Westmoreland

Westmoreland Heritage Trail

Trafford to Murrysville and Delmont to Saltsburg in Westmoreland and Indiana Counties

Currently (2018) the Trail consists of two separate segments: 5.9 miles from Trafford to Murrysville, and 9.0 miles from Delmont to Saltsburg with a 5.3-mile gap between them. This trail generally follows the former Turtle Creek RR. It begins on the industrial bank of the Monongahela River, climbs through increasing rural terrain, traverses a large lake and former strip mine areas. The Westmoreland Trail is one of the trails of the Trans Allegheny Trails System (page NE-166)

This trail can be divided into three distinct segments.

Trafford to Murrysville Section—5.9 gradual climbing miles alongside Turtle Ck passing through the suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Murrysville to Export to Delmont Section—7+ miles gradual climbing miles alongside Turtle Ck passing through the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Not yet built (2018).

Delmont to Saltsburg Section—9.0 miles through rural Pennsylvania.

Westmoreland Heritage Trail

Location Between Delmont and Slickville, Westmoreland, Indiana County
Between Trafford and Murrysville in Westmoreland County

Trailheads Trafford, Murrysville, Delmont, Slickville, Sara Steele, Saltsburg

Length, Surface 29 miles planned, 9.0 miles paved, 5.9 miles crushed limestone

Character Uncrowded, wooded, shady, gentle grade

Usage restrictions No motorized vehicles, no horses

Amenities In Trafford, Murrysville, Delmont, Slickville, Saltsburg

Driving time from Pittsburgh 30 to 50 minutes east

Trafford to Murrysville—5.9 miles

The newest section of this trail, which opened in September 2017, runs along Turtle Ck from B-Y Park in Trafford to the Roberts Access Area at the junction of PA22 and Branthoover cutoff road in Murrysville. The trail surface is crushed limestone. A week before we went to press (2018) the trail group installed mile markers. Although these are now in place, this writeup uses measured distance between points of interest.

Although the trail starts in B-Y park, the trail group asks that you not park there. The parking lot is small and heavily used by fisherpersons and park users. Visitors should instead use marked spaces at the Parkside Creamery at Forbes and Seventh. The trail entrance is a ramp at the rear of the parking lot. Turning left at the bottom of the ramp goes 0.3 miles past B-Y Park to the current (2018) end of the trail. Turning right and crossing Forbes Rd goes 5.6 miles to the Roberts Access in Murrysville.

The trail is mostly in woods, with the creek on one side and a hill on the other side. About 0.7 miles from Forbes Rd, a sidepath goes to the creek with a swimming hole. We have seen kids jumping off the 20-foot railroad abutment into the creek, but we have no idea whether this is safe.

After another 0.6 miles the trail crosses Simpson Run. A little farther, on the trail passes by the Saunders Station Rd trailhead and then passes under the Pennsylvania Turnpike and almost immediately passes the obligatory sewer plant.

Shortly before Trafford Rd the trail passes between a couple of industrial buildings. After Trafford Rd the trail returns to the woods until it bumps up against US22. Here the trail is just 10 to 15 feet below the buildings along the highway. The current trail ends at the Roberts Access Area with a visitor center and picnic tables.

From the Roberts Access Area foot paths lead off to Duff Park, which has some hiking and mountain biking trails. Duff Park is an excellent destination to see and photograph wildflowers and is known for having one of the best displays of woodland spring blooming wildflowers in the area.

Designated bicycle parking in shopping center at Forbes Rd trailhead

Murrysville to Export to Delmont—7+ miles

This section of about 7+ miles is closed because of some severely washed out areas and unsafe bridges. Construction of about 3.5 miles is planned to start on the Murrysville to Export portion in spring 2019.

Delmont to Saltsburg—9.0 miles

The second active segment starts just outside of Delmont at the Delmont/John Rangos Trailhead access. The trail climbs steady for 3.5 miles through woods with several road crossings to just before Slickville (MP5.0). These crossings are at an angle and have bad sight lines as well as steep descents to the road and steep climbs on the other side.

