The Rachel Carson Trail is one of Western Pennsylvania's premier hiking trails, boasting miles of rugged, hilly terrain that challenge even the most seasoned hikers. The trail is extremely varied, traversing several county parks, following power and gas lines, skirting suburban homes and farms, crossing creeks, meandering through woods and fields, and passing along the edge of steep bluffs. The terrain along the route ranges from paved roads to some areas that are quite primitive and rugged. Spurs lead into the mansion area at Hartwood Acres County Park and the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale. Continuing urban development along the route of the trail may bring disruption and require rerouting from time to time. There are no camps or shelters along the way, meaning the trail is intended for day-hiking. The trail is relatively primitive and steep in places. No bridges have been built, so streams have to be crossed as-is.