Iron Horse Trail (PA)


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Iron Horse Trail (PA) Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Perry
Length: 10 miles
Trail end points: Big Spring State Park, Tuscarora S.F. and New Germantown
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016981
Trail activities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Iron Horse Trail (PA) Description

The Iron Horse Trail follows two abandoned rail beds: the Path Valley Railroad and the Perry Lumber Company Railroad. Originally, the Path Valley Railroad was going to be an extension for the Newport and Shermans Valley Railroad and would end in Hancock, Maryland. After the grade was constructed to New Germantown, builders decided it would not be possible to tunnel through Conococheague Mountain, so the venture was abandoned.

As for the Perry railroad, the Perry Lumber Company purchased a Climax locomotive in 1901 to remove 19,000 acres of timber from western Perry County. When the company disbanded in 1906, the track and land were sold to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, becoming one of the first large purchases for the Tuscarora State Forest.

The 10-mile trail is within Tuscarora State Forest and was constructed in 1981 by the Youth Conservation Corps working with the Department of Environmental Resources Bureau of Forestry. Unlike some rail-trails, the Iron Horse Trail has some moderate climbs and requires good hiking boots.

There are two different sections of the trail. One is on the north side of Route 274 and follows the Path Valley Railroad grade; the other is on the south side of Route 274 and follows the Perry Lumber Company Railroad.

Parking and Trail Access

The Big Spring State Park trailhead is on Route 274 near the Perry/Franklin County line. A second trailhead is 2 miles southwest of New Germantown on Route 274.

Iron Horse Trail (PA) Reviews

Having seen the reviews and the dates they were submitted I am glad to say that work has been done to upgrade the trail in the summer of 2018. A group of Conservation Corps workers worked on parts of the trail and local
mountain bikers also continue to do work. Haven't hiked the whole trail but a lot of progress was made. Will update when I hike the complete trail.

This trail is terrible! Entered off Bryner rd and it was immediately evident that this is not a bike trail for the casual biker. Does not even look like a rail trail. Very overgrown and extremely difficult.

Impossible to ride with a Hybrid... This may be a good hiking trail (which is what we wound up doing), but, not what we were expecting a nice riding trail ... The cool thing about the area is that the side trail to the abandoned tunnel is way cool!


Went to hike a bit while my son and friends mountain biked. I parked in a well-marked small lot that indicated that the iron horse trail was across the roadway. I walked to where the trail was supposed to be but it was totally unmaintained and overgrown. Waste of time IMO to try to hike this trail. Would be better if they'd just give up and remove the trail signage if they are going to let the trail decay to this point.

really rocky... pretty difficult to ride. due to the fact that it folow a stream. the trail was unmaintained when i went... almost winter though. the trail got nice and smoothed out ofter mile 5 or so, but then after mile 8ish it became really hard to folow. Pretty place though. not really recomended to ride the whole trail during the off seasons :).

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