Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail In Pennsylvania

Here is everything you need to know about the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Length: 20 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail is located in southwestern Pennsylvania and is renowned for its natural beauty and historical significance. The trail is situated within the larger Bear Run Nature Reserve, which spans over 5,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The history of this trail dates back to the early 20th century when it was first established as part of a conservation effort.

In the early 1930s, the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a weekend retreat for the Kaufmann family, owners of a prominent Pittsburgh department store. The result was the iconic Fallingwater, a masterpiece of modern architecture that seamlessly integrates with its natural surroundings. The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail was created to provide visitors with access to this architectural marvel and the surrounding wilderness.

The trail itself follows the contours of Bear Run, a picturesque stream that meanders through the reserve. It offers hikers a unique opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystems of the area, including lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and tranquil meadows. Along the trail, visitors can also discover remnants of the region’s industrial past, such as old logging roads and stone foundations of long-abandoned structures.

Over the years, the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail has become a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, architecture aficionados, and history buffs alike. Its historical significance as the gateway to Fallingwater, combined with its stunning natural beauty, makes it a must-visit location for anyone seeking a unique and enriching outdoor experience.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Visitor Center: The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail starts at the Visitor Center, where you can obtain maps and information about the trail and the reserve.

2. Fallingwater: One of the major access points along the trail is near the iconic Fallingwater house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. You can park your vehicle near the house and access the trail from there.

3. High Meadow: The High Meadow is another access point along the trail. It offers a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape and is a great spot to rest or have a picnic.

4. Hemlock Trailhead: The Hemlock Trailhead is located along the trail and provides access to the Hemlock Trail, which is a popular hiking route within the reserve.

5. Bear Run: The trail follows the Bear Run, a scenic stream that runs through the reserve. There are several access points along the trail where you can get closer to the water and enjoy its beauty.

6. Fernwood Trailhead: The Fernwood Trailhead is another access point along the trail. It leads to the Fernwood Trail, which takes you through a lush forested area within the reserve.

7. Bear Run Loop: The Bear Run Loop is a section of the trail that forms a loop and takes you through various habitats within the reserve. It is a popular route for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

8. Reserve Boundary: The trail also passes through the boundary of the Bear Run Nature Reserve, providing access to the surrounding areas and connecting with other trails in the region.

Please note that these access points or trailheads may vary or change over time, so it is always recommended to check with the reserve authorities or visitor center for the most up-to-date information before planning your visit.

Transportation Available

1. Bear Run Nature Reserve Shuttle – Shuttle service providing convenient transportation to and from the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail.
2. Local Taxi Service – Taxi service available for quick and easy transportation to the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail.
3. Bike Rental Shop – Rent a bike and enjoy a scenic ride to the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail.
4. Car Rental Agency – Rent a car for flexible transportation options to and from the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail.
5. Public Bus – Public bus service with stops near the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail, offering affordable transportation.
6. Ride-Sharing Service – Use a ride-sharing app to request a ride to the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail.
7. Local Train Station – Nearby train station providing transportation options to the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail.


The amenities available at the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There might be designated parking areas or parking lots available for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The nature reserve trail may offer camping sites for those who wish to spend the night in the area. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: There could be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, or open spaces for picnicking.

5. Hiking Trails: The nature reserve trail itself may have well-marked hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels for visitors to explore.

6. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, there may be interpretive signs or information boards that provide educational information about the flora, fauna, and history of the area.

7. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The trail might have designated spots or platforms where visitors can observe and appreciate the local wildlife in their natural habitat.

8. Bird Watching Stations: If the nature reserve is known for its bird population, there may be specific stations or platforms set up for birdwatching enthusiasts.

9. Nature Center: Some nature reserves may have a dedicated nature center where visitors can learn more about the local ecosystem, participate in educational programs, or view exhibits related to the area’s natural history.

10. Visitor Center: A visitor center may be available at the trailhead or nearby, providing information, maps, and resources for visitors to plan their visit and learn more about the reserve.

