The Armstrong Trail currently has 30 miles of trail, including some share-the-road sections, available for cyclists to enjoy.  Trail heads at Rosston, Ford City, Kittanning, Cowanshannock Creek,Templeton, Rimer, Redbank, Phillipston, and East Brady give easy access to hours of cycling enjoyment.  CLICK HERE for listing of designated parking areas.


Whether you hike a mile or 30 miles along the Armstrong Trail there are plenty of opportunities to explore our beautiful countryside.  Signs of days gone by – river travel (Grays Eddy), iron ore production (Monticello Furnace, Redbank), railroad travel (Coaling Tower at Redbank, Brady Tunnel (closed), Phillipston rail yard & turntable) can be found.  The sides of the trail are alive with beautiful wildflowers. Especially worth the trip are the spring wildflowers in the area around milepost 52.5.  Please send updates about locations of other wildflowers to the Armstrong Rails to Trails Facebook page.  Pets are welcome, but remember all pets must be on a leash at all times.


From turkeys to turkey vultures, from tiny finches to majestic bald eagles, the Armstrong Trail provides the opportunity to see and study dozens of native bird species.  As of the Summer of 2013 there are 3 bald eagles nesting across the river from the trail below Lock & Dam #9.  Please send updates of interesting bird sightings to the Armstrong Rails to Trails Facebook page.


Geocaching is an exciting and healthy way to find beautiful vistas, interesting historical locations and sites that are worth visiting.  There are several geocaches along the Armstrong Trail.  CLICK HERE for more information or visit


Trail users may fish from the Rosston parking area (mile 39), the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission parking area in Templeton (mile 53.7) and across from the Cowanshannock Trail/Bernie Snyder Picnic Area (mile 47.5).  A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required and must be displayed at all times by those who are fishing.  CAUTION: Most of the Armstrong Trail runs through private property and trespassers may be prosecuted by these landowners.


The Allegheny River can be accessed by boats, canoes, kayaks, and other watercraft from designated locations along the Armstrong Trail.  Boat launch areas can be found at Rosston, mile 39, Kittanning Riverfront Park (1/2 mile from trail) near mile 44, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission parking lot in Templeton, mile 53.7, and along Cowanshannock Creek near the Bernie Snyder Picnic Area, mile 47.5.


To camp along the trail, permission must be received from the ALLEGHENY VALLEY LAND TRUST  (724 543-4478).  Camping is only permitted in designated areas.  Private campgrounds in the area can be found in AMENITIES NEAR THE TRAIL.   CAUTION: Most of the Armstrong Trail runs through private property & trespassing may be prosecuted by these landowners.


When the weather outside is frightful, cross country skiing along the trail can be delightful!  The trail has very little slope and is easy to navigate.  Ski at your own risk.


Due to the narrowness of the trail right of way in many areas of the trail and out of respect for adjacent land owners and other trail users there are currently no designated areas for horseback riding along the Armstrong Trail.  Horseback riding on the regular trail surface is prohibited due to the potential damage to the trail.




Phillipston tt 2 PHILLIPSTON TURNTABLE & TRAIN YARD – The rail yard at Phillipston was built in 1867 to be the main service station for locomotives along the Allegheny Valley Railroad.  Originally the Phillipston yard contained 1.7 miles of track, a wooden 2 stall engine house and a 75 foot wide turntable. Along with servicing locomotives, the 13 tracks in the yard were used as a classification area to assemble trains for various destinations.  Construction of the turntable was completed in 1877 & was used to turn loco-motives around for return trips.   A locomotive was driven onto the turntable, then spun 180 degrees, so it would be ready to pull a train in the opposite direction. In 1886, the Phillipston service station & other buildings burned down but were quickly rebuilt due to their importance in maintaining railroad transportation in the area.




