Things to do in the Heritage Area

There are many ways to explore the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area!

Rafting in Ohiopyle—image courtesy of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau.

Routes to Roots—

Driving Itineraries

Travel is the very means of human connection, opening up throughways between different people and their cultures. Digging into the history of southwestern Pennsylvania and sharing themed itineraries filled with museums, attractions, collections, and sites, Rivers of Steel crafted a series of articles that offer innumerable ways to explore the Heritage Area.
Paired with this curated lists of things to do, each article includes brief historical narratives that deepen the understanding of this region’s rich industrial and cultural heritage.

An outline of the counties in southwestern Pennsylvania over an image of a river with the text Discover the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

Journey Areas

Explore the Heritage Area through the lens of our region’s industrial history! The eight counties—and the hundreds of cities, small towns and main streets within them—that form the heritage area are linked not only by their river valleys, but by their shared cultural and industrial heritage through five journeys that each reveal an element of the region’s legacy as the Steel Capital of the World for more than a century.

Routes to Roots—Journey Areas
Historic Images of Coal Barges

Postcard of “Coal Barge Scene in Pittsburg Harbor” depicting coal barges at the Point with the old Point Bridge and the Smithfield Street Bridge in rear, pre-1902. Collection of Rivers of Steel.

Transportation Itineraries

Transportation keeps us moving, so it’s a fitting theme to embrace on your next road trip through the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area! The hilly terrain crisscrossed by rivers and waterways that defines the region—and the need to move people, raw materials and manufactured products across it—has shaped a history rampant with innovations that pushed transportation to new speeds, modes, and destinations.



Culinary Trails

Let your taste buds led the way! While our tourism partners at VisitPA have assemble a number of way to explore our state through culinary trails, our friends at Chatham University’s Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT), took it a step further just for you.  Cynthia Caul, Program Manager at CRAFT—who helped develop the trails—shared with Rivers of Steel some background behind each pathway and outlined just where to stop when you’re in our corner of the state!

Check out her articles about the Baked, Picked, Chopped, and Pickled trails!

BAKED: A Bread Trail   PICKED: An Apple Trail
CHOPPED: A Charcuterie Trail   PICKLED: A Fermented Trail

About the Heritage Area

The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area celebrates the region’s industrial history, the landscape that fueled it, and the hardworking men and women who made it possible, linking its communities through their shared cultural and industrial heritage. The eight-county region represents the Pittsburgh Industrial District and includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. It is one of 62 designated National Heritage Areas and one of 12 State Heritage Areas.

Learn More About the Heritage Area

Learn More About Rivers of Steel’s attractions

that showcase the artistry and innovation of our region’s rich heritage.