David S. Ammerman Trail (formerly Clearfield to Grampian Trail)

Pennsylvania

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David S. Ammerman Trail (formerly Clearfield to Grampian Trail) Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Clearfield
Length: 10.6 miles
Trail end points: Chester St. and Linden St. (Clearfield) and PA 729/Grandview Road and W. Stronach Road (Grampian)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016926
Trail activities: Bike, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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David S. Ammerman Trail (formerly Clearfield to Grampian Trail) Description

The David S. Ammerman Trail rolls through Pennsylvania coal country for nearly 11 miles between Clearfield and Grampian, skirting the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and two of its tributaries. Originally dubbed the Clearfield to Grampian Trail, the path was renamed in 2011 to memorialize local resident David S. Ammerman, who played a huge role in getting the trail built.

The trail runs in the old railbed of the Tyrone & Clearfield Railroad, which extended to Curwensville in 1874 and Grampian after that. The Pennsylvania Railroad leased the line to serve the extensive lumber and coal industries in the Appalachian Plateau. More than 100 years later, Ammerman, a local attorney, pushed the idea of using the unused railway as a recreation corridor. The Clearfield County Rails to Trails Association subsequently bought the unused right-of-way from Conrail in 1992 and completed the first trail segment in 1996.

The crushed-limestone trail runs slightly upslope from Clearfield to Grampian, allowing bicyclists to coast long stretches downhill from Grampian. With Curwensville situated about halfway, there are many opportunities for enjoying refreshments or for picking up provisions for covered picnic tables.

At the trail’s eastern end, early settlers near the West Branch of the Susquehanna River named the town Clearfield for the open spaces in the woods where bison browsed and American Indians had farmed. The village, originally named Chinklacamoose, had been settled for more than a thousand years. It was located along the Great Shamokin Path that connected tribal settlements on the Susquehanna and Allegheny Rivers.

The path stays close to Clearfield Curwensville Highway for the first 1.5 miles before it enters a more wooded stretch alongside the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. An early canoe route through the Appalachians, the river was later used to float timber downstream from clear-cutting operations. At 3.4 miles, a renovated railroad bridge spanning the river offers views of the watercourse and surrounding woods.

As you enter Curwensville at 5 miles, the West Branch turns south, but the trail follows its tributary, Anderson Creek, a popular kayaking stream. As the trail crosses Filbert Street, it passes by the Curwensville Feed Store (look to your right), an old Pennsylvania Railroad depot. During the same 1889 storms that caused the Johnstown Flood, floodwaters lapped at the depot’s foundation. On the way out of town, you’ll pass a former brickmaking plant now used to make cement for high-tech applications.

The trail gets a more remote feel after Curwensville. The route crosses Anderson Creek twice and then follows a still smaller tributary, Kratzer Run, through a forest that becomes denser. In about 5 more miles, you’ll reach Grampian, named after the Grampian Mountains of Scotland. From here, it’s all downhill back to Clearfield.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the trailhead in Clearfield from I-80, take Exit 120 to PA 879/Clearfield Shawville Hwy. Head south, and go 3.7 miles. Turn right onto Spruce St., go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto Chester St. Go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto Linden St. Look for trailhead parking immediately on your left.

To reach the trailhead in Grampian from I-80 E, take Exit 97 to US 219 S toward DuBois/Brockway. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for US 219, and merge onto US 219 S. Go 0.2 mile, continue on US 219 S, and go 2.2 miles. Turn right onto Liberty Blvd., go 0.6 mile, and continue onto US 219 S. Go 15.9 miles, and stay straight on PA 729/Grandview Road. Go 300 feet, and look for trailhead parking on the left.

To reach the trailhead in Grampian from I-80 W, take Exit 120. Turn left onto PA 879 W (signs for Clearfield), and go 4.3 miles. Turn left to stay on PA 879 W, go 9.9 miles, and turn left onto Grandview Road. Go 300 feet, and look for trailhead parking on the left.

A new gravel parking area has been availed on Arnoldtown Road (36 Arnoldtown Road). 



David S. Ammerman Trail (formerly Clearfield to Grampian Trail) Reviews

My nephew and I biked this trail from Grampian to Clearfield and back. The trail itself is very well maintained and easy riding, even for a novice like myself. I would say that if you are in marginal physical shape (like myself) you should plan on the climb from Curwensville to Grampian to be what I would call challenging. However, the scenery is fantastic! This trail is well worth visiting!

