The Titusville and Petroleum Center Railroad had one major purpose when it was built in 1863: to transport oil. Oil was discovered in Oil Creek Valley in 1859 by Colonel Edward Drake and William Smith. Almost overnight, towns such as Titusville, Miller Farm, Pioneer and Petroleum Center blossomed as opportunists rushed to get rich from the Great Oil Dorado. The oil boom ended in 1871 almost as quickly as it began.
When the once-boisterous towns died, the railroad hung on. Through a series of mergers, it became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system in 1900 and fell into disuse in 1945. Connecting routes for bicycle and pedestrian use between Oil Creek State Park and the Samuel Justus Recreation Trail
were signed and completed in 2010.
Few reminders of the thousands of people who once occupied the Oil Creek Valley remain. Today, the valley is home to hemlocks, beaver ponds, trout streams (outstanding fly-fishing) and waterfalls. The only evidence of the intense oil drilling that once went on here is the occasional well head.
The Oil Creek Trail has a flat, easy surface and is suitable for users of every level. Oil Creek State Park has 52 miles of hiking trails with camping shelters and 20 miles of cross-country ski trails. Picnicking, canoeing, fishing, bicycle rentals and other facilities, such as restrooms, food and lodging are available in the nearby town of Titusville.
The Oil Creek & Titusville excursion train, known locally as the OC & T, runs through the park. Stay awhile and take a train ride back 150 years into the heart of the country's first oil fields. Every August the Oil Festival arts and crafts show offers lots of fun, food and unique sights that highlight the area's history and local culture.
The northern end of the Oil Creek State Park Trail connects to the Queen City Trail
, which continues to Titusville.
For the south trailhead, take the Route 8 bypass north around Oil City and continue 3 miles. Turn toward Petroleum Center on State Route 1007 just after Route 8 crosses Oil Creek. Continue 3 miles to the junction of State Route 1007 and State Route 1004. Turn right on State Route 1004 and cross Oil Creek. Parking is 0.1 mile ahead on the left.
For the northern trailhead at Drake Well Museum, take the Route 8 bypass around Oil City and proceed 14.4 miles north along Route 8. Turn right at the light on Bloss Street. If you reach the junction with Route 27, you have passed Bloss Street. Continue a little more than 0.75 mile to trailhead parking on the right before the bridge.