 BRADY TUNNEL – The railroad was built in this area between 1855 and 1870, using the relatively flat Allegheny River corridor as a cost efficient location for the tracks.  In the early 1900’s, train traffic was heavy: up to 5 passenger trains and 25 freight trains in each direction daily, which justified installing double tracks.  This also led to the building of the 2,468 foot Brady Tunnel.  Using the tunnel to bypass Brady’s Bend shortened the train trip by 5.36 miles and avoided the high degree bends of the track along the rail line.  Construction of the tunnel began in February 1913.  Dynamite was used to blast through layers of rock, shale, and coal, then steam shovels cleared the tunnel.  Large wooden beams were fitted against the walls and a 2 foot concrete liner was installed.  Bricks providing additional support in areas where the tunnel height exceeded 14 feet.  During   construction many delays occurred due to falling rock.  Construction was completed and the tunnel opened for use on May 28, 1916.


image (2) COALING TOWER NEAR REDBANK – During the era of steam powered locomotives, trains traveling this railroad corridor stopped at the Redbank coaling tower to fill their coal tenders with coal to fuel their engines.  The Pennsylvania Railroad Company began construction of this coaling tower in 1928 and it was placed in service on February 8, 1930. The tower was constructed of concrete poured into wooden forms made from locally cut timber.   The lines from the wooden forms are still visible in the concrete.   Coal from nearby mines was delivered to the tower in hopper cars.  The coal was dropped into the pit, then carried by conveyors up into the reservoir above the tracks. It was released into chutes which directed the coal into the tenders of the waiting trains.  This coaling tower was used until 1957 when diesel engines replaced the last of the steam engines on this rail line.


REDBANK – This area became known as Red Bank Landing in the 1800’s because of the frequent raft and boat traffic on the river.  Red Bank Landing was the northernmost depot for goods being shipped up and down the Allegheny River.  A floating restaurant located near the mouth of Red Bank Creek served up to 1,100 meals a day to passing boat crews.  After the iron furnace was built in 1859, the area was named Red Bank Furnace.  The furnace employed up to 450 workers and produced 165 tons of pig iron per week.  Over 100 houses were built in the areas for workers and their families.  Following the construction of the rail line in 1867 by the Allegheny Valley Railroad  the area  became known as Redbank Station.  A hotel, restaurant, post office, and train station were located nearby.



Lock & Dam 8

Lock & Dam 8

 LOCK & DAM 8 – Lock & Dam 8 was constructed between 1928 and 1931 as part of the Allegheny River Navigation System.  All navigational locks on the Allegheny consist of single lock chambers & a “fixed crest” dam.  This type of dam is a concrete wall across the river creating a pool of water above the dam, at least 9 feet deep, for navigation.  Prior to the construction of the locks & dams, some river depths could be less than 12 inches at certain times during the year making the river impassable.   Water which flows over these dams can’t be regulated & there- fore these dams do not provide flood protection.  Lock chambers are used to transition boats from one river level to the other.


  lock9 LOCK & DAM 9  – Lock & Dam 9 was the last built in the series of locks and dams on the Allegheny River.  With the completion of Lock & Dam 9 in 1938, 72 miles of the Allegheny River, from Pittsburgh to East Brady, maintained a minimum depth of 9 feet. The first commercial use of the Allegheny River was in 1806 when lumber was floated down to the Ohio River.  Timber, oil, iron, and other bulk cargo along with passengers traveled the river in canoes, keelboats, rafts, and steam boats.  In 1865, 380,200 pounds of iron, 3.5 million feet of lumber, and 441,570 barrels of oil (from Oil Creek) were transported down the Allegheny River to Pittsburgh.  The last trip of a steamboat for passengers was made by the “Ida Rose” in April 1868.                                   
arched bridge
   GRAYS EDDY –Gray’s Eddy was a small village in Madison County. In 1840, Oliver Gray built the first house and Robert Thompson built and owned a store, a hotel, and a warehouse. Freight was delivered here consistently until the completion of the Allegheny Valley Railroad. At this site, there are the remains of a stone arched culvert, cut stonewalls and beautiful waterfall feature.



