To help support the expenses of hosting this blog, some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” This means that, if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a small commission from the seller; there is no added cost to you.
South Park is an Allegheny County Park. If you plan on hiking here, I recommend downloading the Allegheny County Parks app and, within the app, downloading the map of this park for offline use.
Even though the app hangs at times and may need to be restarted, it shows you all the blazed trails and its GPS function shows you exactly where you are on the trail. If you plan to hike the Fairgrounds Trail, you will need the app, as the PDF map, blaze symbols and google maps are worthless for this hike and you will lose the trail near the model airplane field and likely also in some other places. So please download the app.
The website with interactive maps, PDF maps and links to the app is here.
With 2,013 acres, South Park is the second largest Allegheny County park after North Park.
The park was completed in 1931 and, like North Park, it offers a wide variety of activities. There are several playgrounds, a golf course, an ice skating rink, several picnic groves, tennis courts and a wave pool. The park has miles of trails, but only two trails are blazed, the 1.4 mile Fairgrounds Trail (see our review below) and the 6 mile Bison Ridge Trail. There are also the paved and unblazed 1.75 mile Maple Spring Loop and the 2 mile Corrigan Walkway and quite a few unmarked trails.
From the 1930s to the late 1960s, South Park hosted the county fair and the buildings are still standing. When farming in the area lost its importance, the fair was discontinued.
One of the highlights for me is the Oliver Miller Homestead or Stone Manse, which is an important site of the Whiskey Rebellion. This is an open air museum which is open Sundays 1:30pm-4:30pm from May through December. The admission is either $1 per person (normal Sundays) of $2 per person (event days). You can enter the buildings and volunteers that are dressed in clothes that settlers at the frontier in the Pittsburgh area would have worn in the late 18th century are more than happy to explain the history what they are doing.
The site was first settled in 1772 and, in 1794, the first gunshots of the Whiskey Rebellion were fired here. The whole story and why George Washington sent 13,000 militiamen to Pittsburgh is explained in detail inside the museum.
In 1830, the original wooden log house was replaced with the stone house that you see today. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Pin these for later:
As mentioned above, you will need the Allegheny County Parks app to hike the 1.4 mile Fairgrounds Trail, as the blaze symbols, PDF map, and google maps are worthless for this hike.
The entrance is next to the masonry pillar on the left to the Cottage Banquet hall parking lot entrance.
This 1.4 mile loop trail is easy to moderate. It starts out fairly narrow and the trail surface is often carved out by rain water. Assuming that you hike counter clockwise, after less than a half mile, this trail ends at a “T” where you need to make a left and from there on you walk on a wider trail.
From now on the blaze symbols get scarcer and you better follow the app.