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Hiking at Raccoon Creek State Park

42 miles

The park offers a wide variety of hiking options to meet the needs of the casual day hiker, as well as the overnight backpacker looking for a challenge within a wilderness setting, and also offers biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.

All visitors using the park trail system should read the trail rules and usage information before hiking.

Multi-Use Trails

8.7 miles, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking permitted

Appaloosa Trail

3 miles, yellow blazes, more difficult hiking

This main equestrian trail can be accessed via the equestrian parking lot off of PA 168 and the connecting Appaloosa Spur Trail. The trail winds along rolling forested hills of maples, oaks, hickory, and cherry. The trail passes an old homestead and spring house. Connector Trail 4 (hiking only) leads to the Pioneer backpacking campsites, Connector Trail 5 (multi-use) leads to the Pioneer Group Tenting areas and Pioneer Road.

Appaloosa Spur

0.7 mile, yellow blazes, easiest hiking

This trail connects the Equestrian Trailhead parking lot on PA 168 to the Appaloosa Trail.

Buckskin Trail

1 mile, yellow blazes, more difficult hiking

The Buckskin Trailhead on Nichol Road provides access to Camp Trail, Pinto Loop Trail, and Heritage Trail. The trail passes through a steep, densely forested stream valley.

Nichol Road

3.5 miles, more difficult hiking

This road serves as the gateway to most of the trails in the western section of the park. Several loop hikes of varying lengths can be created using Nichol Road and connecting trails. Snowmobiling is permitted seasonally with sufficient snow.

Palomino Trail

1.1 miles, yellow blazes, easiest hiking

Palomino Trail follows an old roadbed for most of its length. It begins and ends on Nichol Road.

Pinto Loop

1.7 miles, yellow blazes, easiest hiking

Pinto Loop Trail has very little elevation change. The wide path passes through a mix of forest meadows. These features make it an excellent cross-country skiing trail.

Pioneer Camp Road

0.7 mile, easiest hiking

Pioneer Road connects Nichol Road to the Pioneer Group Tenting Sites. Rider’s Ridge picnic area is near the intersection of Pioneer and Nichol roads.

Hiking-Only Trails

26 miles

Beach Trail

0.3-mile, orange blazes, most difficult hiking

This trail connects the D loop in the campground with the swimming area on Raccoon Lake. A spur trail from Beach Trail connects to the F loop in the campground.

Camp Trail

1.4 miles, white blazes, more difficult hiking

Camp Trail provides access to the south shore of the Upper Lake, a favorite area for wildlife and waterfowl viewing. Modern cabin users can access Camp Trail via Connector Trail 1 (blue blazes), located behind Cabins 5 and 6.

Cross-Country Skiing Trail

2.1 miles, white blazes, easiest hiking

Accessed from the pavilion area, the trail follows an old roadbed, crosses the main park road to meet Heritage Trail, then follows Heritage Trail through pine forest and small meadows. The trail loops away from Heritage along a hilltop and crosses over Heritage Trail into a pine plantation. The trail crosses the main park road to return to the trailhead.

Forest Trail

6.2 miles, white blazes, more difficult hiking

Forest Trail transects several stream valleys that feed Raccoon Lake. After the leaves drop, the high ridges offer scenic views of the lake. Spring wildflowers are spectacular along many sections of the trail. The trail passes through an old stone quarry site and crosses PA 18 near the park office, continuing through forested stream valleys to Nichol Road. Connector Trail 6 leads to the overnight backpacking campsites.

Heritage Trail

9.5 miles, blue blazes, most difficult hiking

The longest trail in the park passes through land inhabited by Beaver County’s first settlers and follows some of the first wagon roads in the early 1800s. In addition to the main trailhead, Heritage Trail can be accessed by connector trails at the boat trailer parking lot (C7), campground (C8), Camp Trail trailhead parking (C9), Buckskin Trail (C10), and at two points along the main park road near the roadside picnic areas. A variety of options exist for loop hikes using these access points and connecting trails.

Heron Trail

0.5 mile, orange blazes, more difficult hiking

This short trail connects Wetlands Trail to Nichol Road and Palomino Trail near the Sioux Rustic Campground.

