Armstrong Trails

The 36-mile long Armstrong Trails is located on the former Allegheny Valley Railroad corridor along the eastern bank of the Allegheny River in Armstrong and Clarion Counties.  The trail links such tows as Ford City, Kittanning, Templeton, Rimer, East Brady and Upper Hillville.  It is a great place to bicycle, walk, job, cross-country ski, birdwatch, geocache or exercise in a safe relaxing environment.  The trail is for non-motorized use only.  Approximately 35.5-miles of the trail has been improved with crushed limestone or asphalt surface. 

Armstrong Trails connects to Redbank Valley Trails at the mouth of Redbank creek.  It is also a part of the 270-mile; Erie to Pittsburgh Trail, 230-mile; PA Wilds Loop and the 1500+ mile Industrial Heartlands Trail systems.

Armstrong Trails is rich with local history such as:  Native Americans, river travel, iron production, coal mines and railroads.  Unique to Armstrong Trails are railroad relics like the Phillipston Turntable, Brady Tunnel and the coaling tower.  Remnants of villages, iron furnaces, coke ovens and train stations can also be found. 

Directions to trail parking, maps, updates on trail conditions, and trail events/workdays can be found by visiting armstrongtrails.org or on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/armstrongtrails/?ref=bookmarks.

Butler Freeport Community Trail

Butler Freeport Community Trail is a 21-mile rails to trail project, one of the first 400 in the country. The trail travels north from the Allegheny River to the City of Butler. The trail weaves through the Buffalo Gorge, designated an Important Bird Area but the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. The Buffalo Creek and Little Buffalo Creek cross the trail 7 times in the first seven miles. After the trail leaves the Little Buffalo Creek you travel through small villages such as: Cabot, Marwood, Great Belt and Herman. In the winter you can see remnants of former industry: Standard Glass and Ford both had sand plants in the Cabot area. Transitioning to farmland and ultimately within the city limits of Butler. The trail is open to non-motorized activities such as: hiking, biking, geocaching and running.

Each third Saturday in October, hundreds of runners line up for the Annual Buffalo Creek Half Marathon. The half marathon attracts runners from around the US and the UK, it is the premier half marathon on the East Coast. The beautiful foliage, post-race food and volunteers make this a must run.

Roaring Run Recreation Area

The Roaring Run Recreation Area is owned and operated by the Roaring Run Watershed Association. This 653 acre conservation and recreation project is open to the public year-round, from dawn to dusk. Over 15 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails exist throughout the property as well as two premier-surfaced trails, the “Roaring Run Trail” and the “Rock Furnace Trail”.

A canoeing/kayaking launch for Kiskiminetas River access is located at the Roaring Run trailhead. The parking area has a capacity for 105 vehicles. Picnic tables and a pavilion are at the trailhead.

The first 4 miles of the Roaring Run Trail are hard packed crushed limestone. The remaining one mile to the village of Edmon is a former logging road. This last mile is suitable for hiking and mountain biking. Remains of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal can be found along the trail. The Roaring Run Watershed Association is currently working with the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy to link the Roaring Run Trail to the Conservancy’s West Penn Trail that connects Saltsburg to Blairsville, resulting in a combined trail system of over 25 miles. This trail segment is part of the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Mainline Canal Greenway project, a project identifying historic and recreational resources, including land and water trails, along the route of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal that operated from 1825-1850, connecting Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.

A cable suspension bridge was constructed in 2007 over Roaring Run to connect the two sections of the Rock Furnace Trail, enabling year round use of the trail.

The first four miles of the Roaring Run Trail and the lower ½ mile of the Rock Furnace Trail are suitable for persons with disabilities.

The Roaring Run Trailhead is located in Apollo on Kiski Avenue/Canal Road.

  • The Roaring Run Watershed Association 
    P.O. Box 333 

  • www.roaringrun.org 

Baker Trail

Armstrong County’s premiere hiking trail, the Baker Trail, covers 141 miles and extends from Freeport, Armstrong County to the Allegheny National Forest. This hiking trail follows forest paths, old jeep trails and dirt roads through woods, gamelands, and farmlands and is marked by yellow blazes. 18 miles of the trail share a footpath with the North Country Scenic Trail.

It is strongly recommended that every person or group planning on hiking the Baker Trail have a trail guidebook. A comprehensive guide to the Baker Trail describes the trail, points of interest, shelter locations, and contains a full set of topographical maps and is available to purchase at the Tourist Bureau office as well as the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy who maintains this hiking trail.

