Following are updates to the publications available on our trail guides page. If you have information to share, email it to Rick Arnold at 1bud401 at gmail dot com.
This page was last updated on 10/15/11.
- Allegheny Highlands (Heritage?) Trail (Bike Path)
- Allegheny River Trail (Bike Path)
- Armstrong Trail (Bike Path)
- Arrowhead Trail (Bike Path)
- Butler-Freeport Trail (Bike Path)
- Caperton Trail (Bike Path)
- Clarion/Little Toby Trail (Bike Path)
- Clearfield to Grampian Trail (Bike Path)
- Conemaugh River River Bike Path near Saltsburg
- Deckers Creek Trail (Bike Path)
- Ghost Town Trail (Bike path)
- Great Allegheny Passage (Bike path)
- Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (Foot Trail)
- Laurel Hill State Park (Foot trails and ski-touring trails)
- Laurel Ridge State Park Ski-Touring Trails (Rt. 653)
- Laurel Mountain Ski-Touring and Hiking Trails (US30 Area)
- Linn Run Unit of Forbes State Forest (Foot trails and ski-touring trails)
- Long Run Trail (a new foot trail near Quebec Run Wild Area and White Tail Trail)
- Montour Trail (Bike Path)
- Mountain Streams Area (Hiking)
- Panhandle Trail (Bike Path)
- Rachel Carson Trail (Foot Trail)
- Roaring Run Natural Area on Laurel Ridge
- Quebec Run Wild Area on Chestnut Ridge
- Samuel Justice Trail (Bike Path)
- Turnpike Trail (Bike Path)
- Wheeling Trail (Bike Path)
- White Tail Trail on Chestnut Ridge (Foot Trail)
- Youghiogheny River Trail (Bike Path)
- ALLEGHENY HIGHLANDS TRAIL (Bike Path)
(ALLEGHENY HERITAGE TRAIL) (GREAT ALLEGHENY PASSAGE)
Confluence PA to Pinkerton Tunnel
The latest addition (Confluence to Fort Hill along the Casselman River) to the cycle path that will eventually extend from Pittsburgh to Washington DC was tried out on 8/16/01. The trailhead parking lot in Confluence was being completed on that date, and the dedication is planned for later in August. The trail was found to be excellent — scenery, construction, design. One minor problem — the posts in the trail at road-crossings etc. are closer together than on the Youghiogheny River Trail, so it takes a certain amount of nerve to bicycle through them. NOTE; since 8/16/01 other additions have been made to the GAP, mainly farther east through some of Pennsylvania’s most scenic country. The route goes over some very high bridges and through tunnels over a mile long. (One of them is lighted.) People now cycle from Washington DC to near Pittsburgh frequently, and there are companies that provide tours including vehicles to transport your overnight gear, food, overnight accommodations, etc. There are numerous campgrounds and Bed and Breakfasts along the way. There is also a Listserv to offer information and a way for people to exchange information on their experiences during their trips. The main gap between Pittsburgh and Washington DC is now at Sandcastle along the Monongahela River.
The new Confluence parking lot is just off Rt. 281. Coming from Ohiopyle, the turn-off to your right is just after you cross the bridge over the Youghiogheny River., Riversport Outfitters is adjacent to that lot. Ramcat Hollow Lot is on the Yough River Trail a mile or so downstream.
We found an outstanding lunch spot. At 3.7 miles from Confluence, or 2.6 miles from the Fort Hill parking lot, you encounter a stream going under the trail and into the Casselman River nearby. Fences line both sides of the trail here, and on the uphill side of the trail a row of pine have been planted. At the Confluence end of the stream-crossing is a small pull-off and a steel gate. On the far side of the gate an old jeep trail leads uphill. A “Posted” sign blocks this trail. A few feet beyond the sign a pleasant old logging trail runs parallel to the bike path (toward Fort Hill). After about 40 yards it turns uphill and parallels the stream. After 20 yards it turns left and crosses the stream at a ford. At this ford the stream bottom is solid rock slabs that form a 10-15-ft.-high waterfalls dropping into a clear pool almost big enough to swim in (huge rock slab bottom). Stream banks are rhododendron. This makes for an ideal lunch-stop or rest stop. The concrete culvert under the bike path is large enough to walk through — in case you want to look at the Casselman River. If you have qualms about “Posted” signs you can easily get around it.
A Port-a-John is at the Fort Hill parking lot (Milepost 35).
At 9.6 miles from Confluence is the Pinkerton Railroad Tunnel. It is blocked off (considered “unsafe”). A 1-mile bike path (lower-grade surface than the bike path) gets you around this tunnel. At 10.6 miles is the far end of the tunnel. You can look through the tunnel here and see the opposite end of the tunnel perhaps 150 yards away. Just before a bridge across the Casselman River (about 40 yards from the tunnel mouth) a side trail leads down to a big beach (solid, smooth rock strata) on the Casselman River. One could swim there. The Casselman River is now amazingly clear and apparently clean — a far cry from what it was a decade or two ago. It is much warmer than the Youghiogheny River because water in the Youghiogheny River comes out of the bottom of the dam at Confluence. (Bruce Sundquist, 8/19/01)
Confluence PA to Meyersdale PA
On 8/5/02 I rode the Allegheny Heritage Trail from Confluence PA to Meyersdale PA. (http://www.atatrail.org/seg-maps/aht11.htm and http://www.atatrail.org/seg-maps/aht12.htm ) I started at Confluence because it is the closest access to I-68, Exit 14 in western Maryland – take US 40 to PA 523 about 13 miles to Confluence. Although the maps show the distance to Meyersdale as 30 miles, it is actually closer to 31 due to the shoo-fly detour around the boarded-up Pinkerton Tunnel. The grade is surprisingly gentle. The trail is on the roadbed of the old Western Maryland Railway and consists of firmly packed fine stone and is in excellent condition, except for the tunnel detour and the last mile or so between Salisbury Viaduct and Meyersdale Station. The route is fairly remote, with only 6-8 grade crossings, and several scenic viaducts, including the 1900í long Salisbury Viaduct. Pack plenty of water and brown-bag it though. Meyersdale Station Visitor Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 PM. Another Visitor Center is in Rockwood, but otherwise you are on your own once you leave Confluence. Allegheny Heritage Trail is high in the mountains and very shady, so it’s a good summer ride — very serene. For a round trip shorter than 62 miles, turn back at Rockwood — a 38 mile round trip. (Dave Dudich email@example.com 8/5/02).
