Spring has officially arrived! We’ve been anticipating this moment for the last four months. Our patience has prevailed. In addition to warmer temperatures, we have more daylight to share in the pursuit of our passions.
Currently, I am consumed by my another passion of mine: Running. I’ve spent the last three months training for my second marathon and 3 hour runs have become my norm. The human body is amazingly resilient and even after running for 20 or more miles, I find I still have energy to spare!
I’ve found that hiking is a great way for me to loosen up and recover from such a long run. Regardless, at the end of the day, 20 miles becomes 20 miles! Consequently, our hikes have changed from spontaneous new adventures to sentimental nostalgia.
No hike evokes more nostalgia than our first hike together on the Trillium Trail in Fox Chapel. It’s hard to believe that was over ten years ago!
A drive down Squaw Run Road is a hidden joy shared by many Pittsburghers. Reminiscent of the charm of suburban Connecticut, this pristine expanse of forest remains untouched by construction or commerce.
Pennsylvania’s increasing deer population has devastated this nature and wildflower reserve. It wasn’t long ago that the entire hillside was blanketed with the trail’s namesake, trillium. The past few springs have shown a resurgence in the trillium population, which peaks from late April to early May.
Trillium Trail is composed of three smaller trails: Xen’s Trail, Upper Trail, and Falls Trail.
The majority of this hike meanders along Xen’s Trail and is relatively easy, unless you consider the use of stepping-stones to cross the creek as challenging. Xen’s Trail is really quite zen. A bank of rhododendrons line the path. The sound of the water moving down the stream is relaxing. The scenery is spectacular.
Parallel to Xen’s Trail is Upper Trail, which runs along the hillside. There are a couple of occasions where you have to zigzag through deer enclosures.
Almost immediately, Falls Trail begins its steep ascent up a short flight of stairs. At the end of the stairs, a waterfall known as Stoney Camp Falls is visible. There is no overlook to see the waterfall, but you will get a teasing glimpse through the trees. Photographing the waterfall from this site is not worth the effort. Even in the depth of winter, trees will obstruct your view. Nonetheless, the view is worth the effort.
Stoney Camp Falls is accessible by following Stoney Camp Run. The bridge has deteriorated over the years and can no longer be used safely. Getting to the waterfall requires some ingenuity.
Even up close, the waterfall is partly obstructed by a fallen tree. Although this waterfall has two tiers, the first tier is only visible from the Falls Trail.
The view up is almost as impressive as the view down.
Mid-March was too early for trillium, but it was still a pleasure to rediscover this trail. We always make new memories.