Today Aug 23, 2018 we biked the trail from Clearfield to Curwensville. Our first problem was not finding the trail head. The route is unclearly marked. Thanks to one of Clearfield ' s police officers who helped us locate the trail head. The other thing is the trail needs the brush and weeds cut back. Over all it's a nice trail. Just need a bit of upkeep.

We rode to Clearfield from Grampian. Enjoyed the 12 mph coast for about 3 1/2 miles leaving Grampion. The return up hill was about 5 mph. Emjoyef the river and creek an run views. Trail is hard packed cinder. No problem with comfort style bikes

Accordion

We live about 30 minutes from Curwensville, and have done a few of the other rail trails in central PA, but never tried this one as on the maps it appeared to run pretty close to some well-traveled roads. After putting it off for several years though, and wanting to try something different, we finally decided to give it a shot.

After reading several reviews and talking to others who have done the trail, we decided to try the section from Curwensville to Grampian first as it was described as more scenic that the Clearfield to Curwensville section. It was hard to find good information on parking facilities and mileage points for the trail online (other than the two trailhead ends), and we didn't want to park right in Curwensville. I finally found info that there was limited parking on Rustic Road, across from Aletta's Farm Market. Just outside of Curwensville, we came to a large parking area in front of an old brick factory, and decided to parked there instead. This increased the ride to Grampian by about half a mile, and added some nice scenery. During the course of our ride, we discovered, there is also unofficial parking at almost every country road the trail crosses, of which there are several.

The trail itself was in good shape, but there were a few small holes along the edges where some culverts had caved-in, if you were accidentally riding too close to the edge and hit one it would definitely be a big bump, but chances of that would be pretty slim, there were only one or two over 5 miles. The main thing to be aware of going towards Grampian is the climb. Technically, it's not that steep (4%?), but it is a constant uphill the whole ride from where we started almost to the Grampian trailhead, and seems steeper in short sections. Being 54 and 51, and in so-so physical condition, it was a real workout for the legs, but down-shitfing to a low gear made it do-able with only one stop at about the halfway point. Our 15-year old son had no trouble whatsoever. The nice thing is you can coast the whole way back in no time at all.

Scenery-wise, I'd rate this section of the trail a 7+ (comparing to Clarion/Little Toby Trail or Lower Trail at 8-9). It crosses some nice streams, passes under an old RR bridge (abandoned line), and follows Kratzer Run for much of the route. There are a lot of rhododendron along the sides, some small rock overhangs at one spot, and lots of mountain laurel in one area. 90% of this section was in shade. The biggest negative was the road noise. You are riding parallel to a fairly well-traveled, 2-lane road for about 85% of the route, and you can definitely hear cars and trucks on it, although if the leaves are out, you can't see it, as it is on the other side of Kratzer Run.

I had read that there were no bathroom facilities along the route, but when we crossed Rustic Road there was a sign indicating restrooms were available at Aletta's Market (across the road), and it looked like there was a port-a-potty in the parking lot there. Further on, there was a port-a-potty actually on the side of the trail (I'm guessing around a mile/mile-and-a-half or so from the Grampian end?) There were 2 picnic tables under shelters on this section, and a couple of benches.

Eventually, we would like to do the section from Curwensville to Clearfield, although that looks to be much less scenic.

If you are looking for a scenic trail in this region with a lot of historic spots to explore, I suggest the Clarion–Little Toby Trail from Brockway to Ridgeway.

Rode the trail on 8/22, trail needs some maintenance but overall is in good condition. First 2 miles near Clearfield are rather urban and close to traffic. The 4 mile climb at the Grampian end is worth it for return downhill ride. Ate at Ethan's in Clearfield, great food at a reasonable price.

This trail is for bicycle, walking and jogging. There are different grades on the trail. I found the route to Grampian had some stronger grades which is easier noticed while riding a bicycle. Great views of rivers and creeks. Often you walk along busy roads so you will hear traffic. I found the route from Curwensville towards Grampian has better scenery. You may see all types of wild life including bear during your adventure. There are signs stating NO HORSEBACK ALLOWED even though this website states differently. Aleeta's Farm Stand offers restroom use and that is the only bathroom.

