HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL COUNTY PARK:

YORK-MARYLAND BORDER, PENNSYLVANIA

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      May 13, 2019

Length:                Heritage Rail Trail County Park; 27 miles                              

                              Torrey G Brown Rail Trail; 20 miles   

Difficulty:            Heritage Rail Trail County Park; Easy, flat rail trail. North of York; Paved. South of York; Stone-dust.

                              Torrey G Brown Rail Trail; Easy. Flat stone-dust rail trail.   

Directions:          

To start from John Rudy County Park [Northern End]; From  I-83 take exit 24 to Route 238 east. Turn right on Route 181, then left on Emig Rd. Take your second left on Mundis Race Rd. The park entrance will be on your left after a mile. The trailhead is on your right.

To start from North Pershing Ave [Downtown York]; Take exit 22 off of I-83 to North George St and travel south to downtown York. Turn right onto W Philadelphia St and then right onto N Pershing Ave just before you cross over Codorus Creek. There is on-street parking dedicated for the trail next to a private parking lot. There are signs.

To start from Indian Rock Dam Road parking lot; Take exit 14 off of I-83 to Route 182 west (Leaders Heights Rd which turns into Indian Rock Dam Rd). After you cross the tracks and before you cross the trail, there will be a dirt parking area for a few cars.

The 19th century saw the growth of the Northern Central Railroad, a vital link between Washington, D.C., Harrisburg, upstate New York and Lake Ontario. The railroad was also a prime target for the Confederate Army prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, as Rebel troops cut telegraph wires and destroyed bridges in their efforts to isolate Washington from the rest of the Union.  After the tragic Battle, President Lincoln traveled via the Northern Central RR to the Gettysburg battlefield, his train stopping in Hanover Junction on November 18 and 19, 1863.  The station was restored to its 1863 Civil War appearance in 2001 and a Civil War Museum is open to the public. Approximately 5.5 miles south of the Colonial Courthouse is the Howard Tunnel.  It is the oldest continuously operational railroad tunnel in the world.  The brick lined, 370 foot tunnel originally opened for traffic in 1838.  The tunnel was rehabilitated in 2003. The Heritage Rail Trail County Park runs north from Maryland's Mason Dixon line through New Freedom, Glen Rock, Hanover Junction, Seven Valleys, York to John Rudy County Park. The trail connects to Maryland's 20 mile Torrey G Brown Rail Trail . In addition to the Colonial Courthouse in York, three historic structures are located on the trail; Hanover Junction & New Freedom Train Stations and Howard TunnelSince the railway is operational, please stay clear of tracks at all times and cross only at established crossings. For more information visit; HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL .

Starting from John Rudy County Park [Northern End]; I haven't checked out this section. This section is referred to as the Heritage Rail Trail; Northern Extension. Follow the paved trail out of the park, then right alongside Mundis Race Rd. The trail then veers away from the road and alongside Codorus Creek at 0.8 miles. Central York HS is across the creek. Come to Crist Fields after 1.4 miles. Travel left around the sports fields, cross Emig Road Bridge over the creek then travel underneath Emig Rd at 1.9 miles. Here the trail follows the east bank of the creek through woodland. Travel underneath a RR bridge at 3.3 miles and the trail now travels atop a Dyke. Travel underneath Route 30 and come to the Loucks Mill Road parking lot at 4.4 miles. The trail then crosses back over the creek via the Route 30 Bridge And continues south atop the Dyke. Travel underneath I-83 at 4.8 miles. Pass by North York Borough Park before crossing Willis Run at 5.2 miles. Pass by Smalls Athletic Field where a BIKE LANE along Hamilton Ave brings you out to N George St after 5.7 miles. 

Note; A gap of approximately 8 blocks (about a mile) has been marked with on-street signs to direct visitors from North George St to the Heritage Rail Trail’s northern trailhead at Pershing Ave. This last gap is scheduled for construction in 2020.

Starting from North Pershing Ave [ Downtown York]; Restarted Mileage. I've checked out this section. The paved Heritage Rail Trail crosses over W. Philadelphia St and comes to a map board. There is a parking lot on your right (not sure if it is free). Look left across the street to spot the COLONIAL COMPLEX and Barnett Bob House. Historic area, be sure to check out this area. Informational signs along trail. The trail now runs alongside Codorus Creek, passing by the 1754 Colonial Court House on your left before crossing W Market St. After traveling underneath W College Ave at 0.5 miles the trail travels between the creek and RR tracks. This is an urban/industrial corridor. Pass a Pocket Park and come to Kings Mill Rd at 0.7 miles.

Note; Straight the trail leads out to S Penn St.

Head left across Kings Mill Rd where the paved trail continues alongside the RR tracks and away from the creek. You’ll pass by Mile marker 20. Mile markers every mile along the trail. Cross Grantly Rd at 1.1 miles where the trail turns to stone-dust. The trail crosses back and forth over the rail tracks all along the route. After crossing a bridge over Indian Rock Dam Rd at 2.6 miles, the trail becomes a little more secluded. Cross Indian Rock Dam Rd at 3.2 miles. The trail now travels out into the countryside. You cross over Codorus Creek at 3 ¾ miles where you’ll find a shade covered picnic table. These are located all along the trail. I spotted a white 53 mile marker used by the railroad that probably corresponds to the distance from Baltimore, MD. You cross Days Mill Rd at 4.3 miles.

Note; Right a paved trail leads to the Brillhart Station parking lot.

The trail follows the creek and RR tracks south. After passing by the scenic Twin Arch Horse Farm you'll cross over Codorus Creek and Twin Arch Rd then the trail highlight “Howard Tunnel” at 6.1 miles. Constructed in 1838, this is the oldest continually operated tunnel in the world. An informational signboard is located on the other side of the tunnel. Come to an intersection at 8.1 miles. 

Note; Left a paved trail leads over the creek to the Glatfelter's Station Road parking lot.

Cross over the creek again and come alongside Church St. Pass by the Seven Valleys parking lot and pavilion on your left at 9.4 miles. Check out the funky “bike art” next to the trail. Pass through the small village of Seven Valleys. Refreshments and eateries. Cross the creek again and come to the Hanover Junction Station parking lot at 10.6 miles. Cross the creek a couple more times before passing through Glen Rock and across Route 216 (Main St) at 15.1 miles. This is as far as I traveled. Plenty of refreshments in town. Cross Route 616 at 16.5 miles and 17.9 miles. Pass through New Freedom and the old New Freedom Depot at 19.8 miles. Old Rail cars/caboose. Cross E Main St, look right to spot the NORTHERN CENTRAL RR , train rides available. Next pass by the East High Street parking lot at 20 miles before exiting the town. Come to the Maryland Border after 21.3 miles and the Mason Dixon Line. Here the trail continues as the Torrey G Brown Rail Trail .

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