Cumberland Valley Rail Trail


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Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Cumberland
Length: 13.7 miles
Trail end points: W Fort St & N Earl St (Shippensburg) to Green Hill Rd (Newville) and Allen Rd, just south of Cooper Circle to just south of Newville Rd (Carlisle)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031429

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Description

The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail rolls 13.7 miles through a bucolic valley that’s hemmed in by the Blue and South Mountains in south-central Pennsylvania. Running from Shippensburg to east of Newville, with a 1-mile segment in Carlisle, the trail will eventually extend seamlessly all the way to Carlisle, the county seat, for a distance of 20 miles. The pathway is part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail that connects the World Trade Center, Flight 93, and Pentagon Memorials. 

The route roughly follows travel corridors first used by American Indians and then Scotch-Irish settlers in the mid-1700s. The trail traces the former Cumberland Valley Railroad, which launched service between Harrisburg and Chambersburg in 1837 and grew south all the way to Winchester, Virginia. The railroad became contentious during the Civil War as it delivered Union troops and supplies into Southern territory; Confederates destroyed a section of tracks in Chambersburg, but the Union had the train running again in a week. 

The last operator, Conrail, donated the railroad right-of-way to the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails Council in 1995. The nonprofit finished nearly 10 miles of trail by 2006 and then set about acquiring the segment that extends to Carlisle in 2011. A 1-mile section in Carlisle, beginning at Allen Road, was completed in 2017, and 2018 saw an additional 2 miles open in Newville, with a goal of eventually connecting to Carlisle. 
The path is mostly crushed limestone, though sections in Shippensburg and Newville are asphalt, as are numerous road crossings along the way. The trail is open dawn–dusk, and bicyclists are required to wear helmets. Also, equestrians must keep to the grass alongside the trail, except at road crossings. 
If you start in Shippensburg, visit the railroad museum in an old boxcar at the trailhead. Or take advantage of several restaurants and diners located near Shippensburg University. For history buffs, a dozen Civil War and agricultural history signs are posted along the route. 
Shippensburg, settled in 1730, was the first community in the Cumberland Valley and was home to a fort during the French and Indian War. Three blocks from the trailhead in downtown, which was occupied by Confederate forces, Civil War historical markers are common.  
Leaving town, you’ll pass the Shippensburg University campus and arrive at another trailhead at Shippensburg Township Community Park in 1 mile. The trail is wooded for the next 2 miles and then opens up for wide-ranging views of farms and pastureland on the way to Newville. You might see an Amish family with a horse and buggy as you cross roads along the way. Also, the trail council is known for employing goats to consume invasive weeds growing along the path. 
At 6.3 miles, you’ll pass through Oakville, a stop on the Cumberland Valley Railroad and now a shady picnic spot. Another 3.8 miles of travel takes you to the Newville trailhead, after which you’ll pass the borough of Newville on the south side. If you want a bite to eat, turn left onto Big Spring Road and head a few blocks into the old downtown, settled in 1790, where you’ll find a diner and pizzeria. 
The path then continues another 1.7 miles to its endpoint on Green Hill Road. A 1-mile section of trail also runs west from Allen Road in Carlisle through trees and farmland. Plans call for connecting to that segment in the future.  

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Shippensburg trailhead from I-81 N, take Exit 24 and turn left onto PA 696/Olde Scotland Road. Go 2.1 miles, and turn left onto S. Fayette St. Then go 0.6 mile, and turn right onto Orange St. Go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto N. Earl St. Go 0.3 mile, and turn right onto W. Fort St. Look for parking immediately to your left, after passing the starting point for the trail.

To reach the Shippensburg trailhead from I-81 S, take Exit 29, and turn right onto PA 174/Walnut Bottom Road. Go 1.5 miles, and turn left onto US 11/E. King St. Go 0.8 mile, and turn right onto N. Earl St. Then go 0.3 mile, and turn right onto W. Fort St. Look for parking immediately to your left, after passing the starting point for the trail.

To reach the Newville trailhead from I-81, take Exit 37 onto PA 233. Head north, go 3.9 miles, and turn left onto Vine St. Go 0.2 mile, and continue straight to stay on PA 533/Fairfield St. 0.4 mile. Turn left onto Rich St., go 0.1 mile, and turn left onto McFarland St. The trailhead parking lot is immediately to your right.
To reach the Carlisle trailhead from I-81, take Exit 44, and head northwest on PA 465/Allen Road. Go 1.1 miles. Turn right into the parking lot, just after passing Ross Stores Distribution Center. To reach the trailhead, turn right out of the parking lot onto Allen Road, and go about 0.2 mile. Look for the trailhead on your left.