Shuttle Service Hiteís Bike Shop has no affiliation to any of the current of past shuttle services that currently or in the past have provided service to riders/ hikers. Our website is www.mountainsidebiketours.com on the left side, you will find shuttle service. We are also putting together tours and rides for both trails, with many to list in the very near future. The shuttle service and tour company have the financial support and backing of Hites Bike Shop in Cumberland. Hites Bike Shop will also be expanding and opening a second Bike Shop in Frostburg, right on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, beside the New Hope Trail area. This shop will be located at the Shops at the Depot, beside the old hotel. Expected to open July 2005. [hitesbikeshop, cumberland@HitesBikes.com, 5/18/05] (INSERTED on 9/17/05) Added note about Oct. 1, 2005 ñ Hites bike shop is apparently now gone out of business.
A New Shuttle Service has started to service both the Great Allegheny Passage – (Pittsburgh to Cumberland) and the C&O Canal Towpath – (Washington DC to Cumberland). Mountainside Shuttle Service, which is an offspring of a new tour company, Mountainside Bike Tours. The shuttle service is a result of the need for a centralized shuttle service for both trails. We are based in Cumberland MD, at the connecting point of both trails.
Hiteís Bike Shop has no affiliation to any of the current of past shuttle services that currently or in the past have provided service to riders/ hikers. Our website is www.mountainsidebiketours.com on the left side, you will find shuttle service. We are also putting together tours and rides for both trails, with many to list in the very near future. The shuttle service and tour company have the financial support and backing of Hites Bike Shop in Cumberland. Hites Bike Shop will also be expanding and opening a second Bike Shop in Frostburg, right on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, beside the New Hope Trail area. This shop will be located at the Shops at the Depot, beside the old hotel. Expected to open July 2005. [hitesbikeshop, cumberland@HitesBikes.com, 5/18/05] (INSERTED on 9/17/05)
Added note about Oct. 1, 2005 ñ Hites bike shop is apparently now gone out of business.
– – – ALLEGHENY RIVER TRAIL (Bike path) – – –
***** This 10-mile trail heads south from the trailhead off US 322 at the Eighth Street Bridge over the Allegheny River in Franklin. (The Samuel Justice Recreational Trail heads northeast from this same trailhead.) The trail is black-topped to Brandon. It is a little more interesting than the Samuel Justice Trail. You can pedal to Indian God Rock 9 miles south of Franklin with more than 50 rock carvings, some dating back to A.D.1200.
***** The 27 additional miles from Brandon south to Emlenton are open and ride-able, but you need a mountain bike for the hard-packed dirt, cinders and large stones. There are two railroad tunnels on this incomplete section of trail. One is at Kennerdell (1.5 miles long and 14 miles south of Franklin). The other is at Rockland (0.75 mile long). The trail through the tunnels is rough and dark, requiring a flashlight.
***** Contact Allegheny Valley Trails Association, Box 264, Franklin, PA 16323, www.avta-trails.org
– – – ARMSTRONG TRAIL (Bike Path) – – –
This trail is open at Schenley. Kiski Valley Railroad has blocked the main access point. They cite insurance issues and also a futile attempt to cut off ATV access. Currently the railcars they block it with are gone as they just store them for Norfolk Southern. You can park near the post office and ride thru the Industrial Park and access the trail thru a gate at the northern end of the park. After going thru the gate bear right toward the trail. There is a house there but they donít mind bicycles and walkers accessing the trail there. Watch for truck traffic in the park. You can also park at the Yacht Club in the park as the owner gave us permission. The trail is open from there for at least 30 miles to Hooks Station where it is illegally blocked. We just completed the trail thru Kittanning and 2 miles above. Hopefully, in 2004, 6 more miles will be built to Templeton.[Mike Steimer, 724 845 2588, 12/07/03]
Armstrong Trail Maps can be found at:
(It is on the Armstrong County web site — a map of the county and Kittanning area with ALL roads and trails. [firstname.lastname@example.org, 9/16/05])
Armstrong Trail (Armstrong Co. Pa) is up and running. The website for Armstrong Trail is www.armstrongtrail.org . More of the trail is being constructed. On going litigation and disagreements with adjacent landowners have been a deterrent, but problems are being solved. Parking is available at the Armstrong County Courthouse. The trail is right below the Courthouse. Milepost 45 is 0.75 mile north of the Courthouse. You can ride north 7 miles to Lock and Dam #8. Another 1.45 miles of trail is being constructed immediately north of this point. (Ron Steffey, Executive Director, Allegheny Valley Land Trust 10/07/05) (Feedback appreciated) <email@example.com>
The Arrowhead Trail gets quite congested, especially in the early evenings. Because it is paved, there are frequently a lot of bladers, bikers, walkers, joggers and many large families at that time of day. It’s a bit short for a good bike ride, especially considering the traffic. Widening the center section will help that a bit.
It is a beautiful trail and you frequently see wildlife. It is relatively shaded for most of the day and has several places where you can stop and get something to eat. To my knowledge, it is the only truly paved portion of the Montour Trail in existence. (John Marshall” firstname.lastname@example.org 6/4/02)
The Bethel spur is more-or-less connected to Arrowhead Trail. The connection has been passable for several years. I believe that section is also going to be improved as part or maybe separate from the current construction on Arrowhead. Once connected, the trail in this section will be 7 miles long.
