Sheepskin Rail-Trail

Pennsylvania

Sheepskin Rail-Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Fayette
Length: 4.1 miles
Trail end points: Hutchinson Recreation Area (South Union Township) and reat Allegheny Passage at Youghiogheny River (South Connellsville)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6123164
Trail activities: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Sheepskin Rail-Trail Description

The Sheepskin Rail-Trail is a developing pathway located in rural Fayette County, Pennsylvania. It’s currently open in two disconnected segments, each spanning about 2 miles. Eventually, the rail-trail will total 34 miles and extend southwest to Point Marion Borough, where—at the border with West Virginia—it will connect to the Mon River Trail North.

The first section of the Sheepskin Rail-Trail stretches from the town of Dunbar to the western bank of the Youghiogheny River near Connellsville, where it meets the popular Great Allegheny Passage. The trail is well surfaced with crushed stone and meanders through mixed deciduous woods and shrubs. Remnants of the original “Sheepskin Line” and other railroad crossings are apparent along the trail.

Fifteen miles south, near Uniontown, another section of the trail was opened in 2017 in South Union Township. This section of the trail is paved and extends from the Hutchinson Recreation Area north to Cinder Road. A charming covered bridge greets trail users at the southern end of the trail at Stadium Drive.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Dunbar section: From US 119 in Connellsville, travel 2.7 miles south to Dunbar Road, and turn left. Parking is available in Dunbar along Railroad Street and at Dunbar Park. Restrooms are available at the park. The trail entrance is adjacent to the Dunbar Historical Society.

For the South Union Township section, parking is available within the Hutchinson Recreation Area (65 Reservoir Rd.).

Sheepskin Rail-Trail Reviews

I have ridden the GAP numerous times but have never ventured onto the Sheepskin Trail. This short spur off the GAP was a very pleasant surprise. As the reviewer stated below there is a large' graveled lay down yard' a mile onto the trail but with a little effort you are able to get back onto the trail (bearing left). The pleasant surprise is that at the end of the trail is the historic town of Dunbar. From it's coke ovens, glass sculptures and museum at the end of the trail this ride was very rewarding. I strongly recommend the visit. The trail is supposed to be undergoing some improvements in the future with a possible extension to WV. The most surprising item to note is who donated the valuable large sculpture at the museum. It is a rewarding and surprising valuable excursion.

Sept. 25th WE tried to ride the Sheepskin Trail from GAP toward Dunbar. A half mile up the trail the Sheepskin Trail stops and there is a HUGE gravel lot 100 yaeds wide and at least 1/4 mile long (WE could not see any further thah that)topped with large gravel stone. WE did not want to risk a flat and turned around. What happened to the TRAIL!

Tried out this trail for the first time today, started out at Bridge St entrance about 10:30am. Nice, shady, wide trail & great fun for our dogs. Walking along the stream was awesome, & there's a spot where the dogs could play for a bit.

Part of the trail was rutted out, looked like a recent downpour flooded the area just after the railroad tracks. Be prepared for an odor experience walking past the sanitation facility, yet it passes quickly. We got to experience a train passing by, which was very interesting to the dogs, too!

We made it to the junction of the Allegheny Passage Trail, which was awesome to contemplate doing on bikes!

Overall, loved this trail for an easy, relaxing walk through forest & stream.

Accordion

We rode this trail on Saturday this week and all I can say very nice. It is well maintained for the full length, benches along the the way and that was a pleasant surprise for such a short trail. Being that this trail was so short the only restrooms was at the baseball field in Dunbar and at the historical society in Dunbar another must see if you stop here. Also if your riding this trail there is one point where you cross an active rail spur that has a old time passenger train that operates on the spur during the weekend and you might get to see it. This trail starts in Dunbar PA and connects to the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Just south of Connellsville PA it is very short but very peaceful ride through the woods. It passes through what used to be the Western Maryland Bowest train yards. They have long be removed but there are still some remnants of where the buildings were in the yards and rail ties also. If your riding the GAP and you want to take a short exploration off the beating path I recommend the Sheepskin trail. If you want a place to start and connect to the GAP this may also be a place to start at. We parked in Dunbar at at the local park/church parking lot on the day we rode. I also noticed a few small town restaurants in Dunbar but we had our lunch with us so we did try any of them. In closing I would say try this trail if you looking for a break from the normal starting points on the GAP or if you want to see some of the railroad/coal history of Western Pennsylvania.

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