Lake Trail

1.9 miles, blue blazes, more difficult hiking

The trail follows an old road along Traverse Creek, leading to the northwest shore of Raccoon Lake. Several pioneer homesteads and gristmills were located in the Traverse Valley in the 1800s. The remains of an 1846, two-story, stone springhouse exists near the western end of the trail. Biking is permitted from the park office to the lake only.

Mineral Springs Loop

1.2 miles, white blazes, easiest hiking

This trail passes through one of the park’s historic areas, once known for the “healing qualities of the mineral water.” The remnants of the 1800s Frankfort Mineral Springs Resort are located above the springs.

Upland Trail

0.6 mile, red blazes, more difficult hiking

This short trail begins across from the park office and connects to Mineral Springs Loop Trail.

Valley Trail

1.1 miles, red blazes, more difficult hiking

Cut in along a steep section of Traverse Valley, the trail passes through an open hardwood forest joining with Beach Trail above the swimming area.

Wetlands Trail

1.2 miles, green blazes, more difficult hiking

Wetlands Trail follows the north shore of the Upper Lake and continues up Traverse Valley to Nichol Road. A section of this trail cuts up the ridge and parallels the wetland valley. This wetland habitat is one of the best areas in the park to observe wildlife like beaver, muskrat, turtle, waterfowl, songbirds, and deer.

Wildflower Reserve Trails

4.45 miles, hiking only

Art Witt Trail

0.26 mile, yellow blazes, easiest hiking

This short, fern-lined trail meanders through a pine forest at the entrance of the Wildflower Reserve. This trail is named in honor of Art Witt, who was a dedicated volunteer and the first to earn 10,000 volunteer hours in Pennsylvania state parks.

Audubon Trail

0.44 mile, white blazes, more difficult hiking

Audubon Trail is elevated high above the flowing waters of Raccoon Creek, with many spots to stop and admire the valley below. During spring, this is a good trail for birding and in autumn it is great for fall foliage. As the trail ends, it meets with Max Henrici, Jennings, and Old Field trails.

Beaver Trail

0.22 mile, purple blazes, easiest hiking

Beaver Trail passes through an American sycamore forest along the banks of Raccoon Creek. There are several nice spots to view wildlife.

Esther Allen Trail

0.12 mile, green blazes, easiest hiking

This short trail connects Old Wagon Road with Jennings Trail. It is named in honor of Esther Allen, who volunteered her time educating park visitors about the botanical treasures of the Wildflower Reserve.

Hickory Trail

0.16 mile, pink blazes, easiest hiking

Much of this trail follows along the bank of Raccoon Creek. There is a very short trail spur that leads to a scenic spot along the creek. This trail is named in honor of the Hickory Club, an outdoor association, which preserved a large section of the present day Wildflower Reserve.

Jennings Trail

1.54 miles, blue blazes, more difficult hiking

The longest in the reserve, this trail offers a little bit of everything. It travels past the historic Hungerford Cabin, scenic views by vernal pools, the forested banks of Raccoon Creek, spectacular wildflowers, excellent fall foliage, and many great spots for wildlife observation and birding. The trail allows hikers to access many of the shorter trails within the reserve. It is named in honor of botanist O. E. Jennings for his many contributions to the Wildflower Reserve.

Max Henrici Trail

0.51 mile, red blazes, more difficult hiking

This trail allows hikers to explore a forested valley section of the reserve highlighted with an abundance of ferns. The eastern section is covered by wildflowers in the spring. This trail is named in honor of Max Henrici, who strongly advocated the preservation of the reserve and helped raise money for the purchase of the property.

Meadow Trail

0.36 mile, light green blazes, easiest hiking

This trail begins and ends in a hardwood forest with a large meadow in the middle. During August and September, the meadow is filled with late summer wildflowers. It is also a great spot for watching butterflies and hummingbird moths.

Old Field Trail

0.65 mile, orange blazes, easiest hiking

This trail traverses an old field going through forest succession and has several sections that follow the banks of Raccoon Creek. Old Field Trail connects with Max Henrici Trail on both ends.

Old Wagon Road

0.19 mile, light blue blazes, more difficult hiking

This short elevated trail descends to the floodplain along Raccoon Creek from the interpretive center. It connects to Esther Allen Trail and ends at Jennings Trail. It features great fall foliage and spring wildflowers.