The scenic Coal & Coke Trail connects the communities of Mount Pleasant and Scottdale in Westmoreland County, offering samples of the picturesque nature and friendly suburban feel of the area. The 6.1-mile trail lies on the old Pennsylvania Railroad corridor, and sections of it parallel an active Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad line.
In the early 1900s, the old railroad corridor was used to transport coal and coke from the many coal-mining companies in the county. Opened in 2007 after eight years of planning and development—and maintained by the Coal & Coke Trail Chapter—the trail allows you to walk along the same paths once taken by the country’s most renowned industrialists, including Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie, among others.
The northern endpoint for the trail is at Main Street/PA 31 in Mount Pleasant, which was first settled in the 1700s, making it one of the oldest towns in southwestern Pennsylvania. Half-mile markers line the route, creating a convenient path for exercise and active transportation, as well as recreation.
Just a block west from the endpoint, a series of shops, restaurants, convenience stores, and other services begins to line Main Street for about a mile to Braddock Road Avenue.
Heading south, you’ll come to the trailhead at Willows Park in about 0.3 mile, where you’ll find parking, restrooms, a children’s play area, soccer and baseball fields, and picnic pavilions. From Willows Park, a 1.3-mile on-street bike route is marked to take riders up to Veterans Park at West Main Street and Diamond Street, where you’ll find a granite veterans monument in the form of a life-size U.S. Army doughboy from World War I. Several restaurants are nearby. Although there are more direct routes to the park, the bike route avoids major uphill climbs.
Running along the active Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad line, the crushed-stone path passes through scenic wooded areas for about 1.2 miles to the town of Bridgeport, where it crosses over Shupe Run and Buckeye Road/SR 2001 in quick succession. Here, the surface switches to asphalt. Beyond Bridgeport, the trail quickly dips into woodlands again, passing by Buckeye and Hammondville at about 2 miles.
At the East Huntingdon Sewage Treatment Plant in Iron Bridge, about 2.8 miles from your starting point, the trail leaves the former railroad corridor and shares Sewage Plant Lane for about 0.1 mile. You’ll then switch back to off-road trail, crossing under US 119 and over Sherrick Run. In this nicely shaded area, note the placard on the stone platform placed in memory of Duane Wolley, founding board member of the Coal & Coke Trail.
This area contains some wetlands and vegetation that impart a remote feel as you make your way to Mildred Street in North Scottdale. Here, you’ll switch to on-road trail once again. In about five blocks, the route takes a left onto Overholt Drive, becomes a narrow pathway paralleling the road to the left, and then turns right into a wooded area adjacent to a large salvage yard (Jacobs Creek will be to your left). Upon reaching Kendi Park, a large community soccer and baseball complex, at 4.5 miles, you can opt to cut right toward the trail’s first official termination point on Mount Pleasant Road near the park’s playground.
At Kendi Park, the paved trail widens, with benches and trash cans lining the route. Here, the path also shares a 0.6-mile corridor with the Jacob’s Creek Multi-Use Trail. The rail-trail then turns right, and the separate path ends at around 5 miles on Mount Pleasant Road in Scottdale. An approximately 1-mile on-street route, completed in 2019, leads to the center of town and terminates at Garfield Park on Church Street.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the northern endpoint from I-76, take Exit 75 for US 119/PA 66 toward Greensburg, and then keep left to merge onto PA 66 Bus. N. Go 0.2 mile, and take Exit 1 to merge onto US¿119 S. Go 5.3 miles, and take the exit for PA 31. Turn left onto PA 31 E, and go 1.6 miles. Turn right into the parking lot.
To reach the trailhead at Willows Park just farther south, follow the directions above to PA 31 E, and go 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Center Ave., and go 423 feet. Turn left to stay on Center Ave., and go 0.3 mile. Turn left into the trailhead parking lot. The endpoint for the trail is 0.5 mile farther north. (Take the short spur at the back of the parking lot, and turn left to head toward the endpoint.)
To reach parking at the southern endpoint from I-76, take Exit 75 for US 119/PA 66 toward Greensburg, and then keep left to merge onto PA 66 Bus. N. Go 0.2 mile, and take Exit 1 to merge onto US 119 S. Go 7.6 miles, and take the exit toward PA 819 S. Turn left onto PA 819, and head south 0.7 mile. Take a slight left onto Overholt Dr., and go 0.5 mile. Turn right onto Mount Pleasant Road, go 0.8 mile, and turn left into the small access road. Look for the parking lot on the left in 400 feet.