Pennsylvania Waterfalls: How to Get to Fall Run Park in Pittsburgh
There are hundreds of beautiful waterfalls in Pennsylvania, but few are as accessible to urban dwellers as the waterfalls in Pittsburgh’s Fall Run Park.
Fall Run Park, also known as Judge D.M. Miller Nature Reserve, is a 94-acre park located along Route 8 in Shaler, Pennsylvania, about 10-15 minutes outside of downtown Pittsburgh.
The park was once operated as state game lands by the Pennsylvania Game Commission until urban development made hunting the land unsafe. The land was then obtained by the community and turned into one of western Pennsylvania’s most notable local parks.
This under-the-radar park is home to a one-mile nature trail, which follows the banks of Fall Run. The trail along the creek is both wide and flat and very easy to follow. There are several crossings of the meandering waterway along the path.
Unfortunately, as of my last visit in April 2017, two of the bridges were still not repaired after heavy flooding in September 2015 pushed them off their moorings. While recent news reports indicate that the bridges will likely be fixed in the future, for now, hiking the trail and reaching the waterfall requires two stream crossings.
When I’ve visited, it was fairly easy to avoid getting your feet wet, though it did require crossing on some well-placed stones. However, if water levels are high, it might be difficult to cross without getting your feet wet and may possibly be even dangerous.
While the entire trail is about a mile in length, it’s only about half a mile to the main waterfall of Fall Run Park in Pittsburgh. Fall Run Falls is a roughly 25-foot waterfall that consists of a drop and a small slide near the bottom.
A path and a set of stairs lead up alongside the waterfall as the nature trail continues above it. Unfortunately, these stairs were damaged as well in the flood, and it can be a bit tricky to navigate over the damaged path to the top. However, it’s not too difficult to navigate for those that wish to continue above the falls.
The area of Fall Run Park above the waterfall is scenic as it mostly follows the creek, but there are no other features of note here, other than the chance to see out from the top of Fall Run Falls (use extreme caution if you approach the edge as wet rocks can be slippery). Because of this, most opt to turn around at the base of the waterfall. This creates a nice one-mile hike in the park.
Along the hike to Fall Run Falls, make sure to note the two smaller falls downstream of the main one. While neither exceed about five feet in height, they both make for nice opportunities for photographs and to enjoy this beautiful scenery near Pittsburgh.
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Looking at the park, it’s also possible that during periods of very high water, there might be several other temporary waterfalls along normally dry side streams. I’d love to visit sometime to see if these waterfalls do exist.
Fall Run Park might not be the most beautiful park in Pennsylvania or be home to the most majestic waterfall. However, the chance to hike to a waterfall close to Pittsburgh makes this a great destination for nature lovers visiting the Pittsburgh area.
How to Get to Fall Run Falls
Fall Run Falls is located in Fall Run Park in Shaler, Pennsylvania. It is located just off of Route 8, less than 15 minutes northeast of downtown Pittsburgh. Fall Run Park parking is located at the following coordinates: 40.530197, -79.948081.
From the parking area, simply follow the trail for approximately half a mile to the base of Fall Run Falls.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
Want to see more of Pennsylvania’s best waterfalls? Visit our Pennsylvania Waterfalls page!