Goal Training Hikes

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge - Saturday June 20, 2020

This series of training hikes is intended to prepare you to take on the Challenge on Saturday June 20. 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.
  • 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.
  • Although dogs are wonderful, please don't bring them on these hikes.
  • 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 19
Harrison Hills Park Bobwhite to Bull Creek Road
Leader: Jeff Sarabok 724-816-38247.3 miles
02:47 duration
Climbing 1444 ft Descending 1676 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. The last 1.25 miles to Bull Creek Road is on road.Meet at the parking area at the intersection of Bull Creek Road and Ridge Road. Directions: 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 April 26
Freeport Road to Emmerling Park
8.6 miles
03:29 duration
Climbing 1833 ft Descending 1770 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 Emmerling Park lot. Directions: 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
Sunday May 3
Bull Creek Road to Freeport Road
8.9 miles
03:52 duration
Climbing 2407 ft Descending 2450 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 Springdale Veterans Association Hall parking lot in Springdale. Directions: Take Route 28 to Exit #11 (Harmarville). After exiting onto Route 910 head towards Harmarville, turn left at the third traffic light onto Freeport Road and travel about 4 miles through 9 more traffic lights. The Springdale Veterans Association Hall entrance will be on your left just past the last light. Park on the far side of the lot. Map
Sunday May 10
Crawford Run Road to Emmerling Park
12.8 miles
05:20 duration
Climbing 2807 ft Descending 2728 ft
We start near the Sheetz 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 Emmerling Park lot. Directions: 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
Sunday May 17
Log Cabin Road to North Park Harmar
Leader: Doug MacPhail 412-606-599814.3 miles
05:48 duration
Climbing 2962 ft Descending 2622 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 Harmar Shelter in North Park. Directions: Take I279 north to the McKnight Road exit and travel 6.4 miles north. Take the North Park/Ingomar Rd. exit east and turn right at the third traffic light onto Babcock Blvd., then take the next left onto Hemlock Drive, then left again into the swimming pool lot. Follow the perimeter drive all the way back and bear right. The Harmar Shelter is ahead on the left, behind the guardrail. Map
Sunday May 24
Eastern Terminus to Crawford Run Road
14.1 miles
06:01 duration
Climbing 3201 ft Descending 3604 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 May 31
Freeport Road to North Park Harmar
Leader: Doug MacPhail 412-606-599818.9 miles
07:47 duration
Climbing 3763 ft Descending 3346 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 Harmar Shelter in North Park. Directions: Take I279 north to the McKnight Road exit and travel 6.4 miles north. Take the North Park/Ingomar Rd. exit east and turn right at the third traffic light onto Babcock Blvd., then take the next left onto Hemlock Drive, then left again into the swimming pool lot. Follow the perimeter drive all the way back and bear right. The Harmar Shelter is ahead on the left, behind the guardrail. Map
Sunday June 7
Harrison Hills Park Bobwhite to Log Cabin Road
Leader: Doug MacPhail 412-606-599820.8 miles
08:56 duration
Climbing 4648 ft Descending 4844 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 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