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FreeWheeling Easy in Western Pennsylvania


Information on Trails Near Pittsburgh

by Mary Shaw and Roy Weil

We are pleased to present selections from the book FreeWheeling Easy in Western Pennsylvania. In most cases, this includes the first paragraph of the description, the summary information, and the trail organization.

Trails In and Around the City

Three Rivers Heritage Trail

The Montour Trail

Robinson-Moon-Findlay-North Fayette Section
Cecil Township Trail
Arrowhead Trail

Shorter Trails and Bike Lanes

Schenley Park Trails
Beechwood Blvd. Bike Lanes
Riverview Park Bike Lanes
North Park Lake Bike Lane
South Park Bike Path

Three Rivers Heritage Trail

From Washington's Landing on Allegheny River to Sandcastle Water Park on Monongahela River via West End on Ohio River.

The Three Rivers Heritage Trail will provide a close-at-hand urban outdoor experience in the form of a continuous walking path and bicycle commuting route just across the rivers from downtown Pittsburgh. Some day the trail will run 11.5 miles along the north side of the Allegheny River from Washington’s Landing on the Allegheny River, through Roberto Clemente Park, past Three Rivers Stadium, across the West End Bridge, then along the south side of the Monongahela River through Station Square to Sandcastle. For now, the longest completed section runs 2.5 miles from near Washington’s Landing to Carnegie Science Center. This trail, more than any other we know, breathes with the strength and vibrancy of the city. It offers vistas up and down the rivers, one of the finest views of downtown available, and close-ups of the contrast between old industry and new development on the North Side.

Location: Along Allegheny, Ohio, Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Trailheads: Washington's Landing, various points on North Side, Southside Riverfront Park
Length, Surface: Three completed sections: 1.1 mile, 2.5 mile, 0.8 mile
Character: sometimes busy, urban, sunny, mostly flat
Usage restrictions: No motorized vehicles; no snowmobiles; no horses
Amenities: Water, food, fishing
Driving time from Pittsburgh: Surrounds downtown Pittsburgh

Trail Organization: John Stephen, Friends of the Riverfront; PO Box 42434, Pittsburgh PA 15203, (412) 488-0212. Annual membership: $10 limited income, $25 individual, $40 family

topThe Montour Trail: p. 12

Coraopolis to Clairton in Allegheny and Washington Counties

The abandoned rights-of-way of the Montour and the Peters Creek Branch railroads make a sweeping crescent around the western and southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, dipping back and forth between Allegheny and Washington Counties. The Montour Trail system follows this route and will eventually offer 54 miles of trail, amounting to 47 miles of main line and 7 miles of spurs. It runs from Coraopolis on the Ohio River to Clairton on the Monongahela River. From Coraopolis along Montour Run to Imperial the trail is primarily rural except for the area near the Parkway. From Imperial south and west, under US22 into Washington County south to McDonald then east to Cecil, it’s extremely rural and agricultural, with some restored strip mines. As it enters Peters Township and approaches US19 it becomes suburban residential until it reenters Allegheny County near South Park. From South Park to Clairton it’s again more rural.

Three sections are now open: Moon-Robinson-Findlay-North Fayette, Cecil, and Arrowhead (Peters Township). Together they cover 20.4 miles. Most of the trail will be crushed limestone, some parts with a parallel dirt treadway for horses. Peters Township is developing the Arrowhead Trail in asphalt.

In a public/private partnership, Montour Trail Council and Allegheny County will have easements or ownership of the 28 miles of trail within the county (including 10 miles yet to be acquired). The Montour Trail Council owns 21 miles within Washington County. Peters Township owns a 6-mile segment. The Montour Trail Council's goal is to open the entire trail by 1998.

Trail organization: Montour Trail Council, PO Box 11866, Pittsburgh PA 15228-0866. (412) 257-2328 for voicemail system, (412) 831-2030 for information. Membership: $15/year individual, $25/year family

topRobinson-Moon-Findlay-North Fayette Section

Along Montour Run from near Coraopolis on the Ohio River to west of Imperial in Allegheny County

The longest completed segment of the Montour Trail is the westernmost, running from mile 0 near Coraopolis to mile 11.5 west of Imperial. It follows Montour Run, beginning near the Ohio River, passing under the Parkway West to Imperial, then continuing west along South Fork Montour Run to a point near the intersection of US22 and PA980 at the Allegheny County line. It's finished in crushed limestone, 10-11 feet wide.

