You Can’t Beat the Views on The Allegheny River Trail

Exploring scenic bike routes less than two hours from Pittsburgh.

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My better half and I first discovered the Allegheny River Trail during the socially-distance summer of 2020, and it remains our favorite today. The 30-mile asphalt trail follows on an old railroad line from Franklin in Venango County to Parker in Armstrong County.

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Aside from one or two minor inclines, the trail is nearly level and it may be tempting to speed along in high gear. However, the panoramic views of the river are a worthy reason to slow down.

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Within a mile of leaving the trailhead in Franklin, the only sounds you hear are the wildlife and the gentle flow of the water. There are long cool stretches of forest to provide relief on a hot sunny day and plenty of places to stop and take in the scenery.

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There are four access points, with parking:

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Good to Know

  • There are gaps in the trail in Emlenton and Foxburg so check a map and plan your route ahead of time.
  • There are two tunnels at Kennderdale and Rockland. Bring a flashlight since both tunnels are curved (a cellphone light isn’t strong enough).
  • There are plenty of dining options in Franklin, Emlenton, Parker and Foxburg.
  • The Franklin trailhead is also a trailhead for the Samuel Justus Recreation Trail, which leads to Oil City.
  • Riders can connect to the Sandy Creek Trail by climbing a set of steps at the base of the Belmar Bridge.
  • There are several picnic areas to take a breather but bathroom facilities are limited to the trail access areas.

Full photo gallery ⇓

This article was updated on August 3, 2022

Categories: Hiking & Biking, The 412