ALLEGHENY RIVER TRAIL:
PARKER to EMLENTON & EMLENTON to FRANKLIN, PENNSYLVANIA
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: February 19, 2024
Length: Allegheny River Trail; Southern Section 2.5 miles.
Allegheny River Trail; Northern Section 27.5 miles.
Samuel Justus Trail; 7 miles.
McClintock Trail; 1.8 miles.
Oil Creek State Park Trail; 9.5 miles.
Queen City Trail; 1.5 miles.
Sandy Creek Trail; 12 miles.
Clarion Highlands Trail; 8.5 miles.
Difficulty: Allegheny River Trail; Easy. Flat paved rail trail.
To Start from the Allegheny River Trail; Northern Section in Emlenton; From I-80 take exit 45 to Routes 28/208 west into Emlenton. When Routes 28/208 turn left across the river continue straight along Main St. When the road turns left continue straight past the Post Office to the parking lot. Signs lead the way through town.
The paved Allegheny River Trail & Samuel Justus Trail follow the former rail bed of the Allegheny Valley Railroad. The Allegheny River Trail; Southern Section travels North from Parker, along the East Bank of the Allegheny River to Foxburg, where there is a 4.5 mile gap North to Emlenton. Planning is underway in 2024 to finish this gap. From Emlenton, the Allegheny River Trail; Northern Section continues North, along the East Bank of the Allegheny River to Franklin. There are two railroad tunnels on the Allegheny River Trail. The Kennerdell Tunnel, 3350’ long and the Rockland Tunnel, 2868’ long. The trail is paved through the tunnels and three rows of reflectors mark the trail edges and center. Both tunnels are very dark. Bring a light! From Franklin the paved trail continues Northeast as the Samuel Justus Trail to Oil City South Side. From the Northern Side of Oil City you can check out the paved McClintock Trail, which travels alongside an active RR North to Waitz Rd where you'll find the "McClintock #1 - Oldest Producing Oil Well". Further North is the Oil Creek State Park Trail, which follows the rail bed of the first railroad to reach Titusville, the Oil Creek RR, which ran to a main rail line in Corry. It later ran the length of Oil Creek to Petroleum Centre and merged to become the Oil Creek & Allegheny River Railway in 1868, and still later became part of the Pennsylvania RR. See; OIL CREEK BIKE TRAIL . From the Northern End of the Oil Creek State Park Trail you can connect to the paved Queen City Trail which takes you Northwest into Titusville.
South of Franklin, the paved Sandy Creek Trail passes above the Allegheny River Trail. A Spur Trail connects the two trails. The Sandy Creek Trail follows the former Jamestown, Franklin & Clearfield Railroad, a subsidiary of the New York Central Railroad, from near Cranberry West to near Polk. Isolated trail with no services at either end. The dirt & gravel Clarion Highlands Trail starts Southeast from the Eastern End of the Sandy Creek Trail and travels Southeast to just North of Shippenville. It is one of the highest rail-trails in the Commonwealth. It traverses the Allegheny Plateau, passing over the divide between the Clarion & Allegheny Rivers, and follows the Old Clarion Secondary Rail Corridor. Its highest point, at Phipps Cemetery near Elmo, is 1,472 feet above sea level.
I only had time to bike a short section of the Allegheny River Trail from Emlenton North to the Rockland Tunnel, so that's all I'll report on. For more information visit; Allegheny River & Samuel Justus Trails & ALLEGHENY VALLEY TRAILS ASSOC .
Starting from the Allegheny River Trail; Northern Section in Emlenton; You'll find a Map Board, Porto-Potty and gazebo at the start of the trail. Informational signs here as well. The paved Allegheny River Trail; Northern Section travels North above the Allegheny River to your left and enters the woods after 0.5 miles. Mile Markers are placed every 0.5 miles along the trail (starting from Franklin?). The trail parallels the river the whole way. Cross a creek at 2.9 miles. Pass by a platform at 4.1 miles overlooking the river. Look right to spot a nice stone arched bridge. After 5.5 miles you come to the stone arched Rockland Tunnel. Dark, no lights through the tunnel. Three sets of reflectors help guide you through. Try and stay focused on the center reflector. After 0.5 miles you'll emerge on the other end. Some informational signs located here, as well as a parking area off Rockland Station Road. The paved trail picks up again at 6.1 miles. This is as far as I traveled.
CLICK HERE FOR ALLEGHENY RIVER-SAMUEL JUSTUS-McCLINTOCK-SANDY CREEK TRAILS MAP
CLICK HERE FOR CLARION HIGHLANDS TRAIL MAP
BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT