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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.
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.
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