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.
Nov. 1 – Mar 31
Wednesday–Saturday: 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Noon–4:30 p.m.
Apr 1 – Oct 31
Tuesday–Saturday: 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Noon–4:30 p.m.
Powdermill Nature Reserve
1795 Route 381
Rector, PA 15677
Hiking & Trails
To maintain public safety, Sugar Camp and Porcupine Ridge Trails will be closed during permitted rifle hunting, starting on Friday, November 27. Both trails will reopen on Sunday, December 13. Black Birch Trail will remain open dawn to dusk.
Powdermill educators conduct recurring weekend and evening programs throughout the year as well as summer camps June through August.
Join us at Powdermill Nature Reserve on the first Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. for Storytime and More. Children ages 3 to 9, accompanied by an adult, are welcome to discover the wonders of nature through a picture book read-aloud and related game, craft project, or nature walk.
Join us in the Parker Room of the nature center on the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. for a seasonally relevant nature talk. At the same time, children ages 8 to 13 are invited into the Netting Classroom to join us for a hands-on investigation of the natural world! Weather permitting, each lecture will be followed by a brief foray into the field for an interpretive hike.
Some kinds of nature are best observed at dusk. Join us on the third Wednesday of each month (January through October) at 7 p.m. (Note: 7/17 time is 8:30-10 pm to observe nighttime insects!). Popcorn will be served! Soft drinks will be available for purchase.
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.