Climbing Areas Within Reasonable Driving Distance of Pittsburgh

DISCLAIMER: Climbing and related activities are inherently dangerous. The directions given below are for informational purposes only. Access to property often changes and it is up to each individual to assess the current conditions. I do not advocate willful trespass onto posted private property.

Directions to some of the crags are given. If you find errors in these directions, or can clarify some of the times/names, please send me mail. Feel free to ask me about directions to some of the others. Times given are generally from Carnegie Mellon, in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh.

Sorted by driving time, approximately.

McConnell's Mill
Driving time: 0:45.
Access: State Park. Climbing allowed.

  1. Blvd of the Allies to 579N
  2. 579N becomes 79N
  3. 79N to exit 29. This is 422.
  4. Turn left. Go under the US19 underpass.
  5. Turn left into the park. It's a small brown sign.
  6. Go straight. At the T intersection, turn right. Head down past the mill.
  7. Cross the one lane covered bridge. Turn right on the next road.
  8. Climbing is located on the pulloffs after another 1/4 mile. You will see signs about "Dangerous Cliffs".

Derry, PA. Driving time: 1:00.
Access: Private. Posted.

The Access Fund is attempting to gain access for climbers to this area. Please help clean this area up. If possible, take a garbage bag with you and haul some stuff out.

  1. Take Parkway East through Monroeville.
  2. Stay on 22E (Murrysville) until New Alexandria.
  3. Turn right onto 981. Stay on 981 until 217?. About 10-15 minutes. There will be a stoplight just after passing through a small underpass.
  4. Turn left onto 217. This is a 4 lane divided highway at the light.
  5. Stay on this for 2 miles? Turn left and head toward Derry. This is definitely 217 at this point.
  6. In Derry, 217 turns left. One block later there is a greenhouse (the type where they grow plants).
  7. Turn right onto this road. Go two blocks to Ligonier St. Turn right.
  8. Derry Highrocks is located off of this road. Follow Ligonier past all the houses. As you're heading uphill, you'll pass a gunclub on the left. Shortly thereafter, there will be a dirt road leading to a fairly sizable opening in the trees off to the right. Follow this road until it ends.
  9. The cliffs are 50m further along. Trails are easy to see.

Rob's Knobs
PA state gamelands area, Dunbar, PA. Driving time: 1:05. Hiking: 00:30.
Access: Climbing allowed.

Cole's Cove
Dunbar, PA. Driving time, 1:10. Hiking: 0:10.
Access: State Gamelands (?). Parking is an issue.

PA state gamelands area, Dunbar, PA. Nice area to take beginning climbers, plus there are more difficult routes too. Everything is protectable via toprope. Driving time: 1hr 15m.
Access: Climbing allowed.

  1. Turnpike East to exit 8 (New Stanton, Uniontown).
  2. 119 South toward Connellsville.
  3. Pass through Connellsville, and look for a sign indicating the town of Dunbar. Turn left at this light.
  4. When this road ends at a tee, turn right.
  5. About three blocks later, this road will also end at a tee. Turn left and follow the sign toward Ohiopyle.
  6. Stay on this road for about 5? miles. You'll see a PA State Gamelands office on your right. There is a tall chain link fence around the office. 1.7 miles after the gameland office, you'll take a left onto a small road. Warning: this left turn occurs as the main road bears right, so be careful of oncoming traffic.
  7. Stay on this road as it passes some local houses and eventually turns into a gravel PA gamelands road. Following this road, stay to the right until you've passed two left side roads.
  8. After you've passed the 2nd left side road, bear left after about 30m. Park about 100m further on, just before the small ravine. You're now about 50m from the top of the cliff.

Lisbon Quarries
Lisbon, OH
Access: No restrictions.

Seven Springs Airport
Seven Springs, PA. Driving time: 1hr 20m. Hiking: 10m.
Access: Private(?). Climbing permitted. Don't drive on the runway.

  1. 376E to the turnpike.
  2. Turnpike east to exit 9 (Donegal).
  3. 31E to 381S (W?) (a right turn).
  4. Turn left in Salt Lick (?). There are signs to Seven Springs. Just follow them.
  5. At Seven Springs, do not pass the resort gates. Turn left just before them.
  6. Follow this road for a while, past a series of condos on your right. Go past the small storage buildings on your left.
  7. You should now pass a sign that says gate closes at 9pm. Go through the gate and make your next left.
  8. Stay on this road until you hit a T intersection w/ a dead tree in the middle. Make a left.
  9. This ends at the Seven Springs airport. Just park in the lot.
  10. Now hike directly across the runway toward the windsock.
  11. Stay to the left side of any water (runoff and reservoir). Stay as far from the runway as possible.
  12. At the far end of the reservoir, go immediately right toward a white boulder near the gravel access road.
  13. Trail to the cliff is 15 ft up the road from this boulder.

White Rocks
Uniontown, PA. Driving time: 1hr 20m. Hiking: 30m.
Access: Private. Posted. Heavily posted now. May be road construction prior to logging.