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Reviews

Trail Through The Countryside

Constructed through the rural farmlands of western Cumberland County, the 13 mile long Cumberland Valley Rail Trail is one of Central PA's premier multi-use greenways.
The trail follows a portion of the main line of the former Cumberland Valley RR, which connected Harrisburg with VA's Shenandoah Valley and operated from 1837 to 1919, when it was acquired by the Pennsylvania RR. During this time, the RR was notable for running the first passenger sleeper car in the US in 1839 and for transporting troops, weapons and other supplies to the front lines during the Civil War. The line remained active under the ownership of the Pennsylvania RR and its successor, the Penn Central, before passing to Conrail in 1976.
Conrail took the section of line between Carlisle and Shippensburg out of service in 1981 and formally abandoned it in 1995, donating the corridor to the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails Council. The council developed a multi-use rail trail suited for cycling and foot traffic over the course of the three decades, the most recent being the section through the village of Greason, which opened in early 2023. Most of the trail is paved with crushed stone, though sections in Shippensburg and Newville are asphalt. A parallel dirt path exists for horseback riders.
As of 2023, three disconnected segments of the trail have been constructed (four if you count the 1 mile long Chambersburg Rail Trail, which Franklin County and Chambersburg borough officials eventually plan to incorporate into a planned southern extension).
A little over 11 miles long, the southern section extends from Fort Street in Shippensburg northeast to Green Hill Road just east of Newville. The first mile of this section passes through the campus of Shippensburg University and gets heavy use from students and faculty. An old Penn Central RR car situated immediately north of the southern terminus of the trail has been converted into a small museum and a restored RR signal both serve as tributes to the history of the line. The numerous sculptures and other works of art that line the greenway between Fort Street and Shippensburg Twp. Park, as well as the smooth, asphalt surface and comfort stations with running water and flush toilets, give the first mile more of a suburban vibe than the rural atmosphere prevalent on the rest.
The bustle of Shippensburg and the adjacent college campus quickly gives way to bucolic countryside and the asphalt yields to crushed stone northeast of Shippensburg Twp. Park. A linear woodland of trees and other lush vegetation lines most of the trail from here to Newville, providing cool shade in summer and helping reduce the strong winds that often whip through the valley in winter and peeks of picturesque, rolling farmland and small villages can be seen through the gaps and at several road crossings. Observant trail users will also take note of numerous small rock cuts along this section of the trail.
The trail enters open farmlands on the final 2 miles of the southern section located east of Newville, treating trail users to panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Similar vistas can be found on the short, 1-mile long middle segment of the trail that extends from Springview Road east through the village of Greason before dead ending just west of McAllister Church Road. Also take note of the old RR freight depot just west of Greason Road. These features offset the fact that these parts of the trail are more exposed to the elements.
Another short segment of the trail, the 2 mile long northern section, begins at Shearer Road in the warehouse district on the west end of Carlisle. This section crosses a wetland to Route 465, following the east side of that road for a half mile, before turning west onto the old rail line just south of Route 641. It follows the old RR to a dead end about a mile west of here. Despite crossing primarily through industrial properties, this segment of the trail is still a pleasant experience, though trail users need to be careful crossing busy Route 465.
The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail's gorgeous scenery and rich history, along with its role in helping to connect Shippensburg University with the adjacent town make it one of Central PA's great greenways. Unfortunately, the gaps that separate the different segments of the trail do not have easy detours and the dead ends on the middle and northern sections require users to backtrack, limiting their popularity. Hopefully, they can eventually be closed and the goal of linking Shippensburg and Dickenson universities will finally be realized.

beautiful trail!

New to this app, but walked this complete trail in late July from shippensburg to newville, it’s well maintained along with beautiful scenery along the way.

Glad we biked it!

We stopped here 9/22 en route to biking the C&O - what a treat! The cinder surface was well maintained: smooth sailing for our hybrids. varied and beautiful scenery, historical placards along the trail. . Logistics were fantastic: Plenty of parking in Shippensburg, drinking water and clean restrooms at both ends. 2- hours round trip, finished at sunset, followed by takeout Vietnamese dinner from Rice+Pho. Next am we took self-guided walking your of Shippensburg, also worth doing Rice+Pho.. wandered around historic Dientuen smShippensberg next day for an hour or so Thanks

Delightful trail

We have ridden the GAP in its entirety, we have ridden a large portion of the KATY trail, we have ridden the emerald necklace in OH, thousands of miles of trails - BUT, this gem is one of my top 5 favorites because of the kaleidoscope of scenery and experience. You start in a bustling college town at a fantast parking area. They thought of everything in less than a football field of space - parking, bike tool station, car charging station, a train car museum, bike lockers! and spacious bathrooms that seemed spotless!! Then you take off on the trail and its very well maintained, people are very friendly and then you roll through rural tree lined areas then farming communities. Its simply wonderful. I highly recommend this trail as a must do as equal to the Big name trails!


July 4, 2022

Very nice trail: Started in Shippensburg where it’s paved the first mile or so, then crushed stone. Adjoining path along the NW side for horses. I like the combination historic & agriculture markers making it equally informational. Mostly shaded, but one stretch went through an alfalfa field and the scent was wonderful! A first cousin to honeysuckle! The NE portion, the newest section toward Carlisle, goes under large power lines about 2 miles, so it’s exposed and no shade. I’ll ride it again!

Nice extension near Newville

Today the Newville parking lot was crowded, but the trail was quiet and calm, as always. We were happy to see the bridge completed so we were able to ride beyond the Newville parking area to the trail’s end at Greenhill Road. This trail continues to be very well maintained, and we appreciate all the people (and fellow-donors) who work to keep it that way. It is a very pleasant ride, even for those of us who are older.

My sister and I rode this trail from Shippensburg College to Greenhill (end of trail) and we both registered 20 miles one way as did another guy riding behind us.It shows 13 miles on the website. What is the correct distance?

My sister and I rode this trail from Shippensburg College to Greenhill (end of trail) and we both registered 20 miles one way as did another guy riding behind us.It shows 13 miles on the website. What is the correct distance?

great trail

Best trail I’ve rode! We’ll be back!

Colorful valley trail

Beautiful early winter ride with yellow leaves scattered on the trail, the green of winter wheat fields along the trail and beyond, the deep blue mountains that form the Cumberland valley visible on both sides of the trail. Very well maintained. We warmed up afterward at the Art of Pie café in Shippensburg. An all around great afternoon!

