Rail-Trails Pennsylvania: The Definitive Guide to the State's Top Multiuse Trails

Rail-Trails Pennsylvania: The Definitive Guide to the State's Top Multiuse Trails

by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

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Overview

Explore 70 of the best rail-trails and multiuse pathways across Pennsylvania

All across the country, unused railroad corridors have been converted into public multiuse trails. Here, the experts from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy present the best of these rail-trails, as well as other multiuse pathways, in Pennsylvania. Take a cultural journey along Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail, or enjoy a speedy out-and-back on the Greene River Trail. Explore Harrisburg via the Capital Area Greenbelt, or experience the countryside along the Redbank Valley Trail.

You’ll appreciate the detailed maps for each trail, plus driving directions to trailheads. Quick, at-a-glance icons indicate which activities each trail can accommodate, from biking to fishing to snowmobiling. Best of all, the succinct descriptions are written by rail-trail experts, so you know it’s information that you can rely on! Whether you’re on feet, wheels, or skis, you’ll love the variety in this collection of multiuse trails—from beautiful waterways and scenic areas to the hustle and bustle of the states’ urban centers!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780899979670
Publisher: Wilderness Press
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Series: Rail-Trails
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 234,017
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to converting former railroad corridors to public, multiuse recreational trails that offer easy access to runners, hikers, bicyclists, skaters, wheelchair users, and equestrians. It serves as the national voice for more than 160,000 members and supporters, more than 23,000 miles of open rail-trails across the country, and more than 8,000 miles of potential trails waiting to be built—with a goal of ensuring a better future for America made possible by trails and the connections they inspire. To find out more about Rail-Trails, check out the Conservancy's official website at railstotrails.org.

Read an Excerpt

Conewago Recreation Trail

  • County: Lancaster
  • Endpoints: PA 230/N. Market St. just south of Industrial Road to Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail near PA 241/Mount Gretna Road and T326/Milton Grove Road (Elizabethtown)
  • Mileage: 5.0
  • Type: Rail-Trail
  • Roughness Index: 2
  • Surface: Crushed Stone
  • Uses: Walking, Biking, Wheelchair Accessible, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Cross-Country Skiing

Farms and pastures surround the Conewago Recreation Trail, but it was the discovery and mining of iron ore that led to the development of the railroad that eventually resulted in this trail. The path rolls northeast from the outskirts of Elizabethtown for about 5 miles to a seamless connection at the Lancaster–Lebanon County line with the Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail (see page 131). The connecting trail continues nearly 15 miles to Lebanon. Both trails are part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail that connects the World Trade Center, Flight 93, and Pentagon Memorials, and both occupy the former railbed of the Cornwall & Lebanon Railroad, built in 1883 as a private venture to compete with a railroad that already served the iron ore mines in Cornwall. To challenge an established railroad was risky enough; now consider that the new railroad’s owner was Robert Coleman, one of the richest men in Pennsylvania and a cousin of the existing railroad’s president. Lawsuits ensued, and the newcomer’s railroad tracks were torn up at least once.

As it turns out, there was enough business for everyone. Coleman, however, made bad investments elsewhere and eventually lost his railroad; the Pennsylvania Railroad ended up with it in 1918. After Hurricane Agnes washed out portions of the line in 1972, the route fell into disuse, and Lancaster County bought it in 1979 and soon thereafter turned it into a rail-trail.

The Conewago Recreation Trail follows a creek of the same name for its entire length. Its crushed-limestone surface (renovated in 2007) is hard packed and flat enough to make it wheelchair accessible, except for the Mill Road crossing about 1.4 miles from the Elizabethtown trailhead. Open dawn–dusk, the trail is shaded in the summer, although the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been removing trees infested with emerald ash borer beetle.

You can pick up supplies for your trip in Elizabethtown, called E-town by the locals and located about 2 miles southeast of the trailhead. The town’s population has ballooned since the early days of the 20th century, when it was home to a shoe factory and Klein Chocolate (now owned by Mars and making Dove brand chocolate).

The path is wooded for a short distance, and then passes some fields before plunging back into the woods. There’s a steep slope at the Mill Road crossing at 1.4 miles where a trestle has been removed; note that this specific intersection is not conducive to wheelchairs. Other road crossings along the trail are at level, except for the passage under PA 283.

