Coraopolis to Clairton in Allegheny and Washington Counties
The abandoned rights-of-way of the Montour RR and the Peters Creek Branch of the Pennsylvania RR make a sweeping crescent around the western and southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, weaving back and forth between Allegheny and Washington Counties. The Montour Trail system follows this route and will eventually offer nearly 62 miles of trail, including about 50 miles of main line and 12 miles of spur trails between Coraopolis on the Ohio River and Clairton on the Monongahela River, with connections to several long-distance trails. From Coraopolis to Groveton the trail is being constructed as part of the Montour Junction Sport Complex. From Groveton the trail follows Montour Run to Imperial and is primarily rural except for the area near the Parkway. From Imperial south and west, the trail goes under US22 into Washington County, south to McDonald then east to Cecil, it's extremely rural and agricultural, with some restored strip mines and small mining towns. As the trail enters Peters Township and approaches US19 it becomes suburban and residential until it reenters Allegheny County near South Park. From South Park to Large it's again more rural, and at Large it enters a wooded valley for the last run into Clairton.
[[ rewrite paragraph ]] The Montour Trail has grown by developing individual trails segments in various townships as opportunities presented themselves. These local segments have now come together into a nearly uninterrupted trail with a connecting spur to Pittsburgh's airport (Page PIT-Error! Bookmark not defined.. The trail organization continues to develop trail in the reaming gaps and build connections to other trails and the county parks. Numerous "Fiends of the Trail" groups maintain the trail.
With the opening of three new bridges in late 2015, only small gaps remain.
The trail segments and their status are:
Coraopolis to Groveton 1 mile
under construction 2017
XX to Gill Hall Rd Gap
Gill Hall Rd to Large shared park road
Large, crossing US51 0.1 miles grass field
Large to Clairton 3.0 miles Paved - Tar and chip
Airport Connection 6
miles paved, service road, 0.1 mile in traffic
In a public/private partnership, Montour Trail Council and Allegheny County will hold easements or ownership of the 28 miles of trail within the county. The Montour Trail Council owns 21 miles within Washington County. Peters Township owns the a 7.5-mile segment of the Arrowhead Trail.
The Montour Trail Council provides a cue sheet for on-road routes that connect the completed sections of the trail. Unfortunately, there are often no good low-traffic alternatives, so you may encounter moderate traffic. These cue sheets are available from the trail council (you are a member, aren't you?), on their web site at www.montourtrail.org/maps/bypass.asp or at the trailheads where the detour starts
Between Coraopolis and Groveton (the current zero milepost of the trail), Allegheny County has plans for a county park emphasizing sports. These plans include extending the trail from Groveton (mile 0) westward to Coraopolis; that section of trail is under construction in 2016. This will provide access to the services in Coraopolis and the Neville Island Bridge, which will eventually connect to trails along the Ohio River.
A groundbreaking was held in October 2012 for the Southpointe Connector. This branch will run from the Montour mainline about halfway between I-79 and Papp Rd, up the hill to Klinger Park and out to Klinger Road providing direct access to Southpointe. Not much has happened on this spur. In 2016 a rough grade was cut from the trail. << check status south point connector >>
The Hollow Oak Land Trust has a 260 acre conservation area adjacent to the Montour trail near Hassam Rd. They are developing hiking and mountain biking trails within this area. <<There are two connections (2017) to the Montour Trail. One is at mile 2.7 and one at mile XX.X.>> See hollowoak.orgfor current status.
The Montour Run Watershed Association is concerned with protecting the Montour Run Watershed's natural values while promoting their related economic benefits. They have and continue to do projects that clean up the water quality of Montour Run.
The Montour Trail Council holds regular volunteer trail development activities for improving the established segments and for preparing new segments for development. The trail council is doing project planning and engineering for the remaining portions of the trail. The trail organization hopes to complete this construction over the next few years.
The Montour Trail is one of seven trails in the Allegheny Trail Alliance (atatrail.org). The Alliance has coordinated the effort to establish the GAP Trail system connecting Pittsburgh with Washington DC via rail-trails and the C&O Canal Towpath.
Montour Trail Council
Trail Users' Guide to Montour Trail.
Yvonne Merrill, AE Richardson, and Mary Shaw, Great Little Walks: A guide to walks on the Great Allegheny Passage and connecting trails in the Pittsburgh Area identifies some particularly nice walks on the trail system. Great Allegheny Press, 2003, out of print [[[check citation to great Little Walks]]]
USGS Topographic Maps: Ambridge, Oakdale, Clinton, Midway, Canonsburg, Bridgeville, Glassport.