ORE HILL IRON FURNACE – The Cochran, Dobbs & Co. built the Ore Hill Iron Furnace in 1845. This furnace was a hot blast charcoal furnace that produced up to 40 tons of pig iron in one week. The furnace shut down operations in 1857.
Monticello Furnace

Monticello Furnace

 MONTICELLO FURNACE – Robert Brown built Monticello Furnace in year 1859. In 1863, The Allegheny Valley Railroad was extended to Monticello Furnace in 1865 to service it with ore. From 1866 to 1874 ore from Lake Superior was mixed with the native ore to make a superior iron that was used to make nails, steel tools, and other products. During it’s time, Monticello Furnace produced mass amounts of pig iron that supplied markets in Pittsburgh & Kittanning. Monticello Furnace shut down in 1875. At the site, there are remains of a retaining wall that borders a few feet of the trail, and also the remains of an iron slag pile that lies opposite the wall.                         



KITTANNING TRAIN STATION – The Allegheny Valley Railroad opened the Kittanning Station on January 23, 1856.  The June 1916 Official Guide of the Railways showed that there were 7 passenger trains in each direction daily that passed through Kittanning.  Three of these trains, in each direction,  operated daily from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, New York with stops in Kittanning.  In addition to the passenger trains, the average number of freight trains passing through Kittanning in 24 hours was 28.



ARMSTRONG COUNTY COURTHOUSE & FORMER JAIL – Armstrong County has had 3 official court and jailhouses. The third and present courthouse was built around the 1860s using stone from Catfish Quarry and places along the Cowanshannock Creek. The third and present jailhouse was built and attached to the present courthouse in the 1870s. This Jailhouse became one of the best prison buildings in the U.S. in its time.                                        

 KITTANNING – Kit-Han-Ne was an Indian village that became a French and Indian War battleground in the fall of 1756 . The capture of French Fort Duquesne (renamed Fort Pitt) led to the mission to destroy the Indian village (present day Kittanning). John Armstrong commanded 300 men and set out for the village on September 3, 1756. Armstrong’s army completely destroyed the Indian village on September 8, 1756. Fort Armstrong was built near the old Indian village in 1779. After this fort was built, settlement of the area began (present day Armstrong County). The first permanent settler was Robert Brown in 1798. The town of Kittanning was established around 1800 and laid out with 248 in lots and 27 out lots in 1803. Armstrong County was later established in 1805.  
 FORD CITY – In 1888, Captain John B. Ford came to this area because of the quality of the natural gas. He needed the gas to fuel his future factory. After purchasing the tract of land that is now Ford City, John Ford and 3 other men quickly established the Ford Plate Company (Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company – PPG). This glass company began operations in 1889 and quickly became the largest and greatest glass company in the U.S., covering 20 acres. In it\’s time, PPG was the heart and soul of Ford City. In the fall of 1891, a statue of Captain John B. Ford was built in his honor. The statue and the PPG buildings are located on the Ford City section of the Armstrong Trail at the Ford City Memorial Park.

SPECIAL ADVISORIES                                                                 




                                  BRADY TUNNEL

Currently the Brady Tunnel is closed to everyone. The tunnel is barricaded and no one is permitted to be close to or in the tunnel.  This is per order of the Public Utility Commission (PUC).


                    CATFISH & TRAIL NORTH OF EAST BRADY                                     Improvement have not been done on the trail north of East Brady.  The trail surface may be rough.



 Improvements to the trail In the Rimer are completed.  Come & enjoy the improved trail surface, re-decked Poseytown Bridge, new benches along the trail and the historical sign installed at Lock & Dam 8 and 9.




Listed here are the trail’s designated parking areas starting at the southern-most end of the trail and going to the northernmost end with a branch (Miles 71-75.23) extending on the other side of Brady Tunnel which is where the Catfish Parking area is located.  The trail surface north of East Brady has not yet been improved.




    • HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS, 13 Hilltop Plaza, Kittanning, PA 724-543-520
    • QUALITY INN ROYLE, 405 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA  724-543-1159
    • COGLEY HOUSE B & NO B LODGING,  East Brady,PA 724-526-3565
    • PAT’S HIDE AWAY,114 Seyberton Rd, East Brady, PA 724-526-5202
    • THE CHALET, 600 Ferry St, East Brady, PA 724-496-4189
    • COFFEE SHOP, 900 5th Ave, Ford City 724 763-2255
    • MILLER’S HOAGIES, 838 4th Ave, Ford City 724 763-1711
    • NOVONTY’S PIZZA, 320 10th St, Ford City 724 763-1127
    • PIZZARIA, 509 11th St, Ford City 724 763-2401
    • BUGSY’S PIZZA, 180 S Jefferson St, Kittanning 724 548-1002
    • CLARK’S FAMILY RESTAURANT, 134 S Grant Ave, Kittanning 724 543-3890
    • COUNTY SEAT RESTAURANT, 340 Market St, Kittanning 724 548-1827
    • DIZZY LIZZIE’S RESTAURANT, 300 Market St, Kittanning 724 543-1634
    • DOMINO’S PIZZA, 400 S. Water St, Kittanning 724 548-5000
    • DOWNTOWN BAR & GRILL, 125 Templeton Way, Kittanning 724 548-2721
    • DUNKIN DONUTS, 300 S Water St, Kittanning 724 548-7393
    • FOX’S PIZZA, 136 S. Grant Ave, Kittanning 724 543-3696
    • HOUSE OF HUNAN, 400 S Water St, Kittanning 724 548-4868
    • MARINER RESTAURANT, 1301 N Water St, Kittanning 724 545-6646
    • MILLER’S HOAGIES, 140 N Jefferson St, Kittanning 724-543-2108
    • SHEETZ, 100 Walnut St, Kittanning 724 548-8586
    • SUBWAY, 108 S Water St, Kittanning 724 548-7827
    • VILLA ROSA, S. Jefferson St, Kittanning  724 919-8547
    • VOCELLI’S PIZZA, 112 S Water St, Kittanning 724 543-1818
    • ALL STAR’S BAR & GRILL, 411 Kelly’s Way, East Brady  724 526-5706
    • THE OLD BANK DELI & COFFEE SHOP, 323 Kelly’s Way, East Brady 724 232-0550
    • RIVER’S BEND BAR & RESTAURANT, 300 Water St, East Brady 724-232-0800
    • PLAZA PANTRY, 222 Water St, East Brady 724 526-3619
    • St CLOUD HOTEL/RESTAURANT, 427 Kelly’s Way, East Brady 724 526-5282
    • OUTLOOK INN (at Brady Overlook), 417 Rt 68, East Brady 724-526-3132
    • UNIMART, 410 Kelly’s Way, East Brady 724 526-3401
  • ROSSTON – Located 2 miles south of Ford City Bridge off T-862 at mouth of Crooked Creek.
  • KITTANNING – Located at Mulberry Street & Water Street
  • COWANSHANNOCK – Located along Route 1033 about 1 mile north of Kittanning .
  • EAST BRADY -Located on Seybertown Rd, off the East Brady Bridge
  • TEMPLETON – Nautical Mile Campground, 530 Stone Avenue, Templeton, PA  724-868-2607
  • FORD CITY – picnic tables are located along the trail 
  • KITTANNING – picnic tables, gazebos, located along the river in Riverfront Park
  • FORD CITY – Ford Street & 3rd Avenue, along the trail
  • KITTANNING – Riverfront Park along the river across from Dunkin’ Donuts
  • COWANSHANNOCK PICNIC AREA – approximately 1 mile north of Kittanning, between Kittanning and Mosgrove
  • TEMPLETON – Templeton Fish & Boat Commission Boat Launch
  • LOCK & DAM 8 (seasonal)
  • RIMER  (seasonal)
  • PHILLIPSTON  (seasonal)
  • EAST BRADY – Brady’s Bend Fish & Boat Commission Boat Launch
  • BIKES & BIKE PARTS – PAUL’S AUTO PARTS, 215 Jacob St, Kittanning 724-543-1283
  • FITNESS TRAIL – along the Armstrong Trail in Ford City



