Clarion Highlands


6 Reviews

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Clarion Highlands Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Clarion
Length: 8.5 miles
Trail end points: Kline and Station Rd
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031405

Clarion Highlands Description

The Clarion Highlands Trail is one of the highest rail-trails in the Commonwealth. It traverses the Allegheny Plateau, passing over the divide between the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers, and follows the Old Clarion Secondary Rail Corridor. Its highest point, at Phipps Cemetery near Elmo, is 1,472 feet above sea level.

The trail corridor itself varies from 40 to 200 feet wide. All non-motorized uses are permitted on the eastern five miles of trail, while horseback riding is prohibited on the western mile of trail. A number of bridges over township roads have been removed. In these places, the rail bed has been graded back to a dangerous 2:1 slope, so care must be taken going up and down. At Phipps Cemetery the railbed has been filled in where an overhead bridge was removed.

Parking and Trail Access

To Station Road trailhead: From I-80E, take exit 53 towards Knox and merge unto SR3007. Turn right at PA-338/Route 338 and follow PA-338 for 3.2 miles. Turn right at PA-208/E State St and follow PA-208 for another 3.8 miles and turn left at Main St,/PA-208/Route 322 for just under a mile. Turn right on Route 419/Black Rd. and then take an immediate right on Station Rd./T406 to the trailhead.
There is no suitable area for parking at Kline Road, the trail's western terminus.

Clarion Highlands Reviews

Mountain Bike Recommend

Not a very easy trail, rail 66 is only a few miles away. Recommend a mountain bike.

Eastern section of trail is NOT maintained

Attempted to use the Clarion Highlands trail earlier this month. We parked at the parking area at the edge of the Game Lands on Station Road. The trail was so overgrown with waist-high grass that the only indication there was even a trail there was the gap in the trees. There is a trailhead listed further up Station Road, however this was marked off with numerous No Trespassing and Private Property signs. We pressed on further still up the road to where the trail crosses Station Road hoping to access it there, only to find the trail was simply a washed out muddy path. Tired of driving around, at this point we just gave up and drove 15 minutes to access the wonderfully maintained Rail 66 Country Trail.

Gravel surface, decent trail

We parked on side of the trail in Van. We got on the trail along Route 322. You can see where the trail would go across the road in connect (through the woods) to the Sandy Creek trail.
There isn't a designated parking lot, just pull off of the trail. The trail is in PA State Game Lands #45. We went along the trail from Van towards Shippenville.
Trail is mostly flat except a slight grade uphill from Van towards Shippenville. Surface is mostly gravel with some dirt.
It is bikeable on a mountain bike but wouldn't advise on a street bike. A wheelchair would be challenging but is doable.

Tried out the Clarion Highlands Trail

I tried getting on this reported trail at the eastern-most access from the Sandy Creek Trail. However, this was blocked by a private owner with signs saying "Stay Out, Private Property". I then went across Rt. 322, hoping to find access, to no avail (again, private lane to a business is located where the trail should be). I then went about 3 miles east and was finally able to access it from Kline Road. There was no parking area and no signs. I literally had to figure it out that the trail must be there! Then, when I parked my car on a dirt road slope off of Kline Road, I saw a small paper sign that acknowledged you are on the Clarion Highlands Trail. It noted that the trail to the west of here is private property, but from here east was open for bike riders. I then rode my bike over the two-tracks of packed old cinders and dirt. It was relatively smooth with some old railroad gravel rocks. Than, about 5 miles east the trail starts getting worse and worse. Finally, when entering State Game Lands 63, the trail becomes knee-high grass and weeds. The old railroad bed is still there but the biking becomes not doable at this point (Davis Lane). It is good for hiking, but not bike riding. I then took Station Road to get back on the trail and head west again to my car at Kline Road. It is a little challenging and not for bike riders who want smooth surfaces with no debris, etc. But good nature and scenery and I look forward to when it is done.


July 2014

Small grassy parking area at sharp bend on Station Road, about 2 miles from Black Road just west of Shippenville. You will see steep banks where the former trestle was. Going west at the top is the unimproved former rail bed. Large rocks, ties, and rails are gone now leaving a crushed coal and gravel surface. No tar-and-chip or paved paths. Two wide tracks are good for walking, jogging, or biking with a hybrid or mountain bike (not good for road bikes.) Little to no road noise, secluded, bordered mostly by trees and some fields, very flat except at former trestle.

Clarion Highlands Trail

Rode the majority of this trail on 8/22/11 first riding the Sandycreek trail from east to west. The western entrance of the Clarion Highlands trail has no markings. The entrance is about 200 yards up the hill and across the road from the marked western entrance to the Sandyceek trail. My hope was to ride both trails out and back starting at the eastern entrance of the Sandycreek trail. The two trails could not be more different. The Sandycreek trail is paved with beautiful bridges over the creek. The Clarion river trail is no more than a fire road with two "ruts" I assume from maintenance vehicles. The trail is very remote no signs or mile markers. There were multiple times where the trail meets a road that it was necessary to leave the trail then find the entrance on the other side. Near the western end there seemed to be some trail development going on but the surface was obviously not complete and was very soft especially since that day there was significant rain. This trail is more a mountain bike ride than a trail ride at this point. Not suitable for any tire less than 1 inch.

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