My husband and I biked the larger section of this trail this weekend and had a great time. Beautiful rolling farmland, nice facilities and friendly people. Looking ahead to them completing this to Carlisle. We will definitely be back to check it out.

My husband and I biked the larger section of this trail this weekend and had a great time. Beautiful rolling farmland, nice facilities and friendly people. Looking ahead to them completing this to Carlisle. We will definitely be back to check it out.

Very nice trail

Well maintained , has park benches to stop and have lunch

nice trail

I liked this trail but not as much as the Lower trail. The reason being the surface on the lower trail is smoother. Both are crushed stone but the crushed stone on this trail is rather deep in a couple areas which can easily throw you over on a bike. Really wish the East Broad Top would turn the rail system in my town into a rail trail.

Fantastic Rail Trail

This is one of my favorite rail trails! It is very well maintained with a pleasant surface. The scenery is amazing with a beautiful countryside and mountains in the distance. They have expanded the trail down into Shippensburg next to the university's campus which is nice. There is also a northern expansion past Newville with grand plans to eventually expand to Carlisle. There are many informative signs that explain the history of the railroad and the cultural history of the area. I highly recommend a ride on the CVRT.

Fantastic Rail Trail

This is one of my favorite rail trails! It is very well maintained with a pleasant surface. The scenery is amazing with a beautiful countryside and mountains in the distance. They have expanded the trail down into Shippensburg next to the university's campus which is nice. There is also a northern expansion past Newville with grand plans to eventually expand to Carlisle. There are many informative signs that explain the history of the railroad and the cultural history of the area. I highly recommend a ride on the CVRT.

Smooth riding out and back

The trail is really smooth and well-maintained. The bathrooms and water stops are in great shape. It’s a great place for an out and back on the bicycle or a pleasant walk for any segment.

Biking - great trail condition, good scenery, good all seasons but hot summer

Ride side-by-side the whole way. Good hard surface for mountain bikes, just a very few soft sandy spots along fields. Pretty flat (a degree or two) except for a few road crossings.

Can start downtown Shippensburg, or we usually start a mile East at the Shippensburg Township Park to avoid walker congestion. Wide path with no power lines, can ride side-by-side the whole way. Very scenic on the bike, when there are banks on the side they can be typically seen over if on a bike. Quite a bit of tree tunneling to pedal through. There is also quite a bit of unprotected trail, so would not recommend riding on hot summer day with sun directly overhead. Especially true past Newville.

Have done this trail a dozen times over 5 years, it is consistently good with light traffic once you get away from the University. Good old/Amish/Mennonite farm scenery with animals, there is a one mile section with views of the mountain range 10 miles away. Stunning. This is one of the prettier trails we've done in the last 10 year.

Facilities along way. A great old ice cream shop with a non-working soda fountain in Newville. Be sure to go inside, though they also have picnic tables outside.

Recommend early spring through late fall, avoid hot summer when the corn is tallest and the sun directly overhead. Benches and sufficient picnic tables along the way, though nearly all are in direct sun in summer.

A perfect trail for an out and back

I rode the entire Cumberland Valley Rail Trail this Labor Day weekend. The trail is in perfect condition and is mostly finely crushed gravel with some paved sections. Despite it being a holiday weekend with beautiful weather the trail wasn't very busy.

I started in Shippensburg as you can park at the very beginning of the trail. The trail is mostly heavily shaded with short sections opening up to nice views of farmlands and rolling hills but no shade. Shippensburg, Oakville and Newville are nicely spaced apart giving good spots to rest.

The only negative part of the trail was the last 2.5 miles past the Newville trailhead. It offers no shade, the gravel seems a little deeper there making it the hardest part of the trail for me. I try to complete every trail I ride but you're not missing much if you either turn around at Newville or start there and head towards Shippensburg.

Well maintained bike trail!

Enjoyable bike trail. I'm a beginner - and I appreciated that it was flat. Bathrooms were well kept and parking was good. Gravel was loose but not dangerous in any way. A very enjoyable ride - as a beginner riding during a time when the trail was not crowded, I was able to ride about 15 mph.

Great for kids and 1st time cyclists

My kids did the whole trail and back. Granted we had a picnic for lunch and many breaks. It took us 8 hours to do it. The fun things to cross over and through happen at Newville and northward for a few miles. The rail cars are only at the Shippensburg Trail head. Other than those things there is just trees and farmland to see.

it’s ok.

All of it is crushed stone except at the places you can get on the trail its asphalt. then its just a very short distance back to the crush stone.

Scenic PA Farmland Route

We biked round trip from the Newville area to Shippensburg University. It’s a gravel path and well traveled by cyclists, runners, and horseback riders. A gem of a route connecting two very quaint PA towns.

listing should be changed

It’s mostly crushed stone. More like 90% crushed stone. Only asphalt when you are at the parking areas and much closer to town of Shippingsburg.


Newville- land that time forgot. Shippensburg-quaint college town. Carlyle is not connected yet, but soon I hope. Impeccably maintained facilities and surface.

Great Ride

My friend and I rode this trail on November 1, 2019. What a great trail. We rode it end to end starting from the Newville parking area. Even after heavy rains the day before the trail was in great shape. Seemed to be slightly uphill riding towards Shippensburg but overall it was pretty flat with only mild dips and hills during road crossings. I would highly recommend this trail.

