Pittsburgh Council previously a member of American Youth Hostels
(Pittsburgh Council, American Youth Hostels)
To provide inexpensive educational travel, intercultural understanding, and an understanding of the natural environment through hostels, hostelling, and outdoor recreation.

The Rachel Carson Trail

The Rachel Carson Trail extends for 34 miles from North Park to Harrison Hills Park in Allegheny County north of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The Trail was built and is being maintained by the Pittsburgh Council of American Youth Hostels.

A new edition of the Rachel Carson Trail Guide is available.

The Rachel Carson Trail Challenge

The trail has an annual event called the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge.  This is a one day 34 mile hike covering the entire trail.  For details see RCTC Explained. There have been three Challenges so far. Each one was different and each has there own story. See 1996 And then there were five; 1997  Rachel 50 hikers 27; 1999 The sky was blue

Hiker Alerts - January 2000

Corrections or Additions? Please notify Jim Ritchie, the AYH Trails Coordinator, and we will post the information as soon as it becomes available.

 A Thank You to All Trail Maintainers
Jim Ritchie
Over the past several years, many AYHers have taken on a special mission: the rehabilitation, maintenance, and preservation of the Baker Trail and the Rachel Carson Trail. Much has been accomplished: the trails are open and they are being used. The number of people who have helped for a day, a weekend, a summer, a year or for several years is now in the hundreds. These are people, not only from Pittsburgh and its environs, but also from Butler, Kittanning, Brookville, Sheffield, Summerville, Johnsonburg, Clarion, East Brady, Heritage, Ford City, Brockway, Leechburg, Vandergrift, Indiana, Hershey, State College, and many other locales in and beyond Western Pennsylvania.

Our maintainers have blazed, chain sawed, brushed, cut grass, built water bars, laid new trail, and picked up litter in the rain, in 100 degree heat, in all four seasons. They work on weekend camp-out crews, on day trips to strategic locations, and they work as adopt-a-trail volunteers, taking care of their personal sections of trail. The experiences they've shared include fall evenings at the Girl Scout Campground at Cook Forest, sitting out the thunder and lightning at the Crooked Creek group campground; the time we watched warily as the waters of Mahoning Creek inched their way to the Milton Loop Campground, dinners at the Vowinckle Hotel in Cook Forest, Stockdale's Restaurant in Dayton, and Pitzer's at Crooked Creek, the December maintenance trip when it rained all day long in the 35 degree air and we had to keep working frantically just to keep warm; sawing through a 2 foot diameter fall hemlock with a bow saw in North Park; and jumping along the Rachel Carson putting up blazes at the "transitions", among many others.

As we head into 2000, I want to take this brief moment to say 'thank you' to all who have lent a hand (and a foot or two and a muscle or three) in our efforts to maintain and preserve a part of our Western Pennsylvania heritage and our common experience. Five years, ten years from now, hikers will still be enjoying the experience of "walkin' the trail" that we helped be there for others.


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 Adopt-A-Trail Especially

Each year, some of our adopt-a-trail volunteers on the Baker Trail and the Rachel Carson Trail retire, moving on to the "rest" of their lives, making it necessary to constantly be recruiting replacements. Adopters are asked mainly to paint new blazes for us; for one year, or two years, or whatever they can give us.  AYH pays for the paint and brushes, I send you a map and give you a tour, and you supply a day's labor (or two) each year. If you want to do an extra day or two, you can move debris (downed trees and branches) off the trail, or if you like to do chain saw work, we certainly won't say no. But mainly, we need painters.

On the Baker Trail, we need volunteers to put new blazes on everything from Mahoning Reservoir north to Bethlehem Chapel, and a couple of other locations.  On the Rachel Carson, we need volunteers to work on several sections in Harrison Township, and others in Indiana Township.

If you would like to take a try at taking care of a wonderful trail, getting yourself into the outdoors, give me a call and let me know your interest: my number is (412) 828-0210-leave a message if I'm out. You can also send email to jlr@budget.ba.pitt.edu.

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"To provide inexpensive educational travel, intercultural understanding, and an understanding of the natural environment through hostels, hostelling, and outdoor recreation."

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Page was last updated January 21, 2006