DRAFT/DRAFT/Montour Trail

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
Groveton to Pleasant Rd         35.5 miles  32 mi packed crushed stone, 3.5 paved)
Pleasant Rd to Stewart Rd        1.5 miles  on road, under construction 2017
Stewart Rd to Triphammer Rd  1.5 miles  packed crushed stone
Across Triphammer Rd            0.1 miles  on road connection
Triphammer Rd to XX              6.0 miles 

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


Side trails

Airport Connection                     6 miles  paved, service road, 0.1 mile in traffic
Bethel Spur                                 8 miles  asphalt & crushed stone
Muse Spur                                    1 mile  Original ballast (closed)
Panhandle connector                 0.5 mile  packed crushed stone
Westland Mine Spur                   4 miles  packed crushed stone
South Park connector                            
Southpointe connector                             Under construction Spring 2013

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

Development plans

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.org for 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.

Trail organization

Montour Trail Council
304 Hickman St, Suite 3
Bridgeville, PA 15017
(412) 831-2030


Maps, guides, other references

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


Get out and ride!

DRAFT/Groveton-US 19 Section

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.

Montour Trail, Groveton-Hendersonville Section

Location                                                        Robinson, Moon, Findlay and North Fayette Townships,
                                            Allegheny County; Robinson and Cecil Townships, Washington County

Trailheads                        Groveton, Montour Run Exit of Parkway, Cliff Mine, Enlow, Boggs Rd,
                                                                       Quicksilver, under McDonald trestle, Southview, Venice,
                                                           Cecil Township Park, Dacor Dr, McConnell Rd, Hendersonville

Length, Surface                                   30 miles, packed crushed stone, 0.5 incomplete (road detour)

Character                   Uncrowded to busy, rural to wooded to suburban, mixed shade and sun, flat

Usage restrictions                                                      Horses ok on grass—stay off improved surface;