Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
0.00 ft (0.00 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
1.30 mi (2.09 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

A walk on the Hoover-Mason Trestle is a walk alongside history. Located in the midst of the now abandoned Bethlehem Steel plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Trestle offers a close-up view of the workings of this once vital American steel producer.

As adventurers gaze upon the enormous facility, it is helpful to read the informative signs along the way. The signs tell of the various machinery and how it worked. The signs also share some of the extraordinary history about Bethlehem Steel and how it impacted the world. Guided walking tours are also available.

Visionary Robert Sayre, formed The Bethlehem Iron Company in 1860, when he saw a need for durable iron rails for railroad lines. He was the chief engineer of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He hired a self-taught engineer, John Fritz, to construct rolling mills to make stronger rails. Over time, the company expanded their product lines. By the 1880’s, the company was forging armor plate and guns for the U.S. Navy.

Two shareholders, Joseph Wharton and Charles Schwab took control in 1901, restructured the company and changed the name in 1904 to the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. The company flourished. During World War I, the company produced armaments for European countries as well as the U.S. Army and Navy.  Bethlehem Steel grew into the second largest United States steel producer and the largest shipbuilder in the world. In 1943, the company produced one naval ship per day.

As visitors walk on the Hoover-Mason Trestle, they can see the nearly a third of a mile long, No. 2 Machine Shop. Built in 1890, it was one of the largest industrial buildings in the world. Here, workers milled and drilled the steel into weapons, ammunition and ships. Bethlehem Steel’s machinists also made parts for the nuclear, oil, gas and mining industries.

Adventurers will pass the blast furnaces and can look inside the Blower House. Signs explain how the process worked and why immigrants from around the world worked at Bethlehem Steel.

The Trestle is accessible by elevator or staircases. It has safety call buttons. Portions of the Trestle flooring are tiny open grate to view the tracks below. A visitor center, located on ground level, has large restrooms and offers a free movie which gives a good overview about Bethlehem Steel, its’ impact on the world, and how by 1998 all operations ceased.

To book a guided walking tour: 1-800-360-TOUR or www.HistoricBethlehem.org

 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Walk alongside Bethlehem Steel plant. Informational signs.

Cons

Visitor center has minimal information.

Trailhead Elevation

231.00 ft (70.41 m)

Highest point

231.00 ft (70.41 m)

Features

ADA accessible
Historically significant
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Guided tours

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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