The Greene River Trail Is A Walk Through History
See the historic Mon Valley on the Greene River Trail in Greene County, PA. View the remains of former coal mines and a company town. Step off the path to visit an historic industrial district.
To walk or ride the entire trail – 14 miles round trip – start at the Southern Trailhead in Crucible. Walk upriver or north on the trail, enjoying the beautifully wooded views. The river itself, chipmunks, woodpeckers, deer and other wildlife can be seen walking the 12-foot-wide path paved with finely crushed gravel and packed dirt. The surface is well-maintained. A wood fence encloses the trail most of the way. Motorized vehicles aren’t allowed.
The trail is exciting as there is a lot of different scenery and you’re not always looking at the same old thing.
Posted to Yelp by Amber S., Brownsville
Two miles later, the Rice’s Landing access point will be reached. The Rice’s Landing trailhead has parking, a vending machine and portable toilet.
Turning around at Rice’s Landing allows an easy four-mile walk. Or continue onto Millsboro to enjoy the whole trail. The Northern Trailhead at Millsboro is closed. Reverse course and return to Crucible to enjoy a return trip through the same scenic woodlands.
Things to see on the path:
- It passes through the former Crucible Mine.
- Markers describe the completion of a tunnel under the Mon in the 1970s to connect mines on either side of the river.
- A welded sculpture of a hiker is situated near Rices Landing.
- It skirts a former company town.
- Other remains of past industry may be seen.
Step off the path for the Rice’s Landing Historic District. Structures related to the Dilworth Mine and what’s left of Monongahela River Lock Number 6 can be seen. The W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop, which produced parts for steamboats, coal mines and railroads, offers guided tours most Sundays from May through November. Residential houses, an Episcopal church and brick jail are among 63 buildings build in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Greene River Trail used to be a railroad that served the Mon Valley during its industrial heyday. About 160 years ago, the trail was used by the Monongahela Valley Railroad. Shortly after, it became part of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railway, and then part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system.
By the 1990s, the railway was no longer used. A concept was developed to bring tourism to the area by converting the old railway to a trail that local people could also use for exercise – a Rails To Trails development for the county.
The first segment of the Greene River Trail – from the Greene Cove Yacht Club to the Gateway Mine tipple opened in 2000. To extend the trail, the abandoned Crucible Mine had to be acquired. Mine shafts were sealed, old buildings torn down and piles of waste coal dealt with.
Federal and state grants have paid for the construction of the trail.
Greene County expanded its recreation department to improve and maintain the trail.
In the future, the trail could be extended from Crucible to Nemacolin. The old railroad bed ends there. For that to happen, developers will have to work out property rights with current owners.
Beyond Nemacolin, the possibility exists of connecting the Green River Trail to the incomplete Sheepskin Trail in Fayette County. That could give people who hike or bike long distances access to a network of long-distance trails that includes connections to the Great Allegheny Passage and into West Virginia.
Rails-to-trails developments like the Greene River Trail are good for the economy. People who use them buy food or drinks at local restaurants or bars, stay the night in nearby hotels or spend money at local retailers. Property values can increase. Across Pennsylvania, people who walk, bike or ski trails contributed more than $900 million to the state’s economy, a 2019 study by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy found.
The Greene River Trail is about 40 minutes from Washington. Take Interstate 79 south to State Route 221, which leads to Crucible.
Whether the trail is accessed at the Southern Trailhead in Crucible or in Rice’s Landing, people who walk or bike the Greene River Trail can enjoy nature and the industrial heritage of the Mon Valley.
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