Altoona, PA Cross Country Skiing Trails and Maps

409 Reviews

Looking for the best Cross Country Skiing trails around Altoona?

Find the top rated cross country skiing trails in Altoona, whether you're looking for an easy short cross country skiing trail or a long cross country skiing trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a cross country skiing trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

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Activities
Length
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Type
15 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

6 to 10 Trail System

7.5 mi
State: PA
Crushed Stone, Dirt

Ghost Town Trail

51 mi
State: PA
Crushed Stone

Huntingdon and Broad Top Rail Trail

12.6 mi
State: PA
Concrete, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass, Gravel

Lower Trail

17 mi
State: PA
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Mahoning Shadow Trail

15 mi
State: PA
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Path of the Flood Trail/Staple Bend Tunnel Trail

11.8 mi
State: PA
Asphalt, Ballast, Crushed Stone

Bellefonte Central Rail Trail

1.3 mi
State: PA
Asphalt, Cinder, Crushed Stone

Hoodlebug Trail

11.8 mi
State: PA
Asphalt, Gravel

Houtzdale Line Trail

11.08 mi
State: PA
Gravel

Shuster Way Heritage Trail

3.9 mi
State: PA
Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone

Beaver Dam Trail

2.3 mi
State: PA
Crushed Stone

Bells Gap Rail Trail

6.3 mi
State: PA
Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

Iron Horse Trail (PA)

10 mi
State: PA
Ballast, Crushed Stone, Dirt

PWS Trail System

36 mi
State: PA
Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
Overview Today, the 7.5-mile route between inclines 6 and 10 has been converted into a rail trail featuring both hiking and biking sections, with historical culverts (drainage structures) visible...
PA 7.5 mi Crushed Stone, Dirt
The David S. Ammerman Trail rolls through Pennsylvania coal country for nearly 11 miles between Clearfield and Grampian, skirting the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and two of its tributaries....
PA 10.6 mi Crushed Stone
Part of a larger system in Western Pennsylvania known as the Trans Allegheny Trails, the Ghost Town Trail was named for the long-abandoned towns strung along the tracks of the Ebensburg & Black Lick...
PA 51 mi Crushed Stone
Stretching 12.6 miles through south-central Pennsylvania, this rail-trail follows the route of the former Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad, a standard--gauge railroad founded in 1852 to...
PA 12.6 mi Concrete, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass, Gravel
Overview  The Lower Trail runs between Alexandria and Williamsburg, tracing the meandering Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River. The trail, with a mostly crushed-stone surface, is a remote and...
PA 17 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, Mahoning Shadow Trail users expect six more weeks of winter before spring arrives. The 15-mile Central Pennsylvania trail passes through the...
PA 15 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Path of the Flood Trail might be unique among rail-trails for being named after a tragedy, the Johnstown Flood of 1889, considered the nation’s worst catastrophe of the 19th century. Some 2,200...
PA 11.8 mi Asphalt, Ballast, Crushed Stone
Serene year-round, the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail (BCRT) in central Pennsylvania runs along 1.3 miles of the old Buffalo Run, Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Railroad corridor. The original 19-mile line...
PA 1.3 mi Asphalt, Cinder, Crushed Stone
If you have a tendency to tootle along when you walk or bicycle, then consider taking the Hoodlebug Trail. You’ll find many diversions in and around the college campus in the borough of Indiana and...
PA 11.8 mi Asphalt, Gravel
The old railroad line known as the Moshannon, or the Mills Branch, crossed the Moshannon Valley during the mid- to late 1800s. The line was the foundation of the region's late 19th- and early...
PA 11.08 mi Gravel
The Shuster Way Heritage Trail (formerly known as the Bedford Heritage Trail) provides a safe and picturesque connection between a topnotch resort and a nationally recognized downtown. From the Omni...
PA 3.9 mi Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Located in one of Pennsylvanias most popular State Parks, the Beaver Dam Trail follows old railroad grades at Parker Dam State Park in Clearfield County. The trail runs past streams, beaver dams,...
PA 2.3 mi Crushed Stone
The Bells Gap Rail-Trail is really two trails in one-a smooth 2.1-mile southern section with crushed limestone surface, and a rougher, more difficult northern section of 4.2 miles that is best-suited...
PA 6.3 mi Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass
The Iron Horse Trail follows two abandoned rail beds: the Path Valley Railroad and the Perry Lumber Company Railroad. Originally, the Path Valley Railroad was going to be an extension for the Newport...
PA 10 mi Ballast, Crushed Stone, Dirt
Forbes State Forest and the adjacent state parks (Linn Run, Laurel Mountain, and Laurel Ridge) maintain the PWS Trail System, a network of snowmobile trails and forest service roads though the...
PA 36 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Recent Trail Reviews

Lower Trail

Lifts my soul

June, 2024 by cfbaggett

I've lived in Boalsburg, PA for 10 of the last 13 years and have probably ridden the full 32 miles, there and back, of the Lower Trail nearly 100 times. It's because of this trail and the Pine Creek Rail Trail that I have fallen in love with rail trails and Pennsylvania. I won't repeat everything that has been said in other reviews, but I want to say a few things that have not been said and/or emphasized. These things are not necessarily unique to the Lower Trail by any means, but I promise you they can all be experienced on its path.

