Best Places to Run in Western PA: State Game Lands 284

We recently uploaded a new video to our Wolf Creek Race Management Youtube channel highlighting State Game Lands 284 in Mercer and Lawrence Counties from a running perspective. This is the third video in a series of reviews of the best running destinations in Western Pennsylvania. We will be releasing a new video on a new park or trail each week.

State Game Lands 284 is most famous for its picturesque Springfield Falls, also sometimes referred to as Leesburg Falls. This location is also known for its wetlands that make a perfect habitat for birds and other wildlife. I’m no bird expert but I see many different species of birds, many of which I can’t identify, each time I visit SGL 284. I have seen Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, and Northern Cardinals on a couple of runs there in the last few weeks. I’ve also seen red foxes and beavers. SGL 284 may be the most concentrated running destination in Western PA for wildlife viewing. I’ve never seen more wildlife in fewer miles anywhere else.

The 3.9-mile access road through the wetlands makes for a relatively easy run in dry conditions. There is one section near the trailhead at the intersection of Brent Road and Rt. 208 where there is a very small stream crossing. This crossing is too wide for most people to jump but there are some rocks piled up in the middle of the water so runners and hikers can cross without getting too wet. In wet or rainy conditions many sections of the access road can be quite muddy. Remember that this is a State Game Lands access road and therefore may need to be accessed by Game Wardens so when you park at a trailhead do not block the gate. When we were filming someone was given a ticket for blocking the gate.

Many of the roads near the State Game Lands are low traffic and great running options as well. I have many times started a run from Springfield Falls and run through the wetlands and back on some of the local roads. When I was in college we would do many of our Sunday long runs during cross country season this way. Below is an example of a simple loop beginning and ending at Springfield Falls.

While State Game Lands 284 may not have the number of running options like some larger location, an 8 mile out and back through the wetlands is worth the trip for any runners wanting to explore another scenic destination in Western Pennsylvania.

Credit: Pennsylvania Game Commission