The connection with Cecil to the west is likely going to take a while. There are several missing bridges and a closed tunnel. My guess is that connecting with the open section of the Cecil part of the Montour Trail (currently open to the west of Morganza Road, near Hendersonville) will be a matter of years. (John Marshall” email@example.com 6/4/02)
The Arrowhead Trail is the only paved portion of the Montour Trail, because it was done long ago by Peters Township. Most people prefer crushed limestone, although we will be paving at least part of the Clairton-to-Large section due to drainage issues. This makes the Arrowhead section even more popular with those (especially in-line skaters) who prefer asphalt. As noted by a previous writer, the connection from the Arrowhead’s Brush Run end to Bethel Park is easily made, by riding 0.6 miles along a solid dirt path. The Arrowhead itself is 3.75 miles, and the Bethel spur is 2 miles, so the dirt connection, which should become a completed trail later in 2002, makes an uninterrupted distance of over 6 miles. Be careful with the steep descent or climb from Brush Run onto the connecting section. In addition to the eventual connection west to Cecil, the Arrowhead Trail will also connect east to the Montour Trail’s main line in South Park. The location of this trail-to-be is easily identifiable, running off the Arrowhead Trail about 0.5 mile from the Brush Run trailhead. (Bruce Barron firstname.lastname@example.org)
– – – BUTLER-FREEPORT TRAIL (Bike Path) – – –
Take Rt. 28 north to Exit 17 (Freeport) at PA356. Go north on PA356 towards Butler. Continue several miles. The road goes down a long hill, as you start up the next hill you will see a small green (?) sign for Sarver and Slate Lick. There is an elementary school there. Turn right, follow the road until you come to a fire hall on your left. There is trail parking there in the upper lot above the fire station. (Joan Roolf, 6/21/01)
There is a section 10 miles (20 miles round-trip) you can bicycle. It is also possible to bicycle on country roads that parallel the trail. Butler-Freeport Trail is also good for walking. You can do lunch at the Old Pittstop in Cabot. It’s on the bike trail.(Joan Roolf, 6/21/01)
– – – CAPERTON TRAIL (Bike Path) – – –
Caperton Trail parallels the Monongahela River for 10 miles. It is almost flat! Hard-packed sand in excellent shape. Another scenic ride. [Dave Dudich email@example.com 8/5/02]
Decker’s Creek and Caperton trails out of Morgantown WV, about a 2 hour ride from Pittsburgh. (trail map from http://www.tourmorgantown.com/pages/freepub.html) Decker’s Creek trail is an old B&O coal mine branch up into the mountains and rises 1000 feet over a distance of 19 miles. The ruling grade is between Mileposts 3 and 13. Between Milepost 13 (Masontown) and the end of trail the line flattens off into a straight speedway. The surface is primarily hard-packed stone and sand. It is in excellent condition. Bring plenty of water and your own lunch. You’re on your own once you leave Morgantown. The only provisions I found on the Trail were at Dave’s Snack Shop at Milepost 9. Up near Milepost 11 is a beautiful little waterfall. Decker’s Creek is a beautiful ride. (From Dave Dudich firstname.lastname@example.org 8/5/02.)
– – – Clarion/ Little Toby Trail (Bike Path) – – –
Two former rail systems, Clarion/ Little Toby and Clearfield to Grampian, have been converted into well-developed hiking and biking trails. Bike rentals are available at the Clarion/Little Toby trailhead in Ridgeway. The Clarion/ Little Toby Trail is an 18-mile trail from Ridgeway to Brockway. It is open to the public for hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing. The route follows the wild and scenic Clarion River and winding Toby Creek, crosses a swinging bridge, and passes through several old ghost towns. More then four miles on either end is surfaced with original ballast in between. The northern trailhead is located on Water Street, one block off Main Street, in Ridgeway. Taylor Park, 7th Avenue Extension in Brockway, provides access to the southernmost trailhead. [Joe SeNay <email@example.com>: 5/10/04]
– – – Clearfield to Grampian Trail – – –
Two former rail systems, Clarion/ Little Toby and Clearfield to Grampian, have been converted into well-developed hiking and biking trails. Minutes from the Curwensville Lake Recreation Area and Clearfield’s National Historic District, the Clearfield to Grampian Trail provides 10.5 miles of crushed limestone surface. The Clearfield trailhead is located off I-80 Exit 19, PA 879 south 4 miles, right on Spruce Street Exit, first left (Chester Street) and left before True Value Hardware. The trail follows the West Branch of the Susquehanna River passing through dense forests. Additional parking is located along Rt. 879 near Curwensville and in Grampian. [From Joe SeNay <firstname.lastname@example.org>: 5/10/04]
CONEMAUGH RIVER BIKE PATH near Saltsburg
To get there, go out Rt.286 East, crossing the Conemaugh River into Saltsburg. Turn right at the first stop sign. Continue straight for about 0.5 mile until you see a playground on your right. Turn right into the parking lot.
Saltsburg Rivers and Trails purchased (7/01) Alston Mills in Saltsburg. The mill has all of the old machinery intact — worth a visit while you are there. A bike ride along Conemaugh River from Saltsburg to White and beyond along the old railroad bed and canal towpath is suggested. Total distance: 12-15 miles. A mountain bike or hybrid is recommended because the path is not finished as of 7/01. (Joan Roolf, 7/13/01)
The Conemaugh River Conservancy finished the bike trail that goes over masonry bridges. It’s 3.5 miles of surfaced road now just for biking and walking. The surface of the trail is actually better than most country roads. I guess because the trail can be under water sometimes. About every 100 yards the Corps of Engineers has a large sign that explains the geology or history around that part of the trail. They’re also putting in a picnic area near the Westinghouse Plant with charcoal grills and tables. [From Dave Mottorn, 724-327-7582].