Artwork — trlbike.psd
Artwork — trlbike.psd
From near Coraopolis on the Ohio River to just short of US 19 [[ rethink partitioning of the sections]]
The western end of the Montour trail runs from milepost 0 at Groveton (near Coraopolis) to <<milepost MPXX Just short of Library.>> This segment follows Montour Run from near its mouth on the Ohio River to Imperial, crosses under US22 near PA980, parallels PA980 to Venice, then runs east and under I79 crossing Chartiers Creek twice, to end just short of US Route 19, 3.2 miles east of Hendersonville where it transitions seamlessly to the Arrow Head Trail Segmeny. It's finished in crushed limestone, 10 feet wide.
The trail begins in Moon Township near Coraopolis, at Groveton under the PA51 bridge alongside Montour Run. From here to Beaver Grade Rd (mile 3.2), the trail runs largely through woods alongside Montour Run, punctuated occasionally with single houses. You'll also see a few industrial sites: a superfund site (mile 0.3), Snyder's scrap metal (mile 0.6), and Moon Township Water Pollution Control Plant (mile 1.3), which smells like most sewer plants.
Just past the road crossing is a bridge over Meeks Creek. This creek is one of the cleanest in running into Montour Run and supports Brook Trout. The Hollow Oak Land Trust owns 260 acres of land to the right of the trail. They are developing hiking and mountain biking trails which provide a connection to Moon Township Park.
At mile 1.7 the trail passes through the Forest Grove Sportsman's Association. Shooting ranges occupy both sides of the trail, so be especially careful to stay on the trail here and do not be alarmed by gunfire. Between the two bridges over Montour Run at MP 2.7 a hiking/mountain biking trail departs to the right into Hollowoak's Conservation Area. From Beaver Grade Rd (mile 3.2) to Cliff Mine (mile 5.9), the trail is within sight (and sound) of Montour Run Rd and Cliff Mine Rd on one side, but the other side of the trail is all woods. At MP3.7 another trail leads up the hillside to connect with the Hollow Oak conservation area and Moon Township Park. In this stretch the trail crosses Montour Run three times. It also crosses the roads to Robinson Town Centre and two other commercial areas. There's a seasonal water fountain near the Robinson Town Centre crossing.
At Cliff Mine (crossing Steubenville Pike-Enlow Rd), the trail passes behind a salvage yard and some houses then crosses Cliff Mine Rd (mile 6.2). Here the trail works away from roads into the woods, crossing Montour Run four times before entering the 558-foot Enlow Tunnel (mile 7.2-7.3). Just west of the tunnel, cattails grow in a small wetland (mile 7.5). The trail emerges at what use to be the Enlow ballfield where the Findlay Water Authority has installed a water fountain. Go early on a summer morning to watch the rabbits. At Five Points intersection (mile 8) the Airport Connector begins and travels 6.0 miles to the Pittsburgh International Airport.
Pick up from p 18
Pick up from p 18
After Five Points, the trail runs in a short cut full of wildflowers, then enters the outskirts of Imperial with houses on the east and a construction yard on the west. Soon it parallels the streets of Imperial. From the embankment you can look down onto the shopping district and community center along Main St or up on the other side to the houses along Station St. After crossing the bridge over US30 (mile 8.9) the trail enters a residential area, then reclaimed strip mines, now well grown over. A farm with a fine barn provides visual relief (MP 11.1). At the Boggs trail head (MP 11.5) a campground with an adirondack shelter is available for through travelers.
This begins a stretch of 7.5 miles with a few driveways but no at-grade road crossings. The trail enters a small cut, crosses under the twin bridges of US22, and enters an open area. One of the more remote stretches of the Montour Trail, from here to McDonald the trail parallels PA980. From US22 to Beaver Club Rd, the trail was built as a side effect of strip mining a coal seam under the trail. At Beaver Club Rd the trail re-enters the woods, largely on a raised embankment above PA980. Near mile 14.5, the trail crosses PA980 just south of the entrance to Quicksilver Golf Course.
Heading south from this parking area, the trail passes behind a few houses, through a cut, and behind some more houses. It then swings away from the road. A creek and swampy area separate the trail from the road. The houses give way to light industry, chiefly storage areas for construction equipment and chemicals used in the tinplate industry. After a few of these, nothing obstructs the views across the valley, so you can concentrate on the surrounding scenery and nature's success in restoring the land.
Three miles from Quicksilver, as you approach the McDonald trestle (mile 18), a side trail branches to the left and descends to Noblestown Rd and the trailhead parking near the base of the high trestle and the connection to the Panhandle Trail. The main trail crosses high over the Robinson Run valley on the trestle that is the signature feature of the trail, offering great views up and down the valley. The Panhandle Trail crosses under the trestle alongside the creek. A connecting trail exists to connect the Montour parking area under the trestle with the Panhandle Trail near Primrose. It follows what was the railroad connecting route.
At the far end of the trestle an old road drops down to the road. Across the road and 20 feet further is the Panhandle Trail. (Page PIT-Error! Bookmark not defined.)