Charm to be Found

Rode this trail for a first, 09/03/19 started at Newville and rode to Shippensburg which seemed to be the harder direction to pedal, then back. Found clean restrooms at both ends which is a big plus for this trail. Good sight distance at road crossings and brush is cleared back from the trail itself. A Scenic view is lacking as trail is heavily tree lined or flanked by high embankments which cant be helped and shouldn't discourage users. Passed many friendly folks who smiled and said hello.

Cumberland Railtrail

This is a beautiful ride from Newville to Shippensburg! The trail is well maintained an offers scenic views of woodland and picturesque farmlands. We will definitely be back!

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail

This is our favorite trail to ride with our kids. It’s about 12 miles from the Mt. Rock Rd section to Shippensburg. The trail is wide and well maintained, and there are restrooms at the Newville trailhead and the township park that’s about 1500 ft off the Oakville Rd trailhead.

Well Maintained

This a nice trail. It is closer to 13 miles as of now. They have been adding to it and they clearly plan to add more as the end says "'Temporary End". Only issue is there is not much to see on the way. It is pretty flat and straight. The small gravel surface was a little deep so I would not recommend a road bike. You can use one, but it would not be the best choice.

Extended since last visit.

October 17 rode the trail end to end.

Trail has been extended into Shippensburg and College. Took a short trip around the town but not familiar with the area so basically I got separated from the trail (lost) for a few minutes.

Trail surface is getting 'beat up' a bit. Could use some maintenance. Sort of becoming a 'two-track' in places. Horses have left impressions in the gravel.

There is a very short extension toward Carlisle. Maybe 3/4 mile ending just past route-233. They re-decked a bridge and installed a box tunnel under the road. Looking forward to having the trail extended.

Beginner Cyclist

The asphalt section of the trail starting at mile marker 10 (Newville) does not extend very far, maybe a mile at the most. The rest of the trail (down to mile marker 6, which is where we turned around) is very narrow and a little unnerving for someone who is still not totally comfortable on a bicycle. Every time someone passed me I felt as though we were going to hit handle bars. Otherwise, the trail is mostly flat and it is very scenic. I would definitely walk this trail but won't be back with my bike.

Flat, asphalt surface, scenic

Have been on this trail twice this summer, from Newville all the way to Shippensburg. A great trail, well-kept up and scenic. Lots of Amish on bikes and carriages (I saw my first Amish convoy!). Park about 1 mile from Shippensburg end is a great place for a rest or lunch break. Nicely kept up bathrooms.

Trail etiquette and safety

Walk the trail daily. Great trail, but I have noticed that with the increase in traffic, many bikers pass walkers at fairly high speeds and with no warning. Bikers please let walkers know you are passing. Also, there is a sign on the new bridge stating that bikers are to dismount if there are pedestrians on the bridge. I don't think most are aware of this. Not a real issue on a dry bridge, but could be when the bridge is wet, as the wood is very slippy.

trail improvements at both ends

The trail has now been extended another mile or so into Shippensburg past the park, crosses a new bridge (the old hillside shortcut to Ship is still visible) and continues as a paved pathway adjacent to the university campus. The trail currently dead ends on a side street with no apparent signage, but it appears that restrooms and a parking area are under construction there. At the other end in Newville, a metal bridge was added and the trail continues to Rt 233, although there is no access there. Hopefully this is the start of the planned extension to Carlisle.

Improvements to Trail!

I did this trail exactly one year ago (see the review a Tale of Two Trails). When I returned earlier this weekend, I discovered a brand new bridge over Fogelsanger Road. Plus, the section that was unimproved last year is now completely paved all the way to Earl Street. As I understand it, a new bridge will soon open in Newville over Big Spring Road as well. Major kudos to the CVRTC!

Nice Trail

We started in Newville and rode the trail southwest to just outside of Shippensburg and back. It is noted that the depiction of the trail on the traillink map is not entirely accurate. The actual trail stops along side McFarland Street in Newville and at Shippensburg Township Park just outside of Shippensburg. Also, there is parking on both ends of the trail although not indicated on the map. As for the trail itself, we found it to be in very good condition and actually considered it to be a fast trail. If you like the Buffalo Valley trail between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, you'll probably enjoy this trail as well. Also, it appears that they are currently working to extend the trail on both ends.

Didn't notice any decline in trail

We rode from the Newville trailhead today, toward Shippensberg. We went as far as mile marker 2 and thought the trail was just as well maintained and enjoyable as when we rode it a year ago. Perhaps the deteriorating portion mentioned by some reviewers is closer in to Shippensberg. It was a beautiful autumn day, sunny but very breezy with temperatures in the upper 50s/low 60s. I don't think we would want to ride this trail if the temperature were below 55. It's fairly open with thin tree lines that don't block the wind. Most of the trail is well packed gravel. I was glad it wasn't wet, though, because it was laid down heavily in places and would be difficult to ride through if wet. It's a very pretty ride through farmland. We stopped at one road crossing to watch 8 or 9 Amish buggies pass. All in all, an excellent ride relatively close to Harrisburg and Carlisle.

GREAT ride on a nice day!

This was our first rail trail ride on our bikes mind you, but it was amazing! If it's a sunny day, there's a nice mix of sun and shade, as you ride through portions that are lined with shady trees. The trail is mostly flat with occasional slight inclines along the way. Like I stated, much of the trail is lined with trees, but occasionally portions open up to gorgeous farmland. A mountain or hybrid bike would be fine on this trail. The crushed stone is packed well enough to not be a problem. There are sticks and bigger stones scattered about at times but are easily avoided. We saw lots of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhogs along the way. We did this on a HOT Spring day, but are thinking of doing it again in the Fall!

