Hoodlebug Trail

Pennsylvania

Hoodlebug Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Indiana
Length: 10.5 miles
Trail end points: Maple St. nr. S. Fisher Ave. (Indiana) and Cornell Rd. at Old Wm Penn Hwy/US 119 (Black Lick)
Trail surfaces: Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016911
Trail activities: Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Hoodlebug Trail Description

Any trail with a name like "Hoodlebug" deserves a visit. The 10-mile trail follows the path of the 1856-era Indiana Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which ran from Blairsville north to the town of Indiana. "Hoodlebug" was the local nickname for the self-propelled passenger coach that traveled on the line until 1940.

The trail corridor has played an important role in the region for many years: as part of an extensive network of Native American trails, as a Pennsylvania Railroad branch line and now as a pedestrian and bicycle trail used for both recreation and commuting by local residents and visitors to the area.

Today the trail, surfaced in part with highway millings provided by a partnership between Indiana County Parks and District 10 of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, also provides transportation options for commuters and university students and recreational opportunities along a historic corridor.

A dense forest of mixed deciduous and conifer trees lines most of the trail and provides a fine canopy on hot summer days. In contrast, the southern half of the trail passes rural and suburban homes along the US 119 corridor and follows a sound barrier wall. South of Homer City, as the trail crosses into Cambria County for its last mile, it parallels Two Lick Creek and becomes more rural.

Lengthened by 3 miles in 2005 as part of the Highway 119 improvement project, in 2010 the Hoodlebug Trail was connected to the nearby Ghost Town Trail in Black Lick, Pennsylvania, forming a completed route of 46 miles between Indiana and Ebensburg. From Black Lick west to Blairsville a signed 8-mile on-road route connects to the West Penn Trail, a 16-mile rail-trail that runs from Blairsville to Saltsburg.

A detailed brochure of the three trails is available from Indiana County Parks.

NOTE: The north side of the trail above Homer City is wheelchair-accessible with a slight grade. The southern half of the trail has grades exceeding 5 percent.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Floodway Park trailhead in Homer City, located 5 miles south of Indiana, from US 119 turn onto State Route 56 West. Turn right onto Main Street in Homer City and continue to Floodway Park; a parking area is on the right. Park amenities include restrooms (closed during the winter), a pavilion, picnic tables and a playground. The trailhead is left of the parking lot.

To the Red Barn trailhead in Homer City, from US 119, take Route 56 West in Homer City. Turn left on Main Street. Turn right on Kassal Street and continue to Red Barn Road. Turn right then quickly left onto Boosters Drive. The Red Barn Access Area is on the right.

Hoodlebug Trail Reviews

I rode the Hoodlebug Trail on July 2 starting in Saylor Park near the town of Black Lick. The trail winds through a managed forest area for a mile or so before joining with an interstate highway. I blitzed the two mile section running parallel to the noisy highway before arriving in the town of Homer City. There is a circuitous route through town and a rest area with the local history placards and a bench or two. The trail continues on through a wooded section and then some farmland. There are several bridges and streams along the route where people stop to look and take pictures. You will see a lot of the IUP crowd running and biking along the route as you approach Indiana. I like this trail because it is well maintained and there are several historical sights along the way detailing industry from the 1900's. They tell you what a "hoodlebug" is, too.

Pretty trail!! It was a good challenge on "winter" legs. Mostly unshaded. Levity brewery is in Indiana, right off the trail. Great beer and awesome food!!! A much needed pit stop.

Great trail even in 40 degree rain we enjoyed it! Beautiful bridges and waterfalls. Some intermediate grades and fun turns. Leaves were not quite at peak but gorgeous.

Accordion

The Hoodlebug offers the opportunity to walk, run or ride safely.

Do not be surprised to find avid cyclists and strong athletes along this trail. They know the Hoodlebug is a safe alternative to the highways. They also know this trail is not as flat as the Ghost Town Trail and they welcome the challenge. They will respect your space and will slow down to share the trail or invite you to join their effort.

To the charm of quiet sections under the trees and by the river the Hoodlebug offers the proximity of food and beverage stores.

This trail present, at times, the challenge of a rough surface. It is easy to forget the small inconvenience when you think of all the good attributes the Hoodlebug has.

I'm a regular rider of the nearby Ghost Town Trail (GTT), and found out about the Hoodlebug a few years ago upon a visit to the end of the GTT at Saylor Park. The trailhead for the Hoodlebug is here. The first mile or so out of Saylor Park to the Hoodlebug first goes along the road, and then up and down a few hills, but there are signs marking the way. If you're used to the GTT and other "typical" rail trails, you may not like the Hoodlebug. The first 6 miles are up and down hills, right along a pretty busy highway (Route 119). Also here the trail is mostly tar and chip, not crushed stone like the GTT, so it's a little rougher and bumpier ride. The trail goes through the town of Homer City, so there are some places to stop for a drink/snack if you need. There's a Bi-Lo slightly off the trail, and up a mile or so, there's a Sheetz. After the Sheetz, the trail levels out and goes through a nice woods section (although you can still hear the traffic of Route 119). The trail is relatively flat here until the end of the trail in Indiana (Rose Street). Like I said, if you're used to the flat rail trail like the GTT, you may not like the Hoodlebug. But if you like something "different", and a bit of a challenge, try the Hoodlebug.

Totally agree with the previous comment, this rail trail is beside RT119. There is a lot a road noise, clicking of the high power electric lines from the power plant, and a scenic view of the sewage treatment plant! I will stick to the Ghost Town trail for any future biking in this area of Pa.

This trail is somewhat rough and you have quite a few stop signs along the way. The trail mainly parallels Rt 119. So it can be noisy and less scenic. Otherwise, a nice experience riding this trail.

Rode from J P Saylor Park in Blacklick to Indiana. Slight 1-2 % grade in some sections as you head to Indiana. Great ride back with the same 1-2% downhill aided by tailwind.

Very nice neighbors on the trail, all say hello. great for avid and occasional cyclists. highly recommend this trail.

for a longer ride pick up the Ghost Town Trail at J P Saylor Park.

"I've ridden this trail several times over the years, and most recently this year after riding on the Heshbon section of the Ghost Town Trail. The trail will link with the Ghost Town Trail at Saylor Park in the town of Black Lick, but as of July 2006 there is a short unfinished ""missing link"" from the park and under the Route 119 bridge that is supposed to link the two trails together. I rode from Saylor Park and turned left up the Old Indiana Road, and went for about a mile or so to where the road crosses Route 119, and crossed over there. Route 119 is a 55mph 4-lane road, and is dangerous to cross...hence the underpass that they are planning to have cross under it near the park.

The newest south section of the trail from near Black Lick up to the Homer City Legion baseball field is around 3.5 miles long. This section of the trail runs along the west side of Route 119's south-bound lane, and is up on the embankment and parallel to the highway. This section is kind of a semi-course pavement that looks similar to a tar-and-chip road treatment...not as smooth or as ""fast"" as regular asphalt but still OK for a roadbike. Since this section is right next to the highway, it passes right across people's driveways, and various road intersections.

In Homer City you have to make a left turn on to the public street, near the BiLo supermarket, and ride for about a block to re-connect with the trail heading north. Leaving Homer City and heading north the trail still runs parallel to Rt.119, but is farther away from it and is more secluded in some places. Mostly the trail runs past various neighborhoods, and through short wooded sections. Along the way the trail passes over a few short bridges over creeks, and under a railroad trestle.

It's 6 miles for this section of trail from the Homer City baseball field, up until the trail ends in the parking lot of the IUP campus near the football field.

Overall it's a pretty nice trail, but it's more of a suburban trail, since it goes through towns and crosses various roads along it's length. It's not a secluded ""out in the woods"" type of trail like the nearby Ghost Town Trail. One thing that I did notice about it was that the surface seems to have gotten ""lumpier"" over the years in some places, probably due to frost heaves or tree roots under the surface. "

This is a very nice trail although it could use more restroom facilities. The trail will soon link up to the Ghost Town Trail at Dilltown.

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