From the south end of the McDonald Trestle, the trail climbs through the woods to a small cut, then runs behind a residential area of Primrose, crosses a minor road, and climbs again to a deep cut. This cut separates the watershed of Robinson Run from the watershed of Millers Run, which the trail will follow to Chartiers Creek. Soon the trail passes through Southview, paralleling Primrose Rd. Shortly after the trail passes the Southview parking area on Galati Rd, the trail splits. Follow the left fork to the bridge and across the PA50/PA980 intersection. There used to be a staircase here but PennDOT rebuilt this intersection to make it more like a normal crossroad and constructed a bridge for the trail. The right fork is the <<Westland Spur. (Page PIT-XX>>
Continue on the trail through the woods, crossing a bridge, and emerge behind Cecil Township Park, which is in the village of Venice. Mileposts resume here; at mile 24.7 a path branches left, descends into a glade, and crosses the creek to provide access to Cecil Park near the tennis courts.
After passing Cecil Park, the trail runs eastward through the former mine towns of Cowden (mile 25.4) and Bishop (mile 26.1). Swinging away from residential development, it enters the cut that leads to the curved National Tunnel (mile 27 to 27.1). This major feature of the trail is 633 feet long, at an elevation of 1138'. Be careful here: The curve of the tunnel shuts out some of the light, and the ceiling usually drips; as a result the trail surface may be hard to see and cyclists may want to consider walking. This tunnel is sometimes called "National Cave" in the winter because of the ice formations that develop there and build up on the trail surface. Past the tunnel the cut opens up and the trail runs through open farms and woods.
Four and a half miles east of Cecil Park, the trail at Hendersonville (mile 29.1) the trail crosses the bridge over SR1009 (Washington Pike on maps, Morganza Rd on the ground). There is a bike shop and snack shop in the old Henderson company store. You can get ice cream and snacks in the back corner of this white building, just across the intersection.
Pick up from p 18
Pick up from p 18
Passing behind the white building, the trail continues east for another 1.5 miles to the trestle over Chartiers Ck. Here there is a trestle, tunnel, trestle as the trail crosses Chartiers Ck twice cutting off a bow of the creek. About 1.6 miles further the trail crosses the first bridge over << Valley Brook Road, and then 0.xx>> miles later crosses back over Valley Brook Road. Descending the hill just pass this bridge leads to the sewer plant trailhead and the start of the Arrowhead Trail in Peters Township.
The Montour RR was started in 1877 to haul coal from Santiago, near Imperial, to the Ohio River. It also hauled general goods. In 1913 it was extended beyond Santiago to West Mifflin. Some bridges on this section are dated 1924, when realignment shortened the line by about a mile. This section of the Montour RR was abandoned between 1962 and 1984.
The BFI Imperial Sanitary Landfill near mile 11.5 offers tours. Call (724) 695-0900.
Near Mile 30.2 the <<Montour Railroad Historical Society check name>> has rescued and has refurbished a crane track car that was used on the Montour Railroad. It can be seen alongside the trail.
Extensions of the ride
The portion of the trail near McDonald can be combined with low-traffic local roads to the west of PA980 for a variety of loops through Southview, Cherry Valley, Bulger, and Candor. The best places to connect with the trail are on PA980 100 yards north of Beagle Club Rd, at McDonald, and just north of the underpass that takes the road to Southview under the trail. The Panhandle Trail through Primrose and Midway to Bulger are also possibilities connection points. The routes are too numerous to detail; take a map and enjoy yourself.
The <<Westland Spur (Page PIT-XX) >> is a 9 mile side trail <<more text>>
The Airport Connector (Page PIT-Error! Bookmark not defined.) is a 6 mile side trail that leads to the Pittsburgh International airport. One can park at the bike racks at the end of the parking lot walkway, go into the airport for lunch, and return.
A 9-mile loop on lightly-traveled roads begins at trail mile 8 and returns to the trail at mile 11.5. Follow the signs for the Airport Connector for about 4.3 miles to the stop sign on SR3089 (Moon-Clinton Rd). Turn left on SR3089 rather than following the right turn to the airport. and go a block to the highway department maintenance yard on the left. Just before SR3089 starts uphill, turn left, pass the maintenance yard, and turn right on a narrow residential road. Follow this road up the hill to the intersection with US30 and SR3089 at Clinton. Cross US30 and continue on SR3089 (now called Washington Rd). Just past the post office take the left fork down the hill to stay on SR3089 with light traffic. Follow SR3089 (1.7 miles downhill!) to a stop sign at SR3071 (Potato Garden Rd). Turn left on SR3071, follow rolling hills 2.5 miles to SR3070 (Boggs Rd) and turn left again. This intersection is not obvious—you'll cross a bridge toward the BFI Imperial Sanitary Landfill. Soon after the turn, go straight into the Montour Trail at the parking lot (mile 11.5) just as the road starts left up a small hill. << Check road loop MP8 to MP11.5>>
A ground breaking was held in October 2012 for the Southpointe Connector. This branch will run from the Montour mainline about halfway between I-79 and Papp Rd, up the hill to Klinger Park and out to Klinger Road providing direct access to Southpointe. Construction of this trail has been delayed, but a rough grade was developed in 2016.
