Raccoon Creek State Park Hiking

Hiking in Raccoon Creek State Park is some of the best in Western Pennsylvania! This park has trails for all types of hikers – from casual day hikers to overnight backpackers!

Frankfort Mineral Springs in Summer 2022

Love visiting parks that have a lot to offer for hikers? Me too! This is why Raccoon Creek is one of my favorite parks to visit. Luckily for me, it’s close to Pittsburgh but it’s also worth the visit from other places!

Read on for more information about hiking in Raccoon Creek State Park!

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.

Hiking in Raccoon Creek

Raccoon Creek is one of the best places to hike near Pittsburgh! The park has over 40 miles of hiking trails. I love the solitude and different terrain and trails available in this park. There are trails for all types of park users – from beginners to experienced backpackers!

Read on for a list of my favorite hiking trails in Raccoon Creek!

Frankfort Mineral Springs

The hike to Frankfort Mineral Springs is one of the most unique in Western Pennsylvania! The mineral springs feature a waterfall on one side of a rock wall and dazzling orange streaks from the springs’ iron deposits on the other side. This is one of the few waterfalls in Pennsylvania that you can walk behind. The waterfall is much better to visit after snowmelt or rain (as with almost all Western PA waterfalls).

This hike can be started from the ranger office off Route 18 or from the Frankfort Mineral Springs parking lot. Either way, the hike is not very long at approximately one mile. I like to combine this with some of the other trails in the park to create a longer hike. This is a popular attraction for the park, so I recommend visiting on a rainy day to have it to yourselves!

Hannah and I visiting the mineral springs waterfall on a cold, wet day in April 2023
Looking for more hikes with waterfalls in the area? Check out my list of Best Waterfalls Near Pittsburgh!

Forest and Lake Trail

If you’re looking for a medium-length hike options, check out the Forest and Lake Trails loop. This 4.3 mile loop gives a good cross-section of the park with views of the lake as well as single track through the forest. To see a map, check out AllTrails.

I’ve hiked this trail three times and have never encountered more than a handful of people each time. However, I will caution that this loop is extremely muddy after rainfall, so pick a drier day for this trail!

Note that many of the trails in Raccoon Creek are multi-use! Keep an eye out for mountain bikers and/or riders on horseback!

Raccoon Creek Loop

Backpackers – this one’s for you! This awesome ~22 mile loop circumnavigates the whole park and can be done in one (very ambitious) day or broken up into segments for a multi-day adventure. This route combines the Heritage, Forest, Appaloosa trails with a road to complete the loop. To follow a map, check out the AllTrails map (and make sure to download if you’re going to use for navigation as the park does not have a lot of cell service).

There are two shelter areas, Pioneer and Sioux, to stay at during your backpacking adventures.

Check out my guide to Backpacking in Raccoon Creek to learn more! 

Wildflower Reserve

While hiking in Raccoon Creek is awesome, the Wildflower Reserve at Raccoon Creek is something special. There are over 700 flower and plant species in the reserve. Following the principles of LNT here is vital to preservation of the reserve. Take only pictures – do not pick any of the wildflowers under any circumstances!

The Wildflower Reserve has five of the 42 miles of hiking trails in Raccoon Creek State Park. It offers multiple trail options which are all relatively beginner friendly. To learn more about hiking at the Wildflower Reserve, check out my Guide to the Wildflower Reserve. (Note that the Wildflower Reserve is the only part of Raccoon Creek that does not allow dogs so leave your furry friends at home).

Visiting the Wildflower Reserve at Raccoon Creek State Park

About Raccoon Creek State Park

Raccoon Creek State Park is located about thirty minutes west of downtown Pittsburgh in Beaver County. At 7,500+ acres, this is one of the larger parks in the PA State Park system. The park features the aptly named Raccoon Lake, which is available for boating and swimming. As I mentioned before, this park also offers a waterfall, mineral springs, over forty miles of hiking trails, and a rare flower Wildflower Reserve.

Looking to check out other Pennsylvania State Parks near Pittsburgh? Check out my list of State Parks Near Pittsburgh to add to your bucket list!
My first trillium sighting at the Wildflower Reserve

FAQs about Raccoon Creek State Park

Does Raccoon Creek have cabins?

Yes! Raccoon Creek offers multiple types of lodging, including adirondack shelters for backpacking, campsites (modern and rustic) and cabins.

Can you swim in Raccoon Creek State Park?

Swimming is allowed in the lake at Raccoon Creek. Please follow all posted rules and swim at your own risk.

Are dogs allowed at Raccoon Creek State Park?

Dogs are allowed in the park, but are not allowed in the Wildflower Reserve due to the sensitive nature of the plants,

Updated April 2 2024

1 thought on “Raccoon Creek State Park Hiking”

  1. I think Raccoon Creek State Park sounds like a beautiful and interesting place to hike. If you’re looking for a place to get some exercise and enjoy nature, I would definitely recommend checking it out.

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