D & H RAIL TRAIL:
HERRICK CENTER-VANDLING, PENNSYLVANIA
O & W TRAIL
FOREST CITY, PENNSYLVANIA
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 2, 2014
Length: D & H Rail Trail; 38 miles [10 miles improved]
O & W Trail; 7 miles
O & W/D & H Trail from Simpson to Herrick Center;12 miles
Difficulty: D & H Rail Trail; Easy. Flat stone-dust/gravel rail trail.
O & W Trail; Moderate. Flat hard packed dirt, gravel & cinder rail trail. Some ATV use.
For the O & W Trail (Southern Trailhead); From Route 6 take the exit for BUS Route 6 (Roosevelt Hwy). Take your first right on Canaan St, then your first left on Morse Ave. Continue straight on Reservoir St for a half mile. Turn right on Homestead St/Lord Ave. A parking lot is just past the tank. Informational board here. The trailhead is just up the road on your left.
For the D & H Rail Trail (Central Trailhead); From the intersection of Homestead St/Lord Ave and Main St (Route 171) [See Above] head north on Route 171 for 4.6 miles to Forest City. Turn right on Route 247. Take your first right (next to the brown D & H sign) down a town road. The parking lot will be on your right.
The D & H Rail Trail runs 38 miles from Simpson to the New York border near Susquehanna, PA. Ten miles have currently been improved with a stone dust surface from Vandling to Herrick center. The parallel O&W Trail runs 8 miles from Simpson to Stillwater Dam (Route 171) along the east banks of the Lackawanna River. It is graded original rail bed surface and rough in places, more suitable for mountain bikes. The O&W Trail continues through Wayne County to Hancock, NY with sections under township and private ownership. There are several spots where you can cross over between the two trails crating looping options.
The first loads of coal rolled north out of the anthracite fields along the Delaware & Hudson Railroad in 1870. This D&H Jefferson Branch running from Carbondale, Pa to Lanesboro, Pa was built by the Erie Railroad company to replace the D&H Gravity Railroad and canal system. The New York, Ontario and Western (O&W) completed in 1888 out of Scranton was needed to the ship the large volumes of coal being mined in the Lackawanna Valley. For more information visit; D & H RAIL TRAIL .
Starting from the O & W Trail; I haven't ridden this section yet, but it appears to be in good shape and you can access the southern completed section of the D & H Rail Trail after 2 miles and continue north along the D & H Rail Trail. From the parking lot travel just up Lord Ave to the trailhead on your left.
The trail heads into the woods and travels above the Lackawanna River below to your left. After 2.2 miles your able to access the D & H Rail Trail by turning left. Continue north along either trail. I would suggest heading north along the D & H Rail Trail and looping back via the O & W Trail.
Note; The O & W Trail heads more inland and crosses Route 247 after 4.8 miles. Heading left on-road will take you to the Forest City parking lot. The trail continues north through the woods before coming to Route 171 after 7 miles. A dirt trail to your right brings you down to the D & H Rail Trail.
The D & H Rail Trail crosses the Lackawanna River via an old RR bridge and travels north along the west side of the river. You'll cross a town access road and come to the Forest City parking lot at 4.5 miles.
Starting from the Forest City parking lot and the D & H Rail Trail; [Re-zeroing mileage] A Porto-potty is located here. Head past the gate along the wide, open, stone-dust trail (some gravel sections) and you'll soon travel underneath Route 247. Here the trail skirts Forest City. After 0.3 miles you pass by the former location of the Forest City Depot. Cross a dirt road at a mile and the trail becomes more isolated. Finally get a view of the Lackawanna River down to your right at 1.5 miles. Route 171 is above on your left. The trail become more shaded. Cross an old RR bridge over the river at 2.2 miles. Double tracked bridge. At 2.3 miles, just before you travel underneath Route 171 spot a dirt trail on your right.
Note; This dirt trail leads you up to the O & W Trail. I looped back along this trail to the Forest City parking lot.
Continue underneath the Route 171 bridge and you'll again cross an old RR bridge over the river. Just past this bridge at 2.5 miles spot a green mileage marker on your left for Mile 7 (From Lord Ave Trailhead). Trail enters a deep valley. At 4.3 miles you come alongside the Stillwater Lake Dam. A fence separates you from the earthen dam. If you continue along the fence to it's end you'll be afforded better views of the dam, lake and surrounding valley with windmills atop the ridges. This is as far as I rode. Continuing north the trail eventually comes alongside Main St at 5.2 miles where it parallels it into Union Dale. It then follows a wooded corridor out to Route 374 at 7.4 miles near what's referred to as Herrick Center on the map. This is supposedly the current end of the improved section. Phase II calls for improving the next 11 miles north to Thompson.
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