<<News article said, "In addition, other spring work includes work on another new RIDC trail, which will link with the Montour Trail and parallel Cliff Mine Road, >>Park West Drive and Industry Drive so that walkers and bikers could go from the Montour Trail to McClaren Road. Klingman says the approximately $50,000 project has been in the works for a few years, but the physical construction began last year. The new trail was proposed instead of new sidewalks in those areas, and Findlay will continue to maintain the trail. At least half of the trail is done already, and the Industry Drive portion and hopefully the Park West Drive portions will be open this year, Klingman says, although there are some issue and costs associated with moving some Verizon facilities underground near the Park West Drive section. It is possible that some of the trail might have to be completed in 2006. Although at some point, Klingman says, those who use the trail will have to cross roadways, when the trail is completed, if they get on the Montour Trail at Westbury, they will never have to use a roadway. " What happens when it gets to Aten Rd?
Vicinity: Directions begin at the interchange of I279/US22/US30 (Parkway West) with I79. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go west on I279/US22/US30 (Parkway West).
Groveton(northeast trailhead): At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, go north on I79 to Exit 17, PA51. Exit northbound on PA51. After less than half a mile, PA51 crosses Montour Run on a high bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge, make an extremely sharp right onto Montour Rd. The intersection is marked with a large sign for H. Snyder Scrap and a small sign for Montour Trail. Go 0.1 mile on Montour Rd to trailhead parking under the PA51 bridge. Park well clear of the narrow road.
Montour: At Exit 2, follow signs for Montour Run Rd. Just after you get clear of the intersection, there is plenty of parking on the wide shoulder of Montour Run Rd within sight of the trail. You will be on the north side of the Parkway near the entrance to the former Wickes Furniture store.
Cliff Mine: At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, continue west on the Parkway (US22/US30) for 5.8 miles (it will change number to PA60). Follow the signs from Exit 2 to Cliff Mine Rd and follow Cliff Mine Rd about a mile to parking at the intersection with Steubenville Pike-Enlow Rd.
Enlow: At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, continue west on the Parkway (US22/US30) for 7.9 miles (it will change number to PA60). After passing the Montour Exit, follow PA60, the Airport Expressway, rather than Business 60. Exit onto McClaren Rd at Exit 4, following signs for Imperial. Go 1.5 miles to parking at Enlow ballfield, just before Five Points (the first major intersection).
Boggs, Quicksilver, and McDonald: At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, continue west on the Parkway (US22/US30) for about 3.8 miles. At the interchange with PA60, exit westbound on US22/30. Continue westbound on US22 for about 6.8 miles, staying on US22 where US30 splits off.
For Boggs Rd (BFI): At the PA980 exit go north on SR3071 for about half a mile. Turn right across a bridge on SR3070 (Boggs Rd) toward the BFI landfill. Shortly after the turn, go straight into trailhead parking (Bugay Dr) instead of following the road slightly left up the hill.
For Quicksilver: At the PA980 exit go south on PA980 for about 3 miles. Just before the small bridge that carries the trail over PA980, turn right into trail parking.
For McDonald Trestle: At the PA980 exit go south on PA980 for about 5 miles. At the "T" intersection where PA980 turns left, turn right instead, go one block, and turn left into trailhead parking just before the trestle.
Cecil Park: At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, go south on I79 to the Bridgeville Exit (Exit 11, PA50) and go west on PA50 6.7 miles to the Cecil Township park. The park is actually in Venice, 2.7 miles west of Cecil, on the south side of the road. On weekends, please park in the township building parking lot at the west end of the park, leaving park parking for park users.
Dacor Dr: At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, go south on I79 to the Bridgeville Exit (Exit 11, PA50) and go west on PA50 5.5 miles, past Bishop. Turn south on Dacor Dr and go 0.25 mile to parking area.
McConnell Rd: At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, go south on I79 to the Bridgeville Exit (Exit 11, PA50) and go west on PA50 4.9 miles to Bishop. Turn south on Muse-Bishop Rd, then left (east) on McConnell Rd. The parking area is just over half a mile east of this intersection.
Kurnick and Hendersonville (east trailheads): At the intersection of I279/US22/US30 with I79, go south on I79 to the Southpointe-Hendersonville exit (Exit 10A). Take this exit; at the bottom of the ramp, turn left (east) and follow signs to Hendersonville. The signs will lead you east for 0.5 mile to SR1009 (Morganza Rd), then left (north) on Morganza Rd
For Hendersonville Shops: Go north on Morganza Rd for 0.5 mile to Hendersonville. Just before the Hendersonville shop, before the road goes under the bridge turn right/east, then left up the driveway just past the shop to parking, or turn left then left to parking. This is sometimes full on the weekends so use the Henderson Ballfield parking instead.