From MP7.2 to MP6.25 the trail is in the watershed of the Beaver Run Reservoir, a municipal water supply lake. The trail is on an embankment in this area, with the lake sometimes visible on both sides. The Municipal Authority has erected signs requesting trail users to stay on the trail and not approach the lake.

Just after crossing SR819 (MP4.9), the Slickville Community park is on the left. Another 900 feet farther on, the fire department parking lot is used as a trailhead. Opposite the fire department is the “Hollywood” sign for Slickville on top of a coal tailing heap. After leaving Slickville (MP5.0), the trail begins a long descent that is constant all the way to the Sara Steele trailhead (MP2.6). After that trailhead there is 250 feet of loose gravel on Maple Lodge Rd. After crossing County Rd the trail briefly is alongside the road before continuing through shady woods, still descending, although not as steeply.

At MP2.5 the trail travels alongside open fields for a short distance. It reenters the woods at MP1.9, and at MP1.6 Loyalhanna Ck becomes visible downhill on the right. Off on the left, overgrown piles of coal tailings hint at the heritage of the region and sometimes spill out onto the trail. Just pass MP1.5 one of the original railroad mile markers still remains. At MP0.7 the trail crosses Loyalhanna Ck, passes under PA981 in a culvert, and then crosses the Conemaugh River—all within 1000 feet.

The trail ends at MP0.0 where it intersects with the West Penn Trail (page NE-177). A playground and parking area are on the right.

Local history, attractions

The sidepath at mile 0.7 was a former railroad spur that crossed the creek to the Houston Star brick works. The Houston Star bricks were well thought of and were shipped up and down the east coast. The plant was destroyed by fire in the 1960s. Pictures of the existing ruins and other industrial artifacts from the plant are visible at: coalandcoke.blogspot.com/2015/08/monroeville-brickyard.html

Extensions of the ride

The trail connects at the east end in Saltsburg with the West Penn Trail (page NE-177). This trail goes east for about 12.7 miles to near Blairsville and about 2 miles northwest towards Apollo.

The trail on the west end will eventually travel down the Turtle Creek Valley and enter the town of North Braddock. From there it will cross the river and join with the Great Allegheny Passage to Washington DC and Pittsburgh (See the Southeast Volume of this guide).

Development Plans

The Trail Council owns most (but not all) of the right of way between Murrysville and Delmont and has plans to fill in the gap. They are looking for money to complete the project. Check the Westmoreland County website to find out the status. co.westmoreland.pa.us/index.aspx?NID=1010

Construction is expected to begin in March 2019 for the 3.5 miles from Murrysville to Export, with anticipated completion in August 2019.

The Trail Council hopes to continue the trail past Export for another 3.5 miles and connect to the segment that begins just north of Delmont. This portion is still in the investigation and design stage.

The trail west of Trafford is in Allegheny County and is their challenge.

Access points

Vicinity: Directions begin on I376 East about 14 miles east of Pittsburgh near the Monroeville, Turnpike, US22 exits. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, take the Parkway I376 East.

Forbes Rd/Parkside Creamery (western) trailhead: From the vicinity take exit 84A to follow the signs for PA48 South/Monroeville. Go about 3.5 miles and turn left/southeast on Broadway Blvd. Go 0.5 miles and turn left/east on Forbes Rd. Go 1.1 miles and just after crossing the trail turn left/south into the parking lot for the Parkside Creamery. Trail parking is on the right, away from the building.

Saunders Station trailhead: From the vicinity take exit 84A to follow the signs for PA48 South/Monroeville. Go about 0.8 miles and take the left fork on to Haymaker Rd. Go 0.5 miles and take the left fork on to Saunders Station Rd. Go 1.5 miles and just after crossing the trail turn right/west into trailhead parking.

Carson Street trailhead: From the vicinity take the left ramp to US22. Go 3.5 miles to just past Trafford Rd and take the right hand ramp to Reed Blvd. Go two blocks and turn right/south on Carson Av. Go one block and just before crossing the trail, the parking will be on the left.

