There are two trails named the O&W: one in New York and this one in Pennsylvania. Although the trail stretches 32 miles (as shown on the map), only the first 8 miles of trail (from Simpson to Stillwater) are managed by the Northeast Pennsylvania Rail Trail Council for bicycle and pedestrian use. The remainder of the trail is privately managed with no guarantee of being open. Follow the map carefully, as portions of the O&W may not be marked and gaps necessitate riding along the road for some segments before rejoining the trail.
Built in the 1880s to transport coal mined from the Lackawana Valley's rich anthracite deposits, the New York, Ontario & Western's Scranton Division was just one part of a network of rails and canals connecting the Wyoming Valley to the East Coast. As the demand for coal declined, the corridor was abandoned by the railroad in 1957; at the time, it was the longest railroad abandonment in the United States.
To reach Simpson, take I-81 to Exit 191A, and then Route 6 to Carbondale. After the town of Carbondale, turn left onto Route 171. Continue about one mile, park on right side of the viaduct in Simpson (look for the tank). Enter the O& W along Homestead Street.
The Stillwater to Orson section of the O&W is open to ATV usage and is managed by the Northern Wayne Outdoor Recreation Club. Membership is required for motorized usage of the trail. Non motorized use is permitted without membership. The clubs web address ...
You have to realize that two sections of this trail are now township roads so vehicles do use it.
Take New York State Route 17 to Hancock, NY. Cross the bridge into Pennsylvania. (There are two bridges in town, the other crosses the Delaware River but stays in New York - becomes N.Y. Route 97 - that's the wrong bridge!).
After crossing the bridge ...