Cowanshannock Trail


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Cowanshannock Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Armstrong
Length: 1.27 miles
Trail end points: Bernard Snyder Picnic Area and Buttermilk Falls outside Kittanning, PA
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6210629
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Mountain Biking, Walking

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Cowanshannock Trail Description

The short but scenic Cowanshannock Trail is a great pathway for hikers, walkers, and bikers to use to link to the larger Armstrong Trail. The Cowanshannock is 1.27 miles long, and plans are to extend it as much as four miles.
The trail follows the Cowanshannock Creek on an abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad Company corridor. In the early part of the 20th century, the trail corridor was used to haul coal mined by the Kittaning Iron and Steel Manufacturing Company as well as brick made by the Cowanshannock Brick and Manufacturing Company and the Willard Brick Company.
The trail begins at the Bernard Snyder Picnic Area, a beautifully landscaped area with views of the Allegheny River. About halfway into the trail you will come to a beautiful waterfall on the right side of the trail. A pretty wooden bridge crosses the creek here. The trail ends at a cul-de-sac on the banks of the creek.

Parking and Trail Access

To Bernard Snyder Picnic Area trailhead: FollowJohnston Ave. north out of town for approximately three miles to Mcmillen Rd. Turn right into the Bernard C. Snyder Picnic Area parking lot.

Cowanshannock Trail Reviews

This very old rail line peeled away from the Allegheny Valley main line from the north, and I would guess that the branch had a connection leg to the south. I measured the trail length at 1.1 miles from the parking lot to the stubbed east end. Only a few rotten tires convey the fact that this steep shelf was once a rail line. The roadbed is very eroded, and the trail climbs a continuous steep grade up from the Allegheny. The trail is indeed very scenic, and also very remote. It looks like a real primeval forest, actually kinda scary. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bear or a snake up there among all those large rocks and the rushing water. That little bridge halfway up is very tight, barely wide enough to walk your bicycle across, and there is no trace of railroad bridge piers across that ravine it crosses. It will be real neat to see this little trail extended several more miles into the valley some time in the future. -Rich Ballash, Latrobe PA 10/28/2014.

For it's short length, the views are spectacular! The funnest part was the wooden bridge 2" wider than the space between the 2 front wheels on my tadpole trike. The trail ends at a some real big rocks in the creek which make for a nice set of tiny falls.

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