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Eagles Mere, located at an elevation of 2100 feet in the Endless Mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania, is a town rich with history dating back over 200 years. In 1794 George Lewis bought the lake and surrounding land, and erected a glass factory which operated until the end of the War of 1812. In 1892 the Eagles Mere Railroad was built between Sonestown and Eagles Mere. At Sonestown it connected with the Williamsport and North Branch. The railroad stretched eight miles, and in 1904 was extended around the lake at Eagles Mere Park.
Through the roaring 1920s, excursion service to Eagles Mere offered the wealthy a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of large cities like Philadelphia. The Eagles Mere Railroad garnered praise as one of most scenic lines in the state. While in transit along the Eagles Mere Railroad, passengers marveled at the wildflowers and waterfalls along the route.
Today, Eagles Mere continues to offer a place of escape. The Eagles Mere Conservancy's Rail Trail offers a peaceful path of 1.6 miles along the former narrow-gauge corridor, connecting to several nearby State Forest trails which in turn lead on to more than 100 additional miles of trails within state lands, ranging from easy hiking paths to singletrack mountain bike routes. Please note that Conservancy paths and trails that connect with the railroad grade are restricted to hikers only, with bikes limited to the rail trail.
The rail trail comes to an end in the woods at a junction with another former railroad grade, which hikers can follow to access the park's Yellow Arrow Trail to continue exploring the pleasant, historic grounds. Or you can turn around and head back to the trailhead for a relaxing out-and-back experience.
Regardless of the route chosen, natural splendor will follow. An easy walk along the rail trail from the trailhead provides gorgeous views of the spring-fed Eagles Mere Lake, while a more challenging jaunt off the rail trail along singletrack paths leads to scenic waterfalls and shaded retreats.
To Route 42 trailhead: From Williamsport, take I-180/US 220 northeast through the towns of Picture Rocks and Tivol. At Muncy Valley turn left onto PA 42 and head north for 6 miles to Eagles Mere. Drive through town until you see a pond on the left (Lakewood Ave.) and a gravel trailhead parking lot in front of it. The trailhead is immediately on the right.
Nice drive up out of the Susquehanna Valley, easy to locate trailhead with good parking. Trail is level, (signs say bikes okay on rail grade only - today we are on foot). Trail is wooded, a couple of side loops for interpretive and conservation information. There were 6 or so inches of snow with a frozen crust that broke through every 6th step or so, but it was quite enjoyable, and this early March Saturday afternoon we had it all to ourselves. We will come back later this spring and see how it looks with leaves. I held back one star because I prefer more rugged trails, but today this was just the thing.
I did this in 2013, it is easy to find. There is a conservancy building/classroom that posts a map of the trails. There are various trails that overlap the rail trail. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because they were doing some work on the trails and subsequently the trail was blocked, no signs were put up and it was hard getting through the trail. Hopefully they are done with that.
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