Conewago Recreation Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The Conewago Recreation Trail in northwestern Lancaster County parallels Conewago Creek over most of its length, as it passes through farmland and forests. A unit of the Lancaster County Department of Parks and Recreation, the 5.1-mile trail occupies the former rail bed of the Cornwall-Lebanon Railroad, from PA Route 230 near Elizabethtown to the Lebanon County line, where it joins the 14.5-mile Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail.

Robert H. Coleman built the railroad in 1883 as a private venture, and the line operated for nearly a century. Trains transported iron ore to the Pennsylvania Railroad, which took it to the mill in Steelton. The railroad also ran passenger trains to and from Mt. Gretna, home of the Pennsylvania Chautauqua and the National Guard encampment for nearly a half century starting in 1885.

The well-graded crushed stone trail is suited for a variety of visitors, including pedestrians, cyclists and cross-country skiers. Numerous horse farms dot the trail, and equestrian use along the corridor is evident. There are only six road crossings; they are well-marked and usually involve low-volume rural roads.

From the trailhead on Pennsylvania Route 230, the trail heads northeast through the countryside. Over most of its length, the trail runs along the quiet, meandering Conewago Creek and through rich Lancaster County farmland. Most of the trail is shaded by trees that edge the fields and meadows.

The crossing of Mill Street, where the original railroad bridge has been removed, features sloped ramps down to the road level and back up to the trail. Use caution at this crossing since it's on a curve.

At the Lebanon County line where the Conewago Rail Trail joins the Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail, there is no trailhead access. Signs and a change of surface signify the transition from one trail to the other.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the State Route 230 trailhead from Elizabethtown, proceed northeast for about 2 miles on State Route 230 (North Market Street). The trailhead is on the right just before a bridge over Conewago Creek.

To other access points: State Route 241 (Mount Gretna Road) runs parallel to the trail over most of its length and provides access via rural side roads. Also, there are small parking areas (enough for a few cars) at most points where the trail intersects roads.

Reviews

great ride

   April, 2014 by pdedger

Wonderful ride. Some horse drippings but road was in good shape wife has cruiser so was tougher for her than my mountain bike but she enjoyed it. Bike shop along the trail isn't open Sundays but helpful when need a break. Overall enjoyed the scenery and ...read more

Great Trail for Distance

   August, 2013 by splintergirl

This is a great trail with finely crushed gravel. If going beyond 3.5 or 4 miles, you probably should have a running buddy for safety if a female. It is very tree covered and mileage is marked every 1/2 mile. Great views and very secluded. read more

My first trail

   May, 2013 by joseph r dundore sr.

I just got my first real bike from the type I had so many years ago and was anxious to get to a trail. I picked this one because it was pretty close to me and I didn't have a lot of time. The trail was easy to find, and I did 12 miles of it starting in ...read more