The Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr., Trail

Photo courtesy of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The Conservancy’s 644-acre Casselman River Conservation Area safeguards scenic views, wildlife and special natural areas along the GAP Trail and the Casselman and Youghiogheny rivers. The Conservancy’s 644-​acre Casselman River Conservation Area safeguards scenic views, wildlife and special natural areas along the GAP Trail and the Casselman and Youghiogheny rivers.
Rate this item
(0 votes)

There is a beautiful new trail to hike, just outside Confluence, a quaint town in the Laurel Highlands situated at the confluence of the Casselman River, Laurel Hill Creek and the Youghiogheny River, in Somerset County.

Confluence is a popular area for hiking, paddling and fishing, and it is one of the notable stops for cyclists and hikers traveling the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP). The GAP trail is ideal for day trips or longer excursions, including the full 335-​mile ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has protected 700 acres along the GAP trail as it follows the Casselman River eastward from Confluence.. These protected lands owned by the Conservancy are called the Casselman River Conservation Area and include a new trail named in honor of Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr., the Conservancy’s president from 19691978, who was responsible for many successful conservation projects during his leadership tenure.

This up-​and-​back trail begins not far from the GAP trail in Confluence, behind the Lucky Dog Cafe. It provides a steep, half-​mile hike ending at a scenic vista followed by the return descent. The lookout provides a view downstream over Confluence and the Youghiogheny River as it flows eastward through Laurel Hill. The view also includes the initial segment of the GAP trail — the first portion purchased by the Conservancy in 1978, when land acquisitions for the trail were just beginning.

The Conservancy has protected more than 250,000 acres in the western half of Pennsylvania since 1932.

To learn more about the new Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr., Trail and the Conservancy, visit Water​LandLife​.org or call 4122882777.


Thomas Saunders

Thomas D. Saunders is president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the region’s exceptional places.

Explore Related Stories:

Close Window Welcome to Pittsburgh Quarterly
Keep up with the latest

Sign up for our Newsletter, Pittsburgh Quarterly This Week.

We’ll keep in touch, but only when we think there’s something worth sharing. To receive exclusive Pittsburgh Quarterly news and stories, please fill out the form below. Be sure to check your email for a link to confirm your subscription!

View past newsletters here.

Don’t miss a story! Sign up for our newsletter to receive award-​winning journalism in your inbox.

Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Invalid Input