Rails to trails
Many of Indiana County’s hiking and biking trails are loaded with history. The Ghost Town Trail has many historical markers where old town stood, iron furnances, coal mining sites and reclaimed mine water areas. The trails are also a mecca for birdwatching and identifying various species. More information about the trails can be found at the Indiana County Parks website
Blacklick Valley Natural Area
Access Point: This area is located 15 miles south of Indiana and 9 miles north of Johnstown, PA. The Parker Tract is located along McFeaters Road, off Route 22, east of Armagh. A small parking area is locatred at the end of McFeaters Road. --- Natural areas are set aside to protect both typical and unique plant and animal communities and to protect outstanding examples of natural interest and beauty. Facility development at the site has been minimized to protect the site's natural character. The natural area has three tracts. The Parker Tract, located south of Blacklick Creek, encompasses 300 acres. A small parking area and six miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trail shave been established. The Caldwell and Clarke Run Tracts form a contiguous 413 acre parcel, and lie north of Blacklick Creek. These northern tracts are undeveloped and do not contain established hiking trails. The Ghost Town Trail bisects the property about one-half mile east of Dilltown. Hunting, camping and motorized vehicles are not permitted in the natural areas.
Ghost Town Trail
In 1991 the Kovalchick Salvage Company donated twelve miles of the former Blacklick and Ebensburg Railroad to Indiana County Parks. The railroad corridor has been recycled into a popular rails-to-trails project known as the Ghost Town Trail. In 1993 the Cambria & Indiana Railroad donated an additional four miles of railroad line from Rexis to White Mill Station known as the Rexis Branch. Access points: Saylor Park; Heshbon; Dilltown; Wehrum; Vintondale, Rexis; Red Mill; Twin Rocks; Nanty Glo; and Ebensburg -- In 1991, the Kovalchick Salvage Company donated sixteen miles of the former Blacklick and Ebensburg Railroad to Indiana County Parks. The railroad corridor has been recycled into a popular rails-to-trails project known as the Ghost Town Trail. In 1993, the Cambria & Indiana Railroad donated an additional four miles of railroad line from Rexis to White Mill Station known as the Rexis Branch. In 2005, an additional 20 miles were added to the trail - 12 miles in Indiana County and 8 miles in Cambria County. The trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Ghost Town Trail derives its name from five mining towns that once existed along the railroad corridor. Wehrum, the largest of the former mining towns, once boasted 230 homes, a hotel, company store, jail and bank. The town was developed by Warren Delano, uncle of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Other ghost towns include Bracken, Armerford, Lackawanna #3, Scott Glen, Webster, Beulah and Claghorn. Eliza Furnace, one of Pennsylvania's best preserved iron furnaces, is located along the trail. This unique relic of the Blacklick Valley's early industrial era is on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical markers along the trail provide interpretive information about the Blacklick Valley's intriguing history.
Access points: Hoss's in Indiana; Old Route 119 parking area between Indiana and Homer City; Floodway Park in Homer City; Red Barn Access in Homer City ---- The Hoodlebug Trail is a ten-mile recreation and commuter trail located in the central portion of Indiana County. The trail passes through residential, commercial, and natural settings, providing direct trail access to many local residents and employees of several schools, industries, and small businesses. The trail follows the abandoned Indiana Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad between the Homer City area and Indiana. The Hoodlebug Trail is open year round for non-motorized activities, including bicycling, hiking and cross-country skiing
Roaring Run Watershed Association
Apollo, PA 15613
Founded in 1982, the Roaring Run Watershed Association in Kiski Township, near Apollo, PA, includes both Rattling Run and Roaring Run. Waterfalls, huge boulders and tree-covered hills make the area ideal for picnics, hiking and the enjoyment of nature. With the help of state and local authorities, the Association has helped to curb the pollution and dumping that was once a common practice in the area. Roaring Run Watershed Association presently owns about 652 acres of land which is open to the public all year round. The Rock Furnace Trail section, a Rails to Trail portion of the watershed, provides nearly 5 miles ending in the village of Edmon. This trail leaves the banks of the Kiski River and heads inland for 1.5 miles, crossing over beautiful Roaring Run by way of a 72 foot cable suspension bridge and ending at an alternate parking area and trail head. In addition, the progress has not stopped there. An entire system of hiking and mountain biking trails is being built and maintained by the local trail enthusiasts.
West Penn Trail
Access points: Saltsburg, Conemaugh Dam - The West Penn Trail is a 17 mile rail-trail between Saltsburgh and the Westinghouse trailhead near Blairsville. The trail generally follows the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal and Portage Railroad that operated from 1830 to 1864 between Pittsburgh, PA and Harrisburg, PA. The trail is currently two sections: the Conemaugh River Lake and Saltsburg sections. The Conemaugh River Lake section passes over one of the four spectacular stone arch bridges built in 1907, and offers a great vista from the Conemaugh River. From this point you can also catch a glimpse of the old canal and railroad grade. The Saltsburg section passes through a beautiful backwoods, by visible canal and railroad remnants, hugging the Conemaugh River and covers approximately 17 miles of scenic trail.