For Kurnick: Go north on Morganza Rd just over half a mile to Hendersonville. Turn left on SR1010 (Hendersonville-Cecil Rd) just after the road goes through the cut of the once and future bridge. Follow Hendersonville-Cecil Rd 0.8 mile to the Kurnick parking area on the left.
Vicinity: Vicinity: Directions begin on Valley Brook Rd (SR1010) from its intersection with US19. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go south on US19. Continue for 1.8 miles past Boyce Rd, or 1 mile past the Allegheny/Washington County line, or the third traffic light past the county line, turn left onto the Valley Brook Road ramp.
Route 19 and Valley Brook Road; Ignore the vicinity directions above. From Pittsburgh go south on US19. To reach US19 from Pittsburgh, cross the Liberty Bridge, go through the Liberty Tunnels and continue straight. Valley Brook road is about 10.5 miles from the end of the tunnel. About 1.8 miles past Boyce Rd, or 1 mile past the Allegheny/Washington County line, take the right hand ramp labeled to Lawrence. Descend to Valley Brook Road. Turn right/north and go 0.1 miles to a small parking lot on the left via a massive bridge pier. If this lot is full turn around and try the small lot on the right by the sewer plant which is just after crossing the creek. If this lot is full continue under Route 19 for 0.1 miles and turn right into Strive Fitness Lot and park behind the buildings. For these alternative lots you will have to travel about 300 feet on narrow Valley Brook Road to reach the original parking lot and the star of the trail.
Rest rooms, water: Seasonal chemical toilets at most trailheads. The Sportsman's Club at mile 1.7 offers the courtesy of their rest rooms. Seasonal water fountain below Robinson Town Centre, at the trail crossing near the intersection of Park Manor Blvd and Montour Run Rd. Another water fountain near Enlow ballfield. Rest rooms and water at Cecil Park in season.
Bike shop, rentals: Coraopolis Bike and Hobby Shop in (where else?) Coraopolis. The Tandem Connection Bike Shop in the company store at Herdersonville.
Restaurant, groceries: In Coraopolis, but it's a mile or so on a busy road with poor shoulders. In Robinson Town Centre on top of the hill near the Parkway, accessible from mile 4.2 on a narrow, busy road. Schmidt's Restaurant just across the road from the trail near mile 5.8. Two bars (both closed on Sunday) and a pizza carryout at mile 8.9 near the trestle in Imperial; a pedestrian tunnel under the trail at mile 8.6 (there's a sign for this side trail) may help you get there. A dairy stand and a restaurant on PA980 about halfway between the trailheads; there appears to be a dirt path from the trail to the road here. Aunt B B's Diner at intersection of PA980 and PA50, but they may close early. Convenience stores along PA50 in Cecil (traffic, alas).
Camping, simple lodging: Motels near Montour Run exit to Parkway West. Montour trail has << established primitive camping area (porta john, tent sites, water near by at MPXX and MPXX and MPXX>>
Swimming, fishing: Swimming depends on whether you're willing to swim in Montour Run. A few spots might be deep enough, but the water quality may discourage you. Lower Montour Run is stocked with trout by the Sportsman's Club.
Winter sports: Cross-country skiing is encouraged. Snowmobiles prohibited
Wheelchair access: OK along whole section
Trail Users' Guide. Trail map/brochure available at trailheads and local bike shops.
USGS Topographic Maps: Ambridge, Oakdale, Clinton, Midway, Canonsburg.
Town of McMurray in Washington County and southern part of Bethel Park Township in Allegheny County
The popular Arrowhead Trail runs through residential areas of Peters Township. Frequent informal side routes provide local access. Expect lots of company on the trail, including pedestrians, dog-walkers, and rollerbladers. It's well laid out, with a good asphalt surface and extensive landscaping. The northern part is 11' wide; the southern end 8'. Although nearly 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.
The only section of the Montour trail under separate management and the first to open, the Arrowhead Trail is developed and managed by Peters Township. It currently includes approximately miles 33 to 36. This section includes a short spur of the Montour Trail that extends the Arrowhead Trail into Bethel Park. The Montour Trail Council plans to complete the connections to the main line of the Montour Trail both west to replace about 0.2 miles along Valley brook Road and 1.0 mile east to Library.
The trail begins just west of US19, in a small parking lot between the sewer plant and US19. It immediately goes under US19 and parallels Valley Brook Rd, first passing another trailhead parking lot, then swinging a bit away from the road. Near Pelipetz Rd, an access ramp curls under the trail and drops to trailhead parking. The trail enters the woods, separated from Valley Brook Rd by Brush Run, and climbs gradually to McMurray, picking up residential development along the way. By the time it reaches McMurray it's clearly in the suburbs. The trail remains suburban in character until Bebout Rd, where Peterswood Park occupies the right side of the trail. A spur trail climbs to the developed parts of the park, including playing fields, restrooms, telephones, and other community park amenities.
