Johnstown Area Heritage Association
Additional Johnstown Sites

Johnstown's Inclined Plane

During your Visit

This page includes five different activities to use during your visit to the Inclined Plane.  They are all stand alone activities.  Teachers may choose to use them in any combination that best suits their students.  If possible, all students should complete the first activity below, "Rise to the Challenge!"  The information gathered during the activity is used for the "After the Visit" activities.

A visit to the Inclined Plane is a wonderful opportunity to engage students in physical activity without them even knowing it!  Four of these activities are walking activities.  The Inclined Plane has two hiking trails, the Inclined Plane hiking trail (hike from top to bottom of the Inclined Plane) and the Wolfe Sculpture Trail (located at the bottom of the Inclined Plane).  Also, two walking tours are provided, one of downtown Johnstown and one of old Westmont (located at the top of the Inclined Plane).  Don't forget to wear your sneakers when you visit!

Rise to the Challenge! a scavenger hunt (approx. time: 1-1.5 hours)

Located at the top of the Inclined Plane are many diagrams and exhibits that provide the visitor with valuable information.  To keep students actively engaged during their visit, this activity asks the students to locate 40 pieces of important information about the Inclined Plane.  All of the answers are there for the students who pay attention. 

Students should keep their scavenger hunt papers.  They will need to use the information they gather to complete any of the three "After the Visit" activities.

Activity sheets are available.  It is the school's responsibility to provide their students with pencils and clipboards (if desired).  The Inclined Plane does not provide these supplies.

Teachers!  A list of the data available at the Inclined Plane is provided for teaching purposes.

Ecology on Edgehill Drive (approx. time: 45 min. per activity)

At the top of the Inclined Plane are a group of picnic tables where these activities can be completed.  The Inclined Plane hiking trail starts near these picnic tables.  The trail may be hiked in either direction, using the Inclined Plane to return to the parked vehicle.

Six (6) options of ecology-based activities are offered in the student pages.  Teachers may select those that suit their students and their time frames the best.

The provided options include:

  1. Discovery Project**
  2. Envirolopes for the Woodlands**
  3. Woodland Walk
  4. The Age Old Question
  5. Nosing Around for Nests
  6. Rub It Out

**  These options require teacher preparation prior to arrival at the Inclined Plane

James Wolfe Sculpture Trail (approx. time: 1 hour)

Located at the bottom of the Inclined Plane, the James Wolfe Sculpture Trail is accessible through a door in the bottom station.  Once through the door, the Wolfe Sculpture Trail is to the right.  The bottom of the Inclined Plane hiking trail is to the left.

Mr. Wolfe, a nationally renowned sculptor, was commissioned to create eight steel sculptures from remnants produced by the local Bethlehem Steel plant. His premier piece is a majestic 40-foot sculpture situated directly below the Incline's observation deck entitled "Triumph of the Spirit." 

During their hike of this short trail, students will have the opportunity to observe the sculptures closely.  The activity papers facilitate the students' observations of these sculptures.

In case of inclement weather or lack of time, this activity can be done in the classroom.  The sculptures are available for viewing at

Walking Tour of Downtown Johnstown (approx. time 1-1.5 hours)

The walking tour of downtown Johnstown highlights 16 historical building or places located in the downtown area.  Photos accompany the historical information provided in the tour.

The tour is designed to begin at the Johnstown Flood Museum and end at the bottom of the Inclined Plane.  However, students may always walk the tour in reverse after riding the Inclined Plane down from Edgehill Drive.  This walking tour is a wonderful way for students to visit both the Inclined Plane and the Johnstown Flood Museum, while seeing the historic buildings of downtown Johnstown.

A printable downtown walking tour guide is available here.  This document is designed to be printed 2-sided and then folded into a booklet.  It will appear out of order if viewed on a computer screen. 

To view the downtown walking tour online, visit here.

Sites and Addresses visited on the walking tour:

Walking Tour of Old Westmont (time required varies by tour chosen)

The walking tour of Old Westmont is the best way for students to see the biggest reason for the Inclined Plane's construction - transportation!  Houses were being built on top of Yoder Hill before the 1889 Flood and those people needed a way to get down into Johnstown.

Four walking tour options are offered.  The student walking tour is specifically designed to illustrate the different classes of Cambria Iron workers that resided in Westmont together.  This tour remains close to the top of the Inclined Plane and is a reasonable walking distance.  This student tour was designed from a portion of the main Old Westmont walking tour and a portion of "side trip #2."

The other walking tour options are given more as resources for teachers and students to utilize individually or with family and friends.  The main Old Westmont walking tour is fairly long and in depth.  This tour includes some of the original structures and also some built in the World War I era.   If the field trip bus happens to pass along Luzerne Street, some of these structures would be visible to students.  Side trips #1 and #2 are available to supplement the main walking tour.

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