Roaring Run Trail

Pennsylvania

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Roaring Run Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Armstrong
Length: 4.8 miles
Trail end points: Canal Road, 0.4 mile south of Kiski Ave. (Apollo) and High St., just west of Gartley St. (Edmon)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016945
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Roaring Run Trail Description

Evidence of the Roaring Run Trail’s past lives are readily visible all along the 4.8-mile corridor in western Pennsylvania. Stone remains in the Kiskiminetas River (Kiski for short) mark the site of a canal lock left over from the 1820s to 1860s when the route served as a towpath on the cross-state Main Line Canal system. Mileage markers and a bridge are remnants of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which bought the canal system in 1857 and converted it to rail. Here the railroad hauled coal from nearby mines and iron from local furnaces.

After it fell into disuse, the corridor was acquired by the Kovalchick Salvage of Indiana, Pennsylvania, which donated the right-of-way to the Roaring Run Watershed Association. The group formed in 1982 to help preserve this historic area and clean up pollution flowing from former mines. In addition to the Roaring Run Trail, the nonprofit also maintains the 1.5-mile Apollo’s Kiski Riverfront Trail to the north and the 1.5-mile Rock Furnace Trail.

The trail runs along the eastern shore of the Kiskiminetas River from south of the borough of Apollo to Edmon. There are no services between the two communities. About the first 4 miles of trail follows the railroad grade upriver from Apollo on a crushed-stone surface; the last mile is marked by a climb, a dip, and then a steeper climb on tar and chip asphalt to the Edmon trailhead. The trail is open dawn–dusk.

Starting at the trailhead south of Apollo, the trail cuts a wooded course along the river for 1.5 miles to the confluence of Roaring Run. If the river isn’t running high, you can see the remnants of a canal lock here. You’ll also meet the Rock Furnace Trail that climbs 1.5 miles from here to a trailhead in Brownstown. The Rock Furnace Trail features a suspension bridge over cascading waterfalls in the creek and the piled ruins of the Biddle Iron Furnace that dates back to the canal era. A huge stone hanging over the trail here is called the Camel Rock.

Back on the Roaring Run Trail, in another 1.8 miles a mountain bike singletrack heads up the slope, where the remains of an old coal washing and loading operation is disappearing into the vegetation. Other mountain biking tracks are on the hillside as well.

You’ll want to take the right fork in another 0.5 mile to go the remaining mile, mostly uphill, to the trailhead in Edmon. The left fork pays a visit to Flat Run, where a hiking path continues to a falls.

Roaring Run Trail is one of the Trans Allegheny Trails, a system of trails in western Pennsylvania. The trail is also part of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition’s developing 1,500-mile trail network through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the northern trailhead in Apollo from Pittsburgh, take I-376 E to its end (near mile marker 85) and continue onto US 22 E/William Penn Hwy. Go 10.1 miles on US 22, and exit onto SR 66 N toward Delmont. Turn left onto SR 66, and go 11.6 miles. Take a slight right to stay on SR 66 N, go 2.6 miles, and turn right onto Kiski Ave. Go 0.8 mile, and keep right to continue onto Canal Road. Go 0.5 mile, and turn right into the trailhead parking lot.

To reach parking near the southern endpoint in Edmon from Pittsburgh, take I-376 E to its end (near mile marker 85) and continue onto US 22 E/William Penn Hwy. Go 18.4 miles on US 22, and turn left onto SR 981 in New Alexandria. Go 11.9 miles, and turn right onto Main St./Walnut St. Go 0.5 mile, turn left onto Bridge St./State Route 1060, and go 0.2 mile. Turn left onto High St./SR 2047, go 0.2 mile, and then turn left to stay on High St. Go 0.2 mile, and look for trailhead parking on the left.

Roaring Run Trail Reviews

This trail is perfect for new bike riders. It's mostly level and shaded. iMy husband and I want to come back in the fall.

My wife and I are constantly seeking trails that provide a maximum of enjoyment with a minimum of pedaling effort. This trail meets our criteria.

We recommend you start at Canal Street in Apollo. This will have you pedaling upstream going out and downstream coming home. There is a gradual grade going out for most of the trail, but it was not something that prevented an old retired couple from making it to the end and back, so I wouldn't be concerned about it.

