Coal & Coke Trail

Pennsylvania

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Coal & Coke Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Westmoreland
Length: 6.1 miles
Trail end points: W. Main St./PA 31 between Center Ave. and S. Depot St. (Mount Pleasant) and Garfield Park at Church St. and Garfield Ave. (Scottdale)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6122882
Trail activities: Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Coal & Coke Trail Description

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. 
 

Coal & Coke Trail Reviews

Rode this trail last week, 10 miles round trip. An utter waste of time, totally neglected trail. Do yourself a favor and avoid this trail and drive down to the GAP trail.

Parts of the Trail from Mount Pleasant to BridgePort are terrible. Large section of the trail is basically large gravel instead of crushed gravel making it very hard to ride a bike on. Also some of the benches are covered with weeds. Trail used to be very nice. Hopefully it will get better soon

I have only been biking since late April, and when I started, I started out on the Five Star Trail because that was the only one I was familiar with in the area. In about the middle of May, a coworker of mine told me about the Coal and Coke Trail, and I am so glad that he did.

Right before I went on the trail, I found this website and read the reviews. I was a little hesitant to ride the trail at first, seeing as how the reviews were not the most positive; however, after seeing how old the reviews were, I decided to just go for it. I downloaded the map to help me get through the parts of the trail that go through neighborhoods, and honestly, if you are really paying attention, you really don't need a map. As long as you keep riding straight ahead, you will see the signs for the Coal and Coke Trail. Not to mention, the first time you ride on a street, it is only for about a block, and the second time you ride until you get to the stop sign, then you turn left to get back on to the trail. It really isn't that bad.

The trail itself is just absolutely beautiful and so peaceful - at least I think it is. While riding, you hear nothing but the sounds of nature, until you get to the parts where there are roads, but that is short-lived. It is not a crowded trail, and it is not one where you have to constantly pass four people running or biking across the entire trail.

I may not have been biking for very long, but I have to say that this trail has quickly become my favorite.

Accordion

Once the wild section of the trail ended in Scottsdale, there is no clear indication or signage of where to get the second part of the trail that leads closer to Scottsdale. I happened to find it by chance, since I decided to ride some of the residential streets past the trailhead and parking lot, and after 5 minutes, I found some other trail. To actually call this entire section a single trail for cyclist is misleading, as a section of it is actually on a paved road for motorized vehicular traffic.

I did an 8-mile out-and-back run on the trail this morning. I started at the northern end. Parking lot is much easier to find than the directions on this site indicate (You don't need to get on Clay Ave., the parking lot is at the corner of Main Street and Center Ave in Mt Pleasant).

Heading south, the first two miles are beautiful and partly shaded. The trail runs beside a creek and some marshland. There are very nice mile markers at every 1/2 mile.

The next mile is mostly good, but there are some paved parts, you have to cross a road, and then there is construction you have to weave through.

The final mile I did, from the 3 mile post to 4 mile post, was pretty terrible. Your average flat neighborhood road is comparable. It was all out in the open, mostly asphalt (not crushed gravel as I was looking to run on), and confusing. The trail followed a road for awhile, and there were no signs. This section also was right next to a junk yard.

As pretty as parts of this trail are, beware it is not quiet and fairly industrial. I ran past a few construction yards and a huge mound of old tires.

I was driving from NW PA to Baltimore, so I stopped a long my way. If I lived close, I would probably use this trail all the time. But, don't travel a long way to visit it, it is not worth it.

It was 5 1/4 miles from the "Build it yourself" parking lot in Mt Pleasant to the Jacob's Creek entrance in Scottdale. Both ends had good parking. Trail was rather easy, with a porta potty at halfway point.

Careful of construction under 119 at about 2.8 mile point.

Nice family friendly trail. Trail was smooth and well groomed which helped the young riders in my family. There was a nice playground and picnic area in Mt. Pleasent for the kids to burn off that last bit of energy. Finding the parking area in Mt. Pleasent could have been marked better. Trail may be short for some cyclists however.

Nice Trail but could use better marking in spots. Rather optomistic in the mileage unless you go up to Scottdale.

Great for occasional cyclist but too short for avid cyclist unless you go into and through Scottdale for some hills and extra miles.

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