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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Settler’s Cabin Park Trail Guide

Settler’s Cabin County Park is the third largest park in the Allegheny County Park System. To say it’s close to Pittsburgh is an understatement - It's only 12 miles west of the Burgh. With this proximity to the city you’d think it would be well developed and crawling with mountain bikers.

There seems to be a lot of nostalgia out there about this place - a great place to ride way-back-when. However, somewhere along the line it became forgotten – a mere a found memory for some old school bikers that cut their teeth on the trails there.

Settler’s Cabin Park is a large park at 1,589 acres – that’s about half the size of North Park. There is some decent topography there, although the 5.4 miles of blazed trail don’t exploit this elevation potential. In addition to the blazed trails there are miles and miles of unblazed trails. If you plan on exploring these unblazed "less-developed" trails be sure to take a map. Settler’s has a rugged feel about it - there's even a stream crossing - certainly doesn’t feel like it’s close to the city. The flat nature of the blazed trails means they are very fast. There’s one exception to this on the Green Loop, where a steep decent down to a stream, and then a fairly steep climb out, after crossing the stream, punctuate the gentle grade. Settler's seems to be infamous for muddy conditions, but it has been my experience that the muddy puddles for the most part can be avoided.

Think of the currently blazed trails as three stacked and overlapping loops. Bear-in-mind, that the 5.4 miles includes the overlaps between the loops so there’s actually less than this mileage of actual trail. Never-the-less, this is a great start and as others have mentioned: "Imagine a small Raystown Lake or Mohican State Park in the City of Pittsburgh” - this is a reality just waiting to happen.


Google Map directions from Pittsburgh
12 miles/15 minutes

Trail Map

Allegheny County Blazed Trail Map

Suggested Route
The Blazed Trails

The Blue and the Purple loops and most of the Green Loop can be ridden in either direction - although they seem to flow better counter-clockwise. The southern-most section of the Green Loop is definitely better counter-clockwise as riding it clockwise involves a hike-a-bike up a steep section of trail. With just over 5 miles of trails blazed you might as well do them twice. Here's my recommedation:

Park at the playground by the tennis courts and s
tart by going counter-clockwise on the Blue Loop. This loop starts along the playground fence. Ride the whole Blue Loop counter-clockwise - now your back where you started. Start Blue Loop in same place and ride counter-clockwise to the first (northern) Green/Blue Loop intersection. Ride the whole Green Loop counter-clockwise back to the same Blue/Green Loop intersection. Start the Green Loop again counter-clockwise until you come to the first (northern) Purple/Green Loop intersection. Ride the whole Purple Loop twice counter-clockwise – the second time stopping at the southern Purple/Green Loop intersection. Ride the rest of the Green Loop counter-clockwise to the southern Green/Blue Loop intersection. Finish on the Blue Loop counter-clockwise back to your vehicle.

Settler’s Cabin Park Facts:
Park size: 1,589 acres
Distance from City of Pittsburgh: 12 miles
Miles of trials: 22 miles
Minimum elevation: 865 feet
Maximum elevation: 1,265 feet
Elevation difference: 400 feet
PTAG trial steward: No Steward

Trail guide by Simon T


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  3. Went today with some friends, nice trail and it makes sense to do the trail the way you mentioned, not too technical not too simple just perfect, thanks!

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