Just did my first half marathon on the trail and the view was spectacular and almost the entire trail was by a river. Indiana, PA 15701
http://www.indianacountyparks.org/, Work on completion of the Ghost Town Trail missing link is nearing completion. Interestingly, the surface of this extension is crushed slag—the otherwise--unusable remnants of the iron smelting process. The eastern half has a steeper climb and no bathroom and less signage. Hope that seeing the creek dead and red motivates people to clean up what must have been a lovely creek before the despoliation of the mining companies . There are some wrecked rail cars and such just as you get started on the trail out of Saylor Park and if you keep an eye on the creek, you can see things like old bridge pilings, and the remnants of a low dam. What a great section of the Ghost Trail. I would recommend this trip in the autumn, late September and early October is prime leaf season in this portion of the Laurel Highlands. At the easternmost end of the trail, there is a latrine in the park - try to avoid having to use this, as it was rather unpleasant when I was there. N 40° 28.155 W 079° 00.015. Can't wait to ride the whole thing. The first day I rode from Dilltown to Ebensburg and on the return also covered the Rexis branch. In 21 miles take the exit for SR 271, and turn left. I like to ride the trails from end to end and back. Photo by:khrysinwythe Ghost Town Trl miners exhibit. ---
Indiana County Parks & Trails
1128 Blue Spruce Rd. We also heard there were big hills. This was my only mistake in planning this trip. The Ghost Town Trail has grown and evolved over the years into one of the best trails in Pennsylvania. To reach the Black Lick trailhead at Saylor Park (1284 Old Indiana Road, Blairsville) from the intersection of US 22 and US 119 in Blairsville, head north on US 119. Very well-maintained trail! I know about the fascinating history of these ghost towns and tried to visualize what life must have been like during that era. Dilltown Tourism: Tripadvisor has 6 reviews of Dilltown Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best Dilltown resource. Great trai with a number of interesting signs on the mining in the area and the status of the river. We plan to ride more along the Ghost Town Trail in the future. Crushed stone was smooth and hard packed making it easy to ride. One black snake and one we THINK was a copperhead - eek! Ghost Town Trail - Dilltown Access Area - Dilltown, Pennsylvania . Rode this trail last weekend in two days. Saylor Park, 1 mile off Rt.119 serves as the western trailhead. I had been riding mostly paved rail trails recently but the crushed cinder tail was just fine and didn't bother me at all. The only thing that would make this trail better is if there were a designated place to tent camp somewhere along it. It's a slight ascent out of Saylor park, but the gradient is very mild and barely noticeable. Traveling the Ghost Town Trail this Sunday July 3, was somewhat of a homecoming for me. The whole ride took about an hour and a half.To end the day on a high note, we drove 15 minutes south on 403 into Johnstown, took the inclined plane up the mountain and had a nice dinner overlooking the city at City View Bar and Grill. Yesterday I took a vacation day as I wanted to get some good mileage in on the trail. (PRR Marker 41 was still there, leaning over against the northern mudbank, when I first rode this trail in 2007, but it appears to be gone now) These classic white top / black bottom mileposts were ubiquitous to the PRR, at every milepoint, from New York City to Chicago and Saint Louis. It is filled with remnants of the past so be sure to set aside some additional time to take in the sights. I could talk on and on but that would give away the nice discoveries that lay with this trail, for there are many interesting and historical encounters that’s met along the way. Going E first puts allows a downhill return trip, a good idea as this trail has a significant slope (for a rail trail), especially just W of Nanty Glo. The only drawback is the stream and the GOB Piles from the coal industry. Travel 2 miles west and see some nice bridges and natural stone formations as well. Riding East to West paid off because the ride back was down hill. This section of the trail between Ebensburg and Nanty Glo is very popular on weekends, and and also with people out biking, walking, and jogging after work in the evenings.The new section from Black Lick heading East towards Dilltown gets used less than the rest of the Ghost Town Trail due partly to it's remoteness, but that will probably change once they finish it with the bridges to link it with Dilltown. We parked in Saylor park at mile 0 and biked to Vintondale (mile 19) and back. I've ridden the whole length of this trail twice - both times as part of a tour that was an 800 mile loop beginning and ending at my house. This trail is very well maintain. The trail itself is in very nice condition, with trailhead parking in Nanty