Best Views #3 – The Conemaugh Viaduct

“Who has not heard of the famous viaduct?” – J.J. McLaurin, Harrisburg Telegram

viaduct 1Next up on our list of the Best Scenic Views of the Southern Highlands is my favorite vista anywhere. No, I haven’t been everywhere, but I’ve seen the sun rise silver over Good Harbor Beach on a frosty November morning. I’ve seen a star-filled night on Assateague Island, just me and the ponies, that would have driven van Gogh sane.

I’ve gazed at the Presidential Range where they say the foliage is unparalleled, but nothing I’ve seen has come close to watching the sun set fire to the hills surrounding the Conemaugh Viaduct. Best part is, it’s only 10 miles and a twenty minute walk from my back door. In my opinion, it’s the best view around Johnstown.

Laurelight's series, Best Scenic Views of the Southern Highlands, is inspired by the 
excellent article from Marcus Schneck published at PennLive.com.If you're interested in
travelling further afield than the Great Allegheny Mountain you should check out Mr. 
Schneck's article Pennsylvania's Best Views.

viaduct 5The article photos, from around 1975, give an idea of what it looked like before the overlook began to succumb to the knotweed and the trees. I’ve learned a bit since then and I hope you’ll check out the more recent photos below, although I still haven’t been able to do the place justice. And that’s fine, because it’s a great excuse to go back again and again and to keep trying. Besides, you’ve just got to see it to believe it. Path of the Flood Trail: park either at the Staple Bend Tunnel lot in Mineral Point or the current terminus parking lot in Ehrenfeld. It’s roughly two-point-some miles from either end.

viaduct 4It’s easier to describe if you’re coming from Mineral Point. You’ll come to a viaduct overlook with a park bench on the trail. Maybe 50 yards or so beyond, on the right is a berm, overgrown with shrubs and trees, that varies in height up to maybe 20 feet. At the far end of the berm is a path that leads to an overlook with a view that will take your breath away.

The Path of the Flood Trail is owned and maintained by the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority, a body of local government whose purpose is to establish recreational opportunities and assist with the cleanup of coal mining polluted rivers throughout Cambria County. I’ll be adding select images from the gallery below to the storefront as soon as I can determine a relevant non-profit to donate a portion of the sales to. Suggestions are appreciated.

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