After crossing Sugar Camp Rd, the trail forks at Library Jct. The right (eastern) branch is crushed limestone. This is the future main line of the Montour Trail and it leads to Library and eventually Clairton It currently extends 1.7 miles before ending at the fenced-off trestle over Library Rd, which now has neither deck nor railing, but is now under construction and should be open in the late fall of 2014.
The left (western) fork at Library Jct is asphalt; it climbs briskly to the parking lot on Brush Run Rd. The Brush Run Rd trailhead is located where a cut has been filled in to eliminate a road trestle. Arrowhead Trail climbs steeply to the parking lot, and the continuation to Bethel Park descends quickly to original grade level. Allegheny Power (formerly West Penn Power) owns the railroad grade in Bethel Park, and the Montour Trail Council has arranged a recreational easement along the railroad grade, sharing space with the power line.
Across Brush Run Rd from the parking lot, the trail goes down a short hill, then levels out as it heads west, then north, then northeast to the intersection of Logan and Patterson Rds. The first 0.8 mile is in Peters Township, hence part of the Arrowhead Trail. At the county line, the trail seamlessly becomes the Bethel Park Spur of the Montour Trail, and it follows the railroad grade for 2.1 miles until the railroad grade disappears in an industrial park at the intersection of Logan and Irishtown Roads.
The J R Taylor bridge, dedicated 9/2011, eliminates a dangerous crossing of Clifton Road. Completion of this bridge provides greater access to the George Washington Elementary school which is alongside the trail.
The Montour Railroad was organized in 1877 to haul coal from Santiago, near Imperial, to the Ohio River. It also hauled general goods on the route. The Library branch was built in 1919. It was transferred to the P&LE in 1975, abandoned in 1984, and acquired by Peters Township in 1985 for development as a multi-use recreational trail.
Half a mile east of Bebout Rd, a paved spur trail starts just across the trail from the handicapped parking lot. It takes you up the hill into Peterswood Park. In the park it makes a 1.2-mile loop past the soccer fields, playground, and softball field. The trail itself is near Pittsburgh, so all the nearby roads are likely to carry traffic. However, if you follow the spur into Peterswood Park, you can find good low-traffic riding south and west of the park.
Access points for Arrowhead
Vicinity: Directions begin on Valley Brook Rd (SR1010) from its intersection with US19. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go south on US19. Continue for 1.8 miles past Boyce Rd, or 1 mile past the Allegheny/Washington County line, or the third traffic light past the county line, turn left onto the Valley Brook Road ramp.
US19 Sewer Plant At the bottom of the ramp, turn right, cross under US19. The parking lot is just on your left. It is a small lot and tends to fill up. If it is full, turn around and follow and go the US19 Strive Fitness Center lot
US19 Strive Fitness Center: At the bottom of the ramp, turn left, the parking lot is just on your right. You enter by going past the Strive Family Fitness Center/ Pittsburgh Youth Ballet and park behind their building.
Pelipetz: At the bottom of the ramp, turn left, continue 0.5 mile and turn right on Pelipetz at the intersection of Valley Brook Rd with Pelipetz Rd and Maplewood Dr. The parking area appears almost immediately on the left.
Brush Run Rd: At the bottom of the ramp, turn left, continue about 1.5 miles to SR1002 (McMurray Rd) and turn left. Go about 1.4 miles and turn right on SR1004 (Brookwood Rd). Go about 0.9 miles and turn left on Brush Run Rd (T757). The trailhead parking lot is on the right, just past Scott Rd.
Other access: Along Valley Brook Rd (SR1010), there is pedestrian access at McMurray Rd (SR1002) and Bebout Rd. Other access via the spur trail in Peterswood Park.
Access points for Bethel Spur
Vicinity: Directions begin headed southeast on McMurray Rd (the Orange Belt) from its intersection with US19. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go south on US19. About a mile past South Hills Village shopping center, take the Orange Belt/McMurray Rd exit and go southeast.
Logan Rd, Irishtown Rd: After turning from US19 on McMurray Rd (the Orange Belt) take the first left onto Bethel Church Rd, followed immediately by a right onto Drake Rd. Go about 0.5 mile and take the slight left onto South Park Rd. Take the next right onto Patterson Rd. Go about 0.6 miles and turn right onto Logan Rd. The trail end is up there on the hillside to your right. Take the next right onto Irishtown Rd. Go about 0.1 miles and the trailhead parking lot will be on your right.
