McConnells Mill State Park Pittsburgh

Autumn Hikes, Bikes, Runs & Fun!

Get active in Pittsburgh this fall with these fun activities for all ages

Take a Hike!  

While Pittsburgh city parks such as Schenley and Frick are appreciated for their local proximity and urban respite, there are a number of parks within a short drive offering acres of autumn leaves and late summer blooms.  

For some double-your-fun adventure, here are a few duo locations right next to each other! 

Settlers Cabin Park is just a short drive west from downtown, but offers more than 1,600 acres of space for hiking, biking and even a hockey/ice rink available for rental for fans of cool weather sports. Bordering Settlers Cabin Park is the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden with 450 acres of beautifully landscaped walking space. The Garden also offers classes and camps for children and adults throughout the year.

Continuing west, 40 minutes from Pittsburgh, you’ll find neighboring state parks, Raccoon Creek and Hillman. The parks combine for more than 11,000 acres of breathing room, including camping options for huddling around a campfire on a brisk fall evening. 

Also 40 minutes away, but this time heading north, is Moraine State Park. Featuring massive Lake Arthur, it’s popular for 16,000 acres of quiet space and nearly 30 miles of hiking trails. There’s even a 7-mile paved trail around the lake, allowing greater accessibility for many visitors. Just west of Moraine, you’ll find McConnells Mill. The park’s namesake comes from a gristmill open for touring, along with a covered bridge from the 1800s. The boulder-covered paths along the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge provide beautiful photo opportunities of natural waterfalls and river wildlife. 

Take a Bike! 

If you’d rather have wheels on the ground, Bike PGH is celebrating its 20th year of promoting cycling in the city. Start your ride at Point State Park at the beginning of the Great Allegheny Passage. If you’ve got the time and energy, the trail winds 150 miles all the way to Cumberland, MD. 

If a bit more local and lightweight is your speed, check out Bike the Burgh Tours offering guided rides through Pittsburgh. If moral and motivational support is necessary, gather your friends and book a Pittsburgh Party Pedaler. A single Dutch-made bike accommodates up to 16 people for some cardio and conversation. 

Take a Run! 

Schenley Park hosts its annual PGH Donut Dash | 5K on Oct. 8 allowing runners to cancel out any calorie burn by eating six donuts as part of the mid-race challenge. 

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Also on Oct. 8 is the Steelwheelers | 5K. There are three race categories: Run, Walk and Wheel, including wheelchair and handcycle categories. Additional adaptive sport and recreational activities can found at Active Cities | Pittsburgh

If fear is your motivator, check out the North Ridge Nightmare 6.66K | 13K on Oct. 16 in North Park or the intimidating, Shades of Death | 10M on Oct. 22 in Avella, PA. For more family-friendly frights, you’ll find the Trick or Trot | 5K on Oct. 30 at Three Rivers Heritage Trail near Acrisure Stadium. 

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All of these lead up to the popular YMCA Turkey Trot | 1M 5M 5K on Nov. 24 in the North Side. 

Have Some Fun! 

The fall fitness fun doesn't stop there. Enjoy the colors on the water on a scenic SurfSUP Adventures paddle or do pilates right on the lake. Go climbing with ASCEND in the South Side, which emphasizes bouldering, but also has ropes courses and cross-training equipment. And while Christmas may still be a little while away, this November, both the PPG and Schenley Park rinks will be open (weather depending) and ready for you to show off your moves.

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Wherever your autumn adventures take you this season, Pittsburgh has more than enough to keep you moving through the changing trees and crispy leaves.