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Deep within the Allegheny National Forest lies a rail-trail with a past. The Kinzua Valley Trail follows the route of the former Kinzua and Hemlock Railroad (later Valley Railroad) near the town of Westline. The railroad fueled the economic vitality of the area from the early to mid-1900s, transporting harvested wood to local lumber mills. As more trees were felled, lumber production slowed, and removal of the Valley Railroad tracks began in the late 1930s.
In the 1970s, people began using the route informally as a cross-country ski trail. After forming in 1999, the Kinzua Valley Trail Club transformed the popular route into what’s now known as the Kinzua Valley Trail. Today, nearly 6 miles of the path provide users a calm, well-maintained trail experience that follows the Kinzua Creek west to Kane. A hilly, on-road, 0.6-mile extension on Forest Road now connects users to the Red Bridge Bank Fishing Area in Kane.
Parking is available at the eastern trailhead in Westline, a community in Mt. Jewett, the best place to begin your trail experience. From here, you’ll traverse through the Allegheny National Forest on a crushed-stone pathway following the Kinzua Creek. Whether you’re biking, hiking, or resting on one of the benches lining the trail, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of wetland areas along the creek and a full canopy of mature trees bordering the path. Wildlife, including deer and local birds, also frequent the trail.
In approximately 5.5 miles, after passing Little Meade Run to your right, you’ll reach a trailhead with a small parking area at Forest Road 122. From here, adventurous trail users can continue 1 mile to SR 321/Kane-Marshburg Road, where the trail ends. The last 0.7 mile, between Root Run and the final trailhead, is an on-road gravel-surfaced section that is lined with share the road signage and features more grade changes than the rest of the trail. The payoff, however, is exquisite. From SR 321/Kane-Marshburg Road, cross the road to the Red Bridge Bank Fishing Area overlooking the Allegheny River. There is limited parking at this drop-off area, with room for only a few cars.
The Kinzua Valley Trail Club is working to extend the Kinzua Valley Trail to Kinzua Bridge State Park and the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk to create a 21-mile trail. Note that motorized vehicles are prohibited along the Kinzua Valley Trail, with the exception of handicapped scooters and power chairs.
To reach the eastern trailhead in Westline from the intersection of US 6 and US 219 in Kane, head north on US 219/Pittsburgh-Buffalo Hwy., and go 5.1 miles. Turn left onto SR 3006/-Westline Road, keeping an eye out for directional trail signage. Go 3.2 miles, turn right onto Kinzua Road, and then take the first left onto Pine Trail. Parking is available 150 feet ahead at the end of Pine Trail.
To reach parking at the Red Bridge Bank Fishing Area from the intersection of US 6 and US 219 in Kane, follow the directions above to Kinzua Road, and go 0.3 mile. Continue onto Forest Road 122/CCC Road, and go 1.9 miles. Turn left to stay on Forest Road 122, and go 4.2 miles. Turn right onto SR 321 N/Kane-Marshburg Road, and then immediately turn left onto Red Bridge Bank Fishing Road. Go 0.1 mile to the end of the road, which dead-ends into a parking lot. To find the western trailhead, head back out along Red Bridge Bank Fishing Road for 0.1 mile, and turn right onto SR 321 N/Kane-Marshburg Road. Look for the trailhead endpoint on your left in less than 400 feet.
This trail is fabulous! We only walked a short distance from the Westline trailhead/parking but enjoyed the time. The trail is maintained very well and has plenty of benches for breaks. We don't do many long hikes anymore due to age and mobility issues for us and our 14 year old dog, so we look for nice level places like this. This trail follows Kinzua Creek and eventually they hope to connect to Kinzua Bridge State Park. It is easy to find just off Hwy 219 and taking the turn to Westline. Westline Inn is just before one parking area with pavilion, grill and picnic tables. Plenty of parking. There were two other trail crossings/parking areas before this one. Lots of signage makes it easy to find. PA has some of the best rail trails we've ever been to. If you are in the area, make sure to try them all!
We were camping at red bridge, and going to see the Pennsylvania elk. We were looking for some thing else to do in the area and saw this trail, so we brought our bicycles. This trail is awesome. We rode from our campsite at red bridge to the trail head and went 10 miles to the new covered bridge. I had to put my bike computer on so I could see how far we went, because they have added more to the trail from what we originally thought. I see it will be extended past the covered bridge eventually but we stopped there. Very scenic along the river. My husband was impressed at the construction of the bridges. The two by fours were laid flat together, so there were no nails sticking up. Some old bike bridges have broken off nails sticking up and hence flat tires on the bike. Really enjoyed this trail, will do it again. Lunch at historic Westline inn along the way. Delicious. Really enjoyed this trail, will do it again.
I enjoyed riding this scenic trail along the river. The trail was in great shape
Started at the Kinkua Bridge State Park and road a short distance towards Kane. It appears this section is complete and the description should be updated. Beautiful area and were able to see two large hawks in the trees.
Really enjoyed this trail. Very scenic grade not to hilly. Was awesome we could see all the places that the turtles had been digging to lay eggs. Trail was very busy this Father’s Day.
We entered near Red Bridge, rode 6 miles to Westline and had friends pick us up because we got a late start and it was too hot for us to ride back. The views are so incredible. We loved the remote wilderness.
We hike, bike, and ski this trail often. What a great asset to the area!!! Wish the beavers and extreme weather events did not keep damaging sections though.
Trail runs along the Allegheny River, along the bottom of the mountains. We parked at the Trailhead in Westline and biked to Route 321 at Little Meade Run. Trail did continue to Red Bridge, another mile and a half away. Total trail that is completed is 6.3 miles as of July, 2017. In Westline there is the Westline Inn which offers lodging and food. Check with their website on hours.
Trail goes through wooded and open areas. Seems kind of on the remote side. There is no cell phone service. Trail surface is a little rough but we knew this ahead of time. Not a bad trail surface. Some areas were washed out due to storms but very much passable. We didn't have any trouble getting through the trail. Saw a few people.
At the Trailhead in Westline there is parking for about 20 cars and a picnic area. At the 321 area of the trail there is parking for about 10 cars.
All in all, a great little trail if you want to experience the Allegheny National Forest.
Trail is about a half hour away (by vehicle) from Kinzua Dam if you want to check it out while in the area.
We biked on the Kinzua Trail recently and were favorably impressed. We are from New York, and visit family in NW Pennsylvania often. This is the best bike trail we have been on in years. The reasons are the design and layout are easy enough to ride and offer lovely and surprising views around every turn. At the right time, there are many butterflies you won't see elsewhere. The small wetlands and woodland glades are marvelous and offer visual variety. We also saw many birds, flowers and native plants unique to the region. There are several bridges arching over streams and benches for resting. If you enjoy walking, biking or jogging, this trail is delightful and refreshing. The trailhead is clearly marked and there is adequate parking. The trail was also very clean and well-maintained. It is great to find a trail dedicated to non-motorized recreational use. I hope PA. creates more of these trails for conservation and recreation.
I walk this trail frequently. It is great if your just out for a leisurely stroll or if your walking the dogs or power walking. The trail follows the creek and they have plenty of benches along the trail facing the creek to allow you to just sit and ponder and enjoy the surroundings. They also have 1/4 mile markers so you know how far you've walked, biked or run.
The trail now is about 3 - 3.5 miles but plans are in place to take the trail from Westline to Red Bridge...
They also have a small pavilon at the mouth of the trail with a couple picnic tables and a train shaped grill... Please take your trash with you when you go.. Bears!!!
A lot of thought went into this trail and the organizers did an amazing job to ensure a tremendous experience in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest!
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