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This picturesque trail meanders along the Wild and Scenic Clarion River and Little Toby Creek through Elk and Jefferson counties between the charming small towns of Ridgway and Brockway. Tree cover provides shade in the summer months. As you follow the trail, you are treated to spectacular mountain scenery and river vistas, possible wildlife sightings (deer, wild turkeys, herons, eagles) and signs describing the area's history. You can even cross Little Toby Creek on a swinging bridge.
The trail uses the former Clearfield to Ridgway Rail Company corridor, built in 1886 to transport lumber and coal from mills to markets but which also provided popular passenger service between Ridgway and Falls Creek. After the line ceased operation in the 1960s, Penn Central bought the corridor and ran trains there until 1968. The rail-trail opened in 1992.
Beginning in Brockway, this serene 18-mile trail travels through some true Pennsylvania wilderness and wildlands. The landscape is reminiscent of scenes from a James Fenimore Cooper novel. As the trail travels north, it follows Little Toby Creek through lush forested hills and breathtaking views of the wild creek. A little beyond the halfway point you reach the confluence of the Little Toby Creek and the Clarion River. The trail follows the banks of the Clarion River until it reaches the endpoint in the town of Ridgway.
NOTE:A 1.8-mile section of trail runs adjacent to a live railroad line, so use caution in this spot. The trail is located near the Allegheny National Forest. During hunting season, wear bright clothing—a fluorescent orange vest is best—and remain on the trail at all times.
To reach the Brockway trailhead from I-80, take Route 219 North into Brockway. Turn left onto Main Street then right onto 7th Avenue. The trailhead is just past the community pool.
To reach the Ridgway trailhead from I-80, take State Route 219 North to State Route 948 (Main Street) in Ridgway. Follow 948 through town and turn left on Water Street, just before Love's Canoe and Keystone Hardware. Continue one block to the trailhead.
My husband and I biked this trail the 4th week in July 2018. On Monday we biked from Ridgway to the Croyland trailhead at mile 8.5, near Laurel Run and back. (total approx 17 miles). On Wednesday we biked from Brockway to the Croyland trailhead and back, (approx 19 total miles). The trail seems to have a slight downhill slope from Ridgway to Croyland, and also from Brockway to Croyland. We supposed this is because the Clarion (in the northern portion) flows south, and the Little Toby (in the southern portion) flows north. It is not noticeable until you turn around and go back, which takes more effort and a lower gear.
There are many signs along the trail noting "ghost towns" and former logging and mining sites, but not many ruins can be seen. Walking across the swinging bridge was a fun break. The railroad trestle in the northern portion is impressive.
At approximately mile 10 there was a truck parked on the trail, and a worker with a small backhoe was digging out the ditch along the trail. We had to maneuver around these vehicles, which were taking up the whole width of the trail. The equipment was making deep ruts in the trail. Hopefully these will be flattened and leveled out when the maintenance is completed.
We saw a lot of deer, chipmunks, and a wild turkey. The first day we passed 4 other bikers and a couple joggers near Ridgway. The 2nd day we saw nobody except the maintenance worker. The trail had some vegetation growing in the middle in some sections, but it wasn't a problem. Overall we thought the northern half was in better condition than the southern half. Also, the northern half has frequent benches along the trail. The southern half has one bench that we noticed.
This was fun to ride but not the most exciting rail trail that we have ridden.
Parked in Brockway and rode trail for 13 miles toward Ridgeway. Trail is a mix of crush stone and dirt. Over grown in some places. Had to duck under limbs sometimes. About 5.8 miles on trail came to swinging bridge. Walked across it. The name is perfect. Hold on to wire or you will go into Toby Creek. At 10.2 mile you will come to Clarion River. I rode 3 more miles and all there was to see is the river, railroad tracks, bike trail(which was on the soft side, tough to pedal), and a major road. The first 10.2 miles is through woods which was very peaceful. My wife and I saw 9 other bikers, 1 deer, and each saw 1 snake. The trail needs some clearing of grass and limbs. There are places only one person can pedal on trail. Also the trail had vehicle ruts from mile 8.5 to mile 9. Also many historical signs on trail of what towns, saw mills, and train stations that use to exist. No remains of anything from these sites. Two old bridge signs do remain. Trail has potential to be better but needs some work.
Trail is a bit over grown with weeds un spots. Had to ride in wheel ruts. Dense woods. Not much to see. Saw several deer. Bring bug spray. Nrockway has several pizza places and grills. Same in Ridgeway. Not many prople on trail.
Thanks for your trail link. Wondering what to do for two nights in Dubois, pa. Downloaded your app. Found trail fast and nearby us. Thanks
This trail rivals Pine Creek for seclusion and scenery. For the first 15 miles out of Brockway we saw more deer than people,(it was a Wednesday). Had lunch in Ridgeway before returning to Brockway. There are a few areas where the center of the trail is getting overgrown, not a big deal on a bike but it means one , sometimes two wheels of our trikes were in the grass. Worth the 4 hour drive to get there.
I rode solo from Ridgway to Brockway. I enjoyed my ride very much! It is always cooler on the trail. A nice break from the hot humid days lately. I definitely suggest that you take a break and check out the swinging bridge over Toby Creek!
We rode this trail from Brockway to Ridgeway and back on 08/10/15 and found it to be a nice ride. Usually we start on the low end of a trail so that it's mostly downhill on the return trip. However, this trail is a little different in that it finishes uphill in both directions. If you want the shorter uphill finish start in Ridgeway. It is noted that allocated parking is scarce on each end but there is ample public parking near both places. As with another review there is no restroom facilities along the way. Overall we drove several miles off of our route to ride this trail and we're not disappointed.
I rode this 7/7/15 from Ridgway to Brockway and back and found it quite enjoyable. I ride a hybrid bike on Kenda Happy Medium 700x35 tires @ 50 psi which seemed perfect for the various surface changes along the way. I was comfortably able to maintain an average pace above 14 mph even with the occasional slowdown to squeeze between the barrier posts at the various entry points. I encountered quite a few deer and other various wildlife on my ride which certainly made the workout more pleasant. I will definitely make this one of my regular stops in my fair weather cardio adventures.
I rode this trail solo in August 2014 and must agree it's a really nice trail. It's packed cinder/limestone/dirt and rides like an old country road. My old Schwinn trainer bike with 700x28 tires had no problems as long as I kept my speed around 10mph. I tried to speed up at one point, but traction became questionable. The Little Toby Creek section is the most remote portion of the trail once you get a few miles out from Brockway. Eventually you do come along side live rail tracks and the Clarion River. You pass under Rt 949 which will parallel the trail the rest of the way to Ridgway.
I did see lots of wild life, but unfortunately no bears. Even though the day was rather hot & humid I really didn't know that until I came off the trail because it was shady & cool. My Garmin did clock it as just over 18 miles. If it was paved it would be 5 stars.
Yesterday we had a beautiful ride (we used our skinny tire road bikes on the crushed limestone with no problem.) I would have given it five stars but for there were no comfort stations/rest room/ water fountains, or even little towns along the trail, so be prepared to bring it, and hold it.
Just last week I was visiting family in Ridgway and I brought my recumbent trike to ride this trail.I'm from Chicago so I'm used to humid weather but it was oppressive to say the least. We went on a short 5 mile ride & it was beautiful & COOL! I love all the little waterfalls & rhododendrons covering the hillside, lots of ferns too. I had to shorten my ride due to a RA flare-up, but what I did experience was great!
You can not beat this beautiful rail trail! This trail runs along the Clarion River and is surrounded by beautiful thick, forests. If you need to rent a bike, or need a bike repair, check out Country Squirrel Outfitters, which is located in Ridgway, 1 block from the trailhead.
This is one of the best "Rails-to-Trails" in the region, offering tremendous scenery and historical value. Following a portion of the old Ridgway & Clearfield Railroad which operated 27.23 miles in length to Falls Creek, the trail allows easy biking throughout the mountains. In addition, there are various opportunities to rest along the way, picnic, explore the ruins of the former CCC camps or even find a spot to swim. This trail has something for everyone to enjoy!
I rode about half of this trail from Brockway going north many years ago (around 2004?). It had a nice, smooth surface and was very well maintained with nice facilities at the trailhead. The trail surface was suitable for a skinny-tire road bike. The area is mostly wooded and very pretty.
Rode the trail this morning from Brockway to Ridgeway, then back. Even though it was cold (27 degrees at the start), it was still a great ride. Saw a black squirrel running near the trail. Lots of colorful birds.
One of the things I love about this trail is all of the signs showing the "ghost" towns and sites of past train wrecks.
Stopped at the Country Squirrel outfitters in Ridgeway (where Love's Canoe Rental used to be). Very nice people. While I appreciated their offers of warm beverages, I wanted to stay ahead of the changing weather.
I wasn't able to outrun the rain. Still a great ride back. I will definitely ride this again in the other 3 season.
Beautiful trail. To bad the 4 wheelers at the camps that border the trail on the Brockway side are using the trails and tearing them up. I have been riding the trail for years and have never seen it like this. I don't understand why the owners of the camp allow there children to ride loops in their yard and onto the bike path. What a shame!
My husband and I rode about 16 miles total on this trail beginning in Ridgeway. It's very scenic as October is peak foliage for fall color. The surface is packed gravel and fairly flat, so it's an easy ride.
My wife and I rode a portion of the Clarion-Little Toby Creek Trail (starting in Brockway, riding about 6.5 miles to the swinging bridge) on May 14, 2011. The trail is in very good condition, and we both had a great time. We look forward to returning to ride the entire trail!
