The Panhandle Trail is another jewel in the Pittsburgh metro area trail system. A Conrail line, known as the Panhandle Railroad, once connected Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis on this route. The rail corridor has been transformed into a multi-use, non-motorized trail stretching nearly 27 miles, from Weirton, West Virginia, to Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Today, the wide trail is open to pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians, with many easy access points along the way. Locals have created colorful sculptures out of recycled materials, such as handcrafted birdhouses, and colorful old shoes, to enhance the trail. You never know what art you may come across.
Spring and summer, when flowering shrubs and wildflowers dress up various landscaped trailheads and access points, are great times to bike the Panhandle. Between June and October, the Collier Friends of the Panhandle Trail sponsors several annual events on the trail. The friends group also maintains the trail from Walkers Mill to Greg Station.
The Panhandle Trail connects to the Montour Trail between the village of Primrose and town of McDonald and ultimately links to Washington, D.C., via the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. Recognized as a valuable resource and landmark for residents, the Panhandle Trail was the 100th successful rail-trail project in Pennsylvania. Officials from Washington and Alleghany counties, the West Virginia Rail Authority, PennDot, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, the Pennsylvania Department of National Resources and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission continue to work to preserve the historic corridor and develop the trail.
To reach the Carnegie trailhead, take Interstate 79 South to Noblestown Road. Turn and head west 1.7 miles to Walkers Mill. Turn left on Walkers Mill Road and then go 0.1 mile to a parking lot on the right where the trailhead is marked.
To reach the Montour and Panhandle trails trailhead near Champion, West Virginia, follow State Route 22 West from Pittsburgh to 980 South just west of Champion. Take State Route 980 South to McDonald and turn right on State Route 4012. Continue on 4012 to the village of Primrose. The trailhead parking and access is at the intersection of John's Street and Noblestown Road.