramp, turn away from the mall on the main entrance road, then turn left onto Tawney Run Road. At the first stop sign, turn right onto Butler Road and follow it 2.0 miles. Turn left on Marion Avenue; the parking lot is on your left in about 1/4 mile. Map
  • To the Rachel Carson Homestead: Take Route 28 to Exit #12A (Pittsburgh Mills). At the end of the ramp, turn away from the mall on the main entrance road, then turn left onto Tawney Run Road. At the first stop sign, turn right onto Butler Road and follow it 2.0 miles. Turn right onto Marion Avenue; the Homestead is on the right at 613 Marion Avenue. Map
  • To the Log Cabin Checkpoint: Take Route 28 to Exit #12. Turn right at the end of the ramp, then right at the stop sign onto Little Deer Creek Road (aka Russellton Road). Travel about 1.5 miles and turn right on Log Cabin Road. Park about 100 yards ahead on the right. Map


  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink lots of liquid in small amounts at a steady, frequent rate. You should be carrying at least two quarts.
  • Water and snacks will be available at each checkpoint, every 7-8 miles.
  • Wear a hat and use a high-SPF sunblock. You'll be outside all day.
  • Watch the weather forecast closely to know what gear to bring; the Challenge will happen rain or shine.
  • Stay on the trail. Shortcuts may not be fair to other participants and can upset landowners.
  • Backtrack to find the last trail blaze and reassess your direction if you haven't seen a blaze in a hundred yards or so, as you may have missed a turn.
  • Resist forging ahead or spending time trying to "hook up" with the trail if you lose it; this rarely works to your benefit.
  • Respect private property! Much of the Rachel Carson Trail crosses privately owned land and the owners graciously allow us there; do not impose upon any landowner you may encounter.
  • Clean up any trash you bring and any you encounter along the way. There are trash receptacles at each checkpoint.
  • Stop if you feel sick! You won't be alone, plenty of participants don't finish.
  • Check in at each checkpoint. This is how we keep track of you! You must have a time recorded at every checkpoint or your finish time will be disqualified.


We need quite a few volunteers to help us stage the Challenge. Please cajole and/or coerce your friends, relatives and co-workers into helping! Check out the Volunteers page for details.