Little Crabtree Creek Trail

Pennsylvania

3 Reviews

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Little Crabtree Creek Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Westmoreland
Length: 1.3 miles
Trail end points: Twin Lakes Park and Luxor Road
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 8002537

Little Crabtree Creek Trail Description

Less than an hour from Pittsburgh, the Little Crabtree Creek travels for just over a mile in Unity Township, east of Greensburg. This first phase of the trail opened in July 2014; a future phase will extend the trail another 1.4 miles north to the community of Crabtree.

From the parking lot of Westmoreland County’s Twin Lakes Park, the trail travels out of the park and begins to follow the former right-of-way of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Alexandria Branch. Because it’s a rail-trail, the gradient is very gentle, making for an easy trip.

The trail offers a beautiful, shady, and quiet experience. The surface for the majority of the trail is limestone dust; near road crossings and in Twin Lakes Park, the trail surface is paved with asphalt. Additional recreational opportunities can be found in the park, including fishing, boating, and picnicking.

Parking and Trail Access

The trail begins in Twin Lakes Park (219 Twin Lakes Road, Latrobe). From US 30 at the Westmoreland Mall, turn north at the mall traffic light onto Sheraton Drive. After 0.1 miles, turn right onto Donohoe Road. On Donohoe Road, continue 2 miles to Twin Lakes Road. Turn left onto Twin Lakes Road and travel to the park entrance located 0.7 miles from Donohoe Road. Turn left into the park and travel 0.1 miles down into the lower lake's parking lot. Restroom facilities are at your left. The asphalt trail begins from the parking lot and travels away from the lake.

Little Crabtree Creek Trail Reviews

Peaceful Short Trail

I have been out of biking for a while, and figured this would be a great place to start out again. Word of warning, if you’re really out of shape like me, the trail is slightly downhill from the lake and pretty much all uphill on the way back. Not much of a grade, but I figured you should know. I love this area, my elementary school was not far from here. We used to take field trips down to Twin Lakes when the lakes were drained (one at a time). There was not much here then, and I don’t recall much evidence of the line that used to be here. Thank you Mr. Ballash for giving us a history on this line. You will enjoy this peaceful but short trail.

Beautiful Trail

I grew up near Crabtree and would ride my bike on roads that paralleled the railroad to Twin Lakes. Now I walk the Rails to Trails section that has been completed. Most of the trail is in wooded areas providing a green canopy that is beautiful. It is very well maintained and the crushed stone is great to walk on. There is enough of a gentle grade to give a nice workout. I’m really looking forward to walking the next section to Crabtree when it’s completed. We used to walk the tracks from Crabtree to New Alexandria when we were kids. That section will be fantastic because of its remoteness.

In The Heart of Coal & Coke Territory

Twin Lakes Park was developed around the twin lakes which once supplied water to the Jamision Coal and Coke Company operations which the Pennsy's three-leg branch here fanned out to the north. Crabtree, Hannastown, and Andrico (New Alexandria) were the coal mining and coking communities which this once lucrative line worked out to. Climbing out of the park, the trail immediately sets out on the Alexandria Branch grade at what was called Sowash Station. This trail will eventually be extended three more miles north to Crabtree, and the whole right-of-way, abandoned in the 1960s, is an absolutely beautiful route! For the time being, enjoy the short, shaded trail down along LIttle Crabtree Creek, and plan to take a walk around the beautiful park at the trailhead. Westmoreland County has done a beautiful job on the park. NS's ex-Pennsy main line, and the old Alexandria Branch junction down at Donohoe Station, is just a mile to the south. You will see NS trains operating east and west from your vantage point along the upper lake. PRR passenger trains operated on the branch until 1916. Sadly, there are no railroad artifacts along this first mile of trail. However, take a look backward at Mile 0.8 from the trail parking lot, and you will see the approach spur coming up from Luxor (in the distance), the other on-line mining town spur. Imagine those loaded coal and coke trains being yanked up that steep grade and down to the main line for over 50 years, headed for the steel mills at Pittsburgh. Enjoy the ride, on this very historic line, right in the middle of what was the heart and soul of the Coal and Coke Region of Western Pennsylvania. -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA 7-20-2014

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