Glo and Dilltown, and restroom facilities in Vintondale. Explore a complete list of bird species observations in this area. If you hear one ringing, it's mine! If you grew up around the mining industry, this trail offers very little scenery. Make sure to bring water though or fill up at Saylor park, as there are not fountains along the trail, at least for the westernmost 10 miles. I only did 6 miles. The next day had some rain forecast so I decided to drive to the Heshbon access and ride a figure eight. Woohoo! You’ll pass massive iron furnaces, long-disused tipples (equipment that loaded railroad cars with coal), slag (a by-product of mining), old railroad ties, and other artifacts attesting to the path’s rich rail history. My husband & I ride rail trails all around PA & as far as we can drive from our home in Philadelphia. Dilltown was having their herb festival, lots of people and crafts. The trail was first established in 1991 when the Kovalchick Salvage Company donated 16 miles of the former Ebensburg & Black Lick Railroad to Indiana County. The Ghost Town Trail totals 36 miles in Indiana and Cambria Counties, Pennsylvania. I was really excited by the wonderful historical plaque at the old Indiana County Street Railways concrete abutments at MP 0.8. At that location, two former railroad bridges had been washed away in a flood and not replaced. The Dillweed B&B has a cafe where we enjoyed a light lunch, as well. It is a large mosaic map showing how the scene before you looked in coal mining days. 12 miles west from Ebensburg were smooth with a lot of actual coasting. This hot-blast iron furnace, one of the first in the region, produced more than 1,000 tons of iron annually at its peak in the late 1840s. The GPS address for the park is 1284 Old Indiana Road, Blairsville, PA 15717. The also rusty, point-topped cast iron whistlepost for the PA-271 Dilltown grade crossing survives in the "No stopping or Loitering 1500 foot" semi-private trail entry way into the Dilltown Trailhead, at Trail MP 12.4. The trail is very well-maintained and is mostly shaded. 30, Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail: Route 271 to Decker Avenue, Honan Avenue Community Hiking and Biking Trail, Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Mile 70 to 0, Indiana County Fairground/mack Memorial Park. The route meanders through the peaceful Blacklick Creek valley, passing the remains of several abandoned mines and "ghost" towns. The expected project completion date is September 11, 2009. 17T E 669529 N 4481762. If you are riding with your older brother, I suggest you beware of people jumping out from behind trees and shouting "Boo!" We went from Ebensburg to Saylor Park - came out to 31 miles and took us about 4 hours. Great trail very scenic Great restroom along the way. Expect to run into higher usage along the first 3miles near any of the major trailheads (Ebensburg, Nanty Glo, Vintondale, Dilltown, Saylor Park). We started at the westernmost end of the trail and rode 10 miles east until reaching Route 56, then turned back. Ghost Town Trail Recreational Bridge Reconstruction. There are settling ponds, to get the iron red and the toxic aluminum out of the water. After the bridges are installed the trail surface to connect the two bridges will be completed by the Indiana County Parks & Trails maintenance staff. I am very haunted by the things I saw, and think this trail must be extremely unique in the rail trail system. "The new section of the trail from Ebensburg to Nanty Glo was opened in the Fall of 2005, along with the section from Black Lick heading East towards Dilltown. At that trailhead, if you're using the "cycling" feature in Google Maps, it shows the trial continuing northwest. The trail is great but FDR's uncle ruined the creek with his mining over 100 years ago. We rode back to Vintondale and headed up the hill to Ebensburg and the eastern terminus of the trail. photo of my bike off of Ghost town trail near Dilltown trail head . Discover (and save!) The bridges are named for two former mining towns once located along the trail. We enjoyed our stay so much that we're planning a return trip some day. Between the two spans, this 1977 flood abandonment railroad segment was obviously the salvation of intact rusty classic PRR cast iron mile marker 31, one of very few of these survivors on this trail. Not fun after several miles, particularly in the middle of summer. After biking the whole trail, we struggled to keep going. For those wanting to stay on the trail, we highly recommend staying at the Dillweed. The trail surface is in great shape. Most, but not all are practicing social distance. Race Start & Finish is at Saylor Park in Blacklick, PA. The junction of the PRR coming up from Blairsville, and the old Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh (later B&O) coming down from Punxsatawney, is obvious at MP 0.5. This excellent trail is located in west central Pennsylvania just a few miles north of Johnstown. For more information about the