Trail Guides

When you buy trail guides from the Allegheny Group, instead of from a retail store, you support the Allegheny Group’s local environmental advocacy.

To Order By Mail: If you prefer to mail your order with a check, you can use the Price List and Order Form.

Please be sure to see our Trail Updates page for the most up-to-date information on these trails.

Ski-Touring in Western Pennsylvania

The handouts in Allegheny Group’s Ski-Touring course have been compiled into a 28-page 8.5×11″ book of value to those interested in getting into ski-touring. It is available as CDs. Edition 4, January 2004.

Price: $2.00

Backpacking Course Handouts

The handouts used in Allegheny Group’s Basic backpacking Course have been compiled into a 66-page, 8.5″ × 11″ book of value to those interested in getting into backpacking. It is available as CDs. Edition 2 (2004)

Price: $6.00

Fifty Hikes in Western Pennsylvania

image Describes 50 of the better hiking trails in W. Pa. It contains lots of interesting background material on the history and geology of each area. By Tom Thwaites. 6×9″ soft cover, 206 pages, 60 pages of maps, 48 photos, Ed.3 (2000)

Price: $14.95

Allegheny National Forest Hiking Guide

image The 800 square-mile A.N.F. is in northwestern Pa. Over 250 miles of foot trails are available for hiking, back-packing and ski-touring. Edition 4, published by Allegheny Group, Sierra Club, also describes ski-touring opportunities and points of scenic interest. 6×9″, 192 pages, 49 pages of maps, 33 photos, full-color cover, Edition 4 (1999)

Price: $9.95

The Laurel Highlands: A Hiking Guide

This guide to the foot trails of Chestnut Ridge, Laurel Ridge and Allegheny Front covers 446 miles of foot trails, mainly in state forests and state parks (218 sq. miles of public land). Many trails are also of interest to backpackers and cross-country skiers, so the guide includes information useful to them also. (Does not cover Laurel Highlands Trail.) 6×9″ soft-cover, 288 pages, 26 pages of maps, 32 photos, full-color cover. Ed.1 (2000) If you would like to know more about what this guide has to offer, click here.

The authors have updated this guide through 10-15-2011; see the updates page.

Price: $8.95

Hiker’s Guide to Laurel Highlands Trail

laurelhhikingguide_tn.jpg This guide is a joint effort of the Pa. Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Western Pa. Conservancy. The first half of the guide covers such topics as:

  • The geology and geologic history of Laurel Hill
  • The climate, vegetation and wildlife of Laurel Hill
  • A flow sheet that makes tree identification easy, fun and fast
  • The cultural history of Laurel Hill from the time of the native Americans to the more recent Public-land acquisition era
  • Current land-use

Authors of Part 1 were William R. Brice, William J. Curry III, Uldis Kaktins and Barbara S. Thorne. The second half of the guide covers such topics as:

  • A detailed written description on the trail for hikers and backpackers
  • How to get to the various trailheads by car
  • An elevation profile of Laurel Highlands Trail
  • Planning hikes and backpack trips on the trail
  • Reserving trail shelters for overnight stays
  • Suggestions on what to take, how to dress, and when to go hiking
  • A list of hiking organizations in the area

Part 2 was written by Bruce Sundquist. In all, the 6×9″ paperback contains 132 pages, with 27 pages of maps, 19 photographs and 21 illustrations. Edition 6 (2004)

Price: $8.00

Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide

monnatfor_tn.jpg Describes 180 U.S. Forest Service trails (847 miles total) in one of the best (and most popular) areas for hiking, back-packing and ski-touring in this part of the country (1436 sq. miles of national forest in West Virginia’s highlands). Published by West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. 6×9″ soft cover, 368 pages, 86 pages of maps, 57 photos, full-color cover, Ed.8 (2006). If you would like to know more about what this guide has to offer, click here.

Price: $14.95

Canoeing Streams of the Upper Ohio River Basin

Picture of the canoeing map The Map of Canoeing Streams of the Upper Ohio River Basin is a 20″ x 11 1/4″ map of the Allegheny River and its tributaries (e.g. the drainages of the Clarion River, Mahoning Creek, French Creek and the Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers), the Monongahela River and its tributaries (e.g. the basins of the Cheat River and the Youghiogheny River), and part of the Upper Ohio River and a few of its tributaries such as the streams of the Beaver River drainage and Little Beaver Creek drainage. The map extends into southwestern New York and into northern and central West Virginia. Sections of streams are color-coded to indicate the level of canoeing difficulty to be expected at normal water levels.

Price: $2.10

Links to other publications

Allegheny County Park Maps

Allegheny County has been mapping trails in its parks and posting the updated maps on its website for the last 2-3 years, but the problem with these maps is the abundance of unmarked trails. There were very few blazed trails in the County parks. So even with a map, navigating such a labyrinth could be more of a challenge than most hikers wanted.

To make the trail systems of Allegheny County parks more accessible to hikers and encourage people to use them, the County has blazed and mapped trails for Hartwood Park, Deer Lakes Park, and Settlers Cabin Park during 2007. The blazed trails are set up as interconnecting loops that cover large areas of the parks. At Deer Lakes and Hartwood, the loops cover the entire park. There aren’t enough distinct colors to blaze all of the trails, so we joined individual trails to make 6 or 7 large loops. The loops are big enough that walking 1 or 2 can make a good conditioning walk, while joining several can make a 6 to 8 mile hike. By doing a little exploring and using a couple of un-blazed trails the loops can be connected at Deer Lakes to make an 8-mile perimeter hike.

Allegheny County park trails may not be quite as scenic as trails in the Laurel Highlands, but they are a great resource close to home when time is limited. Hopefully, this blazing project will make them a lot easier to follow and more hiker-friendly.

Allegheny County park maps

Brian McBane, GIS Analyst
Allegheny County Computer Services

The Challenge of a Lifetime: Backpacking with Parkinson’s

By Pete Ferrari

Buy it on Amazon.

This is an inspirational story (rather than a how-to book) about several wilderness trips in Algonquin Park in Canada and an 8-day Laurel Highlands backpacking trip. The author interweaves his Parkinson’s experience and the challenges he faced in coping with strenuous conditions. The book would be especially inspiring for newly diagnosed patients, as it is a testimony to challenging oneself to overcome obstacles and lead an active life.

Read the Spring 2018 Sierran


Join or make a donation

CO2 Current atmospheric
C02 PPM from

Search the site

  Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet."® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club.