PRR's PY&A Secondary Track - Champion to Rock Creek
This Pennsylvania Railroad branch line from Niles up to the ore docks at Ashtabula was a 49.9 mile coal and iron ore pipeline for the steel mills of Youngstown and Pittsburgh. Abandoned under Penn Central (1968-1976), the line started life as the Pittsburgh, Youngstown, and Ashtabula Railroad. Pennsy's 1966 employee timetable showed Pittsburgh as Milepost 0, "Detour" Tower at Niles (the branch's southern origin) at MP 75.5, and Ashtabula Yard on the lake at MP 125.4. Although this is a very nice and very well-kept trail, I have kept off one star rating for its lack of railroad artifacts, and also, for its shortage of trail mileposts and other historical markings. Other than that of the Underground Railroad, there is not once trace of trailside note that this was a very important and historic railroad line. I call trails like this "stripped." On 4/21, 5/19, and finally 5/26/13, I scouted the trail, and only yesterday did I find a scant few traces of rail artifacts. A relay case and adjacent concrete/steel lid battery box hide beside the big, blue steel company building at East Orwell. Another battery box is a very busy residential mouse house on the west side of the trail 4.8 miles north of the Orwell trailhead lot, across the street from the Kennametal plant, my Latrobe employer of 38 years. Finally, what I believe is the lower section of the heavy, steel base stanchion of Pennsy's "RM" Block-Limit station sign remains in place 0.1 miles north of the highway crossing at Rome, exactly 5.3 miles north of the Orwell lot. "Block-Limits" were the station posts which the tower operator who controlled the line, in this case "North Warren" Tower down at the old Erie Railroad crossing of this line, gave trains on the line permission to pass by, as there were no wayside signals on this secondary line. Trail mileposts on this trail segment exist only at MP 0.0 (Champion), at MP 10, and at MP 11 (Rock Creek). This is a beautifully remote wildlife trail, much nicely canopied, and surprisingly not overly utilized. For many miles, I was the sole user. Yes, services are extremely few and far between on this trail. If you need a drink or small snack, ride a short distance to the east on 322 from the Orwell highway crossing for the "JD" gas and snack store. If you want a dilly-icious burger, try the Jalapeno Thickburger at the A&W food complex about a 3/4-mile ride west on 322 (Pizza and sub eateries occupy the same complex). -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA 5/27/2013
Nice flat trail
I have ridden sections of this trail many times, mostly starting from the southern point in Warren north 10-15 miles or so, but also twice from Ashtabula the entire length south to Warren. Overall it is a very nice, flat, and straight trail, paved the entire way, with some well-marked, slight bumps here and there from roots. The on-road section in Rock Creek is easy to navigate (although a bit bumpy), and I have never encountered a car in that area. There is a bridge just south of Rock Creek with nice views and some benches to rest, if desired. The scenery is pleasant, and the trail is a nice mix of shaded and non-shaded sections. There are road crossings, but they afford good views of the roads in both directions, and the roads are not busy. There are port-o-potties along the way, not the cleanest I've used, but not horrible, either. Almost every time I've been on the trail, I have seen volunteers out walking it, and I've never seen a single piece of litter, so they do a fantastic job with keeping it clean.
4 stars due to strictly personal preferences: 1. I do not like road crossings every few miles. Annoying to me to have that break in rhythm constantly. 2. The trail is just one straight line, which gets a bit boring after awhile.
Overall a very nice, well maintained, clean trail. Highly recommended.
Ashtabula to Rock Creek 11/11/2012
The parking lot at HL Morrison Station on West Ave. in Ashtabula looked rather uninviting. My wife insisted we go to Herzog Rotary Park, on Woodman Ave. instead. The Herzog parking lot was just fine, though there are no services beyond parking. The trail is asphalt paved and, except where buckled a bit by occasional tree roots, smooth. The first 3 or 4 miles south out of Ashtabula have a noticeable up grade (southbound). South of I-90 it becomes pretty flat. There was a portapotti at Austinburg and a permanent vault toilet at the Lampson Road trailhead. Most of the road crossings are in good condition. All have ample views of traffic, so crossings can be made safely. A couple of road crossings had bumps and/or gravel at the road-trail junction, making a bit of care necessary. In Rock Creek, the trail runs on roads for a half mile or so, in a U-shaped detour to the west. These roads do not seem to have much traffic, but their paving is not in great condition. Because of the road crossings, the occasional bumps in the asphalt and the roads in Rock Creek, I would not recommend this trail for narrow tired bicycles. If you are lightweight, cyclocross width, 32mm, tires would probably be OK. We were on 35mm and 1.5 inch tires and were fine.
Flat and Beautiful
I rode this trail on Cinco de Mayo and it was fantastic. The other reviewers are accurate about how level and easy this trail is to ride. I started my ride at the Sunrise Trailhead in Champion, rode the additional mile south to the end of the trail and then headed north towards Orwell and Rome. I estimated that Champion to Rome and back would be about 44 miles total.