– – – DECKERS CREEK TRAIL (Bike trail) – – –
(See Caperton Trail) (Outside of Morgantown WV)
– – – GHOST TOWN TRAIL (Bike Path) – – –
***** The extension of the Ghost Town trail running from Nanty Glo to Ebensburg is now open. The new extension is 7.5-8.0 miles long and starts right across the street from the fire hall in Nanty Glo. (From: email@example.com, 10/27/05)
***** Armstrong Trail Maps can be found at: http://www.armstrongcounty.com/docs/armstrong_county2.pdf
(It is on the Armstrong County web site — a map of the county and Kittanning area with ALL roads and trails. [firstname.lastname@example.org, 9/16/05])
(INSERTED on 9/17/05)*
***** Ghost Town Trail now begins in Saylor Park near Blairsville and follows along Blacklick Creek as far as Dilltown. There is an ancient iron furnace along the route. (Inserted on 10/15/11)
Armstrong Trail (Armstrong Co. Pa) is up and running. The website for Armstrong Trail is www.armstrongtrail.org . More of the trail is being constructed. On going litigation and disagreements with adjacent landowners have been a deterrent, but problems are being solved. Parking is available at the Armstrong County Courthouse. The trail is right below the Courthouse. Milepost 45 is 0.75 mile north of the Courthouse. You can ride north 7 miles to Lock and Dam #8. Another 1.45 miles of trail is being constructed immediately north of this point. (Ron Steffey, Executive Director, Allegheny Valley Land Trust 10/07/05) (Feedback appreciated)
Armstrong Trail (Armstrong Co. Pa) is up and running. The website for Armstrong Trail is www.armstrongtrail.org . More of the trail is being constructed. On going litigation and disagreements with adjacent landowners have been a deterrent, but problems are being solved. Parking is available at the Armstrong County Courthouse. The trail is right below the Courthouse. Milepost 45 is 0.75 mile north of the Courthouse. You can ride north 7 miles to Lock and Dam #8. Another 1.45 miles of trail is being constructed immediately north of this point. (Ron Steffey, Executive Director, Allegheny Valley Land Trust 10/07/05) (Feedback appreciated)email@example.com (INSERTED on 9/23/06)
~ ~ ~ LAUREL HIGHLANDS HIKING TRAIL ~
****** There is now a shuttle service provided by one of the bike rental operations in Ohiopyle State Park. (Mountain Streams and Trails?) Call the Ohiopyle State Park Office for more details. Data provided in October 2011.
***** The bridge across the PA Turnpike is not open for traffic due to structural deficiencies. It is expected to reopen around the end of 2011. Data provided October 2011
~ ~ ~ LAUREL HIGHLANDS HIKING TRAIL ~~ ~
White Tail Trail on June 3, 2007 looked good. In mid-2006 a half-mile section of White Tail Trail was covered with blow-downs. In 2004 it was poorly blazed. Now the entire trail is clear and well-blazed. If you need to report any problem you can email the Forbes State Forest at
White Tail Trail on June 3, 2007 looked good. In mid-2006 a half-mile section of White Tail Trail was covered with blow-downs. In 2004 it was poorly blazed. Now the entire trail is clear and well-blazed. If you need to report any problem you can email the Forbes State Forest firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 724-238-1200 or fax them at 724-238-5000.
– – – LAUREL HILL STATE PARK – – –
(See page 163 in “The Laurel Highlands – A Hiking Guide”)
Bobcat Trail — Note that if you attempt to access Bobcat Trail from its upper end on Beltz Road you are likely to have problems finding the trailhead. Sometimes a sign marks the trailhead. But apparently someone takes delight in removing this sign. You probably won’t even be able to find any signs of a treadway. (Data as of 8/29/06) (From Monika Dalrymple).
– – – LAUREL RIDGE STATE PARK Ski-touring Trails (PA653) – – –
In the wintertime, trail conditions can be obtained from the web site www.PACCSA.org. For more information on the Laurel Ridge Cross Country Ski Center and the fees and rental equipment, call 724-455-7303. To get there from the Donegal exit on the Turnpike, drive about 2 miles east on Rt.31 to Rt.381/711 (Sarnelliís Market). Turn right (south) onto PA381/711 and drive 11 miles to Normalville. Turn left onto PA381. After about 100 yards, turn left again onto PA653. Drive to the top of Laurel Ridge. The ski area entrance is on your right as you approach the crest. The Laurel Ridge State Park office is about 0.5 miles further east on your right (south side of the road). During the week, when the warming hut is closed, you can have lunch on benches in the Park office. Public restrooms are available there. It is only a short cross-country ski east through open woods to the ski trails. (12/1/02).
Note that a second warming hut has built at Laurel Ridge State Park — close by the original hut. It is open on week days as well as on weekends, so you no longer need to use the Laurel Ridge State Park office as a warming hut. (Data as of winter of 2005-2006) (From Bruce Sundquist, email@example.com)
– – – LAUREL MOUNTAIN ñ Ski Touring and Hiking (South of US30) – – –
XC ski rentals are no longer available from The Thicket, 724-238-6455, 113 South Fairfield, Ligonier, PA 15658. (Bruce Sundquist, 1/03). Rentals are now (winter of 2003-04) available from Ligonier Country Inn along US30 in Laughlintown. A complete set of skis, boots and shoes rents for $18/day or $13 after 1:30 PM. Snowshoe rentals are $20/ day, or $15 after 1:30 PM. For more information call 724-238-3651 or go to www.ligoniercountry inn.com.
Trail Blazes: In June of 2007 the trail blazes on the trails used for hiking and ski-touring were changed from red to light blue to be in compliance with the standard conventions used nearly everywhere else in the lands managed by the Pa. State Bureau of Forestry. The same change was made (or soon will be made) in the trails used for hiking and ski touring in the Linn Run unit of Forbes State Forest (the upper end of the Linn Run watershed) If you see a red blaze it just means someone didn’t see the blaze. At the same time the blazes were changed the trails were maintained to remove fallen logs, branches encroaching on the trail, etc.
New Trails: Several new trails have been added to the rather extensive system of trails in the Laurel Mountain Area since the publication of “The Laurel Highlands: A Hiking Guide.” One trail, the 1.3-mile-long Outcrop Trail Runs from near the south end of Towhee Trail to a point about half-way along Silver Mine Trail. Another 0.3-mile-long Rocky Gap Trail runs from near the north end of Silver Mine Trail down to Black Bear Trail. A third trail, the 0.3-mile-long Hemlock Trail runs from Black Bear Trail to Silver Mine Trail. To learn the routes of these three trails, contact the Bureau of Forestry, Forbes State Forest, 1291 Route 30, P.O. Box 519, Laughlintown, PA 15655-0519 (724-238-1200) or FD04@state.pa.us and ask for a map of the Laurel Highlands Trail System. The most recent one (as of 6/07) is a full color topo map revised on 3/1/07. These maps are free.