Crossing Hershey Road/PA 743 (use caution at this busy road) at 2.7 miles, you’ll pass Rails to Trail Bicycle Shop, which offers rental bikes, snacks, and a place to fill your water bottles. A couple of road crossings later you’ll pass through Bellaire, which has an old mill that’s now used as a carpentry shop. Not long after passing Prospect Road, you’ll see that the trail becomes the Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail.

Contact: co.lancaster.pa.us/268/Conewago-Recreation-Trail and lvrailtrail.com/conewago.pd

Directions

To reach the Elizabethtown trailhead from I-283 coming from Harrisburg, take Exit 1A onto PA 283 E. Go 6.4 miles east, and take the exit toward PA 230/PA 341/Toll House Road. Turn right onto Toll House Road, go 0.1 mile, and turn left onto E. Harrisburg Pike/PA 230. Go 3.1 miles, and turn left into the trailhead parking lot.

To reach the trailhead at Prospect Road/T300 from I-283, take Exit 1A onto PA 283 E. Go 11.5 miles east, and exit toward PA 743 for Hershey/Elizabethtown. Turn left onto PA 743 N/ Hershey Road, go 0.5 mile, and turn right onto Beverly Road. Go 0.7 mile, and turn right onto Koser Road. Then go 0.2 mile, and bear left to stay on Koser Road. Go 0.1 mile, and turn left onto PA 241/Mount Gretna Road. Go 1.1 miles, and turn left onto Prospect Road/T300. Go 0.1 mile, and look for parking on either side of Prospect Road, where it intersects with the trail.

Table of Contents

About Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Foreword

Acknowledgments

Introduction

How to Use This Book

Pennsylvania

  1. Allegheny River Trail
  2. Armstrong Trail
  3. Butler Freeport Community Trail
  4. Capital Area Greenbelt
  5. Chester Valley Trail
  6. Clarion-Little Toby Trail
  7. Coal & Coke Trail
  8. Conewago Recreation Trail
  9. Cumberland Valley Rail Trail
  10. Cynwyd Heritage Trail
  11. D&L Trail
  12. David S. Ammerman Trail
  13. East Branch Trail
  14. Enola Low Grade Trail
  15. Ernst Bike Trail
  16. Five Star Trail
  17. Ghost Town Trail
  18. Great Allegheny Passage
  19. Greene River Trail
  20. Heritage Rail Trail County Park
  21. Hoodlebug Trail
  22. Huntingdon and Broad Top Rail Trail
  23. Indian Creek Valley Hike and Bike Trail
  24. Ironton Rail Trail
  25. J. Manley Robbins Trail
  26. John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Trail Loop
  27. John Heinz Refuge Trail
  28. Joseph M. McDade Recreational Trail
  29. Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose National Recreation Trail
  30. Kinzua Bridge Skywalk
  31. Kinzua Valley Trail
  32. Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
  33. Lancaster Junction Trail
  34. Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail
  35. Lower Trail
  36. Luzerne County Levee Trail
  37. Lycoming Creek Bikeway
  38. Mahoning Shadow Trail
  39. Montour Trail
  40. Muhlenberg Rail Trail
  41. Nor-Bath Trail
  42. Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
  43. Oil Creek State Park Trail
  44. Panhandle Trail
  45. Path of the Flood Trail/Staple Bend Tunnel Trail
  46. Penns Creek Path (Mid State Trail)
  47. Pennypack Trail
  48. Perkiomen Trail
  49. Pine Creek Rail Trail
  50. Plainfield Township Recreation Trail
  51. Power Line Trail
  52. Queen City Trail
  53. Redbank Valley Trail
  54. Roaring Run Trail
  55. Samuel Justus Recreation Trail
  56. Sandy Creek Trail
  57. Schuylkill River Trail
  58. 6 to 10 Trail System
  59. Stavich Bicycle Trail
  60. Stony Valley Railroad Grade
  61. Susquehanna River Walk and Timber Trail
  62. Swatara Rail-Trail
  63. Three Rivers Heritage Trail
  64. Trolley Trail
  65. Union Canal Trail
  66. Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail-Trail
  67. West Creek Recreational Trail
  68. Westmoreland Heritage Trail
  69. West Penn Trail
  70. Wissahickon Valley Park Trail System

Index

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