The Westmoreland Heritage Trail is an excellent example of a family-friendly multi-use rail-trail. This crushed-limestone trail features reclaimed railroad bridges over the Conemaugh River and Loyalhanna Creek, both offering great views of the river hydraulics below. The trail offers opportunities for bird watchers and other naturalists as well.
The Westmoreland Heritage Trail runs along the Turtle Creek Branch of the former Penn Central rail corridor, which fell into disuse in 1972. The rail line was originally opened in 1852 by a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, led by George Westinghouse, Jr. to connect Saltsburg and Export. The line served to transport both passengers and freight between the many towns along its route.
Even on the hottest summer day you will find yourself enveloped in a lush deciduous canopy on this scenic trail. A portion of it runs along a small tributary that attracts various wildlife, and natural seeps can be seen in the limestone railroad cuts at various points. The trail has a distinct uphill grade virtually the entire 5-mile length from Saltsburg to Slickville, offering a fine opportunity for a quick downhill ride back to Saltsburg. At its eastern end in Saltsburg, the Westmoreland Heritage Trail connects to the West Penn Trail.
A 3.7-mile extension of the trail from Slickville to just north of Delmont opened in 2013. The new segment features a steep climb west of Slickville leading to a rapid descent to Beaver Run Reservoir. The trail skirts the edge of the reservoir before reentering a peaceful, densely-wooded landscape.
The Westmoreland Heritage Trail currently ends at a trailhead on Athena Drive in Delmont, but the Regional Trail Corporation hopes to extend it all the way to Trafford for a 22-mile rail-trail experience and connections to other trails.
To reach the Saltsburg trailhead from Blairsville, take US 22 West. Turn right onto State Route 981 North, toward Saltsburg. In approximately 7.5 miles, turn right onto Washington Street and take the bridge across the river into Saltsburg. Go 500 feet and turn right onto Salt Street. The street bears left and becomes Canal Street. At the end of Canal Street, turn right into the small public playground parking area near the playground equipment. Both the Westmoreland Heritage Trail and the West Penn Trail can be accessed here.
In the west, parking is available at the Slickville Lions Club Ball Field on SR 819 and at the new John G. Rangos and James Peretto Family Trail Access Area on Athena Drive, just north of Delmont.