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Raccoon Creek State Park (map, park map, wildflower reserve map)

 

With 7,572 acres (3,064 ha), Raccoon Creek State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s largest state parks and it is one of the "25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks".  It was established in the 1930s and the oldest buildings were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 and were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

 

We enjoy kayaking on the 101 acre (41 ha) Raccoon Lake which has multiple boat launches and even a beach and a boat and water bike rental.

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Pin these for later:

Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing the lake at Crooked Creek Lake Park
Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing a lake at Hillman Park
Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing an art installation at Hartwood Acres
Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing a covered bridge in McConnell's Mill Park
Kayaking in Raccoon Creek State Park
Kayaking in Raccoon Creek State Park
Kayaking in Raccoon Creek State Park
Kayaking in Raccoon Creek State Park
Boat rental in Raccoon Creek State Park

Other popular activities in the park are hiking, biking, fishing, camping and skiing in winter.

 

 

Mineral Springs Loop to Frankfort Falls

 

The park has several trails.  I like the combination of the 1.2 mile Mineral Springs Loop (white blaze symbols, easy) with the Upland Trail (red blaze symbols, moderate) as it brings you to a waterfall and a historic site.

 

The trail starts at a small parking lot here (map).  Follow the trail straight into the woods and after crisscrossing a small creek you will come to Frankfort Falls in a few minutes.  After you have enjoyed the falls, turn north on the Mineral Springs Loop trail until you come to a ruin.  This building was part of a former Victorian era health resort built in the mid-19th century near the Frankfort minerals spring.

 

The owner, Edward McGinnis, believed that the mineral spring waters had curative powers.  In its heyday, the resort consisted of a hotel with dance hall, guest cottages and stables, but it closed in the first half of the 20th century.

 

Keep walking uphill from the ruin and you will hit the Upland Trail.  Follow the Upland Trail to the left.  At the end of the Upland Trail and walking downhill for a while, you will see another parking lot.  Shortly before the parking lot, you will see the Mineral Springs Loop branching off to the right.  Follow it along Route 18 until you get back to the parking lot where your car is parked.

Frankfort Falls in Raccoon Creek State Park
Frankfort Falls in Raccoon Creek State Park
Frankfort Falls in Raccoon Creek State Park
Hiking trail in Raccoon Creek State Park
Resort ruins on hiking trail in Raccoon Creek State Park
View of deer on the shores of Canonsburg Lake when kayaking
Hiking trail in Raccoon Creek State Park
Hiking trail in Raccoon Creek State Park

Wildflower Reserve

 

At the eastern end of Raccoon Creek State Park off Route 30 is the Wildflower Reserve (map).  One of the most popular trails here is the Jennings Trail which has blue blaze symbols and is moderate to difficult hiking.  The Jennings Trail is a 1.5 mile loop which you can extend as several short hikes branch off of it.  The best time to come here is in late April or August when many of the 700 wild flower species are blooming.  The only activity that is permitted in this 314 acre reserve is hiking.

Hiking trail in the Wildflower Reserve
Hiking trail in the Wildflower Reserve
River at Hiking trail in the Wildflower Reserve
River at Hiking trail in the Wildflower Reserve
Shafers Rock at the Jennings Trail in the Wildflower Reserve
Hiking trail in the Wildflower Reserve
Hiking trail in the Wildflower Reserve
Hiking trail with flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flowers in the Wildflower Reserve
Flower in the Wildflower Reserve
Flower in the Wildflower Reserve
Mushrooms in the Wildflower Reserve

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