Access to the Laurel Mountain Warming Hut:
At the top of Laurel Ridge on US 30, turn south onto Laurel Summit Road. Drive 2.3 miles south to the entrance to Laurel Mountain Downhill Skiing Area (stone pillars) on your right and a large parking lot on your left. The curves on this road are treacherous at times, so drive carefully. Continue on Laurel Summit Road for another 0.2 mile to the warming hut on your left and a parking lot on your right. The hut is open on weekends from 9-5 when there is snow. The part of the hut containing the wood-burning stove (but not the refreshments) is also open during the week. The unheated outhouses are always open. The hut is maintained by Forbes State Forest headquartered in Laughlintown (north side of US30 on the east edge of town) and by the Laurel Hill Nordic Ski Patrol. Refreshments are available at the warming hut on weekends when there is snow. Also available is a 11×16-inch topographic maps showing all the ski trails and some of the foot trails. The 0.5-mile Beam Rocks Trail from its trailhead parking lot on Laurel Summit Road to Beam Rocks and its spectacular overlook is not shown, but it is easy to ski. Unless you know the Laurel Mountain trail system very well, do not go out without a map. It is not hard to get confused in this large collection of trails. Getting lost on a ski-touring trip can cost you your life. The map is also available from the Forbes State Forest.
Snow Condition Reports:
Call 724-238-6568. The report is usually updated on Thursdays. The report is also posted on the web site of the Pennsylvania Cross Country Skiier’s Association: www.paccsa.org The same web site offers a webcam view of snow conditions at the warming hut of Laurel Ridge State Park on Rt. 653 — see above). The webcam is only on during the winter months.
– – – LINN RUN UNIT OF FORBES STATE FOREST – – –
Trail Blazes: In June of 2007 the trail blazes on the trails used for hiking and ski-touring were changed from red to light blue to be in compliance with the standard conventions used nearly everywhere else in the lands managed by the Pa. State Bureau of Forestry. If you see a red blaze it just means someone didn’t see the blaze. At the same time the blazes were changed the trails were maintained to remove fallen logs, branches encroaching on the trail, etc.
New Trails: Several new trails have been added to the rather extensive system of trails in the Linn Run Unit of Forbes State Forest since the publication of “The Laurel Highlands: A Hiking Guide.” One trail (not yet named — It might be called a part of Fish Run Trail.) extends from near the south end of Wolf Rocks Trail in Laurel Summit State Park to the upper end of Fish Run Trail. It runs generally parallel to Hickory Flats Road and Linn Run Road. It is not yet (as of 6/07) shown on the Forbes State Forest’s map of the Laurel Highlands Trail System. Another new trail, the 0.5-mile-long Hobblebush Trail from near the junction of Spruce Flats Trail and Wolf Rocks Trail to near the upper end of Fish Run Trail. To learn the route of Hobblebush Trail, contact the Bureau of Forestry, Forbes State Forest, 1291 Route 30, P.O. Box 519, Laughlintown, PA 15655-0519 (724-238-1200) or FD04@state.pa.us and ask for a map of the Laurel Highlands Trail System. The most recent one (as of 6/07) is a full color topo map revised on 3/1/07. These maps are free.
– – – LONG RUN TRAIL (A new trail just north of Quebec Run Wild Area)
Around 2003 the PA Bureau of Forestry built an interesting new trail that runs from White Tail Trail to Quebec Run Wild Area. The part of the trail along Long Run is of particular interest because Long Run is a clear mountain stream with banks of hemlock and rhododendron. The rhododendron often extend far up the steep walled valley of Long Run, so the trail should be outstanding in early July. The trail should also be of particular interest in spring during periods of high water levels, although some parts of the trail get a bit soggy then. Because the trail is so new it is not shown on the map on p. 46 of the LHHG.
Long Run Trail starts near the point where White Tail Trail crosses Long Run. A trail sign marked the junction in April of 2004. (See [B:] on the map on p. 46 of the LHHG.) It then proceeds east along or near the south bank of Long Run. Then it climbs a switch-backed trail (a long-abandoned former logging road) up to Quebec Road and crosses the road. It then enters Quebec Run Wild Area and proceeds WSW to join Miller Trail about 0.3 mile from the north parking lot ([C] on the map on p. 46 of the LHHG). The total length of Long Run Trail is about 1.5 miles. If you did a loop starting from the north parking lot of Quebec Run and used the bottom end of White Tail Trail, the loop would be about 2.5 miles long. The trail is blue-blazed, although some “blazes” are just blue tape tied to trees. However the treadway is quite obvious, so it is not hard to follow the trail.
– – – MONTOUR TRAIL (Bike Path) – – –
If you are interested in using, or helping with the construction and/or maintenance of the Montour Trail, and if you have e-mail, you should get on the Montour Trail group List. Simply send a blank email to Montour-Trailfirstname.lastname@example.org You will receive periodic emails describing upcoming events, construction projects, and news about the trail. (From Paul McKeown, 9/23/06)
Access, Trail Maps, and Directions
Information about access, up to date trail maps and directions, and events on the trail can be found at http://montourtrail.org/index.shtml For questions, send email to email@example.com (From Paul McKeown, 9/23/06)
Montour Trail Council is an all-volunteer organization that is overseeing development of 48 miles of “mainline” trail between Coraopolis and Clairton and of numerous branch trails in between. They receive funding from dues paid by their 1000 members, from local foundations, from the Allegheny County Regional Asset District, from DCNR and Keystone Grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and from ISTEA and TEA-21 funds from the Federal Government. The Trail Council is always looking for volunteers to help out. The need is for engineers, fundraisers, work party organizers, laborers, groundskeepers, attorneys, and marketing people. Information about Montour Trail Council can be found at www.montourtrail.org, or www.atatrail.org. Or call 412-831-2030. For information about Montour Trail in South Park, or to volunteer in the South Park area, contact Paul McKeown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-835-6692.If you are interested in using, or helping with the construction and/or maintenance of the Montour Trail, and if you have e-mail, you should get on the Montour Trail group List. Simply send a blank email to Montour-Trailemail@example.com You will receive periodic emails describing upcoming trips, construction projects, and news about the trail. (7/20/01) (From Paul McKeown, 9/23/06)
Cross Sewickley Bridge, turn left on Rt.51 South, go through Coraopolis, don’t cross the bridge, but turn left before the bridge, and park your car. Starting point for a 25-mile bicycle ride, (Phyllis Renda <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 7/13/01)
Montour Trail connections to Arrowhead Trail:
The Arrowhead trail is the purple segment of the trail shown on the map at http://www.montourtrail.org/maps/overview.html
The connection to the Bethel Park Spur will be complete in 2002. The connections in the other two “Mainline” directions probably will have the engineering designs complete this year, but funding is only partially lined up. On the first mile of the missing link from Route 19 westward, there are three missing bridges. We are going to build trail from Cecil eastward, and will go as far as our present funding takes us. It is likely that we will complete the first bridge over Valley Brook Road near the highway bridge painted purple and go no further until the next round of funding.
