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The popular Lancaster Junction Trail follows the former Reading and Columbia Railroad, which transported iron ore and coal from Reading to the Chesapeake Bay via the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal for more than 120 years. The line eventually expanded into the Pennsylvania towns of Marietta and Lancaster, carrying as many as 10 passenger trains a day. The railroad declined after World War II and ceased to operate in 1985. Lancaster County purchased the right-of-way and opened it as a trail in 1987.
Today, the 2.3-mile rail-trail runs from Lancaster north to the hamlet of Lancaster Junction. Trail users can expect to pass fields, meadows, and the meandering Chiques Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River. As there is no parking at the northern endpoint, many trail users choose to begin at the southern trailhead in Lancaster and make a round-trip journey of 4.6 miles. The trail is open dawn–dusk.
Plentiful parking and restrooms are available at the southern trailhead, located at the end of Champ Boulevard, just off PA 283. Following the shaded trail north along the old railroad tracks, you’ll pass farmland on your right. In 0.7 mile, cross Spooky Nook Road with caution, as cars from the left will be coming around a bend in the road.
Trees cover the next portion of trail, creating shaded relief in the summer months. With Chiques Creek to your left, you’ll cross South Colebrook Road in a mile and then continue another 0.7 mile to the northern endpoint at Auction Road. To your right is the still-active rail line to which the rail-trail used to connect.
As you enjoy this scenic ride, keep in mind that the properties bordering the trail, including a picnic pavilion near South Colebrook Road, are privately owned. Equestrians are asked to ride at a walking pace.
To reach the southern trailhead from I-283, take Exit 1A to merge onto SR 283 E. In 22.3 miles, take the exit toward Salunga, turn left onto Spooky Nook Road, and go 0.3 mile. Turn right onto Champ Blvd., and go 0.5 mile. Turn left into the trailhead parking lot.
Running and biking on this short stretch of trail is always a fun time. Would not go out of my way to visit but it is a great transportation connection
Upon the recommendation of friends, my husband and I walked this trail yesterday. It is as described, flat, well-maintained, quite wide, and with a lovely stream in several places.
However, what we did not expect was that alongside the trail were numerous meat farming operations nearly every quarter to half mile. Be prepared to walk past windowless enclosures with large fans running where the stench of animal waste is rampant. As if this wasn't sad enough, it was our enormous misfortune to pass by a hog farm as animals were being slaughtered and we could hear their cries. This was a particular nightmare for us as we are both vegetarians and animal rights activists. If we'd had any knowledge that these businesses were alongside the trail we would never have gone near it.
I understand that not all people feel the way we do and may not be bothered by any of this. However, I know there are a lot of like-minded people in this area and I could not in good conscience fail to review this trail so that others would not be subject to what we were subject to. It will be a long time, if ever, that I can get those sounds and images out of my mind.
I enjoy taking my dog for walks on this trail, however the last 2 times I have come across walkers who do not have their dog on a leash. This is showing disrespect for other walkers, and high risk for other dog walkers that could lead into a dog fight from the unleashed dog. It would be nice to have signs posted along the trail, to keep your dog leashed at all times. As a dog owner, keeping your dog leashed at all times is showing respect, and it's a shame that some dog owners cannot abide by common laws.
This trail is very scenic and its so far my favorite trail. Its long enough to get a good workout but short enough to take my children with me and ride as a family. Its an excellent beginners trail. I recommend you ride this trail first and you will love it.
This is my 'go to' trail to get in a nice, nature based walk when I don't have much time. The trail is right off of route 283 with quick & easy access to parking, and the trail head. There are walkers, runners, bikers, and dog walkers, but the trail is plenty wide enough for all. It never feels too crowded. If you like animals, you'll see most likely encounter cows, chickens, sheep, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, & even woodpeckers, amongst the many other birds. Near the 1 mile marker, when we're walking near dusk, we've been hearing 2 owls talk to each other.
Disregard the Auction Road parking icon for the Lancaster Junction Trail map. When you pull in the entrance off of Auction Road you're greeted by a plethora of no parking signs and other signs directing you to the Champ Boulevard parking lot. Not a negative reflection of the trail just trying to save someone a wasted trip to the Northern end of the trail.
Lovely sites and plenty of shade!! No hat or sunglasses needed. Wife and I ran up and back and then was able to bike up and back. Definitely recommend!!
I wanted to get a 5 mile run in while staying in Lancaster.Down and back distance was just about right....I tacked on at the end of the path with a short distance on country roads.I cooled down with a gentle 6 mile bike ride after my run. This trail was well maintained and provided nice cover on a cool/windy 55 degree(fahrenheit) day....the name of the access road is Champ Blvd and not Champ Rd. as stated in the description...a bathroom at the trailhead is great! I enjoyed the opportunity.
