In its infancy, this post was to focus on waterfalls in the South Hills region of Pittsburgh. Less than a mile into our hike, it became clear that Boyce Mayview Park was emerging into its own post.
Located in Upper Saint Clair, this municipal park offers a diverse topography that rivals many of the Allegheny County parks.
It’s easy to see why so many local outdoor enthusiasts favor this park. Boyce Park is hiking perfection! 8 miles of trails are spread out among 475-acres. Hikers wind through a vast array of ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, open fields, and stream valleys. The trails range from easy to moderately difficult as the elevations rise from below 900 feet to beyond 1200 feet. Some of the trails are quite off the beaten path. Hiking this park is an excellent way for you to access your fitness level.
The Outdoor Classroom (http://www.theoutdoorclassroompa.org/Events.html) offers several group hiking opportunities within the park. Full moon hikes are popular.
Morton Falls is one of two named waterfalls in the park. Morton Falls is accessible via the Morton Falls Trail. After our hike, I realized that there is a third unnamed waterfall on the park map.
It was astonishing to see how tiny the stream is that feeds the waterfall.
Although we’ve seen over 50 waterfalls, this one still impressed us. The mossy rock formations are truly spectacular.
Trail running is extremely popular. Some of the trails are quite narrow with many switchbacks. As you climb upward, the park has superb views overlooking Chartiers Creek.
The Trillium Trail overlooks the abandoned Mayview State Hospital. Rumor has it that this former psychiatric hospital is haunted. Established in 1893, it is certain that unspeakable horrors took place here. Little was known about mental illness in those times and experiments were commonplace.
During its early years, there was a coal mine that fueled a power plant and farm. The inmates were entirely self-sufficient. They worked in the coal mine and power plant and grew their own food on the farm.
In addition to housing the indigent poor and handicapped, the hospital was a dumping ground for unwed pregnant mothers.
The State closed the hospital in 2008.
The elevation continues to rise as the terrain changes to wetlands. We shifted from the Trillium Trail to the Wetlands Trail.
Little Falls Trail leads to Little Falls, which was completely dry at the time of our visit. Even without a waterfall, it was still a scenic trail. Little Falls Trail connects to Hidden Pond Trail.
We returned via the Many Habitats Trail and saw the remains of an old spring house.
Next, we hiked the White Pine Trail.
The Queen Maple and Sylvan Ridge Trails led us back to the Switchback Trail. The view at the top of the Switchback Trail is worth the climb to the top!
After the Switchback Trail, we picked up the Morton Ravine Trail and headed back to the car. We had one more item left on our agenda!
True to our original plan, we stopped to see the waterfall in Settler’s Cabin Park. Since we spent most of the day hiking in Boyce Mayview, this hike was short but sweet. Odds are we’ll be back to explore the rest of this park someday!