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15 Switchbacks

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.0 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This out-and-back hike features 15 switchbacks full of fun; need I say more!


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Map Key

6.1

Miles

9.8

KM

Out and Back

1,162' 354 m

High

742' 226 m

Low

514' 157 m

Up

514' 157 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Views

Hunting part of the year wear blaze orange.

Overview

This is a favorite hike and probably one of the best in the McKeesport area. The 15 switchbacks make this a climbing and descending gem.

Need to Know

This is an out and back course.

Description

Park at the GAP trailhead in Boston parking and head north on the GAP Trail. While you are getting this nice warm up in pay attention to the big hill to your left, that's the monster you'll soon be climbing. Once the trail turns to pavement look for the Dead Man's Hollow entrance on the left. Once you find the stone stairs on the left just follow the Witch Hazel Trail up and up.

Go past the ruins and when you come to the bridge crossing the creek bear left and continue up the hill. Once you locate the stone stairs you are now at the base of the "witch". And trust me this trail is a witch!

You'll now start switchbacking up the hill; frankly I lost count of switchbacks after ten. However, the climb continues on beautiful trail, even if it is very challenging. Pay attention to the blue diamonds with black arrows as they will guide you up the trail.

The views from the top cliff edge are excellent.

The trail ends at another informational sign; now all you need to do is enjoy the descent.

History & Background

Tons of history in the area - you can read the Dead Man's Hollow signs for more information. FYI a Bigfoot type creature was spotted here in the 1970's. The place can sometimes have a creepy vibe.

Contacts

Land Manager: Allegheny Trail Alliance

Shared By:

Bill Trautmann

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 3 votes

#4165

Overall
  4.0 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#105

in Pennsylvania

#4,165

Overall
15 Views Last Month
1,392 Since Jun 2, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

The view from the top of the Witch Hazel Trail.
Apr 19, 2017 near Versailles, PA
Some switchback action on the Witch Hazel Trail.
Apr 19, 2017 near Versailles, PA
The information board at the entrance to Dead Man's Hollow.
Apr 19, 2017 near Versailles, PA
A trail marker on the Witch Hazel Trail.
Apr 19, 2017 near Versailles, PA
This marks the turnaround point for the Witch Hazel Trail.
Apr 19, 2017 near Lincoln, PA

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Check-Ins

Aug 9, 2020
Andrew Parise
Oct 4, 2018
Jack Martis
From Boston GAP parking lot. Nice smooth trail, moderately challenging hill, then a pleasant, level hike along the ridge. Groundhog sighting. 5.5mi — 2h 43m
Aug 4, 2018
Rachel Whalen
Park in Boston GAP trail access head north to dead mans hollow
Sep 26, 2017
Karen V