top of page

Best Kid-Friendly Hiking Trail North of Pittsburgh, PA

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

I love finding kid-friendly hiking trails around Pittsburgh. I have two young daughters, and I'm always trying to get them outside. A hike is one of our favorite ways to do that! I found this trail about two years ago when a neighbor mentioned it to me, and have been going ever since. The trail is Crouse Run Nature Reserve in Allison Park, PA and is actually part of the Rachel Carson Trail. What makes a trail kid-friendly and one of my favorites? Read below!

What Makes a Trail Kid Friendly?

There are a couple aspects that make a trail kid-friendly. The first is elevation gain - is there going to be a lot of hills? Because even if your child is in a carrier, hills are still hard on the parents who are carrying the child. My favorite trails are the ones I can keep my kids out of the carrier for. And Crouse Run is perfect if you want an easy trail for your kids. No major hiking gear is needed, maybe just a bag with snacks, a towel, and a change of clothes if your kids go in the water. And there's almost no elevation gain! That's such a plus and makes this trail easily accessible for even the smallest child.

A second aspect I look for in a kid friendly hiking trail is some sort of body of water, like a lake or stream so the kids are occupied. This is what I love about Crouse Run - Lots of water play. This trail is the best area to come and play in the creek. I come here often when it's super hot and humid, and even a pool doesn't sound like fun. My daughters will play for hours in the stream and have a blast. There are SEVERAL places you can go along the trail and go into the stream. Lots of rocks the kids can climb on. It's truly a magical place. Also, because of all of the tree coverage, the temperature feels cooler along the trail than out in the open. It's perfect for those hot, humid Pittsburgh summer days.

Tips for Hiking Crouse Run Nature Reserve With Kids

Let me preface this section by saying that the below supplies are optional - You can totally have a great time with clothes and regular shoes on with no problems. But if your kids are like mine - they will end up in the water most of the time! Crouse run is the perfect hiking trail for your kids, and there are a couple things you should consider bringing on your hike to make sure you have the best time with your family while on the trail.

Water Shoes. There are a ton of areas where your kids will have a blast playing in the water. I always make sure I have water shoes for my kids because the stream is very rocky. Also, there are several spots along the trail where you will have to cross the stream. There is usually a path of rocks that you can use to cross the stream, but I would definitely come prepared to have some wet shoes.

Bug Spray. As with any area in the woods, it's a good idea to bring bug spray so the mosquitoes don't eat you alive!

Swim Gear. This one is optional. Usually, I put my daughters in their swimsuits because we are in the stream for hours. Along with the swimsuits, I also bring towels, extra clothes, and snacks!

Getting There

The trail parking lot is very unassuming and easy to miss. If you live in the Allison Park area, you've probably passed this trail a hundred times without knowing it. As of August 2022, The parking lot is next to the Allison Park Mineo's Pizza House on Wildwood Road (how great is that - you can go for a hike then stop for pizza!) The trail parking lot is next to the Mineo's Pizza parking lot. The exact address of the trailhead is 2684 Wildwood Rd, Allison Park, PA 15101.

As with any hiking adventure with kids, the most important thing to remember is you may not get to your destination - and that's OK. Because if you're a parent - I'm sure you know - kids get SO distracted. It's about the journey, not the destination! Have fun splashing in the water and exploring a new place. I know if you try this trail, you and your kids will LOVE it! Happy hiking!

Crouse Run Nature Reserve is maintained by the Pine Creek Land Conservation Trust.


It's so important to preserve life's fleeting moments through beautiful photographs! I am a Pittsburgh family photographer who tells your story through images that are joyful, raw, and connected. If you would like more information about a session or would like to inquire, contact me here!


bottom of page