The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is fortunate to be a part of many developing trail networks in the region and across the country. These connections allow greater connectivity for our communities and to promote increased tourism and economic impact to our region.
An emerging mega-trail effort to establish a 270 mile continuous trail from the Bayfront in Erie to the Point at Point State Park in Pittsburgh. This initiative is being led by the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance (EPTA), an alliance of non-profit organizations, municipalities, and other organizations actively involved in the acquisition, development and maintenance of non-motorized trails and safe, well-marked bicycle and pedestrian routes in Western Pennsylvania. Friends of the Riverfront and our partners Allegheny County and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council are actively working on the portion of this alignment within Allegheny County along the north shore of the Allegheny River connecting Millvale to Freeport. Once completed, the section within Allegheny County will be 26 miles long.
Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage is a 152-mile, internationally recognized, rail trail that connects Cumberland, MD and Pittsburgh, PA located in Southwestern, PA. The connection to the C & O Towpath in Cumberland, MD was made in 2006, creating a continuous, non-motorized corridor, 335 miles long, from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC. Portions of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail including the South Side and Eliza Furnace segments, and the Hot Metal Bridge are all part of the Great Allegheny Passage before reaching the final destination at the Point in Point State Park.
The trail has been open since June 15, 2013 and millions of users have made the trip from Pittsburgh to Washington DC.
Great American Rail Trail
Friends of the Riverfront is excited to join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in revealing the route of the Great American Rail-Trail—otherwise known as the “Great American”—a cross-country multiuse trail that will span more than 3,700 miles from Washington, D.C. to Washington State.
The grand scale of the Great American will magnify the economic, social and community benefits that trails have delivered for decades by enhancing tourism and outdoor recreation, and catalyzing new investment in trailside businesses and commercial opportunities. When complete, the Great American Rail-Trail will provide a safe and seamless biking and walking trail to take in America’s landscapes, people and places. As new connecting trails are developed, communities along the route will gain safer walking and biking access to jobs, transit, shopping centers, green space and more.
The route of the Great American is more than 52% complete, hosted by 125+ existing trails. Friends of the Riverfront is thrilled that the Three Rivers Heritage Trail network will host the Great American Rail-Trail through Pittsburgh when the trail is connected. The route through Pittsburgh will be challenging. Friends of the Riverfront is working with partners to determine the best and safest route down the Ohio valley to connect with our neighboring trail, the Montour Trail. The Ohio valley is a critical gap in the Great American Rail Trail, but Friends of the Riverfront is excited to bring focused efforts to this region’s connectivity opportunities.
The Great American Rail-Trail is a bold vision—one that will take years to complete and will require the support and participation of trail lovers in the Pittsburgh region and across the country to make it happen. We look forward to being a part of the cross-nation journey.
To learn more about the Great American Rail-Trail and view the route, visit railstotrails.org/greatamericanrailtrail/.
Industrial Heartlands Trail Coalition
The vision of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC) is to establish the Industrial Heartland as a premier destination offering a 1,500-miles-plus multiuse trail network experience. The IHTC network, once complete, will stretch across 51 counties in four states—Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York—from the shores of Lake Erie to the confluence of the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and on to the Ohio River and Appalachian foothills. Within this system are 8 major corridors. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a part of five of these corridors, making Allegheny County, a major hub of this developing network.
The Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Mainline Canal Greenway
The Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway™ is a 320-mile corridor that follows the historic path of the Main Line Canal System. It intends to serve as a physical connector that improves opportunities for public access, linkage to important destinations, and economic development. It is not a single, long-distance trail for unimpeded travel. The Allegheny River corridor is roughly 26 miles of this greenway, that will include the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and the Three Rivers Water Trail.