A Tale of Two Sections

I did parts of both the improved section and the unimproved section leading into Shippensburg University. The improved section starts in Shippensburg Township Park. It is a pretty and flat ride through the countryside. As stated in the description, the unimproved end of the trail has a steep and dangerous section; and there's actually two - one on each side of Fogelsanger Road. The entrance to the unimproved section is difficult to find, but worth it! More suited to hiking than bicycling, it's a lovely walk through the forest.


August 28/29, 2015. Started in Shippensburg at a very nice local park with lots of parking, easy access to trail, clean restrooms & a covered pavilion. We chose to bike only to halfway point in Oakville (& back), where we enjoyed a light picnic in the shade at picnic tables. Restrooms located 800 yards down road at a local park. For the most part, gravel surface was ok, but there were a couple areas where it was pretty thick, making the bike want to wander. Today we biked from Newville to Oakville & enjoyed picnic again. Oakville has a nice starting point also, with shaded picnic tables & nice restrooms. Trail had a rough couple spots where small stones were packed down instead of gravel. Just had to be careful. Mostly level biking with about 2 small inclines to cross roads. Trees & underbrush block most views, but also keep you shaded except at midday. Take the time to stop at clearings to view the beautiful valley & distant mountains. Fellow trail enthusiasts were friendly. Benches available along route.

lovely ride

Great ride!! One of my favorites as far as scenery goes!!

Superb trail for Equestrians

I have ridden the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail twice. It is a wonderfully maintained trail that accommodates hikers, bikers, runners and horses alike. There is plenty of parking at both ends of the trail for trailers and cars. There are mounting blocks for horses and hitching posts for tacking/grooming your horse. I met very nice people on the trail. As you go along you can read about the history of the railroad on well maintained signs. I highly recommend this very well managed trail.

Superb trail for Equestrians

I have ridden the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail twice. It is a wonderfully maintained trail that accommodates hikers, bikers, runners and horses alike. There is plenty of parking at both ends of the trail for trailers and cars. There are mounting blocks for horses and hitching posts for tacking/grooming your horse. I met very nice people on the trail. As you go along you can read about the history of the railroad on well maintained signs. I highly recommend this very well managed trail.

Fun ride

This was a nice ride. It was relaxing and the trail surface was appropriate for hybrid bikes. The directions to the Newville trailhead were excellent.

Nice. Just nice.

Perfect weather on Memorial Day 2014. You develop a love/hate relationship with the trees. They provide you with needed shade but block your view. When you do get to an opening, soak up the scenes because it will be gone again soon. Trail head at Shippensburg Twp park is great. There are picnic tables, clean restrooms, a playgound for the kids and a splash pool in the summer months. The Newville trail head is top notch as well. Nice facility and picnic area. 9.5 miles between the two parks.
It was moderately busy on the holiday we passed a lot of riders. Just a few rough patches in the trail, heavy gravel. All in all a nice ride, scenery isn't the best but it is a fairly level grade with nice trail heads.

nice, easy ride for all levels

My wife and I biked the trail this afternoon. It was mostly even grade, lots of shade and some nice views of farmland and milk cows. We shared the trail with riders of all ages and fitness levels - all seemed comfortable. I'll be back, for sure.

A journey into Farmville!

I drove over 50 miles in a car to ride this path on my bike.....was really excited. Followed the directions on this site to get there, and could not locate the trail end at all. Nobody on the street could tell me where the trail end was located. I spent 45 minutes driving in circles, asking a multitude of townsfolk where the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail was located, and they all looked at me like I was from Mars. It was exasperating to say the least. Finally, a local in a convenience store was aware of the trail and told me it's location. I started the trail at Shippensburg Township Park off of Britton Rd. The trail is right next to the can't miss it.

I liked this trail, but was disappointed to see that 95% of the ride was gravel. In fact, in some places the gravel was so thick on the trail it was like riding on sand, and I almost wiped out a couple times. Also, I'm thinking this would be a nicer ride during the fall, as most of the beautiful scenery is blocked by the trees that canopy the path. Trees are nice to cover you from the summer sun, but they also create a long ride with not much else to view but green leaves.

I saw very little wildlife on the trail...mostly rabbits and deer. What I did see was tons of farms, barns, and silos; and there are some really beautiful views at the various trail heads of farmland that just sprawls out forever. Really pretty stuff! I also noticed I was smack dab in Amish country, which was a treat to see.....the horse and buggies flying up the country roads! Oh, and the mountains in the distance are truly beautiful...a big treat while you're riding.

The trail ends in Newville, PA. - a small rural town. I did not find anyplace to eat, and what I did find was closed. I ended up going into a grocery store, at the edge of town, for an ice cream, as I could not even find a local convenience store that sold them. Heading back into Newville, I got lost finding my way back to the the trail, and drove though a section of town with really pretty Victorian homes.

All-in-all, a nice ride! Fairly flat...maybe one small incline. I'll have to do this one again in the fall when the farm fields are more visible from the trail....that should be really pretty.

very nice ride

Rode this trail for the first time today, very enjoyable ride from Newville to Shippensburg & back. Mostly level riding, easy enough for anyone to enjoy, I wish it was closer to home, I would definitely ride it more often.