Murrsyville Roberts Parcel trailhead: From the vicinity take the left ramp to US22. Go 4.3 miles, and just past the Fireplace and Patioplace Store, turn right/south into the Roberts trailhead and visitor center.

Note: As of 2018 there was no trail between Murrsyville and Delmont. The trail group is working to make this connection and it may happen in the near future.

Delmont/John Rangos trailhead: From the vicinity take the left ramp to US22. Go 10.6 miles, and at the intersection with PA66 and take the ramp to PA66 North and go about 1.0 miles. At Greensburg St, turn right/northeast and continue 0.4 miles while it changes its name to Freeport St. At the fork in the road, take the left fork to stay on Freeport St and go 0.1 miles. At this fork, take the right/northeast fork on to Athena Dr and go 0.9 miles. Just past the abutments for a former railroad bridge turn right/east on Athena Dr Ext and go 0.1 miles. At the signs for the trailhead turn right and up into the trailhead parking lot.

Slickville trailhead: From the vicinity take the left ramp to US22 and go 13.2 miles. At the intersection with PA819 turn left/north on PA819 and go 4.7 miles. Shortly after crossing the trail, turn right/east on Main St and go 0.1 miles to the Slickville Volunteer Fire Department parking lot/trailhead on the right. Exit the back of the parking lot to find the trail.

Warning lights at Story Rd Crossing

Sara Steele Access Area trailhead: From the vicinity take the left ramp to US22 and go 13.2 miles. At the intersection with PA819 turn left/north on PA819 and go 4.7 miles. Shortly after crossing the trail, turn right/east on Main St. Go 0.5 miles and at the bend take the slight right/east and continue on County Rd for 1.8 miles to Bartz Rd. The trailhead parking lot is visible on the right, but the entrance is on Maple Lodge Rd. Turn right/southeast on Batrz Rd and then immediately right/west into the lot. The trail here is along Maple Lodge Rd. To go east on the trail, turn left/north out of the parking lot and cross the intersection. To go west on the trail, turn right/south out of the parking lot, go 200 feet and turn right/west on the paved trail.

Saltsburg (eastern) trailhead: From the vicinity take the left ramp to US22 and follow US22 east. Go 2.4 miles and take the PA286 east exit. Go 6.3 miles and continue straight on PA380 East. Go 11.9 mies and continue straight on PA286. (Yes, back on PA286). Go 1.7 miles and at the “Y” intersection bear right to stay on PA286. Go 0.2 miles and at the bottom of the hill, turn left/east following PA286 across the bridge. After crossing the bridge into Saltsburg, immediately turn right/south on Water St. Go 6 or 8 blocks to the end, (depending how you count alleys), enter into the parking lot behind the playground. From the parking lot, exit on the leftmost trail. Within 500 feet the trail crosses a bridge and enters a culvert. This parking lot is also a middle trailhead for the West Penn Trail (page NE-177).

Amenities

Rest rooms, water: In BY Park, Roberts Visitor Center, Delmont, Slickville, Sara Steele Trailhead, Saltsburg where the West Penn Trail crosses Market St.

Bike shop, rentals: None.

Restaurant, groceries: in Trafford, Murrysville, Delmont, Slickville, Saltsburg.

Camping, simple lodging: None.

Swimming, fishing: Loyalhanna River.

Winter sports: Cross-country skiing encouraged. Snowmobiles prohibited.

Wheelchair access: Okay but narrow. The passage widths at the gates vary, but each barrier has at least one 36” opening.

Trail organization

Westmoreland Heritage Trail Chapter

111 Collinsburg Rd,

West Newton, PA 15089

724-872-5586

co.westmoreland.pa.us/index.aspx?NID=1010

Maps, guides, other references

Trail brochure available from the Chapter, or on the web.

USGS Topographic Maps: Braddock, Murrysville, Slickville, Saltsburg, Blairsville.

Version

Text version of 01 Sep 2018 based on personal observation while bicycling Delmont to Saltsburg 8/2017, Trafford to Murrysville 5/2018, Trail Group information 8/2018. Conditions may have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 8/2017.