It’s important to note that the specific amenities available at the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail may vary, so it’s recommended to check with the reserve’s official website or contact them directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Bear Run Inn – Cozy lodging option near the trail.
2. Fallingwater Café – On-site café offering delicious food and beverages.
3. Ohiopyle State Park – Nearby emergency services and recreational facilities.
4. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – Upscale lodging and dining option in the vicinity.
5. Kentuck Knob Café – Café located near the trail, offering light refreshments.
6. Uniontown Hospital – Nearby emergency medical services.
7. The Historic Summit Inn – Historic inn with lodging and dining options.
8. Ohiopyle House Café – Café offering casual dining near the trail.
9. Connellsville Hospital – Nearby emergency medical services.
10. Yough Plaza Motel – Budget-friendly lodging option near the trail.

Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail Difficulty Notes

The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail consists of well-maintained paths with some uneven terrain and occasional steep sections, providing a moderate challenge for those seeking a more adventurous hike. While it may require some effort, the trail is accessible to most hikers and offers rewarding views of the surrounding natural beauty, including lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Whether you are a beginner looking to push your limits or an experienced hiker seeking a scenic adventure, the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail offers a satisfying level of difficulty.

Features And Attractions

The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail is located in Pennsylvania, USA, and is known for its scenic beauty and historical significance. Here are some of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the trail:

1. Fallingwater: One of the most famous landmarks along the trail is Fallingwater, designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This iconic house is built over a waterfall and is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture.

2. Bear Run: The trail follows the Bear Run stream, offering beautiful views of the flowing water, cascades, and small waterfalls.

3. Woodlands: The trail passes through lush woodlands, providing a serene and peaceful atmosphere. You can enjoy the beauty of various tree species, wildflowers, and wildlife along the way.

4. Hemlock Trail: This section of the trail takes you through a dense hemlock forest, offering a cool and shaded environment. The towering hemlock trees create a unique and picturesque landscape.

5. Historic Sites: The area surrounding the trail is rich in history. You can explore remnants of old farmsteads, stone walls, and other historical structures that provide a glimpse into the region’s past.

6. Rock Formations: The trail features interesting rock formations, including large boulders and outcroppings. These geological features add to the scenic beauty of the trail.

7. Fern-covered Ravines: As you hike along the trail, you will come across ravines covered in lush ferns. These green carpets of ferns create a magical and enchanting atmosphere.

8. Wildflower Meadows: During the spring and summer months, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers. You can witness a variety of colorful blooms, including trilliums, violets, and asters.

9. Wildlife: The Bear Run Nature Reserve is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, squirrels, birds, and other animals that inhabit the area.

10. Overlooks: The trail offers several overlooks that provide panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. These vantage points allow you to take in the beauty of the landscape from different perspectives.

Remember to check the trail’s official website or visitor center for any specific points of interest or updates before planning your visit.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are not allowed on the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail.
2. The trail is open year-round, with no specific seasonal restrictions.
3. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
4. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the trail.
5. Hunting or fishing is strictly prohibited within the nature reserve.
6. Visitors are expected to stay on designated trails and not venture off into restricted areas.
7. Littering is strictly prohibited. Visitors are expected to carry out any trash they bring in.
8. Open fires or barbecues are not allowed on the trail.
9. Visitors are encouraged to respect the natural environment and wildlife, refraining from disturbing or feeding animals.
10. The trail is open during daylight hours only. Nighttime access is not permitted.

Seasonal Information

The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail, located in southwestern Pennsylvania, offers a stunning natural landscape and a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the reserve comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and blossoming trees, creating a picturesque setting for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The temperatures are mild, making it comfortable to explore the trail and observe the diverse wildlife that calls this area home.

During the fall, the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn colors. The foliage turns vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, providing a stunning backdrop for a leisurely hike or a peaceful walk. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an ideal time to explore the trail and take in the beauty of the changing seasons.

