From the parking lot at the McDonald Trail station, trail users can easily access both the Panhandle and Montour Trails. Combined, this extensive trail network consists of over 60 miles of continuous trails crossing through parts of Washington and Allegheny Counties.
An important piece of the federal government-supported and highly acclaimed National Rails to Trails Program, the Panhandle Trail is a beautiful, 26-mile recreational trail which runs from Walker’s Mill in Allegheny County through McDonald and 16 beautiful miles of Washington County to Weirton, West Virginia. The trail is highly suitable for biking, hiking, running or leisurely walking. No motor vehicles of any type are permitted on the trail. Built on an abandoned grade of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the trail is relatively flat, with a 1% average grade. Starting not far from the McDonald Trail station, the entire 17-mile section of trail in Washington county has been paved all the way to the state line. This paved surface makes for a smooth and safe ride for people of all ages and riding skills.
About one-third of a mile east from the McDonald Trail Station, the Panhandle Trail intersects with a spur of the Montour Trail. This spur passes underneath the McDonald Trestle before intersecting with the Montour Trail on the other side of Route 980. From there, trail users can either head north into Allegheny County or south over the McDonald Trestle into Washington County. Thanks to a number of completed projects in recent years, it is now possible to bike 36 continuous miles all the way from the trail’s start in Coraopolis to its end points. Except for a paved section in Peters Township and the McDonald Trestle portion, the trail’s surface consists of crushed limestone. The Montour Trail is an award-winning trail that was named Trail of the Year by the Pennsylvania DCNR in 2017. Its 63 miles of trails also connect with the Great Allegheny Passage, which runs 330 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.