PATH OF THE FLOOD TRAIL:

STAPLE BEND TUNNEL TRAIL:

[Part of the PATH OF THE FLOOD TRAIL]

SOUTH FORK-MINERAL POINT-FRANKLIN-JOHNSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

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Last Updated:       March 27, 2024

Length:                 Path of the Flood Trail; South Fork to Franklin; 9.6 miles

                               Staple Bend Tunnel Trail; 2.2 miles

                               Path of the Flood Trail; Johnstown; 0.6 miles

Difficulty:             Path of the Flood Trail; Southern South Fork Section; Crushed gravel or paved? Hills?

                               Path of the Flood Trail; South Fork to Franklin; Hard packed dirt, grass & gravel trail with some slight hills.

                               Staple Bend Tunnel Trail; Easy. Flat stone-dust rail trail.

                               Path of the Flood Trail; Johnstown; Easy. Flat, paved trail.

Directions:     

To Start from the Ribbon/Lambs Lane  parking lot for the Path of the Flood Trail in South Fork [Southern End]; From the intersection of Routes 53 & 219, follow Route 219 south to the Route 869 exit. Turn right, north, onto Route 869 to Ragers Hill Rd and continue right, north. Immediately turn left on Ribbon/Lambs Ln. Parking lot on your right.

To Start from the Staple Bend Tunnel NPS parking lot for the Staple Bend Tunnel Trail in Mineral Point [Eastern End]; From Route 22 take the Route 219 S exit in Ebensburg. Travel 8.5 miles and take the Route 869 exit. Bear right towards South Fork. Turn left on Ragers Hill Rd. Continue straight on Clapboard Run Rd. Slight right onto Beech Hill Rd. Follow for 2.7 miles. Entrance is on your left just before the tunnel under the RR tracks.  

The Staple Bend Trail, which follows the old rail bed of the Allegheny Portage RR [PA Main Line Canal] is part of the Path of the Flood Trail, which starts in South Fork and travels West to Mineral Point. The trail then shares the right of way with the Staple Bend Tunnel Trail, a National Park Service site, West, then South through the tunnel. From the end of the trail at the South Portal of the tunnel, the Path of the Flood Trail continues Southwest to Franklin. An on-road Gap of 3.5 miles Southwest exists to Johnstown, where the Path of the Flood Trail continues North, alongside the Little Conemaugh River & Conemaugh River. You can also check out the JOHNSTOWN FLOOD MUSEUM . Along the Staple Bend Trail you will find interpretive wayside exhibits with historic photographs that explain what took place on that fateful day of May 31, 1889. For more information visit; PATH OF THE FLOOD TRAIL , STAPLE BEND TUNNEL .

Path of the Flood Trail:

Starting from the Ribbon/Lambs Lane parking lot in Southern South Fork [Southeastern End]; I haven't checked out this section. "Blue" signs mark the route.

Note; I believe the Path of the Flood Trail also travels East, across Ragers Hill Rd and utilizing Amsite Rd (residential) before traveling underneath Route 219 to South Abutment Rd. This is part of Johnstown Flood National Memorial. Not sure if this is a park road or trail? Should be a Loop around the former bed of Lake Conemaugh. You also pass through the ruins of the dam? See; JOHNSTOWN FLOOD NM MAP .

The trail heads North to the South Fork Little Conemaugh River. Here the Path of the Flood Trail continues North past a gate. Not sure if its paved or crushed gravel. I believe it follows the river and passes through the former site of the 20-acre, 216,000-cubic-yard Stineman coal waste pile after it was removed and burned for energy at local cogeneration plants. It brings you to Maple St in Northern South Fork after 1.6 miles. I believe a 1.2 mile on-road detour through South Fork is necessary. Travel East along Maple St (residential) across the river and turn left on Railroad St to Oak St. Head left, North, crossing the RR tracks & Little Conemaugh River to Portage St. Head left, West, along this residential St and you'll pick up the trail after 2.8 miles. I haven't checked out this next section. The Path of the Flood Trail continues West through the woods. Not sure what the trail surface consists of. RR tracks and the Little Conemaugh River are along your left. Come to Reynolds Ln in Mineral Point at 5.4 miles. A 0.5 mile on-road detour begins. Follow the gravel, Reynolds Ln (residential) out to Mineral Point Rd and head left. Caution; No shoulder. Turn left, South, on Beech Hill Rd, crossing over the river and traveling underneath a RR bridge. Come to a gravel path on your right and follow it, bearing left to the Staple Bend Tunnel NPS parking lot after 5.9 miles

Path of the Flood Trail; Staple Bend Trail:

Starting from Staple Bend Tunnel NPS parking lot [Central Section]; [Re-zeroing Mileage] Restrooms, picnic tables, informational signs and Map Board located here. The stone-dust Staple Bend Trail heads left, West, into the woods. 

Informational signs are located along the trail as it follows a ridgeline with some active RR tracks right, down a steep drop-off. Past the RR tracks flows the Little Conemaugh River. Mile Markers are located every 0.5 miles. The trail turns South. At 1.3 miles you pass by stones inlaid in the ground. These are early RR ties (before they started using wood ties). Come to the Staple Bend Tunnel entrance at 2 miles where you'll find picnic tables. Travel through the dark (no lights, but railings guide you through) Staple Bend Tunnel, the nations first tunnel used by a RR in the US in 1833. Emerge from the other end at 2.2 miles

This next section utilized a Incline RR down to Johnston, where you would transfer to a Canal Boat. I haven't checked out this next section. The hard packed dirt, grass & gravel Path of the Flood Trail continues Southeast. The trail emerges onto old Spruce St, where it turns South and quickly comes to a gate after 3.7 miles. [9.6 miles Total] Kiosk and Spruce Street parking lot. Continue on-road along Spruce St (low traffic) down to Main St where a 3.1 mile on-road detour is required to reach Johns St in Johnston.

Note; South along Johns St leads to the Sargent's Stadium at the Point that sits between the Little Conemaugh River & Stony Creek River. Be sure to also check out the JOHNSTOWN INCLINED PLANE nearby.

Here, the paved, Path of the Flood Trail continues North. I haven't checked out this next section. [Re-zeroing Mileage] Informational signs. The trail travels above the Little Conemaugh River. Point Park is across the river. Travel underneath the Johnstown Stone RR Bridge as you now travel above the Conemaugh River, next to Iron St. Finally, you cross an old trestle bridge over the Conemaugh River to Roosevelt Blvd after 0.6 miles

HH

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