At mile marker 4, the trail does split, with the left going about 0.1 mile back to a scenic spot with a waterfall. The only problem we had with this spot was that the water level was down, so the waterfall wasn't as spectacular as it might have been. However, the stop was still very peaceful and enjoyable. We do plan on coming back in the Spring, when the water levels are higher.

The trail to the right is a short serpentine down to the river's edge and then the trail continues 1 mile on to Edmon. Unless you're in good shape, you might find yourself walking back up the serpentine on the return trip. The serpentine is very short so walking up the serpentine may add a couple of minutes to the trip, but again, it's nothing to be concerned about.

If you're looking for a Dairy Queen in Edmon to reward yourself for making it to the end, you're going to be a little disappointed. Not finding a DQ was the only down-side to our entire excursion.

The return trip was an easy pedal back to the trail head at Canal Street. Along with the much-appreciated restroom facility, there was a pavilion and tables for those who are looking to picnic.

We did try the cut-off to the Roaring Rock Trail, but it was a little bumpy for our taste, so after about 1/2 mile, we turned around. Remember, we're old and don't bounce that well anymore.

The group that is responsible for this trail and surrounding area should be very proud. It is very well maintained and is a great addition to the community.

All in all, we will definitely be back again. It was a very scenic and relaxing ride.

It was a very nice ride, well maintained and mostly shady. It was uphill going out but coming back was nice. The grade is gradual. It was very short, but relaxing ride.

Accordion

As with so many of our rail-trails being developed on this corridor, the Roaring Run Trail offers an exciting and relaxing taste of both means of transportation, from 1830 to 1970. The very nice Roaring Run trailhead, via the Kiski Riverfront Trail (See my review of the KRT, also 7-12-2014) is located 1.2 miles east of the PA56/66 trail lot. My rare "5-Star" trail rating Point #1: They didn't destroy the railroad artifacts, in particular, the most important on any trail... The railroad mileposts. Not that I'm ever too happy about some oblivian having whitewashed out the numbers ON those mileposts, which were present on all three of them the last time I was out here! (Egads! Sigh) First here at the trailhead is ex-PRR Milepost 1 (from "AP" Tower, as described in my Kiski Riverfront Trail review). I got out my quarter coin and managed to scratch off at least a BIT of the paint covering up the "1" on this post, and most of the paint covering the "3" on that relic. Three of the Pennsy mileposts remain at their exact locations from "AP"... Posts 1, 2, and 3. These are classic ex-Pennsylvania Railroad cast iron mile markers, once located all over the system from New York City to Chicago, Saint Louis, and Cincinnati. Some of these units were also cast in concrete. Sometime raised numerals were painted on, and at other times steel numerals were riveted on. Sometimes line destination first letters prefixed the numerals, and sometimes these post displayed different destination mileages on either side angle of the post. The other true gem of this trail is the remains of Lock #15, where the latter day coal railroad filled in its roadbed in the canal bed, and simply, like here, broke through the extruding walls of the lock. The stone ends of the lock gate, and a nice portion of the stone lock wall, are clearly visible 1.5 miles east of the "Milepost 1" trailhead. Remember, this was a part of the pre-railroad, cross-state Pennsylvania Main Line Canal System, a fascinating canal and incline transportation system from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. The only railroad bridge on the dual trail is located 0.1 miles east of the Rock Furnace Trail junction. The little plate girder span displays a fading classic ex-Pennsylvania Railroad bridge (and tunnel) mileage marker. Almost completely eaten up by moss, one can make out a painted black numeral "4", which looks like it was a marker for this Bridge #2.47 (A "2" over "47"), once again indicating mileage from "AP" Tower. The 2007 trail extension, definitely unlike the shady, flat trail to this point, begins 0.1 miles east of (railroad) milepost 3. The last 1.7 miles of trail takes the form of a mostly barren, ~3% uphill grade on an old logging road, a nice 1-mile, 12mph coast coming back from the trail's summit terminus, which itself has recently been extended 0.1 miles east of the trail split with the new Edmon Trail, which heads steeply down to the river at that point (I will head down here in the near future - That towpath bridge sounds neat!) The Roaring Run Trail is a scenic beauty, and I hope someday it does indeed become part of the trail network in place further up the Kiski River. Oh! And finally, the train watching out here.. Not too much Conemaugh Line traffic paralleling this trail over on the south side of the river, but I did see one of Norfolk Southern's new oil trains plodding east, from the trailhead, on my exit from the trail, the only train observed on the line in my four hours documenting this dual trail. -Rich Ballash, Latrobe PA 7-12-2014

If you start this trail from the canal road entrance there are 40+ parking spaces along with a nice picnic area, and a small unisex restroom.

