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Explore the best rated trails in Lancaster, PA, whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Schuylkill Valley Heritage Trail and Limerick Trail . With more than 113 trails covering 575 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
This trail is an absolute gem. I have trained for all my marathons here, and never failed to qualify for Boston. Mostly a very gentle grade up northbound with a few short hills to test your power. Generally shaded so it's still nice on a warm summer day. Low lying sections do flood after very heavy rain so be warned.
Road from Railroad Pa to Ashland and then back to Railroad. Trail is pretty good. Faster than most rail trails. Saturday was very busy. Scenery was nice. A rider coming towards me almost collided with a deer. Few spots were a little muddy.
Brillarts Station to New Freedom and back = a nice ride just over 30 miles. Going south it's a very subtle climb very as you weave through valleys carved by the Cordorus creek. Going back north a little speed bump as you view the scenery from the opposite perspective. Love the variety and interesting features along the way. Road on 35mm tires; about perfect for the champagne gravel. Got back close to sunset and noted PA park police keeping an eye on the lot but also making sure no one on the trail after dark.
It was fun. Was severely dehydrated and had to call an ambulance the end, but it was definitely worth it! Would do it again just not to Phoenixville lol
When I lived in Malvern I was on this trail every day. Four years - every day, no exaggeration. Rain, 30 degree weather, 100 degree weather, hot sun, complete darkness (with all the bugs and knats of various sizes illuminated by my bike lights lol) and it was fine. Some reviewers on here complain about the fact that cyclists have to exercise caution at intersections and might need to stop if there is traffic. Yes, that can be annoying but it’s part of the trail. Other reviewers mention the fact that it is noisy towards KOP because it runs adjacent to 202. I can’t imagine being bothered by something like that enough to stop using this trail and I believe that the extension from KOP to Norristown has finally been completed, so I think that adds another few miles each way (awesome!)
If you can’t already tell, the CVT is like a friend to me. I was extremely lucky and grateful to live in a place where I could throw my bike onto the rack and drive to the Exton entrance in 5 minutes; I took advantage of this fact as much as possible!! In addition to the outdoor recreation it provides, there are certain stretches of this trail that are absolutely beautiful. My phone is full of pictures from my rides, which I’ll include with this review :)
It is also very well maintained. As I said, I ride in all weather (except snow) and leaves, debris, twigs and branches after a storm… anything that could pose a threat to safety was always promptly cleaned up. Always. If I have one complaint regarding safety it would be that the lights inside the two tunnels were rarely ever turned on after dark. I’m not sure why that was.
The reason for the 3 star review is for things beyond anyone’s control, but they’re enough to seriously affect someone’s ride, and since these are daily ongoing occurrences they should be mentioned. One is that all the people that live near this trail and walk their dogs on it pick up their dog’s poop and put it in the little biodegradable green bags that are provided all along the trail. This is great, but then they don’t take it to the trash cans to dispose of it - they leave those bags, tied up, all along the sides of the trail. 😅😅😅 Everyone does this. It’s amusing until it’s not, and now that I’ve moved out of the area (which is great, don’t get me wrong) and have found a new trail in my new state, I don’t ever see anything like this. It’s nice.
The other reason for the 3 stars is that these same people like to mess with cyclists by acting confused when you call out “on your left” , which it is advised to do. They either spilt up (if there are two people) and go on either side forcing you to ride between them (somewhat awkwardly sometimes) or they jump in front of you. I was never able to really determine if this is done on purpose or if they legitimately get that deer in the headlights panic that actually causes them to confuse which way they should move with the way they actually do move, but this is something else I haven’t experienced outside on other trails, which, again, is very nice. Kind of a relief, actually.
All that said, if you like outdoor recreation, this is an amazing trail, and you can do it twice or three times on the days when once isn’t enough. It’s a fun and free way to stay fit!
My wife and I rode this trail today and we both agree, it’s at the top of our list of rail trails. The views of the farms, the creek (I would call it a river), York College and others make this ride so enjoyable. We are from Maryland and have taken the Torrey C Brown trail several times so we wanted to see how the HRT was in comparison. We parked at Seven Valleys and rode north to York (about 10 miles). The trail is in great shape and with the leaves off the trees, it helped to provide views all along the route. We stopped for lunch at the Iron Horse Restaurant in downtown York where Summer took great care of us. It’s only 3 block up main from the HRT. If we get some more mild weather this winter, we will start in New Freedom and ride north. It will be well worth it.
