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The Greene River Trail provides an up close tour of riverside communities whose histories are steeped in the coal industry. You can see remnants of coal mining along the trail, as well as chipmunks, woodpeckers, and deer. The 7.24-mile crushed-stone path is named for the county, Greene, and not the river it runs alongside, the Monongahela.
The trail grew out of an idea to boost interest in the old coal company towns along the river and resuscitate their economies with tourism, while giving local residents a safe place to exercise. Greene County acquired the unused rail corridor on the west shore of the Monongahela from Conrail. Founded as the Monongahela Valley Railroad in the 1860s, the line was renamed the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railway in 1870 and merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1905.
The first trail segment opened in East Millsboro in 2000, and the trail was completed through Crucible in 2008. The trail was extended 2 miles south to a trailhead with parking in Cumberland Township near Jacobs Ferry Road and Stringtown Road. Eventually, the trail could go as far south as Nemacolin on SR 21 for a total distance of 13 miles.
On the bank of the Monongahela River, the trail picks up near the Tenmile Creek at the property edge of the Greene Cove Yacht Club marina. The trail used to continue further north, but the Yacht Club has closed off the mile of trail that runs across their property. The trail's previous northern trailhead is closed and it is no longer possible to access the northern end of the trail from the surrounding area. (Access to the trail is still available in Rices Landing and Crucible.) From its new northern endpoint, the path enters the steep, wooded valley of the Monongahela River. The Mon flows north to Pittsburgh—the destination for frequent barge traffic in previous days.
Rices Landing and its foundry was important to this barge traffic. As you travel along the base of a cliff overlooking the river, look for a welded sculpture of a hiker shortly before you reach Rices Landing trailhead near milepost 2.3. For a taste of the town’s industrial past, turn left at Carmichaels Street and head toward the waterfront. The W. A. Young and Sons Foundry, built in 1900, shows the ingenuity of the founders, who could run 25 pieces of machinery off a single motor using belts and pulleys. It’s open for tours on summer Sunday afternoons.
A major impediment to completing the final 2 miles to Crucible was the abandoned Crucible Mine, closed in 1961, located next to the trail. Mine shafts had to be sealed, dilapidated buildings razed, and waste coal piles reclaimed. The trail veers away from the river in the final mile, passing the former coal company town on the right. It ends at Old Ferry Road and River Hill Road.
Parking is available at the Rices Landing Trailhead (125 Main St). There are restrooms as well and at least three accessible parking spaces. The trail passes along the edge of the medium-sized parking lot.
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