Following the corridor of a mountain-crossing railroad that operated 1834-1854, this trail has two segments approximately 15 miles apart. The southern, crushed stone segment, about 2.3 miles long, winds though a lush forest to the renovated Staple Bend railroad tunnel, reported to be the nation's oldest. The 1.4-mile northern segment, a packed dirt and grass path, includes an original inclined plane rail bed. This trail passes historic structures including Engine House 6 and the Lemon House (once a home and a tavern for the railroad). Both trail sections retain some of the original stones that held the rails down.
Parking and Trail Access
To the south portion of trail: Head north on 271 from Johnstown. Turn right onto Camp Road. This becomes Mineral Point Road. Turn right on Beech Hill Road and cross the bridge. A stoplight directs traffic through a narrow tunnel with a blind curve. Pass through the tunnel and turn right into the parking lot. Restrooms and trail information are available here. The trail is clearly visible at the end of the parking lot next to the restrooms.
To the north portion of trail: Head east on Highway 22 from Ebensburg. Follow the signs for the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. Exit at Tunnelhill St., and turn right. Tunnelhill will take you directly into the park. Parking is available near the visitor center. A fee is only required should you enjoy the exhibits located within the visitor center. The trail is accessible by following the path in the rear of the visitor center, a park ranger will be happy to point you in the right direction.