Baker Trail

Overview

The Baker Trail is a 133-mile (214 kilometer) hiking and backpacking trail, following forest paths, old jeep trails, paved roads and dirt roads through woods, farmlands, and along rivers and creeks. The Baker Trail traverses six counties (Armstrong, Jefferson, Clarion, Indiana, Forest, and Westmoreland), is a state-designated hiking trail, and is included on the trails map of Pennsylvania.

Map

Note: The trail route is subject to change; always follow the yellow blazes.

Trail Ethics

At all times while hiking the Baker Trail, please:

  • Be courteous to people living along the trail.
  • Remember, you are generally on private property.
  • Respect the land and its owners. If asked to leave, do so.
  • Stay on the trail.
  • Do not camp or build fires along the trail except at designated shelters.
  • Refrain from bringing dogs and bicycles on the trail.
  • Keep off the trail with motorized vehicles.
  • Carry out your own trash; help by picking up others’ litter.
  • Recognize your limitations and your assumed risk. The Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy and the landowners want you to enjoy your hike; neither will take responsibility for personal injury or losses while using the trail.

Trail Alerts

  • The trail has been rerouted between Kelly Station Road and Oldfield Drive. It has been moved mostly off Kelly Station Road, along the hill in the woods, and now crosses Taylor Run about 100 feet east of the cable climb. (21 August 2016)
  • The Atwood shelter has been fenced off and is not presently accessible. (10 July 2016)

Trail Condition

Presently the trail needs work in some areas. Volunteer work crews address problem areas in the spring. If you encounter any difficulties with trail conditions, blazing, or landowners, please email us at info@rachelcarsontrails.org.

Trail Guide

BT-guide-2016-cover.jpgCurrently, there are seven campsites with open-front Adirondack shelters located on side trails. There are no signs pointing to the shelters, so they must be located by consulting the Baker Trail guide. The guide includes a trail history, parking locations, information about campgrounds, grocery stores and restaurants near the trail, suggested hikes, topographic maps, an elevation profile, and more. The guide may be ordered at our store.

Trailhead Directions

  • Southern trailhead (map)

    From Pittsburgh, take Route 28 to exit 17 (Route 356). At the bottom of the ramp, turn south onto Route 356 towards Freeport. Stay on Route 356 across the Freeport Bridge over the Allegheny River. Immediately across the river, look for the first road to the right. Signs at the turn indicate that this is the River Forest Country Club. Turn right and park anywhere along the road up or down the hill. Leave your vehicle and head back to Route 356. Follow Route 356 uphill, away from the river. Be careful as you walk along Route 356 as traffic moves very quickly. About 250 yards up the hill you will see the large brown and yellow Baker Trailhead sign on the left at the edge of the woods. This is the southern trailhead.

    From northwest/southwest, take I79 to Exit 99 (Route 422). Turn east on Route 422 and pass through Moraine State Park. Continue east on Route 422 through the city of Butler, PA. Continue East on Route 422 until it intersects Route 28 near Kittanning, PA. Follow signs onto Route 28 south towards Pittsburgh. Leave Route 28 at exit 17 (Route 356). Follow the directions above to the trail head.

    From the turnpike, exit at interchange 48 Allegheny Valley. After the tollbooth, bear right toward Freeport Road/Pittsburgh. Turn right onto Route 910 and follow the signs onto Route 28 north. Follow the directions above to the trail head.

  • Northern trailhead (map)

    From Pittsburgh/southwest, take Route 28 north to New Bethlehem, then take Route 66 north to I80/66. Take I80/66 west to exit 60. From here, follow the directions below.

    From the North/East/West, take I80 to exit 60 (Route 66) north. Follow Route 66 north approximately 20 miles to the small town of Vowinckel. Turn left onto McDonald Dr. and follow it north across the Clarion/Forest county line where McDonald Dr. changes its name to Muzette Rd. In about 3.5 miles, look to your right for a boulder at the tree line next to the large wooden Baker Trail sign. This is the northern trailhead. There is a small parking area up the dirt path.

