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Rachel Carson Trail
5 Photosets

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mini location map2019-07-03
10 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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Rachel Carson TrailPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 03 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.90 Miles 1,891 AEG
Hiking8.90 Miles   4 Hrs   11 Mns   2.13 mph
1,891 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Rachel Carson Trail is a mostly urban trail that is nearly 40 miles long and stretches from Harrison Hills Park south to North Park. It's named after Rachel Carson, a pioneering environmentalist who wrote the book "Silent Spring", which I remember teachers telling us about when I was in grade school. It's meant to be hiked in sections, although finding a proper trailhead to park at is a bit of a challenge if you don't know the area. There is a Rachel Carson Trail Challenge that's done every year on the summer solstice to maximize daylight since it's such a long trail with a lot of AEG.

I hiked a short section 11 years ago, and wanted to try a new section to try to eventually knock this one out. It's very convenient that this trail is only a 10-15 minute drive from the house where I grew up. Looking across the Allegheny River valley from that house, you can see the mountain ridgeline that part of the trail follows.

I started from a TH in Springdale, which is actually where Rachel Carson was raised. From there I headed north to where I started hiking 11 years ago and turned back, making for a nearly 9 mile hike. I did my typical early start. With the tree cover so dense, it wasn't until I was nearly halfway done hiking that there was enough daylight to get decent pictures.

The trail is built in some sections through some forested areas, but in a lot of sections it follows power lines, dirt roads, and even paved country roads to connect to the proper sections of trail. There are also no switchbacks. The one section I got through was particularly treacherous, especially with how slick and muddy it is with all the rain this summer. At the very start of this hike, not only do you ascend a very steep and loose hill, but you have to duck under some power lines that are uncomfortably close to the ground.

About 2 miles in, I spotted a whitetail buck with the antlers in felt. I was able to get my camera out, but as soon as he saw me aiming it, he took off. The deer here get very skittish when you aim anything at them. Later on I saw 2 turkeys running, but they were also gone too fast to get any shot.

This trail is actually pretty strenuous, making for a good workout. The scenery is spotty, depending on where you're at, but overall the tremendous amount of green as a contrast to AZ at this time of year made this very nice. The humidity, on the other hand, was oppressive. Within a half mile of starting, my shirt was soaked, and by the end, my pants were totally soaked. I was fortunate enough to not have rain, but other than the lightning, that wouldn't have made much difference.

Hoping to maybe do another section of this before I leave, as well as some other local parks.
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DarthStiller's
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