Location: Along Montour Run, Robinson, Moon, Findlay and North Fayette Townships, Allegheny County
Trailheads: Groveton, Montour Run Exit of Parkway, Enlow, near BFI landfill
Length, Surface: 11.5 miles, crushed limestone
Character: Uncrowded, rural to wooded, mixed shade and sun, flat
Special usage restrictions: Horses ok on grass---stay off improved surface; no motorized vehicles; no snowmobiles
Amenities: Water, restaurant, groceries
Driving time from Pittsburgh: 30 minutes west

topCecil Township Trail

Cecil Township Park to Hendersonville in Washington County

After a 13.2-mile gap from Imperial, the Montour Trail resumes behind Cecil Township Park. To reach the trail there, start from Cecil Park on the south side of PA50. This is actually in Venice. From here it runs 4.3 miles to Hendersonville and an additional 1.4 miles to Chartiers Creek. The trail itself is crushed limestone 10 feet wide, except in the tunnel. It is complemented by extensive signage and landscaping.

Location: Cecil Township, Washington County
Trailheads: Cecil Township Park, Dacor Dr, McConnell Rd, Hendersonville
Length, Surface: 5.7 miles; crushed limestone
Character: Busy, suburban to wooded, sunny, flat
Special usage restrictions: Horses ok on grass---stay off improved surface;
no motorized vehicles; no snowmobiles
Amenities: Rest rooms, water
Driving time from Pittsburgh: 35 minutes south-southwest

topArrowhead Trail

Town of McMurray in Washington County

This popular trail runs through residential areas of Peters Township. Frequent informal side routes provide access to local communities. Expect lots of company on the trail, including pedestrians, dog-walkers, and roller-bladers. It's well laid out, with a good asphalt surface and extensive landscaping. The northern portion is 11’ wide; the southern end 8’. There is so much traffic that a striped center line has been added to remind people to stay right. Although essentially flat, the trail has enough curves and alternations between residential and wooded areas to remain interesting. Trees keep it reasonably well shaded. Considering the amount of development nearby, the trail feels very rural.

Location: Peters Township, Washington County
Trailheads: Pelipetz Rd, Brush Run Rd
Length, Surface: 3.2 miles developed, 6 miles planned; asphalt 8-11 feet wide
Character: Busy, urban, shady, flat
Special usage restrictions: No motorized vehicles; no snowmobiles; no horses; 20 mph limit for bicycles
Amenities: Bike rental, bike shop, restaurant
Driving time from Pittsburgh: 45 minutes south-southwest

Trail organization: This section of the Montour Trail is owned and independently operated by Peters Township. Contact Joanne F. Nelson, Director, Peters Township Department of Parks and Recreation, 610 East McMurray Rd, McMurray PA 15317, (412) 942-5000

topShorter Trails and Bike Lanes

These are all short segments and mostly bike lanes. They are included mostly for completeness, as they are busy and not well connected to other trails.

Schenley Park Trails

Park loop on former bridle trails. Access at the playground from Panther Hollow Rd near its intersection with the Blvd of the Allies or at the stoplight where it intersects Greenfield Rd.

Trail Organization: City of Pittsburgh

Beechwood Blvd Bike Lanes

Along Beechwood Blvd for 4.0 miles from Fifth Av to Browns Hill Rd.

Trail Organization: City of Pittsburgh

Riverview Park Bike Lanes

Along Riverview Drive in Riverview Park for 2.1 miles.

North Park Lake Bike Lane

Around North Park Lake for 5 miles in North Park.

Trail Organization: Allegheny County

South Park Bike Path

Along Corrigan Drive for 2.2 miles in South Park.

Trail Organization: Allegheny County

[FWE Home] [ Explanations] [about the authors] Trails: [in Pittsburgh] [North] [East] [West] [full Oil Creek write-up]

topOrdering information

FreeWheeling Easy is available in many western Pennsylvania bike shops, outdoor stores, and bookstores for $9.95+tax. If you can't find it there, you can order from us: Shaw-Weil Associates, 414 South Craig St. #307, Pittsburgh PA 15213. We have to charge you for tax and postage, so send a check for $11.93. We usually ship in 1 to 5 days. Sorry, we don't do credit cards, but books does. You can order it from for $9.95 + shipping, but you will pay more for shipping and it will take longer.

The material on these web pages is copyrighted. We are absolutely delighted for you to link to these pages or print copies for personal use. However, if you want to copy the material for any other use, you must ask us first.

Updated 04/11/97 by Mary Shaw
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