Trail Map

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Grab your bike or your walking shoes, or saddle up your horse, and head for the cool breezes and dappled shade of the 17-mile Lower Trail. The name "Lower," which rhymes with "flower," refers to attorney T. Dean Lower, who provided the funds ($1) for the local rails-to-trails group to purchase the corridor in 1990 and create the trail.

The trail follows the Juniata River like a streamer in the breeze—at times crossing it, sometimes stretching out as if a gust of wind caught it for a few moments but never straying far. The well-maintained, crushed limestone surface and nearly flat terrain makes travel an easy and pleasant effort. The scenery makes it a delight. Native trees of butternut, oak and bald cypress, among others, create a deep shade for most of the way, interspersed with farmland for short periods.

It glances through the heart of the communities of Point View, Ganister, Cove Dale and Williamsburg along the way, like its predecessor: the Petersburg Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which operated from 1879 to 1979. However the history of this corridor goes back even further, to the 1830s, when it was part of the old Pennsylvania Canal—a system of waterways connecting Philadelphia to Pittsburgh used to transport goods on barges pulled by mules down the slow-moving canal and through numerous locks. Some of the canal locks and channels, as well as remnants of the lock tenders' houses, peek out from the thick vegetation if you look closely between Cove Dale and Mt. Etna and north of Williamsburg. Several times you pass over the Juniata River on repurposed railroad bridges.

This peaceful trail is sheltered from the roads not far from its view. If you make your way quietly, or pause on a streamside bench or in one of the numerous covered shelters, you may be treated to seeing some of the furry creatures who live there: deer, rabbits, squirrels, turtles, black bears, turkeys, bobcats and more. In May trail users report seeing many species of migrating birds passing through the area; be on the lookout for bald eagles, great blue herons, ospreys, red-eyed vireos, cerulean warblers and scarlet tanagers, to name a few. The wildflower and the scenery change with each season, making it worth coming back time and again.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the southern trailhead east of Hollidaysburg, start from Interstate 99 and US 220 to Exit 23 for Hollidaysburg, US 22E, Portage and Roaring Spring. Follow US 22 east for 8.2 miles. Pass Canoe Creek State Park on the left and turn right onto Flowing Springs Road. Cross the bridge and continue 1 mile to the parking area and trailhead on the left.

To reach the northern trailhead at Alexandria, follow US 22 to the city. Turn north (left if coming from the west) onto Main Street just before the metal bridge. The parking is less than 0.25 mile ahead on the right, and the trailhead is at the far end of the parking area.

There are trailheads with parking, picnic pavilions and chemical toilets at Ganister, Williamsburg, Cove Dale and Mt. Etna off of US 22. To start the trail at Ganister Station, take US 22 from Hollidaysburg past Flowing Springs Road to turning east (right) on State Route 866. The trailhead and parking lot are to the right just after crossing the metal bridge.

The Williamsburg Station is reached by following State Route 866 past Ganister to Williamsburg. You come into town on West 1st Street and go two blocks past the stop sign. Turn left onto High Street and into the parking lot and trailhead.

To reach the Cove Dale Station off of US 22, turn right (east) on Yellow Spring Road and then left on Cross Valley Road. Turn right at Fox Run Road and then left onto Overlook Drive to the trailhead.

From Hollidaysburg to the Mt. Etna Trailhead, turn right (east) on Polecat Hollow Road and left on Fox Run Road. Turn right into the parking lot.


Best Rail Trail in the state

   July, 2015 by kwessmith1968

My wife and I are avid Pa rail trailers and love to ride side by side. This trail is wide the entire length and the paved section at Williamsburg is a nice break. Well maintained and many improvements along length of trail made this a joy to ride. A great more

Pleasant cruise through the woods

   July, 2015 by mitchrose

My wife doesn't bike often and does not enjoy trails - having to always be watching the few feet infront of her. With that in mind we both enjoyed the level and wide gravel rode, the scenery (woods and river) and rode 10 miles before we knew it. We saw more

Highly Recommended

   June, 2015 by jackybob

We rode the entire length of this trail 05/2015 at the recommendation of a gentleman we encountered on the Pine Creek Trail. First, we would like to says thanks for recommendation. We found the trail to be very well groomed and to top it off, the weather more