Ghost Town Trail, visit Indiana County Parks & Trails (http://www.indianacountyparks.org/trails/gtt/gtt.html). -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA. We begin our ferroquinological tour of this trail at Milepost 0, adjacent to Saylor Park in Black Lick, PA. Another great thing about the trails is alot of shade and it has to be 10 degrees cooler than road riding. The bricks had names of miners that had died. Trail services: have never seen so many nice restrooms....located every few miles, and some had picnic areas as well. They really cater to the needs of bicyclists. We are now waiting for the two pre-fabricated pedestrian bridges to be manufactured. Nice trail but around Nanty Glo on 7/27/13, fresh surface was way too loose for my old road bike. The town of Ebensburg is friendly and very pleasant. Midway along the 36-mile Ghost Town multi-use trail, near Dilltown, PA, you'll find several old iron furnaces in varying states of falling down. Funding Sources
Funding for this project came from the PA DCNR, PennDOT, and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 7453 Route 403 Hwy. We appreciated your patience and support of this project. Signs along the trail and the orange-red creek provide the backdrop of an industry long gone. Next day we did the Lower Trail, which is scenic (runs along a branch of the Juniata R.), nearly flat, and has much bird life. We found the ride to be so peaceful and relaxing. There are many nice facilities (restrooms, pavilions, etc.) It was tough. Get a FREE Rail Trails Guidebook when you become a Member with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. I wanted to be sure to have rode every bit of it. We'll report on that 4-mile branch at a later date. We arrived at Red Mill, which had a nice historical marker about the grist mill that is no longer there. There is a latrine and a gazebo around mile 6.5 heading east, and I would recommend taking advantage of these. Particularly before the Eliza Furnace and again toward the end of the ride (after the GTT sign). We stopped by the AMD & ART park and enjoyed what they have done so far. I biked from Saylor Park to just past Dilltown and back, about 26 miles RT. Note the in-place lines of BR&P track ties at the junction. This is one fantastic trail and I highly recommend anyone to come here. Wish all can be safe, get through this, and get back to normal. A whole string of ex-PRR mileposts remains in place between Dilltown and Vintondale, then it quits entirely from Vintondale to Nanty Glo. Delivery of the bridges is not expected until the end of the year. Therefore, I can't speak for the entirety of the trail. Saved by Julie Dickey. I'm currently getting ready for my first century on Aug. 11th so I use this trail as a training place. Several benches are located along the new section, with construction of small pavilions still waiting for sponsors.For the new colored brochure of the entire trail plus the Hoodlebug and West Penn Trails please call the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority at 814-472-2110 or email at email@example.com ". Went from Black Lick to Nanty-Glo. Nothing hard but it's a nice workout, especially with 60 plus miles on your legs. Very attractive! Lots of shade, mining/smelting history, good surface throughout. It was very slight, but noticeable. This was our first cold weather (48 degrees) ride and we learned plenty. When the coal--mining industry started declining in the early 1900s, so too did the towns along the rail route, eventually fading into the ghost towns of today. It's a welcome oasis biking along the Ghost Town Trail. We hope to ride more of this trail in the not too distant future! In 3.1 miles turn right onto Expedite Road, and go 1.6 miles. Not to challenging and it offers lots of miles, what a great ride up to ebensburg. Getting there: We accessed the Ghost Town Trail in Dilltown, but there are access points in Saylor Park, Heshbon, Dilltown, Wehrum, Vintondale, Twin Rocks, Nanty Glo, and Ebensburg. This gives more of a feel of riding on a railroad line than just a path through the woods. It's a ride we'll definitely take again. The back ends of the '57 and '56 Chevys made into seats, and the now just memories of the great breakfast I had here 6 years ago was a real disappointment this time (I had planned on a nice supper there). In fact, humans were being a bother to the poor black snake. Go 2.3 miles, and turn right onto Main St./SR 2017. Come out for a ride! The last, but very significant railroad artifact is classic, cast iron Pennsylvania Railroad Mile Marker 37, which found salvation by hiding behind a tree on the north side of the trail, at Trail MP 5.7, 0.5 miles east of the Heshbon Trailhead. Very nicely constructed. I would ride this trail again! Here there was a large parking lot, picnic pavilion and rest rooms. I had planned to stop at Nanty Glo for a break but still feeling good I continued on. Trail is packed crushed limestone in very good condition. Wehrum - 2415 Wehrum