Good ride to begin season

After a long winter, me and my 17 yr old son got out on the first mid 60 degree day to break-in his new bike and to knock off the dust from mine. We started at the Ship Twnshp park and rode to Newville and back. The trail was in very good shape with crushed stone and we encountered quite a few walkers, runners, bike and horse riders enjoying the excellent weather. The trail crosses about five farm roads and we only had to wait at one for a car to pass. We passed a few farms and got to see some Amish buggies. I can't wait for the trail to connect to Carlisle.

Another nice Pa trail

Rode this trail today, nice day for a ride, nice trail well maintained, looking forward to riding this trail again later in the summer when everything is green and then again in the fall with all the colors.

Great Running Trail

I am from Newville originally (now live in Texas) but each time I have returned over the past couple of years, I have did long runs on this trail.
Beautiful and scenic run with road crossing marked well. Have not seen a lot of activity personally on the trail during the 3 or 4 runs I have done but it has been very early morning. It is in all very flat (slight upgrade heading from Newville to Shippensburg).
The only fear I have ever had on the trail is that you do pass a couple of farms that sit right up against the trail and have heard a few dogs barking at these locations. None have ever approached the trail but the concern is there nonetheless.
Have run the full length of the trail and back and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Definitely a positive with the bathroom facilities available although I have never utilized them but nice to know they are there.
Can't wait until the extend it further north towards Carlisle. Will definitely hop on this trail every time I come back to visit.

Newville South to Duncan Road - A Historical Treasure

The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail should prove to be double the treasure when its 11-mile extension northward is realized. But for now, 10.9 miles is a nice length for a good ride. Having to travel 141 miles to get here, I was only able to do the uppermost 6.7 miles of the trail, and it was delightful. The only reason I am giving it only four stars is due to its lack of railroad artifacts. There are NONE on my northern segment. I zeroed my cyclometer at the trail's northern terminus loop, where that large bridge is missing. Sadly, Conrail must have pulled several substantial overpasses out when they abandoned the line. The trail's parking area is located at MY Milepost 0.4. Newville had one surviving (maybe the ONLY?), architecturally BEAUTIFUL 1800's era depot, which we "depot hunters" found intact back in 1985. I believe it was being used as a residence. Sadly, it is gone. But the obviously historically sensitive trail makers designed a little restroom facility that mimics that old structure. The trail banner beside it shows the old depot. A series of beautiful historical plaques portrays the wealth of history this line participated in. From Civil War era transportation (a draft notice that names the CV Railroad, for example) to the value and preservation of the farming industry spanning the line, these are most interesting and valued stops along the way. One of these double plaque sets, at Oakville, portrays a 19th century train at this station, showing that this line was double-tracked over its length, hence the nice, wide right-of-way. A century of repeated fill has raised the long-single tracked trail right-of-way high above the paralleling former second (southbound) track. The trail surface is nice and smooth, with parallel double travel lanes of nice, fine crushed limestone, with no ruts or wash-outs. The two missing highway overpasses, one at Nealy Road (MP2.8) and the other at Ott Road (MP5.3), are traversed with easy-grade, paved asphalt inclines. The limestone cuts which kept the track flat are pretty impressive too. "Boring" is a highly subjective term. If you keep your eyes open, and you don't just "race" the course, there is plenty to see here! The Amish farm environs are pretty interesting, too!... BIG cattle farms! An Amish woman on a bicycle blew around me heading south, and she disappeared at a pretty good clip. And I was surprised to see a big, roaring, wide-open 2-cycle weed wacker engine, mowing the fenceline at my 6.7-mile Duncan Road turnaround point, being effortlessly propelled by an Amish farm lady! These folk and their culture are TRULY impressive! The view to the west is awesome, as towering Blue Mountain parallels your path along this beautiful valley. The trail shows moderate use, an occasional jogger or biker, and... Oh yes!... I have to give this trail my first 10-out-of-10 "friendliness" rating. I say hello to everyone I pass along the trails, and this was the first trail I've EVER been on where virtually EVERYONE returned a friendly wave or verbal greeting! So yes, you certainly need not feel alone or isolated on THIS trail! THAT's pretty neat! If you choose to traverse either end of the trail from its mid-point, as I will do next time I'm over there to complete my survey, there is a nice little trail parking lot at Oakville. I wish the folks working on this project much success with the northward trail extension to Carlisle, which should give this superb trail a great northern outlet. The Cumberland Valley Rail-Trail is a historic preservation gem! -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA 10-5-12.

Great Trail

I don't visit this trail often because it's not very close to home but I love it! I have not gone the full length of the trail and I too was concerned about riding my bike by myself but there are usually other people riding and walking when I visit. My favorite part of the trail is not very far from the beginning if you start from Newville. I love riding through the farm it's so beautiful. I will definitely be visiting this trail in the future and I can't wait to ride it in the fall.

I have been using this trail for the past several weeks training for a half marathon. I wish I had started earlier! I start at the Newville end, and was worried about running by myself, but when I run there is always plenty of people walking/running/biking, and you never feel totally alone. The path is easy on the back and knees, and is well shaded at most areas. I've only run up to ten miles, so have only gotten to the 5 mile marker. But so far I like it a lot!

Directions to Shippensburg rail head

The published directions are good if you're coming from Harrisburg, but if from Hagerstown, get off at exit 24...29 is way out of the way!

Very colorful late October ride

Beautiful countryside on a very nice trail. Suitable for walking, running and biking. Parts of the trail have a horse path next to the ballest trail. Would recommend bikes with wide tires since some southern trail surface has very loose small stones. We waited out a rain storm at a covered shelter at Oakville Road which was furnished with picnic tables for our lunch. Encountered a few walkers, runners and bikers on a Monday afternoon.


