Five Star Trail

Pennsylvania

Five Star Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Westmoreland
Length: 7.75 miles
Trail end points: Lynch Field (Greensburg) and Hillis St. (Youngwood Borough) & Armbrust Rd. (Armbrust)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016970
Trail activities: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Five Star Trail Description

Trail users on this inviting corridor follow the path of an old Southern Pennsylvania Railroad line, in some places traveling alongside unused tracks (not to be confused with the newer Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, which operates along 66 miles of track through here). Riding the trail makes for a nice afternoon outing, combining pleasant scenery and historical attractions

The Five Star Trail runs nearly 8 miles through Westmoreland Country, extending south from Greensburg to Youngwood and then eastward to Armbrust. The Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. purchased the trail corridor from Conrail in 1995. The Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation Department is a partner in this project, along with the municipalities of Greensburg, South Greensburg, Southwest Greensburg, Youngwood and Hempfield. The trail's name honors these fives municipalities. PA Cleanways keeps the trail clean

Park at Lynch Field, a sports complex in Greensburg. The trail branches off to the east. Before embarking on this last 2-mile section, you may wish to stop in the Youngblood Trail Station, a museum focused on local railroad history. You will cross the campus of Westmoreland County Community College, along with a little park that features a pool, a playground and a few war relics, including an Apache helicopter

At the south end, the trail splits at Depot Street. The short, 1.5-mile stretch is paved and makes for a scenic walk or ride. Along the main trail, you'll see old rail cars and a converted caboose, once used as a restaurant.

Parking and Trail Access

Access points are located off Route 119, beginning in Greensburg at Lynch Field, and continuing south to Huff Avenue, Willow Crossing Road, Trolley Line Avenue (Buncher Commerce Park) and finally Depot Street in Youngwood. At the Westmoreland County Community College the trailhead is located on College Avenue across from the baseball field

Five Star Trail Reviews

Great trail for leisurely runs, walks, and biking. Alot of puddles and run off of the crushed stone in some areas after rain though.

We had a very nice day on this trail. We liked the variety offered by this trail. You go from a park-like setting amidst the Westmoreland Community College campus and then by an old railroad station in Youngwood. Then, at the end, there is another nice park called Lynch Field located on the north end of Greensburg, PA, with a bonus of a Dairy Queen to get an ice cream treat before riding back to the village of Armbrust, where it all starts. There is a neat World War II helicopter located in the Lynch Field park. All-in-all, a very pleasant, leisurely bike ride and you get to see downtown sections of Greensburg and the handsome, historical courthouse there. By doing the side trail along the railroad track south of the railroad station in Youngwood, our total trip was 16.5 miles; not bad for a bike trail this close to Pittsburgh. We recommend this trail. Easy access from the PA Turnpike at the New Stanton, PA exit. It is only about one mile off the turnpike.

Was surprised to find that a long section of the "trail" was the paved edge of a road for motorized vehicular traffic: all that the "trail builders" had to do is paint a white line and some bicycle icons, and voila', here is a bicycle trail.

Otherwise, the trail is a bit interesting, as it passes through some industrial sections.

