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Pennsylvania Trail of the Year

Pennsylvania is a leader in trail development, providing its citizens and visitors with more than 11,000 miles of trails across the commonwealth to enjoy, from gentle pathways threading through miles of preserved greenways, to remote, rugged trails scaling the state’s magnificent mountains. 

Each year, the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee designates a Trail of the Year to help build enthusiasm and support for both large and small trails, and raise public awareness about the value of Pennsylvania’s trail network.

In honor of the achievement, the committee and DCNR produce a poster for statewide distribution and plan a public celebration for the recognized trail.

2020 Trail of the Year: Ghost Town Trail

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Rich with the history of railroading and former coal mining towns along its 46-mile route, the Ghost Town Trail captures the spirit of an industrial past and the promise of a recreational future.

The trail draws thousands of bicyclists, hikers, runners, walkers, birders, and in winter, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-tire biking enthusiasts.

The trail includes a 32-mile main portion that stretches from Blacklick, PA, to Ebensburg, PA, as well as the 12-mile C and I Extension that includes:

  • The 4-mile Rexis Branch that stretches from Vintondale, PA, to White Mill, PA.
  • The 8-mile Stritty’s Way that stretches from the end of the Rexis Branch near the Rt. 422 underpass to North St. in Cardiff, PA.

Named for long-gone coal-mining communities that once dotted its right-of-way, the Ghost Town Trail flows past two massive iron furnaces, old coal-loading tipples, and other traces of industrial history.

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The Blacklick Creek valley -- in which it is situated -- is very scenic with mountain streams, stands of rhododendron, dozens of wildflower species, and cool woodlands.

The Ghost Town Trail is in Cambria and Indiana counties, and it is jointly managed by the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority and Indiana County Parks & Trails.

Both Indiana County Parks & Trails and the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority offer more information about the Ghost Town Trail.

Additional information about the 2020 Trail of the Year is available in the resources below:

2020 Trail of the Year Press Release

2021 Trail of the Year