With a length of 55 miles, there’s a lot to love on western Pennsylvania’s Montour Trail. Our top five attractions for this rail-trail located just outside of Pittsburgh are included below. Join RTC this June 21-26 to check them out yourself, plus lots more, on the famed Great Allegheny Passage during our Pennsylvania Rail-Trail Sojourn. And hats off to the Montour Trail Council, the volunteer group that made the trail possible; read their unique story in March’s Trail of the Month.
With a span of nearly 1,000 feet, the McDonald Viaduct is massive and the Montour Trail’s longest bridge, crossing over local roads, a stream and another rail-trail. Its vantage offers expansive views of the lush, tree-covered landscape and, less than 100 feet below, the Panhandle Trail stretching out beneath you. A trail junction allows you to connect to the scenic, 29-mile rail-trail and head west all the way to—and past—the state line and into neighboring West Virginia. (Near mile 18)
The National Tunnel—named for the nearby National Coal Company mines that the railroad once served—is the Montour Trail’s longest tunnel at more than 600 feet. It’s curved, so you can’t see the other end; lights and pavement with guiding reflectors along the trail edge were added to ease navigation. The tunnel’s cool, damp interior is a welcome respite in summer, but in winter, the dripping water can cause beautiful (though dangerous) icicles along the ceiling and mounds of ice on the tunnel floor. (Mile 25)
3Chartiers Creek High Bridge
This attraction is a two-for-one; not only does the Chartiers Creek High Bridge offer some of the prettiest vistas on the trail, but it also sits adjacent to the 235-foot-long Greer Tunnel, both built in the early 1900s. On the other (east) side of the tunnel is another bridge, which crosses over a railroad. (Near mile 29)
The tall arched portal of the Enlow Tunnel beckons amid a backdrop of emerald green leaves and vines. Its straight bore allows an inviting glimpse of the world beyond. Not only is its 575-foot expanse fun to traverse, but the journey on either end is a treat as the trail winds through a scenic wooded valley here. (Near mile 7)
5The Tandem Connection
Located just off the trail, The Tandem Connection not only offers a wide range of bikes for rent (including tandems, of course), but also serves as a friendly place to chat with other explorers over a cup of coffee in the morning or a barbeque sandwich for lunch. Oh, and Perry’s Ice Cream is also housed inside, too, with mysterious flavor combinations like Bittersweet Sinphony, Deep Sea Treasure and Fool’s Gold, which might require multiple tastings. And don’t forget to check out the gift shop if you want to take home a Montour Trail T-shirt as a souvenir of your adventure! (Mile 27)