Blairsville is a greenway community. In fact, Blairsville is a hub community in the Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway™, a 320-mile corridor of hub communities and heritage sites connected by land trails, water trails and scenic byways, roughly following the path of the little-known canal system. The Greenway serves as a community link throughout the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area, which extends through 14 counties and four major watersheds.
Greenways serve communities by protecting natural resources, preserving and interpreting unique historic and cultural featues, promoting public recreation, health and fitness, and enhancing sustainable opportunities for economic prosperity. Through the Greenway, Blairsville offers local citizens and visitors an opportunity to reconnect with nature on bike trails, a water trail, and through interpretation of the town’s distinctive heritage.
The Land Trails
The Blairsville Riverfront Trail – The new trail offers residents a new opportunity to enjoy Blairsville’s beautiful, wooded acreage along the Conemaugh River. Once one of the most denigrated rivers in the state, the Conemaugh has enjoyed an astounding recovery thanks to the efforts of environmental partners.
Indiana County Regional Trail System – The Ghost Town, Hoodlebug, and West Penn Trails all converge at Blairsville. These trails offer more than 63 miles of hiking and biking through southwestern Pennsylvania’s scenic countryside and intriguing towns.
Trans Allegheny Trails – The local trails are part of a broader, developing regional trail network. Route 22 is the spine of an 11-mile trail system running from the Allegheny Ridge to the Allegheny River. Several of these trails feature grand changes and unique designs thanks to our region’s handsomely hilly landscape.
The Water Trail
The Kiski-Conemaugh Water Trail emphasizes low-impact recreational use while promoting stewardship of the resource. As the health of the Conemaugh River continues to improve it is increasingly a destination for canoeists, kayakers, and anglers.
Blairsville has 2 boat launch areas near each of the trailheads of Blairsville Riverfront Trail. Between these two points, boaters can enjoy a relaxing 45 minute paddle.
Blairsville is also your destination when you paddle through one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful, and lesser-known, natural areas. Packsaddle Gap is a 1,308 feet deep gorge that was formed where the Conemaugh cuts through the Chestnut Ridge. The Gap features extraordinary, 100+ year old Pennsylvania Main Line Canal remnants and can be accessed about 10 miles upstream of Blairsville at Robinson or Bolivar.
The Kiski-Conemaugh River Trail Map and Guide provides information about access points, historic sites and conservation efforts. Interactive web maps and a smart phone application are available for even more interpretive insight.
Blairsville’s layered and surprising history is showcased at two museums, interpretive panels and the Kiski-Conemaugh Water Trail smart phone app. A heritage tour guide developed by the Historic Society of the Blairsville Area, in partnership with the Main Line Canal Greenway, illustrates how the town showcases the evolution of distinct transportation eras: native pathways, stagecoach, canal, rail and auto. Visit the Blairsville Area Underground Railroad History Center to learn about the Fugitive Slave Rescue of 1858, commemorated by a Pennsylvania State Historic Marker, and much more.
Blairsville’s revitalization efforts, including Greenway-oriented efforts described above, are contributing to economic stability and a sustainable future. In addition to tourism, communities with recreational greenways have witnessed significant increases in real estate values.