From a flowing river to the thick forests in Pennsylvania, the West Penn Trail travels through a variety of biomes and landscapes. With multiple features and sights for you and your pup to enjoy, it's no wonder the trail is so popular. The path is mostly made up of crushed stop and dirt in some patches, with a consistent width of 96 inches.
Starting off in Northern Saltsburg, you and Fido will find a small parking lot backed by woods that follows along the eastern side of the trail. The beginning of the trail has no amenities, so be sure to use the restroom and grab some water before heading out. For one and a half miles, the trail connects and follows along the Kiskiminetas River through thick trees and along open fields until it enters the downtown area of Saltsburg. The first landmark after that mile and a half is the Saltsburg Canal Park, a dog-friendly park with water fountains and restrooms to use. Once inside the city, the trail turns into concrete, with an even path that follows along the southern edge of the city with the river to the south.
After leaving the city, the trail follows along the confluence of Kiskiminetas River into Conemaugh River, and back into thick trees and wooded spaces. For the next 12 miles, the trail wanders through this forest, backed by the river and the nearby railroad where hikers can enjoy the sounds of running trains. This is where hikers will see the most wildlife, including white-tailed deer, squirrels, birds, cranes along the river, and sometimes bears.
The most noticeable landmark along the trail is the crossing bridge along the river, with a pedestrian stone bridge crossing the river and a train trestle that crosses over the top of it. This is a spot with picnic tables and a boat launch, which is a nice resting area for pups who need to break and have some water.
The trail crosses the river 5 more times after this for only a few more miles left and at the end, you'll come to the West Penn Trailhead in the city of Blairsville. The trailhead itself is pretty bare, mostly covered in tall trees with a gravel landscape for cars. But despite the bare endpoints of the trail, the in-between sections offer a perfect place to run, hike, bike, and horse ride for humans and pups. Whether you choose to finish it in one go or walk the trail in sections, the trial will offer days of enjoyable hiking access.