Heck Weekend Day Three: Enjoy the Alleghenies, and the limestone on the way back.
As this is emphatically not a daylight-only ride, lights and reflective gear are mandatory. In addition, a significant portion of the route is on unpaved or poorly maintained roads and trails, so choose your tires wisely.
This route takes us east through Turtle Creek and Trafford, picking up the Westmoreland Heritage Trail through Murrysville and Saltsburg, where it becomes the West Penn Trail. After passing through the Conemaugh Lake recreation area (including a US Army Corps of Engineers dam and a blocked-off tunnel resembling a side door into Mordor), we’ll make our way to the next controle, the Sheetz in Blairsville. A steady gradual climb over the next 30 miles (much of which is on the Ghost Town Trail) takes us to the Dunkin controle in Ebensburg.
Forsaking trail for roads over the next 80 miles or so, we’ll head south, traversing state game lands on our way to the Fishertown Country Market controle before heading southwest through Berlin(see note for mile 151 below) to pick up the GAP trail in Rockwood, at which point it is (almost literally) downhill for the next 100 miles to the overnight controle. The GAP will take us all the way back through Confluence, Connellsville, and McKeesport back to the finish in Homestead.
|50||2-Sheetz/td>||610 US-22 W Blairsville|
|86||3-Dunkin/td>||542 S Center St Ebensburg|
|12||4-Fishertown Country Store/td>||2095 Quaker Valley Rd Fishertown|
|150||[last store for 60] Valero/td>||410 Broadway Berlin|
|181||5-Mitch’s (closes at 7)/td>||479 Latrobe Ave|
|209||6-Sheetz/td>||1002 W Crawford Connellsville|
|261||7-Hampton Inn/td>||301 W Waterfront Dr Homestead|
At mile 42, the route follows a causeway across the Conemaugh River. If the water levels are too high, the causeway may be impassable; in which case, an on-road route from mile 39.5 to mile 46.1 is as follows: Leave westbound trail, L on Auen Rd for 1 mile to R on Quick Rd for 1/2 mile to R at T on Clarksburg Rd for 3 miles to R at T on Newport Rd to rejoin route at mile 46.1
At mile 150, there lies a 24-hour Valero convenience store. That is the last 24-hour store on route until the Sheetz in Connellsville at mile 210, so stocking up here is encouraged.
At mile 181.5, the controle is at Mitch’s Fuel and Food in Confluence, PA. Mitch’s closes at 7, as do the majority of the other businesses in Confluence. If the store is closed, feel free to take a selfie if needed for proof of passage.
At mile 192, you’ll be passing through Ohiopyle. Historically, the park rangers have discouraged through travel after dark, so I’d suggest avoiding them if possible.
At mile 210, you’ll controle at the Sheetz in Connellsville. This is the last obvious opportunity for resupply until the finish 50 miles later.
Registration closes: Wednesday June 14th 2023
Inspection opens: Sunday June 18th 3:30 AM
Requirements: current RUSA membership, signed waiver, headlight/taillight/reflective gear
Ride start: Sunday June 18th 4:00 AM (27:00 time limit)