Event Information

Rachel Carson Trail Challenge 2007


The eleventh annual Rachel Carson Trail Challenge is on Saturday June 23, 2007, the Saturday nearest the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. UPMCThe Challenge is a 34-mile long, one-day, sunrise to sunset endurance hike on nearly the entire brutal Rachel Carson Trail. Unlike a footrace, the "challenge" is not to "come in first" or "win", but to endure, to finish the hike in one day. This time, the Challenge starts in North Park ends 34 miles later in Harrison Hills County Park.

As part of the Rachel Carson HomesteadCentennial Celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Carson, this year there are three events to choose from, all taking place on the Rachel Carson Trail:

Full Challenge
34 Miles
The traditional Challenge. It begins in North Park and ends in Harrison Hills Park. Starts at 5:30 AM, finish deadline is 8:54 PM, or 15 hours 4 minutes, whichever comes first. Limit 600 participants, minimum age 12.
Homestead Challenge
19 Miles
Also known as the "Half Challenge", it begins in North Park and ends at the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale. Starts at 6:30 AM, finish deadline is 3:40 PM or 8 hours 10 minutes, whichever comes first. If you ever thought about trying the Challenge but never thought you could go 34 miles, this may be for you. Limit 200 participants, minimum age 12. A portion of the entry fee will be donated to the Homestead.
Family Challenge
8 Miles
This begins in Emmerling Park in Indiana Township and ends at the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale. Starts at 8:30 AM, finish deadline is 3:40 PM. It's intended for families of up to 5 members, and the minimum age is 8. Note that there are a lot of hills on this section of the trail so it's not trivial. Limit 50 families. A portion of the entry fee will be donated to the Homestead. We will be hosting this same hike on May 27, Rachel Carson's birthday, in conjunction with the Homestead's Birthday Celebration. Consider participating to see what this Challenge will require.

There'll be a cookout at the Bobwhite Shelter in Harrison Hills Park and snacks and light fare at the Homestead. A shuttle will be available to take Homestead and Family Challenge finishers to the Bobwhilte Shelter for the cookout.

By design, the Family Challenge starts three hours after and 11 miles down the trail from the Full and Homestead events. This will give participants in these latter events enough time to catch up to (and hike with) Family Challenge participants along the trail.


Click to registerAdvance registrations may only be submitted online, via active.com. Click here to register! Advance registrations will be accepted through June 20 and are non-refundable.

For one day only and provided we haven't reached our registration limit, we'll be accepting advance registrations via cash or check at our Annual Public Meeting on Saturday, May 12. Registration forms will be available at the meeting for you to fill out and payment must be made there.

Check In

This year you'll have the option of picking up your tag, t-shirt, and map on Friday, June 22 between 5 PM and 8 PM at the Cabin in North Park. Veteran Challengers will be on hand between 7 PM and 8 PM to answer questions and discuss strategy.

Training Hikes

There will be four 8-9 mile training hikes covering the entire trail prior to the Challenge. These allow you to learn trail blazing and navigation, as well as see firsthand the trail itself if you've never been on it before, in addition to helping you get in shape for the event. These hikes will be on 6/2 & 6/3 and 6/9 & 6/10. There is a $3 activity fee ($1 if Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy member) per person, per hike, collected on the day of the hike. Click here for details.

Participant Information

Please review important event details and other information for participants: Full Challenge, Homestead Challenge, Family Challenge.


Camping: Both North Park and Harrison Hills Park are county parks and camping is not permitted. The closest campground is the Mountain Top Campground, about 7 miles away from Harrison Hills Park and 17 miles from North Park.

Hotel: These hotels are closest to the parks:

HotelPhoneMiles Away
Near North Park
Econo Lodge(724)443-59115
Comfort Inn(724)444-87005
Holiday Inn(412)366-52007
Hampton Inn(412)939-320010
Near Harrison Hills Park
River Avenue Hotel(412)828-93004
Clarion Hotel(724)335-91719
Armstrong Farms B&B(724)352-285810
Maggie West B&B(724)274-890613
Days Inn(412)828-540015
Super 8(412)828-890015


The Challenge needs volunteers on Challenge Day! We will need people throughout the day, from morning registration to checkpoints along the trail and the finish. People can volunteer for as few as two hours. If you'd like to help out, review the Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities and mark the meeting dates on your calendar. What's in it for a volunteer? As a thank-you, all volunteers receive a coveted Marshal t-shirt, admission to the cookout, and the gratitude of hundreds of strangers!