Accordion

This was the first rail-trail I rode when I started out riding five years and 1700 trail miles ago. It was time to go back and document the historical treasures which remain on this trail. Five Star Milepost 0 is posted at Lynch Field, on US-119 on the north side of Greensburg, PA. This is the best place to start riding, with lots of free and safe parking at the popular athletic and sports complex. Zero your cyclometer here, and climb the hill 0.2 miles to the Pennsylvania Railroad's "duckunder" tunnel, which used to carry westbound trains heading south along our route under the busy 4-track mainline above until the 1950's. The tunnel allowed southward destined trains to leave Mainline Track #4 without fouling the other three main tracks above. At MP 0.5, climb down at the billboards and check out the "PRR" chiseled into the upper course of the cut stones supporting the former triple-track railroad above the old Lincoln Highway below. At MP 1.1, examine the "PRR" embossed in the stanchion bases of the old standard PRR railing found systemwide on the path leading away from the old double thru-girder bridge set. As you pass under 1954's US-30 Greensburg Bypass, note the classic, domed cast iron PRR whistlepost, "W" for "whistle." Steam engines whistled, but modern diesel roads still use that "W" for grade crossing warning signals to alert enginemen to blow that horn! The white office building you pass at MP 2.0 is the sole remnant of the once-massive Walworth Valve Company, which left for the greener pastures of Mexico in 1980. Classic PRR cast iron Milepost "2" is in place at Trail MP 2.1. We are two miles from the duckunder and the once impressive interlocking complex at "SW" Tower (Southwest Junction). The track you are riding beside here is Pennsy's old Southwest Branch. At MP 2.3 and 2.6, the legs of a wye join us from the old Radebaugh Branch, now the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad's route out onto Norfolk Southern's ex-PRR main line, west of Greensburg. "County Junction" ("CJ") at this point was where double-tracked lines from both branches merged southward into the 4-track line heading into Youngwood Yard. The concrete footers of "CJ"s northward "home signals" remain in place south of the road crossing at MP 2.8. Another classic PRR Milepost ("3") is intact at MP 3.1. Note that both mileposts have "plated over" northward facing numbers. In addition to showing mileages from "SW", these "dual mileposts" once displayed distances from the SOUTH end of the branch, once 44 miles distant, at Fairchance, PA. One more classic domed whistlepost remains, at MP 3.3. Youngwood's old PRR yard throat begins at MP 3.8, now the site of a new Marcellus shale truck transfer facility. The "Trolley Line Trail" portion of the Five Star begins at MP 4.4, with a one-mile ride on the now industrial access road which sits on the right-of-way of Southwestern Pennsylvania's coal field carrier WEST PENN RAILWAYS interurban Greensburg-Uniontown "main line." Observe the power line from here southward. It sits on the old trolley grade from here to the south end of the trail. At MP 6.4 and the now sadly closed Youngwood PRR depot museum, turn left over the bridge, and immediately to the right, and you are now on the denuded interurban grade. Note the stiffer grades permitted by the hill-capable big 57-foot West Penn interurban cars. At MP 6.1, venture a climb down the west side of the grade and inspect the classic, concrete arch culvert constructed by the West Penn. This was new building material in 1900, and it is still in great shape a century later. There are several wonderful examples of multi-arch spans like this at the south end of the interurban system, near Allison. After passing through the campus of Westmoreland County Community College, the trail diverges down the hill and away from the trolley grade, and onto the final 0.7 miles of the trail, which is built on the grade of Pennsy's old Sewickey Branch, once the coal conduit from the once lucrative ooalfields across central Westmoreland County. At the end of the trail, imagine the huge steel trestle which carried West Penn's cars over top of the Sewickley Branch you are riding on, the winding adjacent road, and Little Sewickley Creek. I believe that a concrete pier from that trestle remains in place on the north side of the road at your left. Backtracking to Youngwood, an 0.6 mile spur carries the trail from the depot southward to trail's end at its MP 6. This is a great trail, offering a nice look at some interesting examples of two classic and historic Western Pennsylvania rail lines, and some nice residual classic and impressive heritage structures. -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA 9-23-2012.

"I went for a long run on the trail in February 2005. For the first four miles the trail is very nice and well marked with many quarter miles marked. Winter has been rough on the trail by creating some ruts and washed out sections. Only the first 4-1/4 miles are family friendly. After 4-1/4 miles the trail leaves the railroad bed (why?) and follows the road through an industrial park with heavy truck traffic. It reverts back to railroad bed near Youngwood for about 3/4 mile and then sort of dissipates into a very bumpy shoulder of an active railroad. I'm not sure why it is advertised as 6-7 miles long. However, the first four miles are quite nice. Unfortunately there are no outhouses along the way."

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