  1. Take 51 toward Uniontown.
  2. At Uniontown, take 119S (same as 40E?).
  3. 119S splits off 40E, stay on 119S. take the first exit (857S).
  4. After a few miles (4?) on 857, there is a small old roller rink on the left hand side. Turn left just beyond the rink.
  5. Cross the railroad tracks. Go straight at the stop sign. Do not take any roads that say 'No Outlet'.
  6. The paved road turns to gravel/dirt. This road leads to the Hi-To bar. Just before the bar, there are some picnic tables on the left. Park across from the picnic tables off to the right side of the road.
  7. The hike in: From the right side of the road, find a gravel/rock road (may have a blue farm gate blocking it). Follow this for a short distance until you cross a small puddle (or two?). This is about 100m. You're now looking for a path off to the left. Do not take any paths that are filled w/ water. The correct path is marked w/ a 'No motorized vehicles beyond this point' sign. Follow this left hand path for a short distance until it joins a road to the right that leads uphill. You'll stay on this road for about 25 minutes. Ignore all branches that occur at right angles. Toward the end you'll come to a place where the roads look vaguely like this crude ascii diagram:
      this one is not   | / you want this branch
      really straight   |/
      ahead             |
      you may not see / |  you came up on this one
      this one unless   |
      you look back
      for it.
    the rocks are located after another couple hundred meters after you take the rightmost branch. they'll be to your left. The trail to the rocks leads to a small creek w/ an undercut rock on the farside of the creek. The trail goes up and to the right around this rock. I believe, but have never checked, that if you miss the right in the diagram above, you'll end up coming out on top of the rocks.

Cooper's Rock
Morgantown, WV. Driving time: 1 hr 40m.
Access: State Forest. Climbing allowed except at the overlook.

  1. Through Ft. Pitt tunnel onto I279S. Take the I79 exit (Washington/Erie exit).
  2. Take I79S to Washington. Around Washington, I79S and I70E are the same for a short period. A couple of miles after Washington, I79S splits from I70E.
  3. Stay on I79S past Morgantown to the I68E exit.
  4. Coopers Rock is exit 15 (?) on I68E.
  5. Take a right at the end of the exit ramp. Follow the signs to the overlook. The climbing areas are downhill before and beyond the overlook. Climbing is offlimits at the overlook itself.

Donation, PA (near Altoona). Driving time: 2:30?
Access: Private. Posted?

  1. 376E to Monroeville
  2. Go East on US 22 for 104.0 miles to State Rte 26
  3. Go Northeast on State Rte 26 for 9.1 miles To Donation, PA
  4. From faint memory...Turn left at the church/cemetery. This has a sign for "Power Horse Farms" or something like that. This is actually before you get to the town of Donation keep an eye out for it.
  5. After a short distance, take a left after a wild game farm (deer, antelope, or something like that.. you'll see the big fence around it).
  6. The rocks are on the left and right. Park near a guardrail.

Bellefonte Quarries
Bellefonte, PA. Driving time: ~3 hours
Access: Private. Climbing tolerated.

  1. Take 376E to Monroeville.
  2. Go East on US 22 for 75.5 miles to US 220
  3. Go Northeast on US 220 to State Rte 150
  4. Take 150 South about two miles until the Penn State Sub Shops building on the right.
  5. I *believe* parking is ok across the street in the empty(?) strip mall parking lot and also in the Sub Shop parking lot away from the building itself.
  6. The quarries are located about 1/4 mile behind the Metal Products building. If someone can give me more accurate directions about the standard trails in, I'd appreciate it. I've only been there once....

Seneca Rocks
Seneca Rocks, WV. Driving time: 3:30 - 4hr.
Access: No restrictions.

While there are a number of various routes, the following tends to be as fast as any other.

  1. Take 51S to Uniontown. 51 is the road that passes by Century III mall.
  2. In Uniontown, pick up 119S. 119S and 40E are the same road for a few miles.
  3. Stay on 40E after it splits off from 119S. Take this all the way to 219S.
  4. Take 219S to Thomas, WV. In Thomas, 219S takes a right across a bridge. You want to continue straight ahead on 32E.
  5. Take 32E to Harmon, where you then pick up 33E to Seneca Rocks.

New River Gorge, WV
Driving time: 4hr.
Access: No restrictions.

Franklin, WV
Franklin, WV. Driving time: 4:30.
Access: Private. Climbing OK. Low profile recommended.

This area was hit pretty hard by the flood of 9/96. The old parking site was washed away. You may need to park further back along the road. Do not block access to others attempting to go further down the road.

  1. Follow the directions to Seneca Rocks.
  2. At Seneca Rocks, stay on 33E to Franklin.
  3. In Franklin, 33E will join 220S for a short distance. This is the main street of Franklin.
  4. Stay on 33E as it turns off of the main street (a block or so past the 7-11).
  5. After passing a bridge with stone cement railings, turn left onto a dirt road. Take an immediate left again behind a small convenience store.
  6. Follow this dirt road across a small bridge, and then park a few 100m farther along after passing a small round-about.
  7. Cliffs are to your immediate right, there are additional cliffs back up the road 30m or so. Trails are fairly easy to see.
There are more routes at River's Bend. Another 1/2 mile bushwhack down the river.

Other Areas

Areas that I haven't been to, but may be able to dig up directions to:
Beam's Rocks, 90ft Rock
Laurel Ridge Area

Miscellaneous Areas

Spruce Hollow
Connellsville, PA. Driving time: 0:50.
Access: Private. Posted. Climbing ok?

Uncle Joe's
Connellsville, PA
Access: Private. Posted.

Woodland Wall
Morgantown, WV. Driving time: 1hr 30m.
Access: Private. Posted. Occasional guard.

  1. Please don't frequent this area until access is cleared up.
  2. Contact the Access Fund for more information.

Todd W. Mummert