Found a car key on the trail on Sunday, Oct. 16. If anyone lost one contact me at Trail ride was beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. Great day. Great views. Great ride.

Cumberland Velley Trail

I found a car key on Sunday. If it migh t be yours pleae contact me at and I'll be glad to mail it to you.

Fantastic trail for biking

We rode this trail today and were pleasantly surprised. It had a nice tree canopy for a good 75% of it. Even though it was 80 degrees, it was nice and cool on the trail. It was well maintained, minimal debris. There were nice restrooms and parking at both ends of the trail. Not too crowded but enough activity that you didn't feel isolated. The road crossings were well marked and easy to navigate. We will be back for sure.

Flat and peaceful

This trail is a gem -- clean, slightly shaded, mostly flat and in fantastic condition. The roadway crossovers are clearly marked. The only slight negative is that each trail mile is pretty much the same as the last – fields, trees, farms – and raspberries in July!

(NOTE: directions say turn onto Cemetery Road, but you actually turn onto Rich Street –across from Cemetery – to reach the trailhead). Newville trailhead has a quaint, shady picnic area, with ample parking. The restrooms are clean and well maintained and there’s a working outside water fountain (in warmer temps). Here, the trail is paved and marked with lanes from past events. If you turn left at the trailhead you will go only a few hundred yards before reaching a turn around. This marks a future 11-mile extension to Dickinson College. For now it’s a dead end. Turn right and you’ll spend the next 11 miles in the bucolic countryside.

At about the halfway point, you’ll reach the Oakville Road crossing where you’ll find a picnic table and restrooms just up the road in North Newton Township Park.

Continuing on you will seemingly come to the end of the trail at Shippensburg Township Park. However, the trail continues past the park -- down and up steep embankments -- for another mile, ending at North Earl Street in Shippensburg. There’s no parking or facilities at the true end, so for now, Shippensburg Township Park, with restrooms, water, pavilions and loads of parking is a better ending point.

Take containers for raspberries. They are plentiful in early to mid July!

June 2011

Nice flat easy to ride trail with views. If you run the whole trail be careful on the downhill section at the Ship end, steep hill runs right out onto the road very little visibility. Got caught in rainstorms all the way back trail path holds up well to water. Nice building at Newville trailhead to gert cleaned up if need be.
Great afternoon ride.

Second Ride

This was our second ride on a Rails to Trails. We started at about 10 AM at the Newville trailhead, wasn't sure how far we wanted to ride, maybe all the way to Shippensburg? However, we stopped at mile 4 (so we had gone over 6 miles), decided to head back. The trail was easy, and what beautiful countryside. We met many people biking and walking, all very friendly. It was a beautiful day and a great we went about 13 miles. We will certainly go back to this trail, next time starting from the Shippensburg end.

Perfect for Beginners

I am new to the cycling sport and did this trail for my first long distance ride. I was so pleased with it that I've been back multiple times. Anyone living in Newville, Shippensburg or near there would be crazy not to use this trail as a great resource for exercise! It is well maintained and has some nice views of the mountains. I don't usually see a lot of people on the trail, but it makes for a nice, calming ride. Would recommend to anyone!

Update to Directions from Carlisle (8/14/08)

Take PA 641 from Carlisle to Newville, turn left on Cemetary Road (0.6 miles from Newville traffic light); proceed through stop sign at Shippensburg Road; cross Broad Street and proceed straight to McFarland St. Park for parking and trail access.

Cumberland Valley RT - Great Ride, BUT....

I rode this trail on the morning of Thursday, August 14, 2008 - beginning at 7:30 AM in Newville, PA and riding to Shippensburg, PA.

This is a great ride! I didn't see one other biker on the trail (unknown or underused?) but a few people walking their dogs. The trail is graded slightly "up" from Newville to Shippensburg. Road crossings are marked well, HOWEVER, for those of us who refuse to dismount and walk across a road, it is very difficult to SEE each direction on these road crossings before getting to the actual crossing. BE CAREFUL! The roads were not heavily used as far as I could see (at least at this time of the morning) but a careful "look" is required before crossing.

The problem with the trail is that it is not really 10.9 miles in length - well, at least it's not connected or fully ride-able at that length. The asphalt trail comes to an end at a community softball field park just off the campus of Shippensburg Univ. There are NO SIGNS indicating where the trail goes from here. The trail simply reverts to an unused single track for another 30 yards and then takes a deep dive down a hill (DO NOT RIDE on bike without heavy mountain bike experience!). According to a local runner, the trail then crosses the road below and heads back up to the old rail bed on the other side and finishes in town as a single track trail. Evidently, there was a railroad bridge crossing this road before and the plan is that there will be a full continuation of the trail across a new bridge when the money is available to finish it.

If you need to get to the parking lot in Shippensburg where the trail actually ends, you will need to do this: at the end of the asphalt portion of the trail, turn left into the community park - head towards active roadway - turn right, then another immediate right at intersection - follow to rear entrance (NEW!) to Shippensburg Univ. on left - go through campus staying on the side of the rail bed (left side of drive) until getting to main entrance to campus - allegedly you can pick up the remainder of the trail here to get to the parking lot.

A few signs indicating where the last 1.5 + miles are located would be extremely helpful for those of us not from the area.

Again, GREAT RIDE except for the signage problems at the Shippensburg end. Enjoy!

