Landscape vista in Moraine State Park, in Southwest Pennsylvania in the evening.  Fields of green with Lake Arthur surrounded by trees and a bright blue cloud filled sky for a background.

Running PA’s Moraine State Park

Tread this prime singletrack section of the North Country Trail.

Most hikers will never tackle the entire length of the 4,800-mile North Country National Scenic Trail, so the good news for Pittsburghers is that a choice section of the NCT is just 45 minutes north of the city in Moraine State Park.

The rolling hills make this an interesting but accessible place to run—no massive climbs like the Laurel Highlands Trail out of Ohiopyle. It’s also a four-season trail; though it can snow in the winter, it doesn’t ice up like the more popular McConnells Mill trails nearby.

The park, which is the ancestral home of the Erie and Shawnee people, is named after the geologic feature known as moraine—which is the soil, sand, rock, and other debris deposited by glaciers. In this case, the last glacier terminated just north of the park some 12,000 years ago, forming today’s landscape.

Recommended Route: Glacier Ridge Trail

The park is home to 28 miles of trails. Try the portion of the NCT that follows the Glacier Ridge Trail for 14.8 miles within the park boundaries. Expect a shaded run in a deciduous forest with occasional eye-catching views of Lake Arthur. If you find your pace slowing, no worries since you’ll be taking in the mushrooms and wildflowers that abound along this trail.

Try starting at the snowmobile trailhead where the Glacier Ridge Trail crosses state Route 528. Heading east, you’ll get one of the best views of Lake Arthur in about a half-mile. From here, it’s about 5 miles one way to the Jennings Environmental Center.

The trail is well-maintained, well-marked with blue blazes, and easy to stay on. It’s technical but not too difficult and most stream crossings are on footbridges.

Glacier Ridge Trail Ultra

The Glacier Ridge Trail Ultramarathon and Trail Race, held annually in May, follows the Glacier Ridge Trail with 30K and 50K options. Like the Glacier Ridge Trail itself, it’s accessible to mere mortals. If you’re more of a 10K trail runner, sign up with your buddies for a relay.

More Info

Getting There

Take Interstate 79 north to Exit 99. Check with Google maps first for road construction and possible alternate routes.


Stop at Union Brothers Brewing in Harmony, Pa., on your way home. Sticking with the North Country theme, sample the calorie-replenishing poutine and try one of the hazy IPAs.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.