tale of a trail

Yes, Mt. Lebanon is a walking community thanks to our sidewalks, central business area and numerous schools. But we don’t have any real trails. While there are some lovely paths in Bird Park and a few other places, we have no long hikes to distant places.  We have no bike trails or wilderness walks where a person can enjoy the pleasure of solitude.

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Near the Greer Tunnel, Peters Township. Photo by Laura Pace Lilley

Fortunately, such a trail begins in neighboring Bethel Park. Here, at the intersection of Logan and Irishtown roads, is the beginning over 40 miles of level trails, paved or otherwise suitable for walking, bikes or even cross country skis. It is the Montour Trail, an arc meandering across the border between Allegheny and Washington Counties.

It is a walk through history.  It was the Montour Railroad, whose steam powered trains collected coal from the Pittsburgh Coal Company mines and hauled it to river-rail terminals in Clairton and Coraopolis from 1877 through the 1950s. With grades of only a few feet in a hundred, except at a few road crossings, it is perfect for hikers, bikers or skiers. The trail has been upgraded for the public by the Montour Trail Council, www.montourtrail.org.  Deep cuts and high embankments provide an experience in thoughtful solitude while one can imagine being in the cab of a steam locomotive chugging through our forests, hills and “hollers.”

Use of the trail is free and there are numerous access points and parking lots.

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