Explore: Washington County, PA

Washington County lies entirely within the Western Allegheny Plateau section of the Appalachian Forest ecoregion. Enjoy EXPLORE-ing these wonderful places in Washington County.

Hillman State Park

Location:  Burgettstown, PA

Description:  Hillman became a State Park in 1969 when the 3,654 acres were donated by a coal company after being strip mined.  By the late 1960s, more than 2 million trees had been planted in the southern end of the park, and grasses, clover, and vetch were planted in the northern and western sections.  There are 34 miles of hiking trails, but no facilities at this park.  Hunting is allowed.  More information about hunting can be found by contacting neighboring Raccoon Creek State Park.

Wildflowers such as closed-bottle gentian, boneset, and hepatica can be found along the streams, and milkweed, butterfly weed, Joe-pye weed, and teasel can be found in the fields.  Rattlesnake plantain, running cedar, and ferns can be found in the forest.  Young forest habitat has been restored in partnership with the Ruffed Grouse Society to provide for the ruffed grouse and the American woodcock.  Native warm season grass fields of big bluestem grass, Indian grass, and switch grass have been established as well.

Mingo Creek County Park

Location:  Finleyville, PA

Description:   Mingo Creek County Park is a 2,600-acre park located in Finleyville, PA, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, with a beautiful paved walking trail along the creek, plus hiking trails through the forest.  The forest has been identified as an Appalachian mixed mesophytic forest.  A native tree survey , completed in 2010, can be found at Native Tree Society BBS.

The creek winds its way through the park over the course of about two to three miles. The creek is easily accessible, fairly wide, and a serene spot to spend a day.  Aquatic life includes amphibians, macroinvertebrates, and fish.

Cross Creek Park

Location:  Avella, PA

Description:  This is a 2000+ acre park that includes a 285-acre manmade lake.  The lake provides great opportunities for bird watching, especially by way of kayak or canoe.  There are hiking trails, with one following the lakeshore. 

Ten Mile Creek County Park

Location:  Clarksville, PA

Description:  The park is primarily a launch point for Ten Mile Creek, close to where it flows into the Monongahela River.  It has been designated as a wildflower preserve.  The watershed is roughly 24% agricultural, 68% forested, with the rest attributed to other uses.  The watershed area for Ten Mile Creek is 139 square miles with a total length of 220 miles of streams (with tributaries).  For the more adventurous, this creek can be accessed at various launch points by canoe or kayak, which are great ways to see flora and fauna along the creek. The creek is home to various species of fish including several types of bass. 

Historically, this creek was used as a short cut in the westward expansion along the rivers in the 1700s.  To reduce the time to get to the Ohio river near Wheeling, West Virginia, early settlers would travel up Ten Mile Creek and then portage 3 miles to Wheeling Creek, continuing to Wheeling on the Ohio river. 

Enlow Fork Natural Area

Location:  West Finley, PA

Description:  The Enlow Fork Natural Area is located near the Green and Washington County borders.  It features an easy scenic trail that follows a closed dirt road with two iron bridges along the stream through a forest ecosystem.  The trail is an out and back trail and is approximately 6.5 miles long going through some of the best river bottom forest in the Allegheny low plateau. 

The trail is a bird watcher’s dream with birds of all species scattered around the area.  Some include the Midwestern and Carolinian (Southern) species of birds.  The land and trail protect many different species of wildflowers, perhaps most notably the blue-eyed Mary.  This striking annual plant only occurs in Pennsylvania in open deciduous woods and on river terraces in the southwest part of the state.

Updated: March 2021