Goal Training Hikes

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge - Saturday June 19, 2021

COVID-19 Changes

To avoid stranger carpooling, this year all hikes will meet at the start location at 8:15 AM. If you do not have a ride share, you can meet at the start and hike as far as you want then turn around and hike back to your car.

This series of training hikes is intended to prepare you to take on the Challenge on Saturday June 19. These hikes not only help you build your endurance, but they also allow you to field test your gear. Your new shoes or pants may seem fine on your ten mile hikes, but only when you approach 20 miles over hilly terrain do previously imperceptible problems become incapacitating.
  • Everyone is welcome on these hikes; you do not need to be entered into the Challenge to participate.
  • These hikes are strenuous. The objective is to train you to be able to complete the Challenge within the allotted time, so leaders will be maintaining an average pace of about 2.4 miles per hour, or a little over 25 minutes per mile.
  • There's no need to notify the hike leader of your plan to attend. Simply show up on time.
  • Please bring at least a quart of water (more if the temperature will be warm) and some energy snacks (e.g. Powerbar).
  • Minimum unaccompanied age is 12.
  • All hikes will meet at the hike start. It is your responsibility to arrange a car shuttle with safe friends or family members beforehand so that you can be at the hike start at 8:15 AM.
  • Although dogs are wonderful, please don't bring them on these hikes.
  • All hikes meet at the start at 8:15 AM. Plan for later hikes to take up to nine hours (including sign-in, announcements, car shuttling, and so forth).
  • The hikes are free. A suggested donation of $3 per person may be given to the hike leader on the day of the hike.

Sunday April 18
Harrison Hills Park Bobwhite to Bull Creek Road
Joe Kostka 724-799-62907.4 miles
03:04 duration
Climbing 1539 ft Descending 1770 ft
We begin in Harrison Hills Park at the start point of the Challenge and meander through the park. Then we climb, and soon hit Burtner Hill, one of the more infamous hills on the Trail. A nice view of the Bull Creek valley appears before a steep descent to the finish.Meet at the Bobwhite Shelter in Harrison Hills Park. Take Route 28 to exit 16, turn east (right if exiting northbound) at the end of the ramp, then right again at the T-intersection with Freeport Road. The park is about one mile down on the left. Take the left fork of the Park entrance road and follow it 1/2 mile to the shelter parking lot on the right at the Bluejay sign. Map
Sunday April 25
Freeport Road to Emmerling Park
Levi Wilson 724-882-86908.6 miles
03:26 duration
Climbing 1810 ft Descending 1746 ft
Starting near the Springdale Veterans Association Hall in Springdale, we get in some road hiking and then come the hills, including Log Cabin hill, Lefever Hill, and Rich Hill. We finish in Emmerling Park.Meet at the Springdale Veterans Association Hall parking lot in Springdale. 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. After about 1/2 mile turn right on Riddle Run Road. Follow this road until it ends at Freeport Road and turn right. The Springdale Veterans Association Hall entrance will be on your right in about 1/4 mile. Park on the right side of the building, on the gravel portion of the lot. Map
Sunday May 2
Bull Creek Road to Freeport Road
Levi Wilson 724-882-86909.4 miles
04:16 duration
Climbing 2598 ft Descending 2640 ft
On this hike we start at the Bull Creek Road checkpoint location in Tarentum and quickly encounter a steep uphill climb followed by even steeper ups and downs - including Crawford Run hill and Murray Hill. We pass through Agan Park and end in Springdale.Meet at the parking area at the intersection of Bull Creek Road and Ridge Road. Take Route 28 to Exit #14 (Tarentum). Turn north on Bull Creek Road for a very short distance, turn right on Ridge Road, then immediately turn into the parking area on the right. Map
Sunday May 9
Crawford Run Road to Emmerling Park
George Bender 412-889-357513.3 miles
05:43 duration
Climbing 3046 ft Descending 2966 ft
We start in Creighton and head west where we'll encounter a plethora of hills: impressively steep Murray Hill, Agan Park, Log Cabin hill, Lefever Hill, and Rich Hill. Then we'll end in Emmerling Park.Meet at the parking area off Crawford Run Road in Creighton. Take Route 28 to Exit #13. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right and in about 30 feet turn right again into a gravel parking lot surrounded by a low chainlink fence. Map
Sunday May 16
Log Cabin Road to North Park Harmar
Leader: Doug MacPhail 412-606-599814.5 miles
05:46 duration
Climbing 2966 ft Descending 2612 ft
This hike begins at the Log Cabin Road checkpoint location and covers Lefever Hill and Rich Hill. We'll glide through Emmerling Park, then through Hampton and Crouse Run and into North Park, ending at the Harmar Shelter, the endpoint for the Challenge.Meet at the Log Cabin Road parking area. 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
Sunday May 23
Eastern Terminus to Crawford Run Road
George Bender 412-889-357514.0 miles
05:57 duration
Climbing 3227 ft Descending 3631 ft
This hike starts at the eastern terminus of the Rachel Carson Trail, a part of the trail which Challengers never see. We'll hike through Harrison Hills Park, past the Bobwhite Shelter, then over Burtner Hill and down Crawford Run hill to Creighton.Meet at the parking area across Freeport Road from the eastern terminus. From Pittsburgh/northeast, take Route 28 to exit 16, turn east (right if exiting northbound) at the end of the ramp onto Millerstown Road and follow it to the traffic light at the T intersection with Freeport Road. There is a parking area on the left at this intersection.
Sunday May 30
Freeport Road to North Park Harmar
Robert Reiland 412-728-517219.0 miles
07:43 duration
Climbing 3765 ft Descending 3333 ft
On this hike we'll cover the second half of this year's Challenge course. Starting in Springdale near the Springdale Veterans Association Hall, we'll hike through Springdale then hit Log Cabin Hill, Lefever Hill, and Rich Hill. Then we'll stick the landing in North Park.Meet at the Springdale Veterans Association Hall parking lot in Springdale. 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. After about 1/2 mile turn right on Riddle Run Road. Follow this road until it ends at Freeport Road and turn right. The Springdale Veterans Association Hall entrance will be on your right in about 1/4 mile. Park on the right side of the building, on the gravel portion of the lot. Map
Sunday June 6
Harrison Hills Park Bobwhite to Log Cabin Road
Leader: Doug MacPhail 412-606-599821.3 miles
09:00 duration
Climbing 4923 ft Descending 5118 ft
This hike was specifically chosen to be the final, longest and most difficult hike prior to the Challenge. We begin at the Bobwhite Shelter in Harrison Hills Park and wind through the park. Once outside the park, we pass through a horse farm, then up and down hills - including Burtner hill, Crawford Run hill, Murray hill, and Log Cabin hill. We end at the Log Cabin Road checkpoint location.Meet at the Bobwhite Shelter in Harrison Hills Park. Take Route 28 to exit 16, turn east (right if exiting northbound) at the end of the ramp, then right again at the T-intersection with Freeport Road. The park is about one mile down on the left. Take the left fork of the Park entrance road and follow it 1/2 mile to the shelter parking lot on the right at the Bluejay sign. Map