Best Hikes with Views Near Pittsburgh

Looking for a scenic overlook on your next hike? Check out this list of best hikes near Pittsburgh with views!

Read on to find out where this scenic overlook is! (Tom the dog has no interest in scenery)

Western Pennsylvania may not be considered as scenic as the Western United States, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have any views! Since the terrain is quite hilly in places, there are actually many hikes, both local to Pittsburgh and further out from the city, that have great views.

Read on to find some hikes near Pittsburgh with beautiful Western PA views.

As always, follow the principles of leave no trace when you're out exploring! Pack out all trash, leave wildlife alone, and generally leave it better than you found it - for more information visit the Leave No Trace Center.

Hikes with Views within 30 Minutes of Pittsburgh

Emerald View Park

Emerald View Park was born out of a desire to reforest some of the former coal mined hills of Mount Washington. The park boasts amazing views (perhaps the best) of “The Point”, where the Mon and the Allegheny come together to form the Ohio River. I recommend visiting when the leaves are off the trees for the best views during your entire hike. Emerald View is Pittsburgh City Park and is maintained by the Pittsburgh Park Rangers. The park is dog friendly. For more info about visiting Emerald View, visit the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy website here.

While you can still catch some views in other seasons, visiting when there are no leaves on trees guarantees the best ones!

Hays Woods

Hays Woods, on the south shore of the Monongahela, is a surprising urban woods. This 660-acre forested area was once a hub of industrial activity but is now Pittsburgh’s newest city park! The park has great views of the Monongahela River. If you’re lucky, you can spot some of the bald eagles that call this park home. (Please respect wildlife and keep at a safe distance).

Views of the Monongahela River from Hays Woods on a classic Pittsburgh grey day

South Side Park

South Side Park, located in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood, is an urban hidden gem. While the park is only 57.5 acres, it’s got enough trails and nature to allow you to quickly escape the city (if not the city sounds!). This viewpoint of the downtown skyline is visible in all seasons, as long as the weather is good. The space in the trees is enough that you can also turn to see Oakland (and the Cathedral of Learning) as well! South Side Park is part of Pittsburgh City Parks system.

Hikes with Views within an Hour of Pittsburgh

Harrison Hills Park

Harrison Hills, located upriver of downtown Pittsburgh in Harrison Township on the Allegheny, is one of the nine Allegheny County Parks. The park features a scenic overlook and many walking and hiking trails (including the eastern Terminus of the Rachel Carson Trail!) Views at the scenic overlook are plentiful in all seasons. However, if you want views on your hike along the Allegheny, visit when the leaves are off the trees. (Make sure to exercise caution, as much of the RCT in Harrison Hills Park is on a steep cliff. The trail could be slippery and dangerous in wintery conditions).

Views of the Allegheny River from Harrison Hills Park

Dead Man’s Hollow

Dead Man’s Hollow is maintained by the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) and is supposed to be one of the most haunted places to hike in Pittsburgh. The Witch Hazel Trail has decent elevation and climbs the “Enchanted Staircase” to give hikers views of the Monongahaela. (Note: it’s best to see these views with limited foliage so winter is the best time for views!) For more information, check out my post on hiking Dead Man’s Hollow.

Hikes with Views within Two Hours of Pittsburgh

Cook Forest Fire Tower

Of course fire towers have the best views! If you’re willing to brave the climb to the top, the Cook Forest Fire Tower has amazing views of the surrounding forest and Clarion River. Even on a foggy day, we saw some amazing views. This is not for the faint of heart though. I am generally cautious but fine with heights, but the tower definitely wobbled in the wind enough to make me nervous. Visit early in the morning to beat the crowds and then continue on the Baker/NCT trail section to Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls and Scurry Overlook. This six mile out and back is my favorite hike in Pennsylvania. For more information about visiting Cook Forest, check out my guide here!

Hard to see great views when it’s foggy, but still worth the climb!

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail – Ohiopyle overlook

There is a reason that people recommend you hike the LHHT trail from mile 70 to mile 0 instead of the reverse. That reason is the climb out of Ohiopyle (for more information on hiking the entire Laurel Highlands trail, check out my post about thru hiking the trail here!). With an elevation gain of ~650 feet in under a mile, this is tough with a day-pack, never mind a full backpack. However, the views are totally worth it. My recommendation would be to come at peak foliage for the best views. To visit this overlook, park near the mile 0 LHHT trailhead (or if that is full, park on Ferncliff Penninsula). On the bright side, after you’ve earned your views, you can grab a beer or snack at Falls Tavern.

Views of the Yough through some beautiful foliage
For more great hikes in Ohiopyle, check out my post on best hikes in Ohiopyle!

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail – Laurel Ridge Overlook

If you’re hiking between the Route 653 parking lot and the Grindle Ridge Shelter on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, this is the perfect spot for a snack or lunch break! This overlook is located between mile 21 and 22 on the LHHT. This wide overlook has a lot of rocks to rest on and great views of the Laurel Highlands. It is beautiful in every season, but particularly spectacular in the fall. Visit my post on Laurel Ridge State Park to learn more about this state park!

Overlook in early September, before the leaves change

Beam Rocks

Beam Rocks is a great Laurel Highlands viewpoint. It’s perfect for families as it is a short hike from the parking area and one of the easiest hikes on this list. Located in Laurel Summit State Park, the trail is 0.9 miles round trip. I visited in winter and had the overlook all to myself. Exercise caution as the drop off is quite steep.

Wintery views of the Laurel Highlands from Beam Rocks Overlook

Have any hikes to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Updated September 13, 2023

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