1) The Lower Trail is very remote, and this revives the soul! To get to any of the trailheads you are "forced" to drive through fertile farm fields, surrounded by majestic, ancient, and time-worn ridges. There's not a city in sight! It doesn't matter if you are coming from Altoona, State College, Huntingdon, or afar, you can't help but relax and let it all go on the drive there. Roll down the windows and enjoy Central Pennsylvania in all of its glory.

2) It's history, and this inspires! Native Americans forged this trail along the Juniata; the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Canal channeled its way through the ridgelines here; the Pennsylvania Railroad took a shortcut through the gorges to bypass Tyrone when traffic was heavy; Amelia Earhart spent her weekends in Williamsburg; there are hidden locks, loading docks, and long lost railroad bridges over the Juniata with only a few stacked stones of abutments left. Just think, Charles Dickens spent time on this trail as he was pulled upstream on a canal boat by a team of donkeys. He wrote fondly about this trail!

3) There's a river, and you can kayak it! It's called the Juniata! Leave your bike at Alfarata or Mount Etna Station, drive your kayaks to Williamsburg, kayak downstream along the Juniata back to your bike, and bike ride back to your car. You get the drift? You can spend a whole day biking and kayaking along this magnificent corridor. There's something incredible about paddling your boat under ancient railroad viaducts while navigating occasional rapids and waving to bikers on the trail as they ride by!

4) Human diversity abounds! Infants to retirees frequent this trail all year long. There are strollers, tricycles, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, street bikes, electric bikes, scooters, one-wheeled skateboards, recumbents, horses, and folks using their good old-fashion two feet. But, it's never too crowded, and everyone is so kind and courteous. The trail is wide enough to pass safely with a soft ding of a bell or a quick verbal cue of on your left. You can ride fast or slow, lazily or with determination. There is an in fact an 11 mile stretch with zero road crossings. Imagine the time trials one could ride! Or you can slow down and take it all in.

5) Natural diversity envelops you! Foliage and fauna, marmots and birds. My most memorable moment with nature occured while kayaking and a bald eagle on July 4th stayed with us for about a mile. Continually swooping past us, about 10 feet over our heads, gazing at us as he passed, perching in a tree just in front of us, and performing this dance over and over again.

My apologies if this review is a bit personal. The Lower Trail is truly a hidden gem. It's shaped me and my family - kept us sane and whole, and I give so much thanks to those who had the vision to make this trail a reality. There's nothing that gives me greater joy than when I ask my teenage daughter each spring if she'd like to go on a bike ride with me on the Lower Trail, and her eyes pop open and she enthusiastically says yes.

Lower Trail

June 2024

June, 2024 by jpcvt135

Rode this trail on a Tuesday morning in June, starting in Alexandria. The parking area is easy to find and has a bathroom. I encountered maybe 10 or 15 other people/groups in about 2 hours, mostly cycling with an occasional runner/walker. Lots of benches along the way with an occasional bathroom at other parking areas. The first 11 miles is all shaded with no road crossings, flat, and very peaceful once the trail veers away from the road after a mile or so. It is well maintained (didn’t see a single piece of trash), the surface is nice for cycling, and while the asphalt section had some bumps from tree roots, they were well marked. I turned around shortly after Williamsburg (about 12 miles) due to the heat, but will absolutely be back to do the entire trail. HIGHLY recommend.

Hoodlebug Trail

Good warm-up trail

June, 2024 by bruceamiller@comcast.net

A friend and I rode the Hoodlebug Trail in June 2024. Temps were high 80s; humidity was moderate.
Good: mostly paved and shaded; nice picnic shelter and bathroom at Saylor Park.
Not so good: trail is close to a noisy highway, and becomes a narrow dirt track with some not-so-obvious direction just before Saylor Park.
Other reviewers mention the Sheetz along the trail for food or hydration, as there is nothing close by Saylor Park.
Bottom line: The Ghost Town or other area trails are quieter and much more interesting.

