Pittsburgh is a bustling metropolitan area, but did you know that there are some beautiful waterfalls close by? Keep reading to find some awesome waterfalls near Pittsburgh!
Table of Contents - Waterfalls Near Pittsburgh - Best Waterfalls within Thirty Minutes of Pittsburgh - Best Waterfalls within an Hour of Pittsburgh - Best Waterfalls within Two Hours of Pittsburgh
Waterfalls Near Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh might not inspire Pacific Northwest imagery, but when I moved here in 2021, I found there are a surprising number of waterfalls within a relatively short driving distance of downtown. I made it my mission to visit all the waterfalls near Pittsburgh as I hike my way across western Pennsylvania and beyond.
I’ve created a guide to all of the waterfalls near Pittsburgh that I’ve visited, how far they are from downtown Pittsburgh, and some tips for visiting! Happy waterfall chasing!
Note that some of these may be dependent on season (and require snowmelt or rainfall) to be more than a trickle. If you have any questions about specific waterfalls, send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment on the post!
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.
Best Waterfalls Within Thirty Minutes of Pittsburgh
Fall Run Park has the closest waterfall to downtown Pittsburgh – only fifteen minutes away! This popular trail is super short but the view is worth it! Follow this 1.4 mile trail to see the closest waterfall to Pittsburgh. This trail is very family friendly as it has a very gentle grade. For more information, check out my post on Fall Run Park!
Local Tip: Get there early as it gets very crowded, even in the winter, during the day. I prefer to go in the winter because I love frozen waterfalls and sometimes the weather keeps the crowds away.
Settlers Cabin Park, located 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, has a small waterfall worth the visit! There are multiple trails to get to Settlers Cabin Falls as it is located in the middle of the park. The waterfall is only about four or five feet tall but it is very pretty.
Local Tip: The Settlers Cabin Park loop is a great trail that looks like it goes by the waterfall, but you do have to take a little detour to see it. Once you see signs for the waterfall, follow them to see it, then backtrack to the trail.
Love visiting the Allegheny County Parks? Check out my guide to all of the county parks!
Hardee Valley Park
Hardee Valley Park in Fox Chapel, PA also has a lovely waterfall. This waterfall is kind of hidden and I actually discovered it by accident! This was one of my favorites to visit in the winter, but the trail to the waterfall is VERY slippery. Watch your step and don’t attempt unless you have YakTrax or spikes!
Park at Beachwood Farms and walk across the street to the trail head. Dogs are allowed on this trail and are actually allowed off leash! ‘
Local Tip: This is a waterfall that is absolutely non-existent without recent precipitation so skip it in the dry summer months.
Best Waterfalls Within An Hour of Pittsburgh
Buttermilk Falls, located in Indiana County, is a truly unique waterfall experience. Recent construction of a walkway and landing now allow visitors to walk under and behind the falls. This waterfall is located about an hour from downtown Pittsburgh.
This waterfall is also steeped in the history one of Pennsylvania’s most famous residents. This land was originally owned by Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers)’s grandfather. The trail pays homage to Mr. Rogers with a series interactive signs featuring his quotes along the trail. For more info, check out my guide to Buttermilk Falls!
McConnells Mill is home to multiple beautiful waterfalls. This state park is located about 40 miles north-west of downtown Pittsburgh and offers many varied and awesome waterfalls.
At 35 feet, Alpha Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park. However, Hell’s Hollow is the most famous (likely due to its ominous sounding name). Hell’s Hollow is a great one to visit for beginners or with kids because, at only one mile long, the trail there is relatively short and easy. For more information on visiting McConnells Mill, see my guide to visiting McConnells Mill State Park here.
Frankfort Mineral Springs
When I first saw this waterfall, I wasn’t super impressed. But when I went back when it was raining – AMAZING. Frankfort Mineral Springs is one of the few waterfalls in Pennsylvania that you can walk behind. You can access this waterfall by parking at the main park office and hiking about a mile or there is a Mineral Springs specific parking lot if you’d like a shorter hike. Raccoon Creek is only about forty minutes from Pittsburgh. For more information about hiking at Raccoon Creek, check out my guide to Hiking in Raccoon Creek!
When headed out on a day hike to visit your favorite waterfall, don't forget to bring the ten essentials for day hiking!
Best Waterfalls within Two Hours of Pittsburgh
I know it’s not nice to play favorites, but Freedom Falls might be my favorite waterfall on this list! While it’s not the tallest waterfall (about twenty feet), its unique structure makes it very beautiful. For more information on visiting Freedom Falls, read my post with more detail about how to get there and tips for visiting!
Oil Creek State Park Falls
Oil Creek State Park has four waterfalls! I visited three of them in one trip with only six miles of hiking. My favorite was Pioneer Falls. There is a small bridge going over the falls and you can look down onto the cascading water. Apparently these falls don’t run very well when it’s been dry but we visited after a lot of rain. It’s less than a 2 mile hike to get there. For more info on how to visit and see all the waterfalls, click hear to read my guide to Oil Creek State Park!
Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls
An amazing waterfall that doesn’t even exist on park maps! Henry Run Sawmill Dan Falls is located in Cook Forest State Park, off the Baker Trail/NCT section that runs through the park. There’s also a nice little area next to the waterfall for a picnic lunch (or breakfast, if you want to hit the falls before crowds!) For more info on visiting the falls, check out my Cook Forest State Park Guide.
Looking to visit more Pennsylvania State Parks? Check out my post listing all of my PA State Park guides for tips on visiting some of my favorites!
Cuyahoga Valley National Park Waterfalls
If you want to venture further afield from Pittsburgh on a road trip, you can visit three waterfalls in one trip! Brandywine Falls, Blue Hen Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls are only two hours away in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Brandywine Falls is the tallest waterfall in Ohio. It’s a must visit for any trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I’d recommend doing the four-ish mile hike to the falls, as you’ll get an enjoyable tour through the park with the reward of a beautiful waterfall at the end! For more tips on visiting, check out my guide to visiting Brandywine Falls here.
Blue Hen Falls is a further hike than Brandywine, but worth the trip! The park has just redone this trail as of 2021 and it’s a great hike. It is a more challenging hike than Brandywine at 2.5 miles with approximately 500 feet of elevation gain.
Bridal Veil Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls to visit in the winter. The juxtaposition of the evergreen trees with the white of the snow and rushing water is beautiful. While this waterfall is technically not in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, it’s so close by that you can visit all three waterfalls in one day.
Tips for Visiting Waterfalls
Waterfalls are super popular attractions no matter where they are! For best pictures and to avoid crowds, go as early as you can. If you’re going on a weekend, suck it up and set that early alarm. If you’re going on a weekday during normal working hours, you may avoid crowds.
Another tip is to visit in bad weather (like bad, gross not bad, unsafe – use your judgement). The majority of waterfalls on this list are pretty short hikes from parking to falls and may be less crowded in off-seasons.
I’ve visited every single waterfall on this list. Keep checking back for updates on this post as I visit more waterfalls!
Updated February 13, 2024