From the Arrowhead Trail to the Allegheny county line is not presently funded. From the County line across the Library Trestle over Route 88 to Pleasant Street in South Park is funded.
The Montour Trail Council is working to fill in gaps in the trail network between Clairton and Coraopolis. Construction that started in 2001 to construct a 2.5-mile trail from Route 837 in Clairton to near Route 51 in Large was completed in 2002. Emphasis has been placed on completing the first segment connecting Pleasant Street in South Park to the Peters Township line, including installing a concrete deck on the 500-foot-long trestle over Route 88. The second segment extends eastward 0.5 mile from near Triphammer Road. In 2002 a three-quarter mile section of trail linked the Montour Trail Bethel Park Spur to Arrowhead Trail.
Trail at Brush Run Road in Peters Township.
In 2002, there were almost 7 miles of continuous trail for bicyclists and pedestrians there. On 4/12/02, the Council opened a 2.6-mile trail segment in Findlay Township in Allegheny County and Robinson Township of Washington County. This completed an 18-mile segment between Coraopolis and McDonald. Before completion of this missing link, the 11-miles from Coraopolis to Moon was seeing 1000 trail users per day on most summer Saturdays and Sundays.
Enlow Section of Montour Trail (from a Post Gazette article of 12/23/03)
You can do a 2.7-mile round trip to Enlow Tunnel, or a 3.8-mile round trip by going to Five Points starting from the trail access at Cliff Mine and Steubenville Pike/Enlow Road. The trail surface is packed (lime)stone. There is a minor hill climb of 68 ft. in under 2 miles. Portable toilets are at the Cliff Mine parking lot and the West Ridge Ball Field at Five Points, which also has a drinking fountain near the backstop. A service station across the road from the Five Points intersection offers snacks and beverage vending machines. To access the trail from Pittsburgh take I-279 South/Parkway West for 11.8 miles past Robison Town Centre. Take Montour Run Road exit. At the end of the ramp bear right. At the traffic light turn left onto Cliff Mine Road. Follow this road 0.6 mile to the trail access mentioned above.
Enter the trail from the Cliff Mine parking area with Cliff Mine Road on your right. Walk through Enlow Tunnel and when you reach the high rock wall, turn around to complete the 2.7-mile round-trip route. By continuing in the opposite direction from the Cliff Mine parking area for 0.6 miles to Five Points and back, the total route becomes 3.8 miles.
~ ~ ~ MOUNTAIN STREAMS AREA ~ ~ ~
The route from V1 to Z1 has not been maintained for 7-8 years. The lower end, down near Z1 has been logged and all the logging debris has been left behind. The upper end from the meadow below V1 is disappearing so that when I was there in September 2011, it was very difficult to find the trail. (Data supplied by Jim Ritchie on Oct. 13, 2011.) (See the map in the LH-HG trail Guide.)
~ ~ ~ MOUNTAIN STREAMS AREA ~ ~ ~
– – – PANHANDLE TRAIL – WEIRTON, WV – – –
Panhandle Trail is about 7 miles or so long.
Directions to Montour Trail from Panhandle Trail
Ride west on the Panhandle Trail to end of the crushed limestone part. Turn right, and then left at either of the next two streets. Go a block, and you will see a bridge. Walk your bike across the bridge, and turn right, and then left on the street. Ride a few blocks until you are about a block before Giant Eagle (it is obvious, and they have cold drinks and clean restrooms). Turn right at almost any street, and go until you hit Noblestown Road. Turn left on Noblestown. Go less than 0.5 mile, and you will see the McDonald Trestle above. Before you get to the trestle, you will see a dirt road off to your right, going slightly uphill. That road joins the Montour Trail. (From Patricia K. Eagon, email@example.com on 6/24/02)
The route reduce the amount of time on Noblestown Road. The streets of McDonald are little-used, and easy to get thru. And there is always the quick stop at Giant Eagle for a cold drink. (From Patricia K. Eagon firstname.lastname@example.org) 6/25/02)
The above version of the Panhandle-Montour connection seems rather complex. I have found Noblestown quite bike-friendly when making the Panhandle-Montour connection on two occasions. At the current western terminus of the Panhandle, I just turn right and go all the way to the end, which is Noblestown. From there it is about 1.5 miles straight west to the McDonald Trestle, and a big sign for the Montour Trail just after the Route 980 turnoff makes it impossible to miss the trail ramp. There is only one moderate grade on Noblestown on this stretch. I have found this portion of Noblestown to be as pleasant a bike ride as the trails are. Using this connection, one can travel by bike from Walker’s Mill to Groveton, a distance of about 26 miles. (Bruce Barron email@example.com 6/25/02)
Trailhead From Nearby Cities
From Pittsburgh Follow US 22 West for 35 miles toward West Virginia. Exit US 22 at the third West Virginia exit, Harmon Creek Road. From the exit, turn right onto Harmon Creek Road. Trailhead parking is 300 yards ahead, on the right side of Harmon Creek Road.
From Wheeling WV Follow WV Rt. 2 north 25 miles to US 22 East. Follow US 22 East 2 miles, take the second exit, Harmon Creek Road. From the exit, turn left onto Harmon Creek Road. Trailhead parking is 300 yard on the right side of Harmon Creek Road. [From David Hiebert (Hiebert@mph.org) 8/20/01]
From Pittsburgh go through Fort Pitt Tunnel and get on I79 South — it is the first exit Carnegie- Noblestown Road. Follow Noblestown Road to Walkers Mill and go left. The trail and parking are well marked. [From: “Maureen Kelly” firstname.lastname@example.org 11/8/01]
– – – RACHEL CARSON TRAIL – – –
According to Jim Ritchie (Jimritch@aol.com) (4/17/04) there is a high-level map of the Rachel Carson Trail on-line at http://www.rachelcarsontrail.com/rachel.html There are three levels of zoom to choose from.