This trail is almost completely covered with shade until you get past the bridge that is roughly 2 miles into the trail. After the bridge the trail isn't as shady. There are plenty of benches to take a rest along the path.

When you are nearing the end of the chipped path there is a cutoff road to your right which will lead you (one mile) to Edmon, or if you follow the path to the end there is a nice little "waterfall" with a bench to sit down.

This is a really nice bike trail. If you can do it during the midweek, it's a lot less crowded. It's an easy bike trail and very scenic. Today I saw a deer on the path and a beaver. The river looks green and is very calm on most days. You will enjoy the river as it is visible almost the entire trail. This is a nice trail for singles, couples out riding and families.

In 2009 the Roaring Run Trail was completed to the village of Edmon, making the trail five miles in length.
The last one mile of the trail is built upon an old logging road. This section is tar and chipped. There is a very significant climb at the Edmon end, making this section much more condusive to hiking, but if you are in really good shape you can pump your bike up it! (I can't!) There is a 15 vehicle parking area at the Edmon trailhead. The stonework remains of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal towpath bridge over Flat Run stream can be found 3/4's of a mile downriver from Edmon. There is a really cool wooden arch bridge to carry you over Flat Run. This section of the trail is very beautiful as it overlooks and runs very close to the Kiskiminetas River. There is a short trail to scenic "Flat Run Falls" where the tar & chip section meets the crushed limestone rail-trail end of the Roaring Run Trail. After a rain or snow melt this falls is very scenic. There is a bench there to view the falls and the wild rhodedendron that fills the small valley. Another cool place to explore in the 650 acre "Roaring Run Recreation Area".

Just finished exploring this trail with my wife and daughter, what a wonderful trail. There are lots of rest areas to stop and take in the scenery. The trail has more than adequate parking and the trail users were all very friendly. Even with some of the gentle grades on the trail I had no problem pulling my daughters buggy behind my bike. Lots of neat things to see on this short trail, will definitely be stopping by again.

You can visit two trails on one trip: the "Roaring Run Trail" and the "Rock Furnace Trail". The former, a 4 mile Rails-to-Trail project follows the Kiskiminetas River upstream from its ample parking area (105 vehicle parking capacity) located at the end of Canal Road, in Apollo PA, to the site of the former Leechburg Mining Company coal loading station. Along this trail remnants of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal (circa 1825-1850) can be found. These remnants include stone survey markers, a portion of the canal lock at the mouth of Roaring Run, and the bridge abutments for the tow path that crossed Flat Run. The construction of the remaining one mile of trail to the village of Edmon is slated for the very near future, with engineering already completed. There is currently a rugged hiking/mountain biking trail to the village of Edmon. The hope is to someday soon complete the two mile "missing link" between the end of the Roaring Run Trail in Edmon and the West Penn Trail, a Conemaugh Valley Conservancy project, creating a 50 mile long trail system from Apollo to Ebensburg PA.

The "Rock Furnace Trail" follows Roaring Run from its confluence with the Kiskiminetas River 1 1/2 miles to a 10 vehicle parking area off Brownstown Road. The trail is hilly after crossing the 72' suspension bridge over Roaring Run. This trail also has historic remnants. The remains of the Biddle Iron Furnace (also known as the "Rock Furnace") can be found directly across the trail from the giant "Camel Rock". This furnace operated in the canal era as well, 1825-1850. The stream here is beautiful, with small cascading waterfalls, and an abundance of native plants. It is the jem of the "Roaring Run Recreation Area", the 653 acre park owned and maintained by the Roaring Run Watershed Association. Additionally, there are over 15 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails throughout the Recreation Area. The park is located approximately 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

This is a great but short trail. The senery is awesome. It's just been extended about 2 miles. The side Rock Furnace trail follows roaring run creek and has a new swinging bridge that crosses over the creek. If you like to geocache there are several good ones along the trail and make sure you bring your camera. The trail is very well maintained.

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