North Country Trail Association

Butler County Chapter


Lawrence/Butler county line east of McConnells Mill State Park to the Armstrong/Clarion County line at the Allegheny River

The Butler County Chapter has a planning meeting the second Wednesday of each month at the Butler YMCA Trustees Meeting Room. We hold monthly hikes and special events such as the annual Cherry Pie Hike commemorating George Washington and his guide Christopher Gist’s journey through Butler County in 1753. This event is held at Jennings Environmental Education Center, and has re-enactors, history hikes, nature hikes and a seven-mile long hike along the NCNST. Our Chapter assigns trail adopters to each section and each spring hosts a weeklong trailcare event with the Keystone Trails Association to tackle larger projects.

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Chapter Trail Section

The 57-mile Butler County Chapter segment of the North Country Trail begins at Alpha Pass in McConnells Mill State Park and ends crossing the Parker Bridge over the Allegheny River at Parker. The Trail in Butler County winds through the forested hills of the Allegheny Plateau in Western Pennsylvania. The Trail skirts Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park passing by the Muddy Creek Dam, the Owlet Gift Shop (maps, brochures and snacks), the Link Road Adirondack Shelters, and the historic Davis Hollow Cabin. The Trail then follows an old Indian path which follows the high ground north through hardwood and pine forests past the Jennings Environmental Education Center (gift shop, restrooms and remnant prairie) to the historic Old Stone House (1882), a restored inn on the stage coach route from Pittsburgh to Erie. The Trail passes by West Sunbury and through 13 miles of trail in the forested Pennsylvania State Game Lands 95 in northern Butler County. Another 4-mile segment passes remnants of the early oil industry along Bear Creek and crosses the mouth of Bear Creek on the way to the Trail Town, Parker.

Trail Town: Parker

Parker, America’s smallest city, is located along the scenic Allegheny River in Western Pennsylvania. The forested hills and clear streams and the natural beauty of the surrounding area provide residents and visitors alike with year-round outdoor recreation.

Connect and Get Involved

Join the Chapter
Chapter brochure
Chapter Meetup


Use the Report Trail Condition form to alert NCTA and the Chapter to poor trail conditions. Visit the Trail Alerts page while planning your adventure.

Suggested Hikes

Hidden River Bridge to Burnside Road: 6 miles, easy to moderate. This out-and-back hike in Moraine State Park passes by a butterfly trail, the Owlet Gift Shop and picnic pavilions, the 30-foot Muddy Creek Bridge, the Muddy Creek Dam for Lake Arthur, the scenic Lake Arthur shoreline, under the Route 422 Bridge and through hardwood and pine forests. From Butler, travel Route 422 west and exit to the right at North Shore Drive. Follow North Shore Drive east to the second bicycle rental parking area and begin at the NCT trailhead kiosk. Hike west a short ways to the Hidden River Bridge then hike back past the bicycle rental and restrooms building east towards Burnside Road. From other directions, travel on Route 19 to Burnside Road. Travel east 2 miles to West Park Road, then north to North Shore Drive and east to the bicycle rental parking area.

Route 528 Bridge to Jennings Prairie: 7 miles (one-way), moderate to difficult. This hike begins along Lake Arthur west of the Route 528 bridge and travels along the shore of Lake Arthur for a mile, then connects with the NCT, climbing a ridge through hardwood forests, dropping down to the Route 528 trailhead. It crosses Route 528 and north along the ridges to the Jennings Prairie with summer blooms of blazing stars and other prairie flowers. Stop by the Jennings Environmental Education Center to see displays of local wildlife and a gift shop, and to use the restrooms. Hike back 7 miles to your car or drive back in the car you spotted at Jennings before the hike. From Route 422, drive north along Route 528, cross the Route 528 bridge over Lake Arthur and turn right to the boat launch sign. Park in the shade under the bridge and then begin your hike west along the shore.

Parker Area State Game Lands 95: 4-8 miles, easy to moderate. Begin at the Route 256 trailhead, cross Route 268 and hike north 2 miles to El Dorado Road in State Game Lands 295. The Trail passes through oil industry remnants, the scenic Bear Creek Valley, past rock formations and hemlock-covered hills. Return 2 miles back to your car. You can hike south to the Main Bear Creek Gorge, 2 miles to the Trail Town of Parker, along the Allegheny River. Have a picnic lunch at the community park along the river or eat in a local restaurant, then return 2 miles to your car. Wear orange and bright clothing in the fall or hike on Sundays (when hunting is not permitted in Pennsylvania). From Butler, drive Route 68 north to Route 268 just north of Chicora, then pass through Karns City and Bruin. The Route 268 trailhead is on the left about a mile north of Parker.

Chapter Maps and Guidance

View our section of the Trail on the interactive online map
Butler County map

Additional Local Resources

Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau
Moraine State Park
McConnells Mill State Park
Jennings Environmental Education Center
Old Stone House
Moraine Preservation Fund