Clifton Rd: After turning from US19 on McMurray Rd (the Orange Belt), continue about 1.8 miles to the intersection with Clifton Rd, where the Orange Belt goes straight and McMurray Rd turns right. Turn left onto Clifton, go about 100 yards, then turn left onto the road approaching George Washington Elementary School. One trail entrance is adjacent to the school parking lot, and another entrance is on the other side of Clifton Road. One row of parking spaces in the school lot (farthest from the school) is available for trail parking. 11 parking spaces (only available during non-school hours)
Brush Run Rd: After turning from US19 on McMurray Rd (the Orange Belt), continue about 1.8 miles to the intersection with Clifton Rd, where the Orange Belt goes straight and McMurray Rd turns right. Turn right to remain on McMurray Rd. Go just over a mile and turn left on SR1004 (Brookwood Rd). Go about 0.9 miles and turn left on Brush Run Rd (T757). The trailhead parking lot is on the right, just past Scott Rd. (Yes, this is the same as the Brush Run trailhead above, just a different route for getting there.)
Rest rooms, water: Rest rooms at the playground in Peterswood Park.
Bike shop, rentals: None.
Restaurant, groceries: Just after crossing the bridge for McMurray Road. On the left are My Big Fat Greek Gyro and the Farmhouse Coffee Shop. Across Valley Brook Road from them is a Subway. There are several restaurants about a block from the trail at the intersection of McMurray Rd and Valley Brook Rd. This busy intersection now has a traffic light. Restaurants and convenience store at the crossing of Clifton Rd on the Bethel Spur
Camping, simple lodging: Motels along US19 or at exits of nearby I79.
Swimming, fishing: None
Winter sports: No snowmobiles. Cross-country skiing only when snowfall is 4" or more.
Wheelchair access: Handicapped access at special trailhead on Bebout Rd; look for the trailhead sign, "Handicapped access only". Moderately steep grades near Pelipetz and Brush Run parking areas. Steep ramp at Clifton Rd.
Peters Township owns and independently operates the part of the Montour Trail in Peters. The Montour Trail operates the part of the Bethel Spur in Allegheny County.
Peters Township Department of Parks and Recreation
610 East McMurray Rd
McMurray PA 15317-3420
Arrowhead Trail. Trail map/brochure from Peters Township
Trail Users' Guide to the Montour Trail. Trail map/brochure available at local bike shops.
USGS Topographic Maps: Bridgeville.
Along Piney Fork in South Park Township in Allegheny County
The seed of the South Park section of the Montour Trail has been sown with a mile and a half of trail. It runs beside Piney Fork Ck, parallel to Brownsville-Library Rd and Piney Fork Rd. There are currently two access points, one near the Bethel Park and South Park sewer plant on Piney Fork Rd, and the other at Triphammer Rd. Access at the west endpoint won't be available until a bridge is rebuilt.
For now, the west end of this trail segment is on the south side of a bridge over Brownsville Rd near <<Stewart Rd. This bridge is closed pending replacement s this still true?>> Doesn't the trail go to the demolished bridge over Stewart near Brownsville?, and there's no trail access here. The surfaced trail starts at the south end of the bridge. Here the trail is next to a golf driving range here; beware of flying golf balls. Trail fencing is being installed to protect you, so stay on the trail. Aside from the golf area, the trail runs alongside Piney Fork creek for a secluded half-mile to Brownsville Rd Extension, where it crosses at grade. The bridge over Catfish Run here was the first bridge from which rust and paint were removed using the new ElectroStrip method.
Another 0.3 mile brings you to the entrance road for the sewer plant. The 10-car parking lot here is for trail use. After this lot, the road climbs away from the creek and you're left again in relative solitude with the woods and the creek. Too soon (in half a mile) the trail crosses a newly decked and painted bridge and arrives in the Triphammer Rd. parking area. Eventually the trail will be extended at both ends.
Vicinity: Directions begin headed south on Clairton Rd (PA51) from its intersection with Library Rd (Blue Belt). To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go south through the Liberty Tubes and turn left on PA51.
Piney Fork: Follow PA51 to the Yellow Belt and turn right on Curry Hollow Rd (toward South Park). Turn left on Brownsville Rd just after crossing a creek. Follow Brownsville Rd through South Park. Where Brownsville Rd makes a sharp right at Piney Fork Rd (at the CoGo store), turn left on Piney Fork Rd. In 0.5 mile, turn right into trail parking at the entrance to the Bethel Park/South Park wastewater treatment plant.
Triphammer Rd: Follow PA51 to the Yellow Belt and turn right on Curry Hollow Rd (toward South Park). Turn left on Brownsville Rd just after crossing a creek. Follow Brownsville Rd through South Park. Where Brownsville Rd makes a sharp right at Piney Fork Rd (at the CoGo store), turn left on Piney Fork Rd. In 0.8 mile, turn right on Triphammer Rd. Trail parking is on the right side in 0.1 mile.
Rest rooms, water: CoGo at the crossing of Brownsville Rd Extension
Bike shop, rentals: West of the trail, on Library Rd.
Restaurant, groceries: CoGo at the crossing of Brownsville Rd Extension
Camping, simple lodging: None
Swimming, fishing: None
Winter sports: No snowmobiles.