Road, Vintondale, PA 15961 - Parking Blacklick running fast and high. The trail is well maintained. Since the creek has been dead for 100 years we couldn't believe he would catch anything. Another 15 minute break to refuel and as I sat under the pavillions two more bikers showed up as they were finishing their ride. A spring 2009 completion is anticipated. Brought us some pegash (perogi's) to sample. The Marathon and Marathon Relay turnaround is just past the Dilltown access point for the Ghost Town Trail. I started at Dilltown headed to Blacklick and when I arrived at Saylor Park I was surprised to see signs for the Hoddlebug trail. It was a trip we will always remember! We had never been on this trail before and I'm so glad that we made this trip. I look forward to exploring the rest of the trail. Your patience is appreciated. Cute little bed and breakfast in Dilltown with picnic grove and place to get a sandwich and snacks. Overall it is a very nice trail and I found it very enjoyable. Photo by:jdubohio 5/28/15. Here there is a park restroom facility, picnic pavillion and basketball court. Yes, there is a bit of a hill between Vintondale & Nanty Glo, but that is part of the fun. You'll also pass the remnants of a coal tipple about 6 or 7 miles in. We have been on the Great Allegheny Passage from the continental divide to Cumberland. This Trail has ample bathroom along it at trail heads and has alot of benches everywhere. The climb back to Ebensburg was a good workout but not that bad. Wasn't at all crowded from John Saylor Memorial Park parking to Dilltown. Rode sections from Nanty Glo to Ebensburg and Heshbon past Dilltown. These are all trips taken since my daughter was old enough to ride a trail-a-bike, in December 2009. I suspect that a major, polluted tributary had entered there. Dilltown is a nice oasis, with covered tables, potties, and a store. I recommend parking in Vintondale and riding north to Route 422, going under the highway, following Vic Miller Road for a short distance and continuing the next eight miles back to toward Nanty-Glo along the trail. Extending from MP 0.2 at the east end of the thru-girder Black Lick Creek crossing, note the extensive half mile of railroad scrap, highlighted by the ex-Conrail (#CR472579 - Rebuilt 3-31-1988) gondolas, turned on their sides. Great for biking. Note that Saylor Park, where you begin your ride, is also a trailhead for the 10.5-mile Hoodlebug Trail. But go right up the main street a couple of blocks, and enjoy a couple of slices of Al's Pizza. The trail winds though the scenic Blacklick Creek watershed, passing interpretive signs and historical artifacts including mining slag, railroad ties, and discarded rail cars. In Dilltown there is a B & B and gift shop which sells water and snack but make sure they are open first. Coexisting with these industrial castoffs is a variety of wildlife; hit the trail early enough and you’re likely to encounter deer and more than a few chipmunks. Dillweed Bed and Breakfast near the Ghost Town Trail in Dilltown, PA. Dillweed is a turn-of-the century home built by the Dill family, early settlers of Dilltown. Starting in 1994 our family has done a bike ride together every other year in various locations. About 450 of the 800 miles was on rail and canal trails, and the Ghost Town trail was as nice or nicer than any of the rest of the ride. Other than the human scars, the stream is beautiful as it wends its way down into Blacklick. Just a little spooky. Other than that, it's a beautiful ride. Now we just have to do one direction from end to end! If you love to walk along trails, then the Ghost Town Trail is a must, and I sincerely mean a must! Great trail, smooth ride, get out and enjoy! We started in Ebensburg, rode 10 miles then turned around and rode back to Ebensburg and only saw one portapotty next to the ball fields in Nanty-Glo. :). I grew up near this trail, and for a good number of years, lived less than a mile from it. The stream that runs along the trail is beautiful too and adds to the experience. Uploaded: 6/9/2015. It wasnt just nostalgic. The trail is very well maintained and has plenty of signage to let you know exactly where you were along the trail. It’s uphill going east and downhill back, highly recommend doing it this way! Enjoy the ride! 422 and 22 serves as the eastern trailhead. The trail surface is excellent. It's not too steep, but it is a constant uphill grade. Everything was well thought out. Fairly flat even though my running app showed elevation levels between 1671 ft and 1856 ft. Thought this might be helpful information as this is on the Soujorn's planned route for this July. You can see conditions on the following site: www.skisite.com, "Parking also available in Twin Rocks, Red Mill, & White Mill areas. The Ghost Town Trail winds 46 miles through Western Pennsylvania, passing through former coal mining towns and giving visitors a glimpse into the area’s rich industrial past. i parked at the Nanty Glo location and ran east towards Ebensburg. A