It is important to note that the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail has seasonal closures during the winter months. Due to the potential for inclement weather and hazardous conditions, the trail is closed from December through February. This closure ensures the safety of visitors and protects the natural environment. However, the trail reopens in early spring, allowing visitors to once again experience the beauty and tranquility of this remarkable reserve.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the landscape is adorned with vibrant colors and the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities. However, it is important to plan your visit accordingly, as the trail is closed during the winter months for safety reasons. Whether you are a nature lover, a hiker, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail offers a memorable experience in the heart of Pennsylvania’s natural beauty.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: A wide and level entrance to the trail, allowing wheelchair users to enter without obstacles.
3. Paved Pathways: Smooth and even pathways throughout the trail, suitable for wheelchair users.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly placed benches along the trail for individuals to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
5. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
6. Braille Signage: Trail signs with Braille text for visually impaired individuals.
7. Audio Guides: Audio guides available for individuals with visual impairments, providing information about the trail.
8. Handrails and Guardrails: Handrails and guardrails installed in areas where additional support is needed.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options.
10. Service Animal Accommodation: The trail allows service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities.
11. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail designed to be accessible for all visitors.
12. Accessible Wildlife Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trail that provide accessible opportunities for wildlife observation.
13. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains with accessible features, such as lower spouts and clearances.
14. Accessible Parking Lot: A parking lot with designated accessible parking spaces and accessible routes to the trail entrance.
15. Accessible Information Center: An information center with accessible features, including accessible counters and brochures in alternative formats.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or disturbing the natural habitat.
2. Carry a map and compass: Be prepared with navigation tools in case of any unexpected circumstances.
3. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose sturdy shoes or boots to protect your feet from uneven terrain and potential hazards.
4. Dress for the weather: Check the forecast and dress in layers to stay comfortable and safe during changing weather conditions.
5. Bring plenty of water: Stay hydrated throughout your hike by carrying an ample supply of water.
6. Pack snacks and food: Carry energy-boosting snacks and a packed lunch to keep your energy levels up during longer hikes.
7. Use insect repellent: Protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects by applying repellent before starting your hike.
8. Check for wildlife activity: Be aware of any recent wildlife sightings or activity in the area and take necessary precautions.
9. Be cautious of poison ivy: Learn to identify and avoid contact with poison ivy, which can cause skin irritation.
10. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans, including your expected return time.
11. Stay alert and aware: Be mindful of your surroundings, watch for potential hazards, and listen for any unusual sounds.
12. Carry a first aid kit: Have a basic first aid kit with you to address any minor injuries or emergencies.
13. Respect wildlife and plants: Observe wildlife from a safe distance and avoid touching or disturbing plants to preserve the ecosystem.
14. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly to maintain the cleanliness and natural beauty of the trail.
15. Hike with a buddy: Whenever possible, hike with a companion for added safety and enjoyment.

Conservation Notes

The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail is considered to be of significant conservation value due to its unique ecological features and the presence of several threatened and endangered species. The trail is located within a protected area, ensuring the preservation of its natural resources and biodiversity. The conservation status of the trail is classified as “protected” or “conservation dependent,” indicating the need for ongoing management and conservation efforts to maintain its ecological integrity.

The Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail is home to a diverse range of habitats, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, which support a variety of plant and animal species. These habitats provide essential resources and shelter for numerous rare and sensitive species, some of which are listed as endangered or threatened at the regional or national level. The conservation status of the trail reflects the importance of protecting these habitats and the species that depend on them.

Conservation efforts for the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail focus on maintaining and restoring the natural habitats, managing invasive species, and monitoring the populations of threatened and endangered species. Additionally, educational programs and visitor guidelines are implemented to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and minimize human impact on the trail and its surrounding ecosystems. The conservation status of the Bear Run Nature Reserve Trail highlights the need for continued conservation efforts to ensure the long-term survival of its unique ecological features and the species that call it home.

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