Armstrong Trail: Kittanning to Gray’s Eddy

There is no better place to expect the unexpected than in Armstrong County!  This area is full of secret places to explore and we decided to accept the challenge!

We parked at the Bernard C. Snyder picnic area and began our 20-mile bicycle adventure on the Cowanshannock Trail.

The Cowanshannock Trail follows 1.3 miles of the abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad Company corridor along Cowanshannock Creek, and is accessible to both hikers and bikers.  Plans are in progress to extend this trail up to 4 miles.

The rail corridor was used in the early 19oo’s to haul coal mined by the Kittaning Iron and Steel Manufacturing Company and brick made by both the Willard Brick Company and the Cowanshannock Brick and Manufacturing Company.

The trail ends at Buttermilk Falls,  a popular swimming area.  If you hang around long enough, you just might catch some locals in action!

It was an amazing experience pedaling all the way down to the falls!


Although rain was not forecasted, the sky began to darken and we were forced to head back.

We regret that we didn’t have more time to spend exploring this bridge and waterfall. The rain began to fall shortly after we crossed the bridge.

After waiting for the shower to pass, we continued our adventure northward on the Armstrong Trail.



The Armstrong Trail follows the bed of the Allegheny Valley Railroad.  Chartered in 1837, it carried passengers and freight from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, New York. Passenger service ceased in 1941.

The Monticello Iron Furnace was constructed in 1859, and employed over 200 people. From 1866 to 1874, ore from Lake Superior was mixed with native ore to make a neutral iron for nails, steel tools and other products.  The furnace was shut down in 1875.

The trail rides along the Allegheny River and passes under and over several bridges.

Mosgrove Railroad Trestle

Lock and Dam 8 can be viewed from the trail.  The dam has been in operation since 1931.


In Templeton, the trail stops.  After passing through a few blocks of the tiny town, the trail resumes near the Post Office.

Armstrong Generating Station at Reesedale

Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad Bridge

The village of Gray’s Eddy dates back to 1840.  Freight was delivered here until the railroad was completed.  Today, the remains of a stone arched culvert and cut stone walls are visible.


Gray’s Eddy was another area that we wished to explore further.  We were scared off by an animal in the woods.  There are several beautiful waterfalls here that are not well-known.

We had our best wildlife encounter yet!  We got up close and personal with a snapping turtle and groundhog.


The Armstrong Trail also provides excellent bird-watching and scenery.



This was one of our best adventures by far!  There were a couple of things that we missed, but we saw far more than we expected to.

We did not get to see the Ore Hill Iron Furnace; we suspect it was overgrown with weeds. Regrettably, we missed stopping at the Pine Creek Underground Winery.  The winery is located shortly after the Mosgrove Railroad Trestle, off the trail.

We hope to do another section of this trail in the near future!

Looking for more adventures on this trail?


One thought on “Armstrong Trail: Kittanning to Gray’s Eddy

  1. Pingback: Armstrong Trail: East Brady to Rimer « Hiking in Pennsylvania

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