Wheelchair access: Good at both trailheads
Trail Users' Guide to the Montour Trail. Trail map/brochure available at local bike shops.
USGS Topographic Maps: Bridgeville, Glassport.
Insert map from supplement "Piney Fork to Clairton"
Along Peters Creek in South Park and Jefferson Townships in Allegheny County
The alignment of the eastern end of the trail has been affected by the Mon-Fayette Expressway, which lies a bit to the south of the trail. This section begins at the intersection of Snowden Rd and Peters Creek Rd. Here a new asphalt trail parallels Piney Fork Rd, adjacent to the road, for 0.8 mile to Gill Hall Rd. At Gill Hall Rd the trail ends, but a low-traffic road provides a workable option for 2.4 miles through this wooded stretch in the bottomlands along Peters Creek.
The road emerges in the residential outskirts of Large. Follow First St and Oak St for half a mile or so to PA51. The tall smokestack, labeled "Large", across the highway originally served the local whiskey distillery. PA51 is a 4-lane road with heavy traffic and no shoulders. Cross at the light and work your way south (right) for .15 mi along the grassy strip to the next light. Turn left here toward the Park and Ride lot. Pick up the bike lane on the right side of the lot and follow it to the end of the lot near the "No Outlet" sign.
Paved trail resumes at the back of the Park and Ride lot. It continues along the north side of Peters Creek in a deep valley for 2.5 miles to a parking lot in Clairton. Only the high bridge that carries Ravensburg Rd over the valley reminds you how close to town you are. Just before the end of the trail a huge pile of mine tailings looms over the trail on the right.
From the Clairton trailhead it is possible to connect to the Glassport connecting route of the Steel Valley Trail. Despite several scouting trips, we haven't really found any better option than turning left on PA837 at the trailhead and toughing it out in traffic for half a mile to the Glassport Bridge. See the description of this connection as a section of the Steel Valley Trail.
Vicinity of Large: Directions begin headed south on Clairton Rd (PA51) from its intersection with Library Rd (Blue Belt). To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go south through the Liberty Tubes and turn left on PA51.
Large: At the Glenwood Bridge interchange, take PA885 south past Allegheny County airport to PA51. Turn south on PA51 and follow it south to the Mon-Fayette Expressway interchange. Near the tall smokestack labeled "Large" turn left on Peters Creek Rd and go a quarter-mile to the Park N Ride lot. A bike lane starts on the right side of the road near the entry to the lot.
Vicinity of Clairton: Directions begin headed eastbound on PA837, the Green Belt, on the south side of the Monongahela River approaching the Glenwood Bridge interchange southeast of downtown Pittsburgh.
Clairton: Go southeast on PA837 and continue to follow it as it bends southwestward and goes through Dravosburg and Coal Valley and into Clairton. The trailhead, shared with the Montour Trail, is 0.5 mile south of the Glassport-Clairton Bridge and 250 yards north of Peters Creek.
Rest rooms, water: None
Bike shop, rentals: None
Restaurant, groceries: In Clairton
Camping, simple lodging: None
Swimming, fishing: Fishing in Peters Creek
Winter sports: No snowmobiles.
Wheelchair access: OK, but part of this section is on shared road
Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy
PO Box 472
Wexford, PA 15090-0472
Maps, guides, other references
USGS Topographic Maps: Glassport.
Text version from 2002 edition. Rode Groveton (0.0) to Boggs 9/2017, Boggs to Quicksilver 8/2014, Quicksilver to MP25 9/2017, MP25 to << Pleasant Street MP35.8>> 6/2017, Pleasant Street to Gill Haul Rd (GAP), Gill Hall road to Clairton 9/2015. Bethel Spur 9/2011. Westland Spur 11/2015. Airport Connector ??/????. Conditions will have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 4/2002
Cecil, 1, 7
Coal Valley, 28
Coraopolis, 1, 5
Five Points, 6
Glenwood Bridge, 28
Hollow Oak Land Trust, 2
Imperial, 1, 5
Library Junction, 20
McDonald, 1, 7
Montour Trail, 1
Airport Connector, 12
Arrowhead Trail, 19
Findlay Section, 5
Moon Section, 5
Robinson Section, 5
South Park Section, 24
Westmoreland Spur, 12
X-Clairton Section, 27
Montour Trail Bethel Park Spur, 19
Moon Township Park, 5
National Cave, 10
Peters Township, 19
Robinson Town Centre, 6
South Park Bike Path, 1
th BFI Plant, 16
th Boggs Road, 16
th Brush Run Road, 22, 23
th Cecil, 16
th Clairton, 28
th Clifton Road, 22
th Dacor Drive, 16
th Enlow, 15
th Groveton, 15
th Hendersonville, 16
th Kurnick, 16
th Large, 28
th McConnell Road, 16
th Pelipetz, 22
th Piney Fork, 24
th Quicksilver, 16
th Triphammer Road, 25
Wickes Furniture, 15