  • Open from dawn to dusk
  • Trail use is at your own risk  (CLICK HERE for AVLT disclaimer statement)
  • Check News & Events page for trail alerts
  • NO motorized vehicles with the exception of vehicles described in the AVLT Mobility Device Policy (for complete policy CLICK HERE)

  • Do Not Litter.  Pack out what you pack in.
  • Stay on the maintained corridor at all times.  Do not approach wildlife.
  • Respect nearby property owners.
  • Park in designated areas only.  Do not block access to adjoining properties.
  • Access the trail at designated locations.
  • During hunting season (October – January) use caution, wear blaze orange
  • Written permission from ARTA/AVLT must be obtained before placing any geocaches on the trail.  No geocaches should be placed in an area that presents a safety hazard.
  • Water, cell phone service, and rest areas are only available in some towns.
  • Report maintenance problems or hazards to 724 543-3378 or email at

The Armstrong Trail is generally about eight feet wide along a clearly visible limestone chip or
paved surface. Please DO NOT stray from the trail into the private property of adjacent
landowners. Healthy and helpful relationships with these landowners are vital to our ability to
maintain the trail. Trail users who trespass, or who do not observe common sense in areas
where car traffic crosses the trail, jeopardize the ability of the rest of us to enjoy our community resource. If we want to have good neighbors along the trail, we need to be good neighbors when we are using the trail!

  • Helmets are recommended
  • Keep to the right except when passing
  • Alert others when passing.  Annouce “Passing on your left”
  • Adjust speed to weather conditions, traffic, & ability
  • Stop, look, and proceed with caution at each road intersection
  • Leashes are mandatory.  All pets must be on a leash at all times
  • Always remove animal waste from the trail and dispose of properly.
  • Due to the narrowness of the trail right of way in many areas of the trail and out of respect for adjacent land owners and other trail users there are currently no designated areas for horseback riding along the Armstrong Trail.  Horseback riding on the regular trail surface is prohibited due to the potential damage to the trail.
  • Camping in any area along the trail requires a permit from ALLEGHENY VALLEY LAND TRUST (724 543-4478)
  • Camp only in designated areas


Native walking trails along the banks of the river were eventually developed for use by the railroads to haul goods. The first railroad line along the banks of the Allegheny River was authorized in 1837 and eventually was named the Allegheny Valley Rail Road Company (AVRR). The railroad began hauling iron ore, coal, lumber, and farm products, and providing passenger service in 1855. By 1870 AVRR was transporting petroleum from the Oil Creek region.
Pennsylvania Railroad purchased the bankrupt Allegheny Valley Rail Road in 1900. Train service along this line continued through the first half of the 20th century and into the 1970s. Diminished rail traffic led to the eventual sale of the abandoned rail line to Allegheny Valley Land Trust in 1992 and the beginning of the Armstrong Trail.

On April 4, 1837, a charter was granted for the construction            of the Pittsburgh, Kittanning, and Warren Railroad. Fifteen       years later, in 1852, construction of the railroad began and              its name was changed to the Allegheny Valley Railroad.
On December 11, 1855, the Allegheny Valley Railroad opened
for business at the Rosston station (mouth of Crooked Creek).




