WASHINGTON'S TRAIL - 1753
This trail is a driving route through western Pennsylvania. Traversing modern highways, the route commemorates young George Washington's first military and diplomatic venture in the Fall and Winter 1753 - 1754. Today, the route follows major roads. However, in some areas there are alternate historic or scenic routes suggested which may more closely align with Washington's travel in the Fall of 1753, and these are likely to be back roads.(see Map for a WT map through Butler County)
In 1753, the imperial nations of France and Great Britain and the Native Americans all claimed control of the Ohio Country, the area encompassing present-day western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Acting on orders from Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie, twenty-one-year-old George Washington embarked upon a dangerous expedition north from Williamsburg to deliver a diplomatic message to the French ordering them to evacuate the region. Already the French had erected three forts to reinforce their claim to the area: Fort Presque Isle (Erie, PA), Fort LeBoeuf (Waterford, PA), and Fort Machault (Franklin, PA).
During his journey to the French forts in the winter of 1753-1754, young Washington encountered many hazards. There were "excessive rains and vast quantity of snow". He was nearly shot by an Indian guide near Harmony, PA, and nearly drowned in the icy waters of the Allegheny River near present-day Pittsburgh, PA. When Washington returned to Williamsburg in January 1754, he reported to the governor that the French intended to remain entrenched in the Ohio Country. This marked the beginning of the military struggle know as the French and Indian War.
Historic markers are erected along Washington's route through scenic western Pennsylvania countryside. Pick up the trail at the Maryland/PA border and follow it north. Relive Washington's first military expedition- retrace the steps of our first president. And don't forget to take advantage of the historic and natural attractions along the way.
Northbound from the Beaver County Line:
Rt 68 East to and through Zelienople to Harmony ~ Main Street in Harmony to Mercer Road and Route 19 ~ Rt 19 North to Portersville ~ West Park Road North to PA Rt 422 ~ Rt 422 East to PA 528 ~ Rt 528 North to PA Rt 8 and PA Rt 173 ~ Rt 173 North to Slippery Rock and PA Rt 108 ~ Rt 108 East to PA Rt 8 ~ Rt 8 North to Venango/Butler County Line
Southbound from the Venango County Line:
PA Rt 8 from Venango County line to Rt 108 ~ Rt 108 west to Slippery Rock and PA Rt 173 ~ Rt 173 South to PA Rt 8 and PA Rt 528 ~ From PA Rt 8 at the Old Stone House follow PA Rt 528 to Prospect and to Rt 68 in Evans City ~ Rt 68 East to George Washington Monument and return to Evans City ~ Rt 68 through Evans City to Franklin Drive (at railroad track) ~ Franklin Drive South to Allegheny County Line
Scenic Driving Route:
From Portersville North to Rt 19 to West Park Road to Camelot and/or Cornelius Road to Roher Road. Meyer Road to Covert and North on Slippery Rock Road to Croll's Mill on to Slippery Rock and Rt 173.
Scenic Hiking Trails:
From western entrance to Moraine State Park by the Bike Rental take Bike/Hike trail to the Marina at Davis Hollow Cabin - Enter the North Country Trail to the Old Stone House
In Moraine State Park near McDanel's follow the North Country Trail along the Galcier Ridge, a distance of fourteen miles to the Old Stone House
Scenic Biking/Walking Route:
In Moraine State Park take the seven-mile North Shore biking/hiking trail to the Davis Hollow Marina. Here you can connect to the North Country trail and continue onto the Old Stone House