North Country Trail

north-country-trail.pngThe North Country Trail (NCT) is the longest in the National Trails System, stretching 4,600 miles between the middle of North Dakota and the Vermont border of New York. The NCT utilizes about 15 miles of the Baker Trail footpath, in and around Cook Forest State Park.

History

The Baker Trail was established in 1950 and named for the late Pittsburgh attorney Horace Forbes Baker, who was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Pittsburgh Council of the American Youth Hostels after World War II. The trail originally extended from Aspinwall to Cook Forest State Park (133 miles). However, extensive development along the Allegheny River caused the Aspinwall-Freeport section to be abandoned. In 1971, the trail was extended northward from Cook Forest Fire Tower to near the Allegheny National Forest, making the trail 133 miles long.

Articles

Archive Dustoff

Here are some interesting letters and documents from the Baker Trail archive.

  • A 1973 trip report by Robert Beck of Chalfont, PA (410kB, PDF)
  • A 1969 letter by Paul Smith of Beach City, OH about some family-related history along the trail (76kB, PDF)

Trail Stewards

These are the volunteers who have adopted and committed to maintain a section of the trail:

FromToMilesSteward
Northern terminusRoute 66 crossing3.6
Route 66 crossingGreenwood Rd crossing4.2
Greenwood Rd crossingForest Rd crossing (central)3.8
Forest Rd crossing (central)Fire tower3.0
Fire towerGravelick Rd (south)2.8
Gravelick Rd (south)Iron Bridge Rd2.3Mark Gibson
Iron Bridge RdWork Dr at Summerville Dr3.8Mark Gibson
Work Dr at Summerville DrMcCanna Run at Mill Creek3.5Mark Gibson
McCanna Run at Mill CreekMill Creek cable bridge4.1Mark Gibson
Mill Creek cable bridgeMarkel Rd at Route 9494.2Jason Strohm
Markel Rd at Route 949Route 28 crossing5.6
Route 28 crossingRedbank Valley Trail4.2
Redbank Valley TrailFryer Rd (north)2.6
Fryer Rd (north)Sandy Hill Rd at Route 5364.3
Sandy Hill Rd at Route 536Route 839 crossing5.9
Route 839 crossingCreek Rd5.1
Creek RdGerman Rd (north)3.9Donna Stolz & Tirzah Griffin
German Rd (north)Route 839 (south)3.7Donna Stolz & Tirzah Griffin
Route 839 (south)Dry Knob Rd at Dayton-Smicksburg Rd4.3
Dry Knob Rd at Dayton-Smicksburg RdWilson Rd at Sinktown Rd4.7
Wilson Rd at Sinktown RdRoute 954 at Matty Rd6.0
Route 954 at Matty RdHollow Rd at Barks Hill Rd5.0
Hollow Rd at Barks Hill RdMiller Rd at Wood Rd4.6
Miller Rd at Wood RdRoute 210 crossing5.2
Route 210 crossingPine Hill Rd2.6
Pine Hill RdCherry Run Hill Rd at service road4.7
Cherry Run Hill Rd at service roadPrivate road at Gibson Rd2.6Bill Dietrich
Private road at Gibson RdHorney Camp Run covered bridge4.0Bill Dietrich
Horney Camp Run covered bridgeCr Crk Dm Rd at picnic3.1Crooked Creek Watershed Assn
Cr Crk Dm Rd at picnicBethel Twp bldg at Ridge Rd3.6
Bethel Twp bldg at Ridge RdTaylor Run1.9Dwight Fox
Taylor RunJack Rd at Johnetta Rd2.9Dwight Fox
Jack Rd at Johnetta RdGodfrey Rd at Kiski Railroad2.3
Godfrey Rd at Kiski RailroadKiski River bridge (CLOSED)3.2
Kiski River bridge (CLOSED)Southern terminus1.9