The Montour Trail follows a portion of the old Montour Railroad, which was built between 1877 and 1914 to link the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad with the region's many coal mines. Forming a semi-circle around Pittsburgh, the Montour Railroad also connected other railroads, including the Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh & West Virginia, the Baltimore & Ohio, and the Union. The trail's surface is primarily crushed limestone; more information on its two short paved sections can be found below.
Both the trail and the railroad are named for the creek that runs alongside; you'll follow the waterway for the trail's first 8 miles beginning in Coraopolis. Views will primarily be of leafy green neighborhoods sprinkled with wildflowers. A highlight of the trip includes the Enlow Tunnel in Findlay Township, which stretches 500 feet. Just south of the tunnel, the Airport Connector segment branches off from the main trail, using limited-access roads to reach Pittsburgh International Airport.
On the outskirts of McDonald, the impressive McDonald Trestle spans more than 900 feet. Here the Montour Trail connects directly to the Panhandle Trail, which travels east to Collier Township and west to Weirton, West Virginia.
Between McDonald and the small community of Southview, the trail offers beautiful rural landscapes. One of the newest segments of the trail splits off from the main route near Southview and heads southwest to Mount Pleasant Township. Known as the Westland Branch, the entire length of the trail parallels an active railroad line.
In Peters Township, you'll find a paved section of the Montour Trail, known locally as the Arrowhead Trail. The township planted 500 trees along the 4-mile route, which opened in 1985. The trail passes among a wooded corridor in suburbia, linking neighborhoods with parks.
Another two-mile paved section runs through Clairton. Here, at the trail’s eastern end, a short on-road route leads to the Great Allegheny Passage, which spans 150 miles between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Maryland.
Improvements to the Montour Trail are constantly in the works, with interim on-road routes set to be replaced by new sections of trail on the former railroad corridor in the near future. Refer to the Montour Trail Council’s official website for more information.
Trailhead parking is available at either end of the trail (along Montour Coketown at the northern end of the trail and off N. State Street at the trail's southern end), as well as many points in-between. Check the TrailLink map for parking areas and directions.