WEST PENN TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: June 23, 2013
Length: West Penn Trail (Saltsburg-Blairsville Section); 12.4 miles
West Penn Trail (Kiski Section); 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat stone-dust rail trail.
To Start from Saltsburg Playground in Saltsburg; From the junction of Routes 22 & 981 in New Alexandria travel north on Route 981 to the junction of Route 286. Turn right across the Conemaugh River along Washington St (Route 286) into Saltsburg. Turn right along Salt St which merges onto Canal St. When you come to Water St turn right into the parking area.
To Start from Newport Road in Blairsville; From the junction of Routes 22 & 217 in Blairsville follow Route 217 north 0.5 miles. Bear left along Newport Rd. Travel approximately 0.7 miles and spot a large turnout parking area long the left side of the road. Here you'll find the trailhead.
The West Penn Trail follows the rail bed of the former Western Pennsylvania RR and is an important link in the Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway , a 320 mile corridor of linked heritage and outdoor recreation sites. In addition to the canal, there were four railroad grades built in this section of the Conemaugh River Valley: the original 1864 Western Pennsylvania Railroad that was largely built on the old canal bed; the 1883 line relocation built by the Pennsylvania Railroad that straightened out many of the original curves and made the railroad more efficient to operate; a 1907 rebuilding where more curves were eliminated and the new stone arch bridges built; and the current railroad built in 1948 to elevate the tracks above lake level in the flood control reservoir (Conemaugh Dam). The Westmoreland Heritage Trail also starts from Saltsburg and travels southwest to Slickville. Both trails converge at Saltsburg Playground. For more information visit; WEST PENN TRAIL .
Starting from Saltsburg Playground in Saltsburg; Both the West Penn Trail & Westmoreland Heritage Trail begin next to the playgrounds entrance.
To check out the West Penn Trail [Kiski Section] in Saltsburg; This section in Saltsburg is also referred to as the Riverfront Trail and the 0 mile marker starts here as well. Head north along the stone-dust trail.
Note; The Westmoreland Heritage Trail heads west..
This section of the trail travels through Saltsburg. Cross Market St at 0.3 miles where you'll find restrooms and informational signs as a wide car free boulevard takes you through town. A crosswalk over Route 286 brings you to Saltsburg Canal Park (where you'll find the old Lock 8, now filled in). Pass by the 1/2 mile post (mileage markers posted every 1/2 mile) and some picnic tables before leaving town. You enter the woods with the Conemaugh River along your left. At 0.8 miles you'll pass by a bench, behind which looks to be a picturesque waterfall during the wet season. Cross an old RR bridge over Blacklegs Creek at 1.5 miles. Trail opens up as you pass through a Tree Farm before coming to the current end of the trail after 1.8 miles next to a sign.
To check out the West Penn Trail [towards Blairsville]; Travel east from the playground and you'll pass by a gate and map board before heading into the woods. The stone-dust trail travels above the Conemaugh River along your right and a steep ridge along your left. You can spot an old RR bed up on your left paralleling the trail. Mileage markers posted every 1/2 mile. I believe the trail follows the filled in Main Line Canal. Informational signs located here. I only checked out a short section of this trail. The trail follows the river for 3.8 miles along the section referred to as Saltsburg to Elders Run. Here the trail turns away from the river and runs inland rejoining the river at Conemaugh Dam after 6.5 miles. See; CONEMAUGH LAKE RECREATION AREA . I wish I'd had the time to check out the next section, as it looks amazing. It appears to cross the winding river numerous times over old RR bridges and travel along causeways in the river plain before terminating at Newport Road in Blairsville after 12.4 miles.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT