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While the Lebanon Valley might be best known for its chocolate and distinctive bologna, iron ore is what put the region on the map in the 1700s. The 18-mile Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail—and the connecting Conewago Recreation Trail—trace the route of the Cornwall & Lebanon Railroad and its successors, which served the iron mine and foundry until the tracks and mine were wiped out by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.
Constructed by millionaire industrialist Robert Coleman in 1883, the Cornwall & Lebanon Railroad competed directly with a railroad that was already serving the Cornwall iron mine and foundry. In the 1890s, Coleman built a vacation resort at Mount Gretna to augment his passenger business. You can still visit these landmarks, which are minutes from the trail.
Coleman’s empire collapsed, and the Pennsylvania Railroad gained control of his rail line in 1918. After it fell into disuse in the wake of Tropical Storm Agnes, neighboring Lancaster County acquired its corridor segment in 1979 and created the 5-mile Conewago Recreation Trail. In 1996 a nonprofit began efforts to develop the trail in Lebanon County and completed the current trail in 2009 (a wood chip side path is for horses, which are only permitted south of Rocherty Road). Future plans call for closing the 10-mile gap to the Swatara Rail-Trail; crews completed two segments totaling 3 miles in 2018. The Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail—along with the Conewago Recreation Trail and others—is part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail that connects the 9/11, Flight 93, and Pentagon Memorials.
Starting in Lebanon, you’re in a good spot to sample Pennsylvania Dutch cooking—from Lebanon bologna to scrapple (pork trimmings) to schnitz and knepp (ham, dried apples, and dumplings). You’ll pass through Lebanon for 2.2 miles from US 422 until you’re out of town and following a utility corridor to Zinns Mill Road. From here, it’s another 1.7 miles to the Cornwall trailhead, where you’ll find a snack stand in the shape of a barrel.
Cornwall was home to the mine and the Cornwall Iron Furnace, which operated 1742–1883. The brick Gothic Revival iron furnace building, part of a National Historic Landmark District, stands today much as it did the day it closed. To visit from the trailhead, turn left onto Cornwall Road/Boyd Street, and then turn right onto Boyd Street and follow it to the end—a total distance of 0.6 mile.
Leaving the Cornwall trailhead, the route trends uphill to Mount Gretna in about 4 more miles, where Conewago Creek meets Conewago Lake. Mount Gretna is also the site of Coleman’s vacation resort and Chautauqua-style arts and education retreat. Much of the town’s architecture and flavor remains. Look for a side trail on the left to take a jaunt into town. Check the Mount Gretna website (mtgretna.com) for such events as a homes tour, art show, and theater productions.
Continuing downhill 2.5 miles, the trail passes through Colebrook, where you’ll find a drive-in and tavern within a couple of blocks of the trail. In another 0.5 mile, the path crosses the Horse-Shoe Trail, an equestrian and pedestrian trail that runs 140 miles between Valley Forge and Harrisburg. Another 4 miles through farmland takes you to the county line, where the trail becomes the Conewago Recreation Trail.
Two short, isolated sections of trail totaling 3 miles have also been constructed north of the main segment. The first segment in Lebanon begins at Union Canal Tunnel Park, where parking and picnic benches are available, and extends north just less than 2 miles to Long Lane. The second segment begins in Bunker Hill near PA 72 and Swatara Creek and extends through Jonestown to US 22.
To reach the Lebanon trailhead from I-81, take Exit 85 (and keep left, then turn left) or 85A to SR 934 S. Head 0.8 mile south, and turn left to merge onto US 22 E/William Penn Hwy. Go 4.3 miles, and exit onto SR 72 S toward Lebanon. Turn right onto SR 72 S, and go 6.3 miles. Turn right onto N. 10th St., which is also SR 72, and go 0.9 mile. Then turn left onto Walnut St., and go 0.2 mile. Turn right onto S. Eighth St., go 0.4 mile, and turn right into the trailhead parking lot. Access the endpoint by turning right onto the trail and heading north 0.6 mile.
To reach the Lebanon trailhead from I-78 W, take Exit 8 for US 22 W toward SR 343/Lebanon/-Fredericksburg. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Fredericksburg, and merge onto US 22 W. Go 2.4 miles, turn left onto SR 343 S, and go 6.6 miles. Turn right onto Maple St., go 0.1 mile, and turn left at the first cross street onto N. Eighth St. Go 1.4 miles, and turn right into the parking lot. Access the endpoint by turning right onto the trail and heading north 0.6 mile.
