Bike Trails: Montour Trail, Canonsburg, PA

This is the third post in a continuing series of Bike Trail posts.  Like the back roads of America, the recent interest in bike paths and rails-to-trails paths provides a new insight on “back roads”.  Each Bike Path post will include surrounding information, vehicle support info and trail ratings as provided by my wife Julianne.  One bike pump equals a “poor” rating while five pumps equals an “excellent” rating.  We’ll also provide links to the RTC TrailLinks overview of the trail. Complete Trails Overview Post is HERE

Montour Trail cycle logo
BlackPump4Montour Trail – Pittsburgh/Canonsburg, PA

Click here for RTC TrailLink Details

Julianne at the Montour Trail in Pennsylvania
Julianne at the Montour Trail in Pennsylvania

In late May 2016, Julianne and I visited her sister Laura in Canonsburg, PA. Right outside of Canonsburg (you can see my travel post about the Canonsburg area HERE) is a portion of the Montour Trail which is a Rails to Trail that runs from the northwest of Pittsburgh (starting at Moon Township on the Ohio River), down through Pittsburgh and into Canonsburg area (I also have a nice post about visiting Pittsburgh HERE) and then eventually into Clairton, PA along the Monongahela River. It is over 40 miles long (with plans to extend it to more than 46 miles) and is predominately a crushed gravel trail.  A portion of the trail within Peters Township is called The Arrowhead Trail. This section is owned and maintained by the Township.

Sunrise on the Montour Trail - May 2016
Sunrise on the Montour Trail – May 2016

The trail is also the western leadoff section of a much larger trail system called the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.  Complete from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD, the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage connects with the 184.5-mile C&O Rail Trail to create a 335-mile non-motorized route between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.  They hope to ride the complete trail in 2017.

An example of the scenery that can be seen along the Montour Trail
An example of the scenery that can be seen along the Montour Trail
Julianne at the tunnel on the Montour Trail
Julianne at the tunnel on the Montour Trail

This trail was the first trail that Julianne had been on with a tunnel.  The Enlow Tunnel is in the Findlay Township area at Montour Trail mile 7.2-7.3. It is about 558 feet in length and is vertical wall horseshoe profile tunnel, built with concrete lining, bored through rock.

Julianne and Laura rode about 20 miles on this trail…10 miles out and then returned.  However, for the person following along as a support driver, there are a number of parking lots along the path.

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Bike Trails: The Legacy Trail – Lexington, KY

This is the first in a continuing series of Bike Trail posts.  Like the back roads of America, the recent interest in bike paths and rails-to-trails paths provides a new insight on “back roads”.  Each Bike Path post will include surrounding information, vehicle support info and trail ratings as provided by my wife Julianne.  One bike pump equals a “poor” rating while five pumps equals an “excellent” rating.  We’ll also provide links to the RTC TrailLinks overview of the trail. Complete Trails Overview Post is HERE.

legacytrail_logosmall

BlackPump4THE LEGACY TRAIL – Lexington, KY

Click here for RTC TrailLink Details

DSC_4870The Legacy Trail in Lexington, Kentucky is a totally paved bike trail that basically covers a 12 mile distance from downtown Lexington to the Kentucky Horse Park.
Legacy Trail Flags
Legacy Trail Flags

Though not a “rail trail,” per se, the trail is well-maintained, has ample parking on both the north and south ends of the trail and also includes a parking spot midway in the trail at Coldstream. All along the trail are flag banners that can be seen from quite a distance.

The trail runs through farmland after it leaves the city and then eventually enters into horse farm country. For the bikers that want a little bit more ride than the 12 mile trail offers, there is an extension that can be taken through the Kentucky Horse Park that is about 8 miles and goes through some beautiful horse farm country where one can see the plank fences, horses grazing in the fields, etc. My daughter Marissa took this video of horses following them on the trail.
Plank Fencing along the trail...a sign of horse farm country
Plank Fencing along the trail…a sign of horse farm country

One of the scenes of Lexington's Legacy Trail including the iconic stone walls that line the entire Bluegrass area.
One of the scenes of Lexington’s Legacy Trail including the iconic stone walls that line the entire Bluegrass area.

The rail trails typically are straight and fairly level with slight hills and slight curve. The legacy trail, according to my wife Julianne, is a bit more challenging in that it has some pretty heavy duty Hills and there are a couple nearly 90° turns, including one at the bottom of the hill they can be even dangerous.  These are a downside to this trail, as far as my wife is concerned, but since she has ridden it numerous times, she knows when to be cautious.

Sumoflam at Legacy Trail
Sumoflam at Legacy Trail
Julianne and Marissa after a nice ride on the Legacy Bike Trail in Lexington
Julianne and Marissa after a nice ride on the Legacy Bike Trail in Lexington

She loves this trail and has only rated it lower than a five because of the hills and the curves. Julianne and our daughter Marissa also enjoy adding on the Horse Park portion of this trail as it is a biweekly adventure for them to come out and get some good exercise and still get in about 16 or 17 miles of riding.

More flags along the Legacy Trail
More flags along the Legacy Trail
Bike Pump and Tools on the Legacy Trail - provided by Lexington's Pedal the Planet
Bike Pump and Tools on the Legacy Trail – provided by Lexington’s Pedal the Planet

Other amenities included on this trail are drinking fountains, bike air pumping stations with a variety of useful tools and each parking area does have a portable restroom. I should note that the bike pumps and tools were kindly provided by local Lexington company Pedal the Planet where both Julianne and Marissa got their bikes.  I hope to get mine there in the near future as well.

PedalthePlanet
Happy to promote a great bicycle vendor. Give them a visit. (This is not a paid promotion)

Other non-motorized vehicles can be used on the trail including skateboards, in-line skating and walking.

A bridge along the Legacy trail
A bridge along the Legacy trail
Signage on the trail with history and more
Signage on the trail with history and more
The Legacy Trail Map as seen at the Iron Works (Horse Park) trailhead
The Legacy Trail Map as seen at the Iron Works (Horse Park) trailhead
Julianne enjoying the Legacy Trail
Julianne enjoying the Legacy Trail

In terms of vehicular support, there are actually three areas along the trail with good parking.  The main trailheads are at the Northside YMCA in Lexington (near Lexmark), the mid-trail Coldstream parking area and then the Horse Park trailhead on Iron Works Pike, across the road from the Horse Park.

There are  ruminations that the trail may be extended further north towards the town of Georgetown, but I have not been able to find anything definitive regarding this at this point.

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