While walking along the Pine Creek Rail Trail, one is met by fellow hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, dog walkers, bird watchers, and anglers. Some of these people have a destination, while others are just enjoying the path less (or more) traveled. It is a destination itself, as well as a pathway to places worthy of exploration.
The 62-mile trail stretches through Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon and Tioga and Tiadaghton state forests. The crushed stone path runs parallel to Pine Creek, which offers views of bald eagles and other wildlife as well as recreation for anglers, rafters and kayakers.
The rail trail stands in the shadow of what once was an industrial corridor. Rail cars had moved tons of coal, iron, and lumber through the Pine Creek Gorge to northern markets. The tracks were first laid in the mid- 19th century and supported over 100 years of commerce; in 1989, the last train trundled through. The tracks were removed that same year.
Within six years, the first section of the Pine Creek Rail Trail–a 17 mile stretch–was opened to the public, connecting Ansonia to Blackwell. Since then, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its partners have added dozens of miles and numerous amenities to the rail trail. With the money from the Keystone Fund, DCNR has rehabilitated bridges to enhance beauty and safety and built parking lots and public restrooms that offer modern conveniences to this rustic path.
These Keystone Fund investments have paid off. Each year, Pine Creek Rail Trail welcomes over 125,000 outdoor enthusiasts. These visitors contribute $3-5 million annually to the rural economy.