The Allegheny Valley Railroad opened for business at the Kittanning Station on January 23. 1856.  In 1860,
Kelly Station was built and opened immediately to service the AVRR. The first telephone lines were erected n Armstrong County in  1863. These lines were built along the Allegheny Valley Railroad.  At a later date, the lines became absorbed by Western Union. In 1865, The Allegheny Valley Railroad
extended its tracks to service Monticello Furnace with ore to make iron that is of better quality.
xxc                                                                                         hhhhh                                       turntable with engine rev - Copy

In 1867, the Allegheny Valley Railroad extended its tracks to Phillipston, 3 miles north of the mouth of Redbank Creek. Phillipston became the main service    for the locomotives along the AVRR. William Phillips urged immediate construction on the extension of the AVRR to Brady’s Bend.  The track was extended & completed to Venango City where it opened for business in Dec 1867. On February 2, 1870, the Allegheny Valley  Railroad was completed from Pittsburgh to Oil City.                                                                                                                                                      Phillipston Turntable







In 1874, at the moith of RedBank Creek, the “Low Grade Division”, also known as the Redbank Junction was completed and branched off the AVRR and traveled to Driftwood, PA where it was known as Bennett’s Branch. The Low Grade Division also branched down Redbank Creek to Lawsonham through Rimersburg to Sligo.  The Sligo Branch was constructed to transport lumber & coal from Clarion County.



In, 1886, Phillipston service station along  with other       train on tracks      businesses burned down.  Due to its importance the                station was quickly rebuilt. In August 1910, the                      Pennsylvania Railroad Company took over operations              of the Allegheny Valley Railroad changing the name                of the railroad to the Buffalo & Allegheny Division.                Track was extended to Buffalo , NY.  New  stations were       built at Johnetta, Kittanning, & Templeton, and built modern steel bridges over the Kiskiminetas River, Redbank Creek, and Mahoning Creek.





The construction of the East Brady Tunnel began                in 1915 and was completed in 1916. The tunnel cut off   6 miles and the high degree of bends on the other track.

In 1941, the Low Grade Division, known as the Redbank Junction, quit passenger operations.                                  In 1992, the Allegheny Valley Railroad corridor was purchased and is currently being used for a  non-motorized recreational trail, known  as the    ARMSTRONG TRAIL.




     The following birds have been spotted along the Armstrong Trail.  How many have you seen?

American Black Duck             Common Golden-eye             Mourning Dove

American Coot                      Common Grackle                  Northern Cardinal

American Crow                      Dark eyed Junco                   Northern Pintail

American Goldfinch               Downy Woodpecker               Pied-billed Grebe

American Kestrel                   Eastern Bluebird                   Red-bellied Woodpecker

American Robin                     Eastern Phoebe                    Red-breasted Merganser

American Wigeon                  European Starling                 Red-necked Grebe

Bald Eagle                             Golden Crowned Knight         Red-tailed Hawk

Belted Kingfisher                   Great Blue Heron                  Red-winged Blackbird

Black-capped Chickadee        Greater Scaup                       Ring-billed Gull

Blue Jay                                Herring Gull                         Rock Dove (Pigeon)

Brown Creeper                      Horned Grebe                       Song Sparrow

Bufflehead                            House Finch                         Tufted Titmouse

Canada Goose                       House Sparrow                     White-breasted Nuthatch

Canvasback                           Lesser Scaup                      Wild Turkey

Carolina Wren                       Mallard                               Wood Duck





 mayapple        May-Apple 
The May-Apple has green leaves that look like an umbrella that develops a very small light yellow flower underneath. The May-Apple grows to be 18” high and likes rich woods, damp shady clearings. The small yellow flower blooms form April to June. The May-Apple gets it name from the small apple it produces in May.


                            Large-Flower Trillium largeflowertrilliumThe Large-Flower Trillium has 3 large solid white petals and 3 green leaves. As the Large-Flower Trillium ages, the white petals will change to a light pink. It grows to a height of 18 inches. The Large-Flower Trillium blooms from April to June and likes woods and thickets.

Purple Trillium                                              purpletrillium

The Purple Trillium has 3 maroon petals and 3 green leaves. It grows to a height of 16 inches and likes rich woods. The Purple Trillium blooms for April to June and is the most common eastern trillium found. The Purple Trillium is also known as “Stinky Benjamin” for its unpleasant odor.



Allegheny Valley Land Trust

 Redbank Valley Trails 

Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance

Rails to Trails Conservancy

Armstrong County Conservation District

Armstrong County Tourist Bureau

Armstrong County