Over the next few months, Trail Town Program® will be sharing some sample trip itineraries of things to see and do beyond the trail. With spring in the air and cyclists preparing to hit the trail, our first itinerary will take us to the Great Allegheny Passage with stops to Boston and McKeesport.
Located between miles 120 and 126 along the Great Allegheny Passage, one can explore several sites between the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers. Starting at the rivers, visitors can try watersports in a few ways. A kayak/canoe launch can be found right at the Boston trail access. This is a public access area and is also a popular site for fishing. Looking to try something new, check out Northeast Paddleboard Company to see the rivers in a unique way – rentals are available. For those with motorized boats, McKeesport offers slips at their riverfront marina connecting to Pittsburgh’s three rivers.
For those looking to stay on land, Dead Man’s Hollow offers unique hiking trails right beside the GAP. In addition to having several unique natural phenomenon, it’s also home to industrial ruins such as an abandoned boiler house. It probably most famous for the three deaths that occurred in the hollow in the 1800s, hence its namesake. This section of trail is also popular for races and runs including the Little Boston Half Marathon and 5K.
In addition to the GAP Trail, cyclists can explore the Loop trail that travels the eastern bank of the Yough River. In Boston, downtown McKeesport, and along the Loop trail, riders can find stops to reenergize for lunch, dinner, or just a sweet snack. One option on the Loop trail is Puzzlers. This locally owned restaurant is located right next to the trail and features outdoor seating. The restaurant has vegetarian options to choose from and the bar also offers a variety of trail-inspired drinks. Other popular stops in the area include Rich’s Parkside Den, Woody’s Little Italy Restaurant, and regional favorite Eat’n Park. For those with a sweet tooth, Minerva Bakery is delight with seasonal and year-round favorites. Minerva has been in operations for over 90 years! Another fun stop is The Betsy Shoppes. Stop in for lunch or coffee and explore the trailside gift shop.
Between biking, hiking, and dining, visitors can explore cultural sites between these two Trail Towns. In Boston, the Elizabeth Township Historical Society is available for genealogical research and museum tours. In addition to this site, the McKeesport Heritage Center is full of local artifacts including an 1832 one room schoolhouse. The McKeesport Heritage Center is surrounded by tree filled Renziehausen Park and Rose Garden – one of the largest rose collections in western Pennsylvania. Although the Heritage Center and “Renzie” Park are not accessible by trail, they are well worth the trip. Each August, Renzie Park is also home to International Village – a festival of ethnic food and music. The Park also hosts a series of summer concerts. More concerts and special events are held year round at The Palisades. Local and regional acts visit this venue in downtown McKeesport. One of the must see attractions in this section of trail is the Kennedy Memorial Park. This is one of (if not the) earliest statues dedicated to the late President John F. Kennedy. The park has become a frequent resting and picnic stop for trail users.
To make the most of your visit to this section of the GAP, overnight stays can be found near the Boston trailhead as well as the John Butler House of Butler’s Golf Course. Those looking to camp can travel six miles south of Boston and spend the night next to historic Dravo Cemetery.
From river recreation, historical sites, and dining along the way, visitors can enjoy and explore family-fun activities in these Trail Towns by bike and beyond.