Forest-Heritage Trail (East) - Member Hike

Hike Name: Forest-Heritage Trail (East)
Country: United States
State: Pennsylvania
Nearby Town: Frankfort Springs (just west of Pittsburgh)
Rating: 3 stars
Directions: Access the park from the west on US 22 and US 30, or from the north and south on PA 18, which passes directly through the park.

Trailhead is on North side of Raccoon Lake just above the dam.
Total Hike Distance: 9.50 miles
Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Permit Required: Yes
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Starts/Ends: North side of Raccoon Lake just above the dam
Trails Used: Eastern half of both the Forest Trail & the Heritage Trail
Backcountry Campsites: No
Backcountry Water Sources: None, Streams
Management: State Park Service
Contact Information: Raccoon Creek State Park
3000 State Route 18
Hookstown, PA 15050-9416

Friends of Raccoon Creek State Park
Best Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Users: Bikers, Dogs
Road Conditions: Primary Paved Roads, Secondary Paved Roads
Hike Summary: We did this hike on Labor Day 2006 with Lilly and Sadie. I had done a portion of the Heritage Trail a few years ago with my Dad while he was in Pittsburgh for work. I expected the trails to be somewhat crowded being the holiday and the bookend for the summer, but they were not. In fact, we did not see many people on the trails, despite the park being heavily used. The "Friends of Raccoon" web site above has the maps you'll need.

This was going to be C's longest hike with me, so I packed the water and snacks. We started on the Forest Trail and headed CCW around the loop. The north side of the lake is the most rugged, but there were only a couple of steep areas, and they were short lived. Being late in the summer, the creeks feeding the lake were low and sometimes dry. We did find one nice stream and the dogs took full advantage! Given the development of the surrounding areas, I would recommend NOT drinking the naturally available water.

Once you get to Hwy 18, head S just a little ways to an old service rd that doubles as a portion of the Lake Trail. Head back E for a 100 yds or so and cross Raccoon Creek there. We walked along the park access rd up the hill until we came to where the Heritage Trail crosses the rd.

From here you head E on the Heritage Trail. It is fairly easy going, passing through what I call the 'Cathedral of Pines' (my favorite part of the hike). About this time, C was getting tired, so we chose to use the C7 connector trail to shortcut back to the car.

The foliage is thick and sunglasses were only needed when crossing or following the roads. This is great, as it keeps the temps down, too. All in all, a very pleasant hike less than an hour from downtown Pittsburgh.




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