Wayne Lahr
Boyertown, PA

Newville - Shippensburg Rail to Trail (Pennsylvania)

This trail is finished for about 10.5 miles. There are parking lots with restrooms at Newville and Shippensburg Park (Shippensburg end). If they ever get the money for two bridges (one at each end) - that will make a total of 11 miles. You really don't notice the missing bridges as the trail is improved between the two parking lots. It is crushed stone/cinder and very nice. It is a wide trail with room on the shoulder for the horses. I've biked it several times now - there are nice markers designating each mile. At the Shippensburg end - you can go out of the park and get on the road for about 1/2 mile and be in the town of Shippensburg with restaurants. There are also a couple of restaurants in Newville within each biking distance of the trail. At about the half way point - there are picnic tables and a kiosk in Oakville. I highly recommend this trail - it is not crowded, well-maintained, and goes through beautiful farmland with mountains in the distance.

Finally Rideable

"I just rode the Newville end of this trail, and the conditions are much improved from years past.
The complaints of previous reviewers are no longer valid."

Positive Vibes

"Okay so there are some bad reviews of the trail here but this is was one of the reasons I decided to live in Cumberland County.

I biked the developed section this past weekend and found it to be a nice trail with wildlife such as rabbits, birds, woodchuck, and a snake sunning itself. The surface is crushed stone with the exception of paved sections that are on either side of the road crossings and for farms right of way which cross the trail. It sort of starts in the Shippensburg Park with the first mile marker being 1 which is a little confusing. There is also a separate space for the horses, although it is obvious they don't alway use it with the waste that is left on the trail if you get my drift. The scenery is relaxing and the canopy over the trail was appreciated on the early hot and muggy day. I also ventured around on the lightly used side road at the crossing and encountered several Mennonite buggies and cyclist as I wanted a slightly longer ride.

I have also recently walked the undeveloped trail from Newville to the Ott Road intersection and can't wait for this section to be completed. I understand the bidding is all done and the work should begin shortly.

The trail section in Newville is 1 mile long with part of it being concrete surface and part being asphalt. The trail head facilities at Newville are first class since the boro built a miniture replica of the towns old rail station that houses rest rooms. There is also ample parking at Newville and once the trail actually connects it should prove to be greatly appreciated by the trail users.

There is limited parking at the Oakville Road crossing as well as at the Shippensburg end.

I can't wait for it to be completed this summer."

A more positive view

"The best access to the southern part of the trail is from the Shippensburg Township Park located just 0.9 miles from the southern-most end of the trail. The park is undergoing what appears to be an extensive renovation and will have an ample asphalt parking lot with restrooms, athletic fields, and a playground. There is also direct access to the beginning of the newly completed 4.5-mile improved section of the trail.

While access to the southern-most end of the trail at Shippensburg can be achieved from the municipal parking lot described elsewhere on this site, the trailhead is 0.75 miles away from that lot and you will have to find you own way there through either the Shippensburg University campus or through the town streets. The route is not marked. If you do find your way to the trailhead, you will travel 0.9 miles on an unimproved trail and negotiate a steep 30-foot cut where a bridge once stood in order to get to the Shippensburg Township Park trail entrance.

North of the park entrance to the trail, the newly completed 4.5-mile section of improved trail has a 10-foot wide, smooth, packed, crushed stone surface and a parallel 10-foot wide dirt surface for horses. The trail is essentially straight with one sweeping curve and no perceptible grade. All of the gaps where bridges were once located north of the Park entrance have either been filled in or replaced with gentle ramps. North of the improved 4.5-mile section of the trail, the trail becomes narrow and somewhat rough and occasionally muddy because it often runs beside what was once the old railroad bed causing the trail to be narrow and commonly shared by hikers, bikers, horses and the occasional groundhog community. The trail continues in this condition for another 5.6-miles to the northern trailhead at Newville where there are very nice rest rooms and parking facilities just waiting for the trail improvements to reach them.

The trail runs through the fertile Cumberland Valley with only narrow strips of woods on either side separating it from the working farms that have been there for centuries. There are no picturesque streams, dark brooding forests nor soaring vistas here. This is peaceful, pastoral farmland dotted with homes that are 100 years old, and occasionally 200 years old that are not preserved as historic sites but rather are in daily use by those who operate the farms there."

Don't bother

"Two years after the previous review, this trail is still a ""work in progress."" Ballast work has only been completed from Shippensburg to about Oakville, a distance of about 4.5 miiles. Beyond that it's very rough going on grass and big gravel.

The boring scenery doesn't even make the trip to this trail worthwhile. Don't waste your time. Instead, try the Western Maryland Rail Trail near Hancock, MD. You'll appreciate the condition and views on this trail."

A Work in Progress

"We attempted this trail by bike from Newville hoping there had been some progress made in restoring it, but (at least in the Newville end) it appears there is MUCH more work to be done -- the trail was very narrow and almost overgrown in places, and the surface was grassy and quite bumpy, with many ruts and groundhog holes. We made it about 3 miles to the Nealy Road crossing (with very steep banks, probably was/should be a bridge) and decided to call it a day -- our bikes aren't ""mountain"" worthy, and this definitely is not a smooth paved or gravel trail.

This trail definitely has potential, though -- it travels through some beautiful countryside, and you really get the sense of being ""away from it all"" with no highway noise disturbing the ride. At this point, it seems perfect for walkers or horseback riders, but bikers used to smooth, maintained surfaces may want to wait a while before trying this part of the trail. "

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