Parked at the trail head in Clearfield behind the True Value Store. Well marked. Trail was well maintained, ran along a river and then at the 5 mile mark it headed up hill to about 10.5 miles. Easy climb. Ride back was generally downhill for about half the ride. Had a couple of road crossings, but had traffic lights. Found a nice Italian restaurant called Moena near the county courthouse. Had a very nice separate bar that had Fat Tire on tap. Had a pasta dinner that was very good. Price was moderate, but worth it.

This ten-mile trail from Clearfield to Grampian is in very good condition and offers some wonderful scenery. Yes, there are a few sections that pass through urban areas, but the 90% of the trail that winds along the river and through wooded areas is well worth it. There are several bridges that cross various streams and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, all of which offer great views.

As others have suggested, you should begin your ride from the Clearfield end as there is a three-mile 3 to 4% climb going into Grampian. That climb also happens to be through some of the most scenic wooded areas so it is worth the effort. However, there isn't anything except a parking area at the Grampian end of the trail.

There aren't any restroom facilities along this trail, but there are commercial establishments that allow cyclists to use their facilities.

This was our first visit to this trail and on a perfect autumn day it was almost deserted. We will definitely ride this one again.

A nice trail as described by previous reviewers, but don't forget to visit the Bee Kind Winery approx. 3 miles from the Clearfield trail head. On the left hand side of the trail as you are heading towards Grampian, and just before the rail bridge, you will see a beautiful house with amazing gardens. Look for the little wooden foot bridge (I recommend walking your bike from here) and go around to the front of the house towards the main road. Joe, the owner, is especially welcoming and knowledgable of the area. So if you need more history of the trail, he could probably tell you.

I just got back from a nice late August ride with my three kids (ages 12, 9 and 9). We started at the Clearfield end on the trail, as suggested by someone else from a previous review. We parked near the "trailhead" behind what used to be the True Value Hardware store. There was ample parking near the trailhead, but no facilities.

As we departed Clearfield, we rode along the trail behind several local businesses and some residential properties. We had to cross over PA Route 879 at a well-marked intersection with pedestrian crossing signals. Since I had the kids, I made sure to dismount, press the button and walk across the intersection with the light.

Back on the trail, we rode parallel to the highway. We were well off the road on the nice, crushed-stone trail, but we did have quite a bit of road noise from the traffic. As we continued on, we had several road crossings (driveways mostly) to navigate, but each was well marked for both the cyclists on the trail and the cars on the road.

We passed the Winter Barn antique store at one road crossing. I make a point to remember to mention this place as a potential stop for anyone who likes antiques. It would be a good stop along the way for this ride as it is right off the trail.

From here, we entered a more rural part of the trail as it follows the banks of the river. The views are beautiful. We stopped at the picnic table around mile 2.5 for the lunch we brought along. We continued along the trail passing several other picnic tables - some under covered pavilions. There were several points along the way that fishermen had obviously used to find their way down to the river.

We passed a couple of farms and nice out-of-the-way private residences. One had some nice looking ponds and were well marked as "private property".

We continued on the trail passing over the river on a bridge. The view of the river from the bridge was gorgeous.

As we passed through Curwensville, the trail crosses an intersection of two roads. The trail itself is not easily visible, but there is a nice sign/map at each end that identifies the proper and safe way to cross the two roads. There are traffic lights with pedestrian buttons. We dismounted and crossed on foot. One set of pedestrian crossing buttons was broken, so we simply crossed with the lights. There were some minor road crossings in Curwensville, but very, very light traffic so it was no problem for us.

Once we left Curwensville and headed on to Grampian, we noticed that there was a much higher grade uphill. I remembered the other review that mentioned this. Well, the kids got tired around mile marker 6.5. We continued on to marker 7.5, so that we could make our round trip a solid 15. As we coasted downhill from 7.5 to 6, the ride made the wind blow and cool us off!

In all, our 15 mile trip took us 3.5 hours... but that also included our break for lunch and leisurely pace to ride with the younger kids.

My only "complaints" about this trail is a lack of restroom facilities at the trailheads and the slight confusion about the road crossing in Curwensville. However, these are only minor issues. The trail is relatively well maintained and in good repair. There are several trailheads where you can access the trail and all seemed to have a few places to park, etc.

