Bear Run Nature Reserve
Bear Run Nature Reserve is the flagship property of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Located on the western flank of Laurel Hill in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, the Reserve offers hiking trails, backcountry campsites, and hunting and fishing opportunities. Bear Run Nature Reserve provides the setting for Fallingwater, designed for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Bear Run Nature Reserve is managed to protect, conserve, and restore land and water for the diversity of the region's native plants, animals, and their ecosystems. The Reserve is integral to biodiversity conservation in the Laurel Highlands and the mid-Appalachian region.
Stewart Township and Springfield Township, Fayette County; Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County
1963 - 2015
Approximately 5,115 acres
Mature deciduous forest, hemlock forest, high gradient streams
Bear Run Nature Reserve is located off PA Rt. 381, approximately 3 miles south of Mill Run, Fayette County, PA - VIEW ON MAP
Wildlife and Plants
Bear Run Reserve provides habitat for a diversity of forest-dwelling wildlife, including black bear, fisher, bobcat, and over 53 bird species. Over 500 plant species have been found on the Reserve. Dominant trees include tulip tree, red maple, chestnut oak, American beech, sugar maple, and black cherry.
The main trailhead is located at the upper parking lot. From there, over 20 miles of trails take hikers to various corners of the Reserve.
Observing Plants and Wildlife
Bear Run Reserve provides habitat for a diversity of forestdwelling wildlife, including black bear, fisher, bobcat, and over 53 bird species. Over 500 plant species have been found on the Reserve. Dominant trees include tulip tree, red maple, chestnut oak, American beech, sugar maple, and black cherry.
Camping is permitted at a limited number of primitive campsites. Camping is on a first-come first-served basis. Campsite registration forms must be completed at the trailhead kiosk.
Hunting and Fishing
NO FIREARMS are permitted on or around the grounds of Fallingwater. Please refer to the map on the Bear Run hunting permit document, to familiarize yourself with the "No Hunting Zone" where weapons are prohibited. Hunting is permitted in the appropriate areas Monday through Saturday, with a free permit from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Hunting is not permitted on Sundays. Fishing is permitted with the exception of the reach of Bear Run from the Rt. 381 bridge downstream to the Youghiogheny River. Trapping is not permitted.
When visiting Bear Run Nature Reserve, please remember:
- Dogs must be on a leash or otherwise kept under control at all times.
- All vehicles (4WD, ATVs, mountain bikes, etc.) are prohibited.
- Campfires are permitted only at designated campsites. Only dead and downed tree limbs may be used for firewood. Firewood may not be brought in from offsite, or removed from the Reserve.
- Dumping and littering is prohibited.
- Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) is prohibited.
- Horseback riding is restricted to immediate neighbors only with a permit.
- Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Preserves document prior to your visit
Plan Your Visit
Bear Run Nature Reserve GPS Coordinates: 39.906115, -79.459889
At over 5,000 acres, exploring Bear Run Nature Reserve can be a true wilderness experience. Many of the trails are rugged and purposely managed to have minimal impact on the surrounding landscape. Please be prepared by familiarizing yourself with the preserve, bringing along a map or GPS unit, wearing sturdy boots or shoes, and having plenty of water. Be prepared for your adventure with the following resources. We recommend downloading these files to your device prior to visiting, as cell phone reception is not always available in this area.