Any trail with a name like "Hoodlebug" deserves a visit. The 10-mile trail follows the path of the 1856-era Indiana Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which ran from Blairsville north to the town of Indiana. "Hoodlebug" was the local nickname for the self-propelled passenger coach that traveled on the line until 1940.
The trail corridor has played an important role in the region for many years: as part of an extensive network of Native American trails, as a Pennsylvania Railroad branch line and now as a pedestrian and bicycle trail used for both recreation and commuting by local residents and visitors to the area.
Today the trail, surfaced in part with highway millings provided by a partnership between Indiana County Parks and District 10 of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, also provides transportation options for commuters and university students and recreational opportunities along a historic corridor.
A dense forest of mixed deciduous and conifer trees lines most of the trail and provides a fine canopy on hot summer days. In contrast, the southern half of the trail passes rural and suburban homes along the US 119 corridor and follows a sound barrier wall. South of Homer City, as the trail crosses into Cambria County for its last mile, it parallels Two Lick Creek and becomes more rural.
Lengthened by 3 miles in 2005 as part of the Highway 119 improvement project, in 2010 the Hoodlebug Trail was connected to the nearby Ghost Town Trail
in Black Lick, Pennsylvania, forming a completed route of 46 miles between Indiana and Ebensburg. From Black Lick west to Blairsville a signed 8-mile on-road route connects to the West Penn Trail
, a 16-mile rail-trail that runs from Blairsville to Saltsburg.
A detailed brochure of the three trails is available from Indiana County Parks.NOTE:
The north side of the trail above Homer City is wheelchair-accessible with a slight grade. The southern half of the trail has grades exceeding 5 percent.
To reach the Floodway Park trailhead in Homer City, located 5 miles south of Indiana, from US 119 turn onto State Route 56 West. Turn right onto Main Street in Homer City and continue to Floodway Park; a parking area is on the right. Park amenities include restrooms (closed during the winter), a pavilion, picnic tables and a playground. The trailhead is left of the parking lot.
To the Red Barn trailhead in Homer City, from US 119, take Route 56 West in Homer City. Turn left on Main Street. Turn right on Kassal Street and continue to Red Barn Road. Turn right then quickly left onto Boosters Drive. The Red Barn Access Area is on the right.