Very nice, flat rail trail on crushed stone - takes you by fields and wooded areas next to a stream. I think I counted two road crossings in total. Plenty of parking with nice restroom facilities at trailhead right next to 283; very convenient for changing if necessary. Very clearly marked mile markers every 0.5 miles. Sign at trailhead says it is a 2.5 mile trail; but my GPS recorded around 2.3 miles. Great for running or biking as long as you aren't looking for a long distance.
Great bike ride with ample park at the trail head, with bathrooms too! Was able to extend the ride at trails end on scenic roads to the left and right. Beautiful ride for a short trip on the bike. Really a five star just too short for biking.
Today was my first time on this trail and I enjoyed it. I have no complaints.
Since my husband and I are new to the bike world and have each purchased a hybrid bike. This is a great trail to break in the bikes. A leisurely ride for a round trip of 5 miles. What a great way to start a morning!. The trail is well maintained, even after a rain, there was not many puddles to navigate .
wanted do do something with the family somewhere different from home. This was a nice flat trail about 5 miles long total. nice country side and alot of different birds too. Alot of shade along the way and it was humid and high of 92 when we arrived @ 6:00pm so it was tolerable.it took us about 2 hours total to walk it. Trail is well marked.
Perfect way to spend 90-minutes walking about 5 miles on a crisp, cold sunny January day. My son and friends do training at a nearby soccer field so after dropping them off, this was a good quick getaway for some fresh air and exercise for myself (rather than sitting around the soccer-field parking lot watching my son's team get exercise). This was my first time finding and using the trail. It must be lovely when all is green yet it was still very pleasant with all leaves down for the good, long views of farmlands. Plenty of bird variety with the tree-lined trail, open variety of farm fields, and the stream. I only knew about the trailhead parking at the N end of the trail and that was pleasantly full at midday. I was impressed that the trail was popular even on this breezy, 20-degree-F day with a pleasant number of walkers and joggers. Lots of dogs with owners on their outing, which is nice to see.
Situated a few miles northwest of Lancaster City, the 2.5-mile Lancaster Junction Rail Trail makes a nice get-away on a sunny, spring, suimmer or fall day. The trail, which was refurbished and given a new, crushed stone surface in 2008, is perfect for cyclists, hikers and other non-motorized transportation, and provides picturesque views of bucolic farms, country homes and the Chiques Creek. The trail is tree-lined for most of the distance, protecting users from the blazing sun and creating a cool, lush environment. Although parking is available at either end of the trail, the southern end is recommended because of its close proximity to Route 283.
9/20/2009 4:00pm Sunday This is a short and well maintained trail. Short but Sweet in 2005 summed it up so well. When you come up the ramp from Route 30 at Salunga you are on Spooky Nook Rd. Turn rightat the stop sign; as the road was not marked or I at least I did not see a road sign and then the first right. You park at the end of Champ Road past the Lancaster Hazmat #2. At the end of the trail on Auction Road the road is not heavily traveled and it was nice to ride on the road. I would not take children on the road but for a senior like me it was great. I would like to know if there are fish in the creek that parallels the trail in some places. The whole area is quite picturesque and serene knowing you are just off 83
This trail is lovely and easy to find. It's not very long, but short and sweet, and not heavily used the day we were there. The farm views were so quaint.
My family and I travelled this trail today, August 9, 2008. Absolutely beautiful day and a beautiful trail. It was an easy ride, flat and well maintained. We had a trailer for my son and it was a breeze. We only wish that it was a bit longer and did not have to cross any roads. Access to this trail was so easy too. I wish that we had discovered this years ago.
"This 2.3 trail is very flat and a terrific trail for walking or running. My wife and I walk it probably once a week. It's probably a little short for most bikers, but my mom and I have biked it when other trails are icy or covered with snow. There are 2 road crossings. The first, while quick to cross, can be dangerous, as traffic coming from Rte 283 comes at quick speed around a blind curve. You'll need to cross quickly and cautiously, especially if you've got small kids. The 2nd crossing is much safer and easier to cross. When the trailhead off of 283 re-opened in 2004, a new, state-of-the-art restroom was constructed, as was more parking, thus making it easier access and better for those with small children. The restroom is always clean and we hope visitors keep it that way. There are well-marked poles every half mile, facing both directions. This is an ideal trail for someone who wants to do some running interval training, but finds tracks boring. There is a delightful Amish sheep and goat farm at the one mile mark and another goat farm at about 1.8 miles. There are a few benches along the way. I've seen folks fishing in the little creek that goes from about .7 miles to 1.6 miles. Fair warning: since this trail literally goes through farms, it can be a bit fragrant, depending which direction the wind is blowing. There are NO RESTROOMS or facilities at the north end of the trail. Because of the crushed cinder construction, this trail is seldon muddy, even after heavy rains. Overall a short, but excellent trail for the runner, walker, x-country skier, or person biking with small kids or seniors."
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