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Two former rival railroad corridors that crossed in Buffalo’s eastern suburbs now form a nearly 18-mile paved trail system called Clarence Pathways in Clarence, Newstead, and Akron.
Five trails make up Clarence Pathways: West Shore Trail/Newstead-Akron Bike Path, Peanut Line Trail, Waterford Trail, and Spaulding Green Trail. They connect suburban neighborhoods with parks, town centers, and local workplaces. In the winter, snowmobiling is allowed on two of these routes: the Peanut Line Trail between Goodrich Road and Salt Road, and the West Shore Trail/Newstead--Akron Bike Path between Salt Road in Clarence and Cedar Street in Akron.
The longest stretch is known as the West Shore Trail/Newstead-Akron Bike Path. It follows the route of the West Shore Railroad Company (originally the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railway Company), which ran freight and passengers from the western shore of the Hudson River to Buffalo beginning in the 1880s. Passenger service arrived in Clarence in 1884.
The Peanut Line Trail follows the corridor of New York Central’s (NYC’s) Batavia Line, also known as the Peanut Line because of its relative insignificance in NYC’s railroad empire. The line was acquired by NYC in the 1850s. The parent railroad didn’t want competition in the region from the West Shore and bought that railroad too in 1885.
Starting on the West Shore Trail on Wehrle Drive in Clarence, you’ll pass through a forest to a crossing at Gunnville Road in 0.9 mile; this is the former site of a railroad station. For the next couple of miles, trees screen the trail from Clarence High School and a residential neighborhood before you arrive at Main Street Town Park. Here you’ll find the Clarence Historical Museum and the Goodrich-Landow Log Cabin, moved from Goodrich Road, where it was built in 1825. In another 1.3 miles, the trail name changes to Newstead-Akron Bike Path as it crosses Davison Road.
At a fork at Akron Junction in 2.5 miles, you can go left onto the Peanut Line Trail, which heads to the East Amherst boundary in 8.3 miles, or right to remain on the Newstead-Akron Bike Path, which ends in Akron in 2.1 miles.
Heading right, the trail ends on Cedar Street, just a couple of blocks south of regional ice cream maker Perry’s. Perry’s doesn’t offer tours, but products are served locally at a pastry shop on Akron’s Main Street, located 0.2 mile south.
If you chose the left fork, you’ll head west on a rail corridor that once carried vacationers to Niagara Falls. The Peanut Line Trail passes through farmland for the first 2.2 miles and then reenters Clarence and continues through forest and farmland as it arrives at Memorial Park, 4 miles past the fork.
About 2 miles past the park, the paved trail on your left is the Waterford Trail, which passes through the Northwoods community. In 2.3 miles you’ll pass residential neighborhoods before arriving at the trail’s end in East Amherst, where you can visit a drive-in diner just to the north.
Disconnected from the other trails in the system, the Spaulding Green Trail links the Clarence Town Hall and public library on Goodrich Road to the Spaulding Green housing project, built around an old quarry.
To reach the West Shore trailhead in Clarence from I-90, take Exit 49, and turn left onto NY 78/Transit Road. Go 0.6 mile, and turn right onto Wehrle Dr.; then go 2.5 miles and look for trailhead parking on the left.
To reach the Newstead-Akron Bike Path trailhead in Akron from I-90, take Exit 48A, and turn right onto NY 77. Go 0.7 mile, and turn right onto NY 5/Main St. Go 5.0 miles, and turn right onto NY 93/Buell St. Go 1.6 miles, turn right onto NY 93/Main St., and then immediately turn left onto NY 93/Buffalo St. Go about 400 feet, turn right onto NY 93/John St., and then immediately turn left onto NY 93/Cedar St. Go 0.1 mile and use on-street parking on the left across from Eckerson Ave.
To reach the junction of Newstead-Akron Bike Path and the Peanut Line Trail, follow the directions above to the Akron trailhead. Take the trail 2.1 miles and turn right onto the Peanut Line Trail.
To reach the Peanut Line Trail western trailhead from I-90, take Exit 4, and head east on N. French Road. Go 3.1 miles, and turn right onto NY 78/Transit Road. Go 1.6 miles, and turn left onto Clarence Center Road. Then go 1.1 miles, and turn left onto Clarence Town Park. Go 0.1 mile to the circle in Meadowlakes Park, bear right, and look for parking. A 400-foot path goes to the Peanut Line Trail; turn left, and go 1.2 miles to the western trailhead.
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