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Honouring the Famous Washington Trail of Butler County

There are many trails to choose from if you want to trace the footsteps of history, but only a few take you on a journey which bears such significance for the history of the United States.  The Washington Trail 1753 commemorates the first diplomatic and military mission the founding father undertook in his career. He acted on behalf of the Governor of Virginia as commanding officer of an expedition which was tasked with reclaiming the Ohio Country from the French. The French had already built three forts in the region and were adamant in establishing their claim to the Ohio country.  In the winter of 1753, 21- year old George Washington set out with his military expedition to bring a diplomatic message to the French at Fort Leboeuf. They were prompted to abandon their positions, but the French refused to comply.  George Washington was forced to return to Virginia without accomplishing his mission. Although the expedition was unsuccessful, the events which followed sparked the French and Indian war.

The lands in dispute, which lay in present-day eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, posed many threats to Washington. Marching in harsh winter conditions through the challenging wilderness of Pennsylvania made this expedition unpredictable.  Excessive rains and vast amounts of snow added to the danger George Washington and his man faced while traversing through enemy territory. His voyage started at the mouth of Turtle Creek from where he travelled by canoe on the Monongahela River to present-day Pittsburgh. Here he met with the King of Delawares, Schingiss, who accompanied him to Logstown, Ambridge. The Chief of the native tribes of Logstown, Tanacharison, agreed to accompany him as a guide to the French fort and they walked on the Logstown trail till they arrived in Crows Town.  From here they headed eastward, past Big Knob, and then northwards through Zelienople until they arrived at the French fort LeBoeuf.

George Washington escaped certain death on several occasions on this expedition, which makes this trail that more exciting to explore. One cannot imagine, what course history might have taken if the founding father did not make it back to Virginia. An Indian guide just barely missed him with his rifle, and he almost drowned in the cold waters of the Allegany River. 

The Washington Trail 1753 is a 1000 mile driving route through western Pennsylvania. The trail is marked by round blue signs with the profile of the founding father. They guide you to locations where you can learn more about the challenges and adventures George Washington had to face.  They are two info brochures available, one of which is an audio tour, to give you detailed information about the history of the expedition. On each stop of the Trail and in between you can find many activities to partake in. Historical enactments, museums and a significant number of different outdoor activities await you. Or you can “just” enjoy nature and take a hike or camp near a lake. While taking a break from your trip, you can get acquainted with the local cuisine in charming restaurants and visit local breweries. The accommodation options are plenty. From high-quality hotels to RV-Parks, there are many alternatives to choose from.