Goal Training Hikes

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge Saturday June 22, 2019

This series of training hikes is intended to prepare you to take on the Challenge on Saturday June 22. 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 25 minutes, 18 seconds per mile (25:18).
  • 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.
  • We will meet at the hike end point and carpool to the start point, leaving a sufficient number of cars behind to carry people back to the start when the hike is over.
  • All hikes meet at 8 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 21
Bull Creek Road to Harrison Hills Park ELC
7.7 miles
03:21 duration
Climbing 1807 ft Descending 1495 ft
This hike begins at Bull Creek Road near Tarentum with about a mile of uphill road hiking. Soon we hit Burtner Hill, one of the biggest and toughest hills on the Trail, followed by some easy, pleasant terrain and end in Harrison Hills Park.Meet at the Environmental Learning Center 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, then the next left and follow it up to the ELC. Map
Sunday April 28
Emmerling Park to Freeport Road
8.6 miles
03:34 duration
Climbing 1775 ft Descending 1838 ft
Starting in Emmerling Park, we climb up then hit Rich Hill, Lefever Hill, and Log Cabin hill. After some road walking, we end near the Springdale Veterans Association Hall in Springdale.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 far side of the lot (the gravel section). Map
Sunday May 5
Freeport Road to Bull Creek Road
8.9 miles
04:03 duration
Climbing 2443 ft Descending 2401 ft
On this hike we start in Springdale and head up to Agan Park followed by some steep ups and downs - including Murray Hill and Crawford Run hill. We end with a sharp descent near Tarentum.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 12
Emmerling Park to Crawford Run Road
12.7 miles
05:22 duration
Climbing 2735 ft Descending 2815 ft
We start in Emmerling Park and up head and down a plethora of hills including Rich Hill, Lefever Hill, Log Cabin hill, and impressively steep Murray Hill. We'll end in Creighton.Meet at the parking area behind Sheetz 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 19
North Park Harmar to Log Cabin Road
14.3 miles
05:45 duration
Climbing 2606 ft Descending 2946 ft
This hike begins in North Park and heads over to Emmerling Park, then up and over Rich Hill and Lefever Hill. We end at the Log Cabin Road checkpoint location.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 26
Eastern Terminus to Crawford Run Road
14.0 miles
06:02 duration
Climbing 3211 ft Descending 3614 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 behind Sheetz 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 June 2
North Park Harmar to Springdale High School
18.3 miles
07:21 duration
Climbing 3312 ft Descending 3528 ft
On this hike we'll cover the first half of this year's Challenge course. Starting in North Park, we march over to Emmerling Park, then up and over Rich Hill and Lefever Hill, then Log Cabin hill, some road walking, then we finish in Springdale.Meet at the Springdale High School 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 1/4 mile turn right on Butler Road. Follow this road until just before the first stop sign, turning left onto Henderson Road. In about 1/3 mile, turn right onto Marion Avenue and immediately turn right again into the parking lot. Map
Sunday June 9
Emmerling Park to Bull Creek Road
17.4 miles
07:38 duration
Climbing 4218 ft Descending 4239 ft
This hike was specifically chosen to be the most difficult hike prior to the Challenge. We begin in Emmerling Park, head up over and down Rich Hill, Lefever Hill, Log Cabin Hill, Murray Hill, Crawford Run hill, then undulate through Creighton and end at the Bull Creek Road checkpoint location near Tarentum. If you get through this, you can do it!Meet in 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