– – – ROARING RUN NATURAL AREA – – –
(on the west slope of Laurel Ridge just south of PA31 in Forbes State Forest)
(See pages 177-192 of “The Laurel Highlands – A Hiking Guide.”)
Maintenance — early May of 2001: A group of about 40 students from Mt. Lebanon High School and about 6 Sierra Club leaders conducted their annual maintenance trip led by Monika Dalrymple (Sierra Club) and Myra Amodie (Mt. Lebanon High School – ret.). They maintained all 32 miles of foot trails in Roaring Run Natural Area, so for the remainder of 2001 at least, the trails should be in good shape. (5/01)
– – – QUEBEC RUN WILD AREA – – –
(on the upper east slopes of Chestnut Ridge near the West Virginia State line in Forbes State Forest)
(See pages 30-47 of “The Laurel Highlands – A Hiking Guide.” (LHHG))
Recent Land Acquisition — around 1999: Forbes State Forest has acquired some more land adjacent to, and just southwest of, Quebec Run Wild Area. It is a scenic, natural area with a beautiful stream (Laurel Run) running north to south down the middle of it. There are no formal trails, but lots of old logging roads that are quite passable. The land, but not the boundaries, is shown on the topo map in the LHHG. To get to the area, park at the Tebolt Trailhead parking lot on the west edge of Quebec Run Wild area. Cross the road and find a jeep trail leading west. After a few yards, turn left (south) on a grassy pipeline swath. Follow it about 1 mile southeast, parallel to Skyline Drive, to a jeep trail (dotted line on the topo map). Turn right (downhill) and follow the jeep trail downhill through dense rhododendron thickets on both sides of the trail. At the bottom of the hill are broad beaver meadows, beaver dams, beaver ponds, beaver huts etc. If you follow the trail south from here you soon come to the Mason Dixon Line. If you follow the trail north you will find it necessary to go off-trail once or twice to avoid backwaters of a huge beaver dam. As you proceed further north (fairly close to Laurel Run) though large hemlocks and rhododendron, the trail gradually becomes more obscure, but with care, you can follow the scenic stream valley for about a mile north. Eventually you will come to a jeep trail crossing the stream. If you turn right here, the jeep trail (not shown on the topo map) leads uphill to the parking lot where you left your car (Bear right at a “T” part way up the hill.). However a short section of this jeep trail is posted. Bureau of Forestry people did not seem all that concerned about people walking along the private portion of the jeep trail. Use your judgment. A pleasant alternative is to just retrace your steps for a delightful, fascinating 5-mile walk.
Devies Mountain: Note that Devies Mountain (shown on the topo map in the LHHG) is also within the new public land, so you may find other interesting routes to explore to the west of Laurel Run. (June, 2001) Dick Pratt took a Sierra Club group over Devies Mountain on a hike from Coopers Rock to Quebec Run. It definitely feels remote & little used. There are no views on forested top of Devies Mountain. (Dick Pratt <email@example.com> 7/11/01)
Allegheny Trail: Note that if you drive south along Skyline Drive for a short distance south of Quebec Run Wild Area and the PA border with West Va. you will come to a small parking lot and a roofed bulletin board close to a gas line pumping station. This is the north end of the Allegheny Trail which leads south through West Va. to Virginia and the Appalachian Trail. The trail leads through Coopers’ Rock State Forest, Blackwater Falls State Park, Monongahela National Forest and numerous other state parks and forests. The first few miles of trail (note yellow blazes) follows rural dirt roads through very scenic (in terms of remote pastoral settings) countryside with lots of broad vistas (since you are close to the top of Chestnut Ridge). You could get to the Allegheny Trail from Laurel Run by walking east along the pipeline along the Mason-Dixon Line for about a mile to the parking lot near the gas-line pumping station. (June, 2001)
Rhododendron: If you visit Quebec Run around the middle weeks of July with rhododendron in mind, the west end of Tebolt Trail and the southwest end of Hess Trail (Old West Road or Brocker Trail to Tebolt Trail) are excellent. (7/12/01)
Long Run Trail (See above): A new trail has been built than extends from White Tail Trail near the north parking lot of Quebec Run Wild area along Long Run (just north of Quebec Run Road) and then up to Miller Trail of Quebec Run Wild Area.
Hess Trail: There is now (5/21/05) a footbridge across Quebec Run on Hess Trail near its junction with Rankin Trail. [Bruce Sundquist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 5/21/05]
– – – SAMUEL JUSTICE RECREATIONAL TRAIL (Bike Path) – – –
http://www.pittsburgh.com/recreation/guides/biking/samueljustus.html describes in more detail the “Samuel Justice Trail” in Oil City. The trail has been extended southward for 10 miles towards Belmar. This extended section is called Allegheny River Trail. This trail is asphalt. It parallels the Allegheny River. [From Bill Knapp, WKNAPP@MSA.COM, 4/26/02.]
The 5.8-mile, 10-ft. wide trail heads northeast from the trailhead off US 322 at the Eighth Street Bridge over the Allegheny River in Franklin and goes to Oil City. (Allegheny River Trail heads south from this same trailhead.) Samuel Justice Trail and Allegheny River Trail are actually one continuous trail of 15.8 miles built on a portion of the old Allegheny Valley Railroad that linked Pittsburgh and Buffalo NY. The trail is bordered on the west by picturesque river, and on the east by woodlands and hillsides with some waterfalls. The trail is about 30 ft. above the river. Artifacts from the oil boom are seen along the trail. There are also the remains of the River Ridge mansion farm. Work is continuing (as of Sept. 2002) to connect the trail to Oil Creek State Park. Bike rentals are available in Franklin. [From Country Pedalers, 1-814-432-8055].
– – – TURNPIKE TRAIL (Bike Path) – – –
On Jan. 25/2002 I drove to Breezewood PA to ride my bike on the abandoned turnpike segment which as been opened to bicycle riders. It’s open but not being promoted until it can be fixed up. How to park: When exiting at Breezewood, take the exit to US30 east. Just before getting to US30, you’ll see a maintenance yard. I believe you could turn there, but it’s probably better is to head east on US30 and park at the Ramada Inn or the big gravel lot at the truck stop next door.
Both lanes of the abandoned road are still there. It looks as through some of it has been repaved since the 1960’s and some has not. The PG article says it was used to train snowplow operators and line painters, and for other highway testing. Most of it is smooth enough for a road bike, but I think in-line skaters would have some trouble.
