Central PA’s Rails to Trails

In many parts of the country, snow has already fallen this season, and skiers everywhere are dusting off their equipment and getting ready to hit the trails or slopes.  If you enjoy cross country skiing, you don’t have to visit an expensive ski resort to find a good route.  We invite you to enjoy a free, peaceful journey on one of Central Pennsylvania’s “Rails to Trails.”

Throughout the United States, local and regional organizations (many of them all volunteer) have worked tirelessly to convert hundreds of old railroad beds into recreational trails for the public.  One such trail is the Lower Trail (rhymes with “shower”), named for a family that was instrumental in its creation.

A good portion of the Lower Trail originally served as a towpath for the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal back in the mid 1800’s.  Once the canal was no longer needed, the Pennsylvania Railroad built a branch corridor on the old towpath.  The railroad was in use until 1979.  Ten years later, the Rails to Trails of Central PA organization began purchasing the property, and today, continues to acquire and develop additional tracts to add to the trail system.

Trail Access and Features

The 17-mile trail begins in Blair County near Canoe Creek State Park and can be easily reached in your PA rental car from Orthodox Auto Company.  The base is made of crushed limestone, with the exception of two miles of asphalt surface near Williamsburg, and is relatively flat most of the way.  It is open year round for biking, horseback riding, and hiking, and makes a great venue for snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter time.

In addition to nature’s wonders, you’ll also pass many historical remains as you venture along the Lower Trail.  You’ll see old canal locks, lock house foundations, the Mt. Etna iron plantation, abandoned stone quarry equipment and even a covered bridge.  The trail’s proximity to the Juniata River gives visitors plenty of opportunities for fishing and canoeing as well.  Birdwatchers may encounter bald eagles and osprey, among other species.

Trailhead stations can all be found off Hwy. 22 in the towns of Alfarata and Williamsburg; near Mt. Etna; and off Flowing Spring Road.

On your next vacation to the Pennsylvania region, reserve a PA rental car from Orthodox Auto Company.  After procuring your car rental spend some time on Central Pennsylvania’s Lower Trail.  Contact us at (215) 332-3520 and let us help get you mobile for your Pennsylvania holiday!

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