With four bed-and-breakfasts, several restaurants, a full-service bike shop, canoe livery, craft brewery, bakery, and distillery, West Newton is the quintessential trail town along the Great Allegheny Passage, and a favorite stop for thru-riders.
The Youghiogheny River calms here, and in 1788, New England pioneers, led by Revolutionary War veteran Gen. Rufus Putnam, launched flatboats to begin a final exploratory push to settle in the Ohio Territory. The town’s early name, “Simeral’s Ferry,” lives on in today’s Simeral Square, a delightful picnic and gathering space overlooking the river.
West Newton’s first and biggest industry was the Markle Paper Mill, opened in 1859 to supply the region with quality paper. The building still stands on North Water Street. The 1814 clapboard Plumer House, on South Water Street and the oldest structure remaining in West Newton, is on the National Register of Historic Places. So is the Banking House of Mungo Dick, a Queen Anne style brownstone on Main Street, built in 1890.
Along the GAP, the West Newton Station Visitor Center occupies a recently-built reconstruction of the train station that once served rail passengers. Its friendly staff, clean bathrooms, and array of GAP merchandise make it an attractive stop. Sign the guestbook, place a pin indicating your hometown in the wall map, and take a photo in front of the preserved Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad passenger car parked outside.
The 45-acre West Newton Cemetery makes for a great walking tour, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Pennsylvania by numerous veterans’ groups.
Local Events and Activities
The flat water along the Youghiogheny River makes West Newton a favorite spot for fishing and paddling.
Parking and Trail Access
Parking is available right on the GAP in a paved lot where the trail crosses PA-136.