Ok for running or walking but surface too soft and rocky for riding. Rode half way and gave up and moved to road. Parallel tracks indicate it's used by 4 x 4s more than bikes. Also, there's not much to look at since it's right by the road.
I enjoyed the trail from Brentwood Trailhead up to where the residential street started…. need more signage at that location to tell people they have to walk thru the neighborhood to pick up the rest of the trail. Or that they can take that little path to the right that leads one back to the University grounds.
Q: If I bike ride the short 1.8 mile Ben Cardin trail in Maryland, should I bother continuing on to Delaware's Michael N. Castle trail?
A: Most definitely! Why stop after just two miles?
Q: Is it as flat and easy as the Ben Cardin trail?
A: It's mostly long, flat and occasionally curves as it parallels the not perfectly straight canal, but there are three places where the trail leaves the canal and climbs up the side of the hill. There it's curvier and takes you through woodlands and by a marina.
Q: Are the hills strenuous?
A: For regular, fit bikers and old guys like me with a Swytch pedal assist system, no. For others I would say yes.
Q: How strenuous?
A: One is steep enough to warrant two switchbacks. I also encountered a middle aged couple at the top of one of the hills resting, recovering, and acting like, What have we gotten ourselves into? I also observed another young, fit woman jogging who had to stop halfway up the hill, bend over, and put her hands on her knees.
Q:Is it picturesque?
A: Yes, lots of interesting photo ops of bridges, the canal, birds, woodlands, salt marshes, watercraft, charming homes, and historical sites.
Q: So if I start in Maryland and reach 5th Street in Delaware City, that's where I turn around?
A: Technically, that's the end of the Castle Trail, but why stop there? Cross the road and continue for another mile or so along quiet Canal Road and the Delaware City Marina to old, historic Delaware City, Battery Park, and Delaware Bay! You'll regret it if you don't!
Q: Are there any rest stops or restrooms?
A: There are restrooms at South Lums Trailhead on the trail and at Battery Park. There are also benches consistently along the canal about every 250 yards!
Q: Is it safe? What are the trail users like?
A: The friendliest and most polite you could ever hope for!
Q: As a former educator, what grade would you give this trail?
A: An A, but not an easy A. You'll have to work hard to complete those six inclines (assuming you're traveling the entire distance and doing a round trip).
Officially, this Maryland trail is only 1.8 miles, perfect for the fine folks of Chesapeake City or tourists to take a stroll out to the state line with Delaware and back. In fact, as I sat on the deck of the Ship Watch Inn across the canal from the path's trailhead the evening before I rode it, I saw so many people doing just that.
The 3.6 miles round trip is perfect for walkers since it is flat, quiet, and picturesque. When I started my bike ride the next morning at sunrise, all I encountered were runners and friendly dog walkers.
However, those of us on bikes aren't going to stop after two miles, so be sure to combine this with the Delaware portion of the canal trail for an additional twelve miles.
AND . . . don't stop after those twelve miles. Since you've already gone that far, continue across 5th Street in Delaware City into the park and then bear right toward Canal Street to travel another mile or so to historical Delaware City, Battery Park, and Delaware Bay! Total round trip of thirty miles.
WARNING: If you decide to continue on to Delaware City, there are three hills on Delaware's Ben Cardin Trail. Thank goodness for my Swytch pedal assist!
I took my family on this trail and with it being 3/4 paved and ending up at Hopewell furnace made for a lovely afternoon¡
I was on this trail for the first and last time yesterday. My wife and I did a 21 mile round trip from the south end on a gorgeous day in October. This might be the prettiest trail I have ever seen. But the trail surface was a mixture of smooth, hardbacked dirt (nice) to something like a washboard. My wife sprained a muscle in her hand just holding on to the handlebars. I usually like to go back and finish a trail that I have only partially completed, but we won't be going back to this one.
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