Get steppin’: Celebrate National Walking Day on a local trail | Living

To paraphrase David Bowie: “Let’s walk.

Beautiful trails criss-cross the area and National Walking Day, celebrated every year on the first Wednesday in April, is the perfect day to tie up your shoes.

Grab a camera phone, take off your winter gear, and hit one of the many popular and scenic trails in Washington, Greene, and Fayette counties.

Washington County

Paved paths guide walkers, runners and cyclists along a beautiful creek through Mingo, a sprawling 2,600-acre park in Finleyville that includes trails, playgrounds, an off-leash dog park and parks. panoramic views. Meet up with friends for an afternoon stroll followed by a picnic by one of the many beautiful covered bridges or watch the sun go down under a sea of ​​trees as you work up an appetite for dinner .

Climb the National Pike Trail and you’re guaranteed a nice, smooth ride over mixed terrain and through not one but three long, echoing tunnels. The trail officially opens for the May 14 season, but people can hike when the sun shines and thaws the last snow of this very long winter season.

North Franklin Township Park

The 1.2-mile loop at North Franklin Township Park doubles as a quiet space for some sort of high-intensity interval training. Fitness stations dot the paved path, adding variety to your morning or evening walk. Tucked behind Washington Wild Things Park, the trail winds through a manicured wooded area, around a quiet pond, past pavilions and playgrounds, and finally reconnects to the parking lot for easy access.

Also worth noting: North and South Strabane townships offer beautiful, clean walking trails alongside sports fields, playgrounds and pavilions. Bentleyville Richardson Park recently upgraded its walking path. Miles of the Montour Trail stretch through Cecil Township and Peters Lake Park, a mix of woodchip, paved and natural trails, guiding walkers around the serene lake.

Greene County

Follow 7.2 miles of crushed gravel track along the Monongahela River on the Greene River Trail, which offers walkers, runners and cyclists a journey through historic coal towns and peaceful woodlands. The scenic trail begins at Greene Cove Yacht Club and winds its way to Rices Landing. The steep inclines will challenge every muscle in your legs – for those who need a water or snack break, the trail is dotted with lodges and excellent restaurants.

Ryerson Station State Park

Step on the soles of your shoes at Ryerson Station, a 1,164-acre park in Graysville that offers 11 miles of walking and hiking trails — and a pool, to cool off in! Bring your four-legged friend for a long walk that will have you both sleeping soundly that night, or walk and talk with your favorite people. Don’t forget to pack your lunch for a picnic in the shade of a pavilion.

For more than 5,000 years, locals and travelers have traversed the Warrior Trail, a section of which leads walkers and hikers from Greensboro, through Nettle and Kirby to the Pennsylvania-West Virginia line. Warrior Trail is no easy feat: the natural dirt road is downhill at points, and unlike other trails, you’ll want to pack snacks as there are no restaurants along the way. There are, however, yellow dots that let you know you are still on the right track and many historical points of interest.

Also worth noting: Stroll the University of Waynesburg Unity Trail, a leisurely walking path that encourages reflection. Or head to Ten Mile Creek for a shaded walk and picnic.

Fayette County

Past the abandoned Monongahela and B&O Railroads, Browns Run Trail is a 12-mile trail of crushed stone that takes walkers, runners and cyclists through the German township to Smithfield and connects to the Sheepskin Trail (a another local favorite). Park along State Route 21 or Short Cut Road, strap on your sneakers, and enjoy the scenic views of the not-so-hidden gem of southern Fayette County.

Friendship Hill National Historic Site

It’s not uncommon to spot a fox or encounter a snapping turtle along the trail from Friendship Hill National Historic Site to Point Marion. The former homestead of Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Jefferson and Madison, offers visitors 10 miles of rolling loops of rolling trails leading through forests and prairies and along calm, gentle waters. The trails are open from sunrise to sunset, and history buffs will want to plan their excursion for the weekend, when the Gallatin House is open to visitors between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (open daily in May).

The Youghiogheny River flows through Ohiopyle, a 20,500-acre park in the Laurel Highlands that offers visitors a plethora of walking, running, biking, and hiking trails decorated with tall trees and sparkling waterfalls. Spend an hour or the day exploring the trails before cooling off in the river. End your visit with lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants and ice cream parlors.

Also worth noting: The Yough River Bike Trail offers beautiful paved trails along the Yough River. An access point in Connellsville is a great starting point for walkers, runners and cyclists. Those willing to hike will enjoy the views at the top of Jumonville, which offers great views of Hopwood.

A short drive

Head north to Washington’s Landing, where the drive is rewarded with spectacular views of the Pittsburgh skyline. A small trail connects the Landing Trail to the city’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail, an extensive walking, running, and biking trail along the rivers that passes restaurants, PNC Park, Heinz Field, and the Carnegie Science Center.

For a more serene day trip, head south to Cooper’s Rock in West Virginia, a beautiful stretch of land criss-crossed by hiking and walking trails.

About Marie A. Gingrich

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