Situated along a peaceful section of the Youghiogheny River, Smithton boasts a bed-and-breakfast, grocery store, library, and great river access for paddlers, float trips, and anglers. Once the longtime home to Jones Brewing Company and its signature Stoney’s Beer, Smithton also sports a few joints ready to serve up a cold lager to visitors.
Smithton’s earliest settlers relied on farming; entrepreneurs constructed grist mills to grind grain, and the made the surplus into whiskey, long a Western Pennsylvania specialty. Other early industries included the manufacturing of iron products and paper. Later, coal mining and coke production became more prevalent with the vast deposits of high-quality coal found in the area. Industrialists built railroads, like the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, to haul loads from nearby mine and coke ovens to giant furnaces in Pittsburgh’s steel mills. Today, Smithton remains a blue-collar town, and it’s a welcoming stop along the Great Allegheny Passage.
Look up to see Riders on the Sky, a unique tandem bicycle kinetic wind sculpture, which soars above the entrance to Smithton, welcoming visitors from the Great Allegheny Passage. This new public art installation was designed, fabricated, and erected by volunteers.
A colorful pollinator garden now occupies space in the shadow of the Jones Brewing Company silos, and is a fine place to relax among public art, native nectar-rich wildflowers and butterflies. One of the Jones’ descendants, Shirley, made a name for herself in Hollywood, and you can find an homage to television’s The Partridge Family, right in the center of town.
Along the Great Allegheny Passage, keep an eye out for Joyriders, which pairs able-bodied bicyclists with those who require mobility accommodations, using special tandem bikes. This program is based in Smithton and houses one of its custom bicycles at nearby Cedar Creek Park.
Float Smithton provides public access to the Youghiogheny River for paddlesports, and across the Youghiogheny River is “Smithton Beach,” a fine place for dipping your toes into the water after a long ride or hike.
Parking and Trail Access
Parking is available right along the Great Allegheny Passage in a lot just off PA-981, across the Youghiogheny River from Smithton’s business district. It’s at the end of Smithton Beach Road, which is unmarked.