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About Powdermill

Powdermill Nature Reserve is Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s environmental research center. Located 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in Rector, Pennsylvania, Powdermill is a field station and laboratory where researchers do long-term studies of natural populations in western Pennsylvania. In addition to being positioned for Appalachian-specific studies in ornithology, ecology, invertebrate zoology, and botany, Powdermill is a great place to spend a fun-filled day outdoors with the family.

Explore the beautiful woodlands around Powdermill, or visit the nature center, which features exhibits that highlight local wildlife, an indoor stream, and a marsh machine that uses a living greenhouse to purify waste water.

Admission to Powdermill Nature Reserve is free.

Powdermill Nature Reserve’s week-long summer camps for children ages 6–12 start soon! Learn more and register for camp.

Nature Center Hours

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Closed: Mondays

Winter Hours

by appointment only 

Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m.– 3 p.m. 

Closed Sunday 


GPS Coordinates
+40.160    -79.272

Powdermill Nature Reserve
1795 Route 381
Rector, PA 15677


Hiking & Trails
Trails are open dawn to dusk.

Events at Powdermill

Family Nature Walk at Powdermill

July 6, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Join us as we hit the trails for a guided nature walk! We’ll meet in the atrium of the Powdermill ...

Frog Walk at Powdermill

July 31, 8:15 pm - 10:15 pm
Join us at sunset for a walk around the Powdermill Nature Reserve property to see/hear the various f...

Family Nature Walk at Powdermill

August 3, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Join us as we hit the trails for a guided nature walk! We’ll meet in the atrium of the Powdermill ...
taxidermy coyote


Powdermill Nature Reserve was established by Carnegie Museum of Natural History in 1956 to serve as a field station for research on natural populations. General and Mrs. Richard K. Mellon and Dr. and Mrs. Alan M. Scaife presented 1,160 acres of land located about 3 miles south of Rector, Pennsylvania, for the use of Carnegie Museum of Natural History which was named “Powdermill Nature Reserve, a Research Station of Carnegie Museum.” Over the next several years, acreage was added to Powdermill Nature Reserve, and it now offers more than 2,200 acres of woodlands, streams, fields, and ponds for research and educational programs. Powdermill is home to the museum’s GIS lab, avian research center, and a new nature center with ecological exhibits.

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