West Penn Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The West Penn Trail, a National Recreation Trail, runs largely along the corridor of the Portage Railroad line that operated from 1830 to 1864 between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The trail is steadily being extended. Before you visit, check the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy website for current route information.

Since the first trail section opened, the West Penn Trail has been extended to cover 17 miles. It is made up of five sections: 1) Conemaugh River Lake, near the Conemaugh Dam; passes over four stone arch bridges dating back to the early 1900s; 2) Bow Ridge Switchback to Conemaugh Dam Section passes two tunnels and a hydroelectric plant; challenging and great for extreme bikers; 3) Dick Mayer, follows a former railroad bed and is challenging; 4) Saltsburg, hugs the banks of the Conemaugh River for more than 4 miles, passing through beautiful woodlands filled with lush green vegetation during warmer months; horseback riding permitted; 5) Kiski Extension, continues along the east riverbank for 1.5 miles, where it comes to an open field. Past this point the trail becomes private property and has two washouts that are not passable by bicycle.

Two main events are held in Saltsburg each year: an annual Native American Festival and a 3-day Canal Day Festival with live music, crafts, food, games and fireworks.

At Canal and High streets, the West Penn Trail links to the Westmoreland Heritage Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Saltsburg trailhead from downtown Pittsburgh, take Interstate 376 (Parkway East) 12 miles to Monroeville, where Interstate 376 becomes US Route 22. Follow US Route 22 for about 18 miles to State Route 981 North at New Alexandria. Turn left on PA 981 North and continue about 8 miles to State Route 286 to State Route 981 toward Saltsburg. Cross the bridge over the Kiskiminetas River into Saltsburg. Turn on Salts Street and go three blocks. The trailhead parking will be on your right near the playground.


Well worth the trip

   August, 2014 by jmk355

If you are planning to ride the entire trail, be prepared for some crazy terrain in the middle best suited to mountain bikes, but worked well with my hybrid too. About a 5 mile stretch (+/- 2.5 miles from Conemaugh Dam) has some big climbs and rapid decents ...read more

This is a good challenge

   November, 2013 by gtbeamer

I rode out from Saltsburg all the way to the eastern terminus at Newport Road. Riding east, just before you hit mile 4, the trail takes a hard left and things get tough. Effectively for the next 4+ miles you're going over two ridgelines, and it's not ...read more

Tremendous experience

   October, 2013 by finmichael

I rode the trail from 219 to the Connemaugh Damn. It was the most picturesque length of trail I have ever seen. Climbing the steps with the bike and biking down to the damn was a good work out but riding back up the hill to return was a killer. No matter, ...read more