In all, this was a great trip for a lazy Saturday afternoon. I'm looking forward to bringing a larger group on this trail in a couple of months. I'm sure the Fall leaves will make this trip picturesque.

In response to:

"This trail is particularly nice on the Curwensville - Grampian end - loaded with rhododendron. Uphill all the way, fairly steep for a railroad grade, but one can coast for most of the five miles back from Grampian to Curwensville. Clearfield to Curwensville is non-descript, mostly along the highway. We ride mostly during the week and there are NO facilities once one leaves Clearfield! Curwensville & Grampian are decidedly cylist-unfriendly, although there is a community park 1/2 mile north of Grampian on Rt.219 that may be open at times on weekends."


The trail from Curwensville to Clearfield is not mostly along a highway. There is a river between the trail and SR 879 for miles as you pass through farmland. The last mile and a half approaching Clearfield are near SR 879.

Having biked the trail many times over the years, as many people do, I have never noticed any unfriendliness whatsoever.

There are restroom facilities at the Clearfield trailhead, mid-trail at Aletta's Market and at the trailhead at Grampian.

I rode this trail a few weeks ago. It is very nicely constructed and I enjoyed the scenic ride. I will agree with one of the other people who rated this trail. Start in Clearfield and ride to Grampian. I started in Grampian and rode to Clearfield and back. I would have enjoyed coasting downhill after riding up the grade to Grampian. I highly recommend this trail for anyone. Enjoy!

We have been broke down here for a few days in an over the road truck. I have been able to walk the trail twice and also ride my bike on the trail twice. The trail is flat and easy with beautiful scenery in the fall. What really impressed my was the people I met while walking and biking. What a friendly group and made the hike a pleasure! Hope some day to come back and see this trail again.

My aunt and uncle live in a small town called Curwensville Pa.
I look forward to visiting them not only to spend time with them but also to spend time with them walking on the rails to trails. I live four hours away so I only visit once a year. When I Visit them it is so memorable and relaxing because we always walk on the trail and talk about all kinds of things but most of all I enjoy just walking with them and enjoying the surroundings. The sound of the falling water and the rushing Susquehanna River. All the beautiful birds and their songs. Looking at all the beautiful wild flowers. The old bridges that you cross. Feeding the fish in the small ponds along the way & seeing small animals.
I also enjoy all the friendly faces of the other people who enjoy the trail. I am so grateful to the people who created this trail it is the most wonderful idea and very much enjoyed.


Sincerely,Rebecca

"Whatever you do, start your circuit ride in Clearfield b/c the 3.5 miles into Grampian are UP. Although the trail surface is excellent, the trail lacks a certain pinache. Absolutely nothing going on in Grampian. Worth doing once..."

"This trail is particularly nice on the Curwensville - Grampian end - loaded with rhododendron. Uphill all the way, fairly steep for a railroad grade, but one can coast for most of the five miles back from Grampian to Curwensville. Clearfield to Curwensville is non-descript, mostly along the highway. We ride mostly during the week and there are NO facilities once one leaves Clearfield! Curwensville & Grampian are decidedly cylist-unfriendly, although there is a community park 1/2 mile north of Grampian on Rt.219 that may be open at times on weekends."

"My mother and I recently rode the Clearfield-Grampian Trail as a warm-up to riding the Ghost-Town trail on our way from State College PA. What a pleasant surprise! This trail is a must visit on many levels.

For starters it is very well groomed and easy to ride. It is clearly marked (both coming and going) every half mile. The first six miles (leaving from Clearfield) are very flat and non-taxing for the casual biker. During these 6 miles there were mini-waterfalls to both sides.

The ride parallels the west branch of the Susquehanna River with multiple panoramas suitable for good photos. The ride also passes by large factory buildings both old and new.

At about the 6 mile point (beginning after you pass under an old train bridge and see a picnic table under an overhang) you'll begin about a 3 1/2 mile climb. While not challenging to the fit rider, the casual rider will slow down a great deal. On the climb my mom and I saw lots of Mountain Laurel and a beautiful stream.

The last half mile into Grampian is pretty, flat and unspectacular. When you get to the trailhead at Grampian, turn right on the street and go up about 2 blocks. There's a grocery store and a pizza and ice cream shop on the left.

For those with a sag vehicle who only wish to ride one direction begin in Grampian for a much quicker and easier ride."

"Great morning walking, all sorts of wildlife and sights to see."

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