OHIO RIVER TRAIL COUNCIL

“Joining communities through fitness, recreation, heritage and transportation networks”

OHIO RIVER TRAIL COUNCIL

Sandy Creek Trail — Victory, PA to Cranberry, PA

Sandy Creek Trail 25-Mile Bike Trail Ride

Come out for a ride! This is part of a trail ride series sponsored by the Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC) intended to bring awareness to the wonderful trails in our quad-state region (Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia). All cyclists are welcome for this rails-to-trails, moderate-paced ride.

Join us, as we visit the Sandy Creek Trail which carves its way through some of the most remote and spectacular countryside in northwestern Pennsylvania. This 12.3-mile paved trail has some impressive features, including tunnels and massive trestles like the Belmar Bridge, which crosses the mighty Allegheny River. Please be aware that there is a tunnel on this trail - a headlight is recommended.

Do not forget your camera!

Trailhead

Trailhead # 1 - Fisherman's Cove, Old Route 8 & Damascus Rd, Victory, PA

GPS: 41.334965, -79.887376

Trailhead #2 - Fishermans Cove Rd & Sandy Creek Trail, Polk, PA

GPS: 41.326276, -79.848791

Trailhead #3 - Belmar Bridge Trailhead, 130 Nettles Lane, Franklin, PA 16323

GPS: 41.333291, -79.774585

Directions

From I-80, take old U.S. Route 8 north (north of Barkelyville) or from Franklin, take new U.S. Route 8 south. Just before new Route 8 becomes a divided highway (traveling south) turn east on to a dirt road at the end of the Pecan Bridge (Sign for Seneca Hills Bible Camp). Turn right at the foot of the hill (Fisherman's Cove, Old Route 8 & Damascus Rd, Victory, PA) and travel about 3 miles on the dirt road. At a sharp right turn, the trail is just ahead. Park along the road.

Features and Points of Interest

The Sandy Creek Trail is a rails-to-trails conversion of the former Franklin and Clearfield Railroad, built in 1905-1911 for freight and passenger use. The line was phased out in the 1980s. The East Sandy Creek is a Pennsylvania State Scenic River.

A great time to ride is the first weekend in October during the Applefest in Franklin, PA.

The Sandy Creek Trail carves its way through some of the most remote and spectacular countrysides in northwestern Pennsylvania. This 12-mile paved trail has some impressive features, including tunnels and massive trestles like the Belmar Bridge, which crosses the mighty Allegheny River. This trail also connects to both the Allegheny River Trail and the Clarion Highlands Trail. 
 
Beginning in the village of Van in the Clarion Highlands, this trail descends for the first 8 miles following Sandy Creek as it trickles down to the Allegheny River. Along this section, you cross numerous railroad trestles, some quite high with far-reaching views of the surrounding forests and hillsides. As you meander along the trail, you eventually reach the Sandy Creek Tunnel about a mile before hitting the Allegheny River. This former rail tunnel will cool you off on a warm summer day.
 
The trail eventually meets up with the Allegheny River, precisely where Sandy Creek empties out into it and where you can pick up the Allegheny River and Samuel Justus trails. Before crossing the Belmar Bridge, look for the sign down to them. Both follow the eastern banks of the river. 
 
The spectacular 1,385-foot Belmar Bridge over the Allegheny River is a stunning example of the once booming railroad industry in the area. Built in 1907 with funding from local oilman Charles Miller and John D. Rockefeller, the bridge was intended to serve as a vital link in a corridor from New York to Chicago. In the end, the trestle and corridor were used more regularly to service the local coal industry, which transported much of the coal from Clarion County to Ashtabula on Lake Erie.
 
In the end, the trestle and corridor were used more regularly to service the local coal industry. The trestle and trail cross the Allegheny River, where, after reaching the western bank, the trail turns left (southwest) and follows the river downstream. The trail continues to follow the river's western shoreline for the remaining 4 miles. The gentle, wide river gives the area a soothing feeling as if it has remained in this state for thousands of years. The trail eventually reaches its terminus near Fisherman's Cove, where there is a backcountry access road.

Social

Following the ride, meet us for a social gathering and dinner in Franklin, PA.

Map

 

Event Photos

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