I rode leisurely for about two hours between Breezewood and the mouth of the second tunnel, Sideling Hill. I rode through the Rays Hill Tunnel, which was dry, clean, very dark, and a bit spooky. The route goes past a few houses, farms, and summer cottages, but mostly through Buchanan State Forest. It is quite scenic. The hills were not excruciating, at least for the part I was on. [From: David Feick, email@example.com 1/26/02]
– – – WHEELING TRAIL (Bike Path ) – – –
I79/70 is the quickest route to the Wheeling Trail, although 40 from Wash., PA is more interesting. On I70 go thru the Whg. tunnel and take the clearly marked exit into downtown Wheeling. Pass the famous old suspension bridge and the once glamerous Capitol Theatre on your right, then the closed Stone and Thomas department store on your left. You’re on Main St. About half a block later turn right onto a short, steep little street which will take you onto Water St. At the south end of Water Street is a parking garage (The Robert Byrd intermodal transportation center!) or park on the street. If you’ve missed the “short street” take one of the next two rights (12th or 14th).
The trail is about 10 miles in length, 3 miles south from downtown and 7 miles north to Pike Island. There are extensions or connecting trails to Elm Grove (about 5 miles) and beyond Pike Island (was not open yet three weeks ago). If one remembers that the trail hugs the WV side of the Ohio River, it’s very easy to find. This trail does get off the former railroad in a few places, but it is mostly a legit rail trail. There’s probably a web site, although at this time I don’t know it. Check out the huge, beautiful B&O station a couple of blocks from the trail downtown and the former once grand Windsor Hotel (on the trail downtown) built fronting the river long past river boat days. What’s left of Wheeling can be tremendously interesting. Harry Hohman Harryh20@bellatlantic.net 8/21/01
About Wheeling trail, I think the preceding e-mails have the Benwood-Wheeling, Pike Island Dam trail (an extension toward Wellsburg and Weirton partially completed), and the Weirton-Pittsburgh Panhandle trail mixed up. I ride the trail along the Ohio River in Wheeling (Benwood to Pike Island Dam) frequently. It is great. This is a former Pennsylvania Railroad spur and much railroad evidence remains. Throw in beautiful old homes, old industrial sites and the ever-present Ohio River and this is one great trail. The surface is smooth as glass and traffic is light. Soon I’ll be able to ride from Bethel Park (Montour Trail) to Wheeling all the way by rail trails. (From Harry Hohman Harryh20@bellatlantic.net)
– – – WHITE TAIL TRAIL — Forbes State Forest – – –
(Runs along or near the top of Chestnut Ridge between Quebec Run Wild Area and Lick Hollow Picnic Area just off US40. It crosses Long Run Trail near the southern (Quebec Run) end. It is in Forbes State Forest)
(See pages 26-28 and the topo maps on pages 45-46 of the LH-HG.) You can get color maps of the trail from the Ponfield maintenance facility on Skyline Drive. Look for an old fire tower on the east side of the road on your drive down to the south end of the trail. A sign and driveway near the old (unused) Ponfield fire tower leads back to the maintenance facility. They usually open between 7 and 8 AM and close around 4 PM. The Forbes State Forest HQ on US30 on the east end of Laughlintown on the north side of US30 has a huge variety of color trail maps of the trails on the Forbes State Forest.
Rerouting — early 2001: The south end of the trail has been rerouted by Forbes State Forest and members of KTA in early 2001 or late 2000. The south trailhead remains the same, but the first 2-3 miles are located somewhat to the west of the old route. Follow the blazes and the treadway. The new treadway is fairly obvious in most spots. Forbes State Forest should have a new map of the entire trail around July of 2001. The new route is generally an improvement over the old route. You could stop off at Ponfield Lookout Tower/ Ranger Station on Skyline Drive on your way down to the area to obtain a map.
Long Run Trail (See above): A new trail has been built than extends from White Tail Trail near the north parking lot of Quebec Run Wild area along Long Run (just north of Quebec Run Road) and then up to Miller Trail of Quebec Run Wild Area not far from the north parking lot.
Rerouting: The trail leading south from the Gamelands parking lot on Skyline Drive has been rerouted to get it off a new gas line swath. It is now on the west side of Skyline Drive for about 0.3 miles (follow blazes). Then it crosses Skyline Drive and then the new gas line trail and then rejoins the original trail route. It was maintained in early June of 2002 and in late October, 2004.
Condition Report — November, 2004: A hike led by Jim Ritchie (Jimritch@aol.com) on 10/31/04 found that the entire White Tail Trail from Quebec Run to Lick Hollow Picnic Area was freshly blazed and that many of the blow-downs were freshly cut.
Condition Report — May, 2001: White Tail Trail formerly got very light use by hikers, but by late spring of 2001, the treadway has become very obvious over almost the entire trail, indicating heavy use.
Remapping — Spring 2001: The Bureau of Forestry has been busy during May, and early June of 2001 GPSing the entire White Tail Trail, so by August 2001 they should have an accurate map of the entire trail. Inquire at Forbes State Forest main office in Laughlintown PA (724-238-1200).
Condition Report — June 3, 2007: White Tail Trail on June 3, 2007 looked good. In mid-2006 a half-mile section of White Tail Trail was covered with blow-downs. In 2004 it was poorly blazed. Now the entire length of the trail is clear and well-blazed. If you need to report any problem you can email the Forbes State Forest at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 724-238-1200 or fax them at 724-238-5000.
– – – YOUGHIOGHENY RIVER TRAIL (Bike Path) (Part of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail – See above) – – –
Access at Cedar Creek County Park
Take Route 51 south through Elizabeth, past the exit for Route 136. You will see a sign for Cedar Creek Park several miles later. Turn left off of Route 51. Follow signs into the park and down the hill to the trail and parking lot along the river.
You can also take the turnpike to the New Stanton Exit, then take I70 west. Cross over the Youghiogheny River and take the first exit after the river crossing. This gets you onto Rt.51 heading north. About 1/4 mile north of the exit bear right, and follow signs down to Cedar Creek County Park. [From Joan Roolf, 7/27/01.]
Last updated October 15, 2011.