The route traverses the 4 major blazed trails in Settlers Cabin, while offering a nice route in reverse of the Hell Hath No Hurry loop. You should expect to get a fair amount of flats in along with moderately steep climbs when they come. This route features lots of singletrack traversing a majority of the park.
Along the Lake Loop is always muddy, so there's not much you can do to avoid it.
This route starts at the tennis courts and heads south to begin with a nice steep climb behind the courts. Once warmed up from the short climb, head to the right and across the street to start on the Blue Loop
The Blue Loop
is fairly flat and winds on until you encounter the Green Loop
or Valley Trail
off to the right. Head down and at the bottom you'll see the waterfall (about 1 mile in), and then continue on the Green Loop
along the Valley Trail
. Once you've gotten a nice climb in on the Green, you'll be on the upper part of the Valley Trail
. There is a split in the trail about 0.5 miles after the climb - stay to the right. Continue on until you reach the end and the trail comes to a tee - head left and up. This puts you on the Purple Loop
You'll continue on the Purple Loop
until reaching the Yellow Trail
on the right. Gallop through the rooty singletrack until you reach what seems like a fire road and head left. At the bottom of the fire road, you can veer to the left just a little when a trail opens up to the left, but keep going straight past the Purple Loop
and into the Yellow Trail
. If you've gotten to the park road, you've gone too far - you should be on singletrack next to the road.
From here, follow the trail until it comes to a tee. The Yellow trail only has one tee, so take it to the left, which takes you down to the road. Take a left on the road and right onto the Red Trail
. Once on the Red Trail
, it's fairly smooth sailing. You'll get to enjoy the ups and downs of the coal filled hills, and a few creek crossings.
There is a tee in the red, about 1.5 miles in on the Red Trail
, where you'll take a right and go uphill. Once on that portion of the trail, you'll come to a clearing where you'll head down towards the Lake Loop. If you come across an old oil well, you stayed on the Red Trail
- enjoy it, but you missed a turn! If you made it to the lake, that's the fun part, so enjoy that even more!
The lake loop eventually meets back up with the Red Trail
after a grueling, long climb. Take the Red back until it opens back up to the main part of the park, and cross the road to find the Blue Loop
and you're home!
This area of southwestern PA was once a hot area for coal mining. Parts of the park are still actively used for mining, so if you keep an ear out, you may be able to hear it. If you've got time, stop by the Botanical Gardens afterwards to see more of the history of the park and some wonderful gardens created out of the park as well.