For volunteer, steward opportunities, see contact info below.

Cowanshannock Trail

This newly completed 1¼ mile trail leads to one of Armstrong County’s best kept secrets – Buttermilk Falls! Follow this crushed-limestone surface trail on foot or by bike from the trailhead at the Bernard C. Snyder picnic area, located just off of State Route 1033 north of Kittanning. You can also access the Armstrong Trail from this location.The Bernard C. Snyder Picnic Area offers a pavilion, restrooms, charcoal-burning grills, a picnic area, and is home to the Canfield-Holmes Wildlife Sanctuary. This trail is great for hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, wildflower enthusiasts, and anglers.

A nearby boat launch area provids access to the mouth of Cowanshannock Creek (a great fishery, and with spring rain cooperation – an experienced kayaker’s playground), as well as the Allegheny River. Bring the whole family to experience the beauty of Cowanshannock Creek & Trail!

The Great Shamokin Path

Built at the Rural Valley Railroad, the Great Shamokin Path is named after the path that once linked the Allegheny and Susquehanna Rivers and ran from Kittanning to Sunbury.This mostly grass-covered trail climbs steadily through the Cowanshannock Creek Valley past the Devil’s Washbasin, a 1.5 acre lake named for its dam across the creek to obtain water for steam engines – always smokey, steamy and eerie looking. The lake is stocked with fish and offers ice fishing and picnicking.

The Great Shamokin Path is a hiking and bicycle trail running for 4 miles between NuMine and Rose Valley. The trail is parallel to the Cowanshannock Creek.

Two trailheads exist for the Great Shamokin Path – one along State Route 85 near Yatesboro, and the other in NuMine (near the White Lake Picnic Area).

Kiski-Conemaugh Water Trail

The headwaters of the Conemaugh originate at around 3,000 feet above sea level and the course of the river drops to 957 feet above sea level at the mouth of the Kiski toward the Allegheny River. This drop has carved out canyons and gaps along the way. Two of them are along the water trail. Mineral resources abound along the trail, which had a large role in America’s industrialization. Coal is the best known resource, but gas and limestone are also products derived from the basin’s geology.Conemaugh Gorge and Packsaddle Gap

These are two of the most prominent features along the trail. Conemaugh Gorge, located just west of Johnstown, is 1,650 deep. Though the railroad and routes 56 and 403 parallel the river, the paddling is serene. Packsaddle Gap is the scenic route the Conemaugh has taken through Laurel Ridge. Though not as deep as the gorge, Packsaddle offers a pleasant and scenic paddle with only the occasional train whistle to interrupt the paddler’s day.

The Forest Along the Way- A majority of the Kiski-Conemaugh River trail is forested. The recovery of the waterway is also reflected in the riparian area. Once heavily logged, the paddlers will find a mosaic of eastern hardwoods lining the river; black cherry, oak, maples, hemlock, sycamore along with mountain laurel, rhododendron, are prevalent. Black bears, deer, wild turkeys, muskrats, blue herons, grouse, wood ducks, mallards, and Canada geese all make their home along the way, and are regularly seen by boaters. Just as AMD (Acid Mine Drainage) is a problem in the water, Japanese knotweed, an invasive species, has taken over large tracts of the riparian area. Efforts are underway to halt its domination and re-introduce native species.

Pittsburgh-To-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway TM

Allegheny Ridge Corporation/Altoona Heritage Discovery Center

This heritage and recreation corridor is Making New Connections Between Old Neighbors TM by following the path of the 1830s-era Canal, it features the Lower Trail, the West Penn Trail, the Roaring Run Trail and the Kiski-Conemaugh and Juniata River Water Trail systems.The Allegheny Ridge State Heritage Park has an effort underway to create a Greenway that retraces the Mainline Canal corridor. The water trail is a strong component of this overall effort: to protect natural, cultural and scenic resources. Pennsylvania’s “Millennium Legacy Trail” is a network of individual initiatives managed by local partners throughout the corridor. The network includes not only trails, but also public river access, historic downtown revitalization, heritage preservation and environmental stewardship projects. This community driven project will help interpret the region’s unique cultural and natural heritage, while providing linkages between the towns of the region and the natural resources. The Greenway is creating “New connections between old neighbors.”