At first sight, and as mentioned in other articles by Sudir Raju, mid-Atlantic states and their amazing and breathtaking landscapes and trails seem to be the perfect opportunity for a quick jog or hike. However, in states such as Pennsylvania, trails and hikes are commonly used by bikers who want to have a blast crossing crushed limestone paths near trees and birds as they extend into the horizon while riding their bikes. These arteries also serve as bikeways free of traffic: they serve as places to picnic, to take a romantic walk or, as seen, even to ride your horse (should you have one).
In Western Pennsylvania it is possible to realize that this portion of the state is full of trails, most of which endured a conversion process going from old railroad lines to stone trails—which, in fact, is also the perfect example of this region’s transition from an old and heavy industrial location to a socially conscious, rather healthy, place to live. Each path was carefully built and is lovingly maintained today. By using the state’s old infrastructure to reconnect separated communities, the state managed to crosshatch Western Pennsylvania with a sheer array of amazing paths and trails. And since the idea is to mention what type of outdoor activities can be carried out in states such as Pennsylvania, it turns out that whether you prefer to use your rollerblades and head towards downtown or bike all the way down to the nation’s capital, these environmentally tailored paths are perhaps the Pittsburgh’s most powerful symbol of progress.
If you are looking for the perfect opportunity to get some fresh mid-Atlantic air and explore the western side of the state’s outdoor areas, here are some of the best trails and routes you can hit to take a hit or simply enjoy a trip on your bike. Do not miss them!
Three Rivers Heritage
Many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh happen to be connected by this trail. Three Rivers Heritage is a system of paths near the river, and it allows people to travel all across the city and access its rivers. In fact, you could even spend more than one day exploring the trail’s 25 miles of interconnected paths and routes. Directly from there, these paths expand in multiple directions across the state and beyond. If this sounds appealing, make sure to mark the exact location on your map: Along Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. The distance? As mentioned above, these trails can go for up to 25 miles.
The South Side Trail
Being part of the aforementioned Three Rivers Heritage Trail, the South Side Trail runs alongside East Carson Street and is not more than a few feet away from the southern side’s most crowded and busiest boulevard. This trail, unlike others, offers individuals the opportunity to relax while they enjoy their jog, hike or ride, as it is quiet, tranquil and full of trees. In fact, walkers can pause for a moment and enjoy the surroundings of the Birmingham Bridge and watch the different species that live there. Additionally, this trail offers several of the most amazing landscapes most of which have served as inspiration for lovers, architects, artists, etc. If you are willing to spend a whole day over there, wait enough until you see the train that crosses the rail parallel to the trail.
The neighborhood is famous for its bike shops, as this trail stands out amongst the others for the aforementioned aspects. If you are seeking to spend an amazing day riding your bike while visiting incredible places and landscapes this is the place to go. The views of Oakland are almost postcard material.
Ghost Town Trail
This trail actually connects several rural areas in Pennsylvania, including places that no longer see human activity. Back then, when the promising coal industry fell apart, many of these communities followed, subsequently causing a mass exodus that left today’s relics over there. The vast majority of these settlements have almost vanished, but the trail allows you yo see plenty of traces of such life and time: the Buena Vista and Eliza Furnaces are still visible for those who happen to walk past them. These massive stone structures resemble old temples, which results attractive to both locals and foreigners. In summary, this area is like a trip to the past, and irrespective of whether you are jogging, hiking or just riding your bike, Ghost Town Trail will teach you a couple of things about the American coal industry. The road goes for up to 36 miles so make sure to plan your day in advance, for on foggy days the route can be a bit dark—and scary, hence the name. However, locals are working today to refine the path, improving signage and linking different parts of the trail so that people will not get lost during their visit.