photograph on the plaque shows the viaduct, which riders compared to riding on a roller coaster! We were surprised to learn that 2014 was also the 20 year anniversary of the Ghost Town Trail. east of the Dilltown trailhead), then at MP29, 28, and 26. I've walked the section near Vintondale many times. The ride back is downhill, fast, and easy. While my wife liked the Black Lick branch more, my kids enjoyed stopping in Vintondale to look at the Eliza Furnace and Vintondale Art Park. Not only do they serve pizza, but they make the best home-made pies; coconut creme seems to be their #1 seller. Overall very nice scenery but 13.5 miles uphill was a struggle I wish I could have done before fatigue started setting in. I would like to explain our previous experience for the sake of understanding how it fits in. After a 15 minute break here I started back to Dilltown and when I arrived back to my truck, my gps showed 47 miles. As we climb the hill to Nanty Glo, our mantra is "Pedal for the Pie". The ride up to Ebensburg is all uphill as well and another good workout. One note, there is limited parking at a trialhead along Vic Miller Road. Trail runs along creek with gorgeous views of the area. My husband and I biked the trail from Saylor Park to Ebensburg. Also note the classic cast iron ex-PRR point-topped whistleposts right near the Mile 30 marker, and 0.5 mi. This marker to commemorate the town is located near the Scott Glen Bridge on the trail. This is a designated National Recreation Trail. This time I rode 50 miles or so by starting in Dilltown and heading to the terminus of both legs of the trail to the east. The pathway is also part of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition’s developing 1,500-mile trail network through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York. The trail is very well maintained with a smooth surface suitable for a road bike for the whole length. Photo by:jimhopf Ghost Town Trail. Two railroad bridges were wiped out, I would guess in the Johnstown Flood of 1977, at the ends of the river loop between Trail MP 11.6 and 12.2. Historical markers along the way detailing coal industry history. We started off riding the spur trail that heads due north up to rt.422. I headed on to it useing the very well placed and huge signs that couldn't be missed. A National Recreation Trail, the Ghost Town Trail is named for the numerous old mining towns along the corridor that were served by the Ebenburg & Backlick Railroad and Cambria & Indiana Railroad. We stopped at the Dilltown B&B Trail side shop and got popsicles which were super refreshing at that point. The first part of the memorial that you see is next to the trail. We passed two furnaces on our journey, the Beuna Vista and Eliza Furnaces. Spread over 32 miles, the slope is gradual, and you’ll end in the town of Ebensburg, the largest along the route, with dining and brewery options available after the ride. Send e-mail with your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a guide via regular mail. Overnight camping is only allowed in the Rexis Area at the House of the Rising Sun hospitality house, free of charge. Biked a little over 10 miles starting out Dilltown and heading out past Buena Vista Furnace. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from February until October. When we got to the trail end at ST RT 422 we discovered that the underpass to the proposed extension had been washed out by flooding of the Blacklick Creek. View waymark gallery. Even though it rained quite a bit on Monday, there was no standing water Tuesday. Most of the trail is a true railroad grade, so if you want to have a nice ride back to the end, definitely don't start at North Street and ride west and south. A biker will see plenty of slag heaps that leach poison into the stream. To do this ride at the start of fall - with the newly crispy leaves falling was so wonderful. Overall, this portion of the Ghost Town Trail provides a quiet ride in the forest to escape to, but your legs will be sore the next day from the uphill portions. Its still a great trail. It passes historical sites and thru PA gamelands with some great trout streams. This is a great trail. The midway point is Wehrum. Uploaded: 9/22/2015. I’ve ridden a lot of rail trails and this is one of the best. We saw one Orb and one fellow dressed like Natty Bumpo fishing in Blacklick Creek. I rode from Grafton to Ebensburg, so if you don't want the grade I recommend riding it the other way East to West. It is full of history, which made it fun to stop and check things out along the way. Looking forward to exploring the rest of the trail. It's a steady uphill climb from Black Lick to Ebensburg with few breaks! Our sag wagon met us at several of the crossings, and delivered lunch to the pavilion at the Dilltown trailhead. Found the many coal refuse heaps and the acid mine drainage and discoloration from iron ore in Blacklick Creek absolutely heartbreaking. 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