Accordion

Ghost Town Trail

A great history ride

June, 2024 by bruceamiller@comcast.net

A friend and I rode the Ghost Town Trail from Blacklick (Saylor Park) to Nanty Glo and back in June 2024. Temps were in the low 90s with some humidity.
The trail surface is generally good - mostly packed dirt with occasional gravel spots. Between mileposts 20 and 21 there was a washout on half the trail. The other half has ravines and requires caution. Orange cones mark the damage.
The trail is uphill virtually all the way from Blacklick to Nanty Glo. Several sections are steeper than others. Plan to spend more time riding west to east.
The trail has frequent historical signage and some photos at the sites of the 9 ghost towns. We enjoyed reading the signs' text. Unfortunately in most cases there is nothing to see (no foundations or chimneys). Several coal seams are reminders of the mining.
The trail is very rural, and reminded us of the Katy in Missouri. It is important to carry hydration and food, as we saw no place to buy food until Nanty Glo. All restaurants in town were closed at lunchtime Monday, so we bought snacks at the RiteAid.

Lower Trail

Made in the shade

June, 2024 by bruceamiller@comcast.net

A friend and I rode the Lower Trail in June 2024. Temps were in the low 90s; it was humid. Fortunately the trail is very well shaded. The section from Alexandria to Williamsburg is nearly flat and mostly 2-track well-packed dirt. The last 3 miles are paved asphalt. The pavement used to be rough. It's much better now, with occasional tree root bumps.
The trail has LOTS of benches and several picnic shelters. It's quiet so we heard a variety of birds. En route we chatted with Mike, a local who's a trail keeper. We also encountered a local who was removing invasive species along the trail.
The only disappointment was the Lower Trail Creamery in Williamsburg. We (and another couple) saw an employee enter the Creamery at 11:30am. We knocked on the door and asked if we could be served soon. We were told to wait until the posted noon opening. Very disappointing on a hot day!
Years ago when we first rode the Lower Trail, we would only see one or two riders or walkers. Today there were 10 vehicles in the Alexandria parking lot. Mike said the parking lot fills up on weekends.

Lower Trail

A Great Trail…

May, 2024 by bespo09

Always a favorite trail as it’s close to State College, PA, I rode it again yesterday with friends. Scenic and really well maintained, the trail offers a little bit of everything. Thanks and appreciation to those who maintain the trail—especially at the picnic area.

Huntingdon and Broad Top Rail Trail

good ride

April, 2024 by eisamanj

Did the entire trail with e-bike. Great ride in lowest pedal assist mode! Few areas washed out by recent rains but able to navigate.

6 to 10 Trail System

Great trail with a few recent issues

November, 2023 by michael.farabaugh

I ride my bike on this trail everyday except when it's pouring rain or there is snow on the ground. It was just about perfect until Sunday, November 5th, 2023. One of those ride on leaf blowers started down by Dry Run Road and went to the top near Mullshoe. It blew off most of the pea gravel that was on the trail and exposed the big loose stones and the dirt. After just a little rain last night the trail was a muddy mess. I had to take off my sweat shirt before getting into my car because it was covered in mud on the back of it. By spring the trail will be a disaster.

Shuster Way Heritage Trail

Trail map outdated

November, 2023 by wehlingj_tl

Here are the parking locations for this 3.9 mile trail. Only the first 2 miles are shown on the map on the website. BJMA is working with the Borough to better delineate the trail within Bedford Borough.
Location of Shuster Way Heritage Trail Parking

Old Bedford Village Trailhead
40°2’25.4898” N 78°30’25.2792” W
40.040414. -78.507022

Ft. Bedford Park
40°1'12¿ N 78°30'16¿ W
40.01999. -78.50444

Bedford Elks Club
40°0'19¿ N 78°30'1¿ W.
40.00527. -78.5002

Omni Bedford Springs Trailhead
39°59'51¿ N 78°30'15¿ W
39.9975 -78.50416

Ghost Town Trail

A great trail for scenery and a lot of solitude

October, 2023 by bestesbrau56_tl

Anyone who rides Rails to Trails and have been on this trail loved it like we have. The trail is well maintained and there is plenty to see like the history, the fauna and the wildlife. We have not completed MM 18 to Ebensburg yet but we plan to. We don't mark a trail as completed until we ride both ways because the view is so different. And this trail is no exception to that rule. We have done MM 1 to 15, then 15 to 18 to the CI extension to MM 9, to Duman Lake which for a 1/4 mile or so is a pretty nice single track. We plan on coming back in the spring when the rhododendron are blooming. Can't wait!

Ghost Town Trail

This was on my bucket list

October, 2023 by fujiguy

A few months ago we were camping in the Raystown Lake area and drove to the the trail head at Saylor park in Black Lick. We rode the whole trail to Ebensburg which was about 32 miles. It was slightly uphill that direction. We turned around and rode back to the truck the same day and it was slightly downhill and went much faster. It totaled about 64 miles for the day. So glad we took the time to finally do this ride It was wonderful. Great trail, great condition.

Ghost Town Trail

wasn’t impressed

September, 2023 by joelaychak

Wasn’t impressed not much scenery and trail just ended.

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