a totally alternative route (i’ve done the one(s) above) – is to go out 131 through Pitcairn, Level Green and into Greensburg. Then, FWIW, take 30 to Latrobe and rte 711 to 56 and up to Armagh (or switch over the rte 403), where you can drop down to Dilltown and take the Ghost Town trail to Nanty Glo and then back roads through a village called NoLo and then up Beulah road into E-burg.
at this point i am not sure if the Ghost Town trail connects to West Penn trail – however, that is the same creek valley (blacklick creek) that runs from the GTT down to the WPT. stay away from rte 422 and 22 on bikes – super dangerous.
West Penn Trail doesn’t connect to much of anything at the moment. The Ghost Town trail is really nice though, and it appears they’ve extended it all the way back to Black Lick so you don’t have to go over Chestnut Ridge to get to the start of it! This means you can get from Blairsville to Ebensburg without really climbing and without riding on 22. Sweet.
22 is pretty okay from Delmont to New Alexandria. It’s not exactly pleasant due to the traffic, but it has a wide shoulder and is well graded. Unfortunately the never-ending widening project from New Alexandria to Blairsville has made that part impassable over the last few years.
I didn’t get your reply until after the trip, but thanks. I took the bus to boyce park, rode 286 to saltsburg, then west penn to blairsville. 22 and 119 got me to blacklick where I took the GTT to heshbon where missing bridges and a soggy, soft trail stopped me. I got a ride from there to home. About 60 miles. West Penn Trail through the conemaugh dam area is cool.