As I started my ride, I was truly impressed with how debris-free the Trumbull County side was. It had a few small pieces of branches on the trail but it was otherwise clean. The ride was fantastic and the scenery was beautiful. There were marshes, blogs, and thickly wooded areas all along the trail. Birds are abundant and there were a couple of beavers, rabbits and chipmunks to watch as well.
As I continued into Ashtabula County, there was a lot more debris on the trail. I found out from another rider that the trail is maintained solely by volunteers and I did see 3 elderly gentlemen cutting up fallen trees along the trail. My hats go off to these volunteers for keeping the trail in rideable condition.
I continued north until I reached Orwell and was told about a good restaurant (Jen's Restaurant and Flea Market) about a quarter of a mile East on Rt. 88. I went in to have some lunch and was pleasantly surprised. It was good food, at a good price with a great atmosphere. The waitresses were friendly and the locals are very inviting. The restaurant/flea market is closed on Mondays.
I continued north crossing over 2 more intersections and had to stop and turn around because a massive, unchained dog came out of a yard and I didn't want any trouble. I went back south and stopped at the wonderful observation deck where you can see geese, birds, and beavers.
When I got back to the Sunrise Trailhead, I had gone exactly 40 miles in about 3 hours. I will ride this trail again with my family. Truly an enjoyable ride.
Western Reserve Greenway ----- Phase III
Greenway enters Phase III
Tunnel, final paved section to be completed this summer
By CARL E. FEATHER - Lifestyle Editor - firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Kohli, Ashtabula County Metroparks commissioner and chairman of the Friends of the Western Reserve Greenway, says the contract for Phase III has been awarded and the work should be completed by late September.
Phase III involves paving a 5.6-mile section in Orwell and Rome townships and constructing a tunnel under Route 84 in Ashtabula Township.
“This will complete the whole 43-mile section, to just about Warren,” Kohli said.
Twenty-seven miles of the trail are in Ashtabula County. The only unpaved section is between Hague and Callender roads. Janet Takas, civil engineer with the Ashtabula County Engineer’s Department, says the stretch will be paved to a width of 10 feet this summer. The work will provide a continuous paved trail from Rock Creek to Orwell.
On the northern end, a 208-foot tunnel will replace the hazardous crossing at the intersection of Route 84, near Hide-A-Way Lakes Campground. Users must leave the trail and cross the busy highway, which carries a lot of school bus and commercial traffic.
“It is a 16-by-10-foot box culvert that will allow the pedestrians and bicyclists to pass (under) State Route 84 without having to stop for traffic,” Takas said of the pre-cast concrete structure.
Kohli says there will be disruptions to trail use during the construction; the unpaved section is already closed as Brobst Tree Service is clearing brush from the corridor. Kohli says the board has not specified a detour around this section and urges users to consult highway maps to find an alternate route.
The board will close the WRGT between Woodman Avenue and Sanborn Road while the culvert work is being done. That work is scheduled to get under way after July 4 and will take up to 45 days. During that time, Route 84 will also be closed to vehicular traffic. Koski plans to have the work done in time for the start of school
Middle of WRG
I live less than a mile from Callender and WRG.
The seven miles South is to be finished in 2008. (Not holding my breath)
I wish it did not use the streets in Rock Creek, but it is blocked by a factory.
Not to far to go around, but road is rough and hilly. (Be CAREFULL)
I have went South from Route 322 to Route 87, (Watch out for horse MANURE)
The Amish seem to like the trail, but no Respect for it.
Now for the good things.
The ride from Rock Creek North to Clay street is GREAT.
You can get off there and get to Mickey D,s just by crossing 45.
Be CAREFULL getting off at Clay short curvy hill.
There is plenty of shade, FLAT, and paved.
Watch out for the DEER, I see them between Callender and Rock Creek quite often.
Enjoy the WRG, I do.
Rt. 305 North
"My wife and I grew up in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, but have lived in another state for 23 years. On two recent trips home, we had the pleasure of taking two out and back rides starting at the parking area near Champion on Rt. 305.
With all of the tough times this geographic area has been through, it's encouraging to see increasing construction of rail trail recreation opportunities. The Western Reserve Greeway Trail is a very nice ride.
On our most recent trip, we saw plenty of wildlife--especially deer and groundhogs. Unfortunately our ride was cut short because of a looming thunderstorm.
The first time we rode the trail, we were able to take a nice break at the wildlife preserve about 10 miles into the ride.
For those who think Northeast Ohio can't possibly be a vacation destination, think again. There's plenty to do in the region. On a hot day, one can cool off after a ride with a swim in Mosquito Lake, just a ten minute drive east on Rt. 305. From the Greenway, you also have easy access to the resorts along Lake Erie and other inland lakes, as well as many attractions in Cleveland, Akron and Canton.
Youngstown is home to Mill Creek Park, one of the countries most majestic natural parks, designed by Fredrick Olmstead, who also designed New York's Central Park. In addition to biking, it's a great place to hike.
And after a ride, a hungry biker can usually get a great meal at a reasonable price. The Youngstown-Warren area has some of Ohio's best Italian restaurants, not to mention the venerable Hot Dog Shoppe on Warren's west side."