Toms Run Nature Reserve
Located about 10 miles from downtown Pittsburgh in western Allegheny County, Toms Run Nature Reserve is 369 acres and hosts large stands of mature maple, oak and American beech trees and several small streams. The largest of those streams is Toms Run. This nature reserve is available to you and your family for hiking and wildlife viewing with new trails, including an ADA-accessible path.
The Conservancy first began protecting this urban forest from development in 1977 and have been working to restore it from years of agriculture, gas and residential development since the mid-2000s. Today, with the help of dedicated WPC members and volunteers, dilapidated buildings have been demolished and abandoned oil and gas wells capped. Toms Run Nature Reserve is located near I-79 and Route 65 in Ohio and Kilbuck townships and remains one of the largest areas of undeveloped forested land in Allegheny County.
Ohio and Kilbuck townships, Allegheny County
The reserve includes large stands of mature maple, oak and American beech trees. Toms Run, which flows along the preserve’s eastern border, is the largest of several streams on the reserve.
Observing Plants and Wildlife
The reserve is one of fewer than 40 Natural Heritage Areas across Allegheny County that host important plant and animal habitats.
From Pittsburgh, take PA-65 N 10 miles to Toms Run Road (before the intersection with I-79). Turn right onto Toms Run Road and continue straight for 1.1 miles to the parking lot on your left. From I-79, take I-79 to PA-65 S/Ohio River Boulevard. Make the first left onto Toms Run Road and travel 1.1 miles to the parking lot on your left.- VIEW ON MAP
Hiking Toms Run
3-mile Trail Loop
Toms Run Nature Reserve is free to the public for all to enjoy. You can currently explore the reserve via a new three-mile trail loop, thanks to the help of professional trail builders and local volunteers. Portions of the trail may be wet depending on the season and weather conditions. At the trailhead, visitors will also find trail maps and information, and additional educational signage throughout the reserve.
The painted trail blazes at Toms Run Nature Reserve follow a standard protocol for marking hiking trails in North America. Learn what each trail blaze means.
A portion of the trail includes a 380-foot pathway that can be used by wheelchairs and electric-powered mobility devices. An expanded, ADA-accessible parking lot, which accommodates 13 vehicles and school buses, is available.
Other Recreational Activities
Visitors may find a variety of migrant songbirds that can be seen during spring and fall migration, including vireos, warblers, thrushes and sparrows – among others.
Hunting is permitted during hunting season, except on Sundays. Trapping is prohibited. All visitors should exercise caution and wear blaze orange during hunting season.
When visiting Toms Run Nature Reserve, please remember:
- Only foot traffic is permitted.
- Camping and campfires are prohibited.
- Vehicles, including ATVs and bicycles, are prohibited.
- If you carry it in, carry it out.
- Dogs must be on a leash or otherwise kept under control at all times.
- Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) without permission is prohibited.
- Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Properties document prior to your visit.
Plan Your Visit
Toms Run Nature Reserve has plenty of natural beauty with narrow stream valleys and steep forested slopes. Visitors should wear sturdy boots or shoes, as portions of the trail may be wet depending on the season and weather conditions. The parking lot accommodates 13 vehicles and school buses. Be prepared for your visit by watching this short video and reviewing the downloadable maps and materials below. We recommend downloading these files to your mobile device prior to visiting.