This trail has beautiful scenery, is peaceful , not a lot of heavy traffic of cyclists or walkers. I've read other users say the trail along the railroad tracks is not very scenic, as I found out the first time I rode on it. A friend of mine likes to take the game commission road to route 949 and ride two miles or so on the road towards Ridgway, the scenery is a lot nicer if you don't mind the occasional car traffic. There is a place to re-enter the trail on the left side of the road just past a hunting and fishing campground. The best time of the year to visit is in the fall during the first and second week of october when the foliage is at peak color. The only thing I wish they had more of along the trail was porta- johns or bathroom facilities, as the only ones are at the trailheads or in the towns of Brockway or Ridgway, so if you gotta go real bad it's gonna be a long 18 miles. Other than lack of facilities, I would recommend this trail to anyone , for its scenery, easy grade for cyclists and peaceful surroundings.
started in brockway, easy to find trailhead, parking, port-o-johns....rode the southern 11 or so miles, good signage (although missed some mile markers), the history signs were fun to read (ghost towns...whooooo!!!).....rode up the part and along some of the section that joins the active train line....on the way back got a toot from a friendly engineer driving a big, long freight train....stopped at the swinging bridge for a fun diversion.....trail surface was good, although a little wet made it a little tougher in places....very pretty and quiet....only saw 3 other walkers the whole time...just watch as hunting season approaches, lots of signs to wear orange.....
We ride trikes so we differ slightly in our preferences from bike riders. On this very nice trail, the surface is like cement made with course sand. It's hard and quiet and wide enough in most places to ride side by side without running off the edge. In shady places there's light moss growing that doesn't slow you down and makes the ride even quieter. The woodlands are mostly mixed hardwood trees, some quite large, with a bed of lush ferns and velvet covered boulders underneath. The trail runs along water most of the way. If you're willing to climb down from the trail, there are many beautiful places along the stream for a lunch break. Probably the best place though, is on the other side of the swinging bridge about 5 1/2 miles from Brockway. If you're brave enough to cross, there's a picnic table in a very nice setting for your reward.
There were only three less than wonderful aspects of this ride. You have to ride along an active railroad for almost two miles. There's no problem riding, it's just not very scenic. About three miles from Ridgeway, the trail is overgrown and you have to ride on a local road for a hundred yards or so, then get back on the trail. The road isn't heavily traveled and there's a paved shoulder. Then, just before you enter Ridgeway, there's a 10% grade hill going down into town. It's paved and lots of fun, I'm sure, going North, but then you have to climb the hill coming back. We chose to turn around at the top of the hill and head back to Brockway. All in all, this is one of the best and most enjoyable trails we've been on so far, and very well suited to recumbent trikes as well as bikes.
"For a stretch, this trail cuts through woods that border on wilderness. Very quiet, very quaint, with rolling grades that are never so steep as to tire the legs. What I liked most was the high forest canopy that allowed for a sea of ferns. One can see for hundreds of yards through the woods - a rare thing in the East. Start in Brockway and have lunch in the charming town of Ridgeway."
"My family and I had a great time riding bikes on this trail.We saw lots of squirrels,birds, and chipmunks. This is an easy ride with shade and picnic tables, nice place to eat a lunch. There is only 1 hill,but it is a smooth surface. We went to the four mile marker and back.It was nice to follow a river the whole trip. The whole family had fun on this trail."
This trail is there because of all the hard work Dave Love did to make it so! Stop by Love's canoe and talk with this very unique man. He is a book of knowledge. Excellent trail!
Wyoming, Pa. "
"Rode from Ridgeway to the 10 mile marker. Nice trail with a very smooth bed. Stopped at Love's Canoe Rental's and Sales, Mr Love is worht meeting and he also has a bike shop at his place for supplies. The trail was flat and well maintained and should be beautiful in the fall. We rode it on Sep 25, 2005 "
This was my first time on trail. Two days after seeing a bear on the Pine Creek Trail I saw a mother and three cubs cross the trail one mile from swing bridge. They never saw me. I waited about three minutes then went on by. Other than that the trail is worth riding on. There are plenty of spots to swim in the summer and the surface is great.
"We just got back from this trail. What an excellent adventure for a family with young children.
We left out of Brockway (the park is off 219 on Seventh Street west of downtown Brockway) and headed north, with our eight- and six-year-olds in tow. Also along were two other families and their four children.
This trail is flat, scenic, well shaded and well marked with mileage posts. The river views and wide trail made it perfect for the childrens mind to wander. We made it to the ""Swing Bridge"" which is six miles out of Brockway. The kids loved it! Our eight-year-old son wanted to hang from it for his mother to take his picture.
We highly recommend this trail for novice but enthusiastic trail riders. There are a number of diversions for the children to take breaks and find fun.
If you have any suggestions for us to take off on please let us know!
"Be careful on the middle two miles of this trail. The trail here is very rocky and close to the railroad. You may want to try going from Ridgeway, but take the road on the way back (it's downhill on the road on the way back)."
"We love to bike the whole trail, but favor the section from Carman , up Toby creek to Brockway. This is a very scenic 10 mile ride through a series of ghost towns. "
I've only walked on this trail 3 times and only been on one of the swinging bridges but I love this trail and will keep going on it as long as I visit brockway. I love being in the woods and beside the creek. I also love the swinging bridge! This weekend will be my fourth time on the trail and my first time going all 18 miles!
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