Riding the Butler-Freeport Community Trail is a great way to spend an afternoon. Today was my first time riding this trail in 2016 but I've been here numerous times before. The last 2 times I was here I pressed my luck and ended up stuck in rainstorms, but today was gorgeous!
For me, the trail begins in Freeport. I always park at the trailhead nearest the Freeport bridge. The first few miles run along Buffalo Creek through a shady woodland.
About 3 miles in the trail passes under a massive highway overpass. The bridge carries Route 28 over the Buffalo Creek Valley.
When you pass this overpass, the trail becomes paved asphalt for approximately 2 miles. This section is incredibly smooth and scenic, it's like you have your own personal forested bicycle highway!
After crossing Monroe Rd the trail returns to a crushed stone surface. One thing worth mentioning is that there is a noticeable upward incline for 13 miles heading from Freeport toward Butler. This can be a challenge but the reward of zooming back down is thrilling!
After about 13 miles the trail begins to level off as you pass interesting old abandoned buildings, an ancient 1900's-era satellite dish, and a huge active working farm. Be sure to be respectful and remain on the trail. You may see cows and will most definitely see turkeys!
After passing the farm the trail begins its descent toward Butler. After climbing up for all of those miles the ride downhill is refreshing!
One cool part of this ride is passing through a golf course. Although it seems like someone has some problem with the golf course. There was all of this bizarre graffiti on the signage with scrawled messages about lazy golfers and saving trees... Can't we all just get along?
I was hoping to stop for a cold drink at Derailleur Bike Shop Cafe but just my luck they are CLOSED on Tuesdays! Oh well, next time... There is a cool sign in front of the shop outlining the area's history and the history of the building that is now the Bike Shop. Over 100 years old, the building was once home to a general store, a post office, and a trail ticket station for the Butler-Freeport railroad (which is now this bike trail!)
This trail has one of my absolute favorite sections to ride. It's not very long but it is very beautiful; a giant green cathedral of calm. Located just past the Bonniebrook Rd trailhead, the nearby signage says "Main Line Trail Extension". I always pass through this area very, very slowly.
The trail passes through a rifle range area. Be sure to move through this area quickly, and stay low.
Heading into Butler you will find the new Fellowship Crossing bridge over Coal Run. This bridge is awesome! The transition between trail surface and bridge is so smooth! Prior to this bridge getting into the downtown area was difficult to say the least.
The trail ends here but you can continue into the downtown area for food and drink. Be prepared for some hills and dealing with light traffic on the streets.
I turned around and headed back to Freeport. The trip from Butler to Freeport is great with a nice climb at the start then a long downhill ride down to Freeport. I reached the Freeport trailhead but continued on up to a short segment that leads to a bridge crossing the Allegheny River. Some great views up there!