While I often write reviews of trails, I seldom include reviews of places to eat along the trails. The Lebanon Valley Rail Trail is my go to trail, its a modest 40 minute drive, but if I ride the whole trail and include the 3 mile loop through South Hills Park and the 5 mile Conewago trail the entire ride is over 50 miles. When we are out for that long of a ride we like to stop to get something to eat. In the summer months we stop at the Jigger Shop in Mount Gretna but they are closed in the winter so I was looking for other places to eat. I prefer to dine at local eateries rather than big chain places, just a personal preference. Thanks to the TrailLink site I was able to spot a new place just off the trail near the Lebanon Expo Center, Ancestor Coffeehouse and Creperie. I am told by my fellow riders that they have great coffee and I can attest to their delicious crepes. They are open 7 days a week but the hours vary slightly. As they are off the trail about a half a mile I thought that I would include directions. From Lebanon head south to just past mile marker 13, go another 0.3 miles and take the paved trail to the right, at the bottom of the short hill turn hard right and follow the trail to the road. Go left on Springfield then left on Blackford, the restaurant will be on your right in a small strip mall. From Cornwall head north and pass the Lebanon Expo Center, at the end of the short paved section make a HARD left onto a paved trail then follow the directions above. One last note, I do not work at the creperie, nor do I know any of their employees. I just happen to stop by and liked the food and service.
Mt. Gretna is very long, shady, hill, but with a tolerable grade ... which is great highlight. Most of the trail is crushed stone, with some paved sections in Cornwall & Lebanon; lots of shady sections. Unfortunately it dead ends at rt. 422 (read reviewer joelkring's comments about the sections north of rt. 422, but it means riding the streets).
Have made it as far south as Prospect Rd on the Conewago Recreational Trail. In Lebanon, there is an offshoot trail, just south of Wilhelm Ave. It leads to South Hills Park & the VA Medical Center. And South Hills Park has a 9.5% grade, which dwarfs Mt. Gretna.
Trail heads: Only Lawn & Cornwall have port-a-johns, so those are the best to park the car.
Bad road crossing, from a trike's perspective: Butler Rd. Bikes & pedestrians will have no problem, but trikes & wide strollers need to duck under the crossbar.
Chester Valley Trail & the Perkiomen Trails are also nice riding.
Wish list for this trail: 1) Connect it to the NW Lancaster County River Trail, 2) Connect the northern sections in Lebanon, and 3) Get rid of that stupid narrow gate at Butler Rd.
On Sunday Aug. 4, we started at the root beer barrel (Cornwall parking lot) and rode north on the trail then turned left at Chestnut Street, go about 0.9 miles and turn right on 22nd Street (it may have a different name at this end of the street) go 0.1 mile and cross US 422 at a traffic light onto the parking lot of the Lebanon Valley Mall. Head toward the north-west corner of the parking area then turn right on 25th street. Wait for the green light to go through the RR underpass, the trail will be on your left. Cross the road then turn left along the new parking lot and follow the new trail for about 1.8 miles to Long Lane. Adds about 7 miles, 3 miles on roads that at least on a Sunday morning were not too busy. Great addition to an already good trail.
We parked at 8th St. Plenty of parking. We rode 24 miles,12 one way & 12 back.Nice trail,some inclines,not bad though..Paved in parts & crushed stone. Woods & residential,some road crossings.
As of May 18, 2019, trail appears to still end at Rt 422 in Lebanon. There was a sign on the North side of 422 saying "trail ends" or similar.
Hence, the posted photo of a white bridge:
"Lebanon Valley Rail Trail
This tunnel carries the Jonestown segment of the trail under Route 22. As of 2018, this is the north end of the trail. No connection to the road has yet been built.
appears to be in error as of this date, as there is not yet a clear path to continue north of Rt 422. Perhaps the trail does begin again somewhere north of Rt 422, but it wasn't obvious to me from the location of the intersection of the trail and Rt 422.
I hope this helps.
I was looking at the map of the trail and saw a short section of trail that I was never on between N. 25th Street and Long Lane, just north of where the main section of the trail ends (at US 422 aka Ben Franklin Hwy). I drove there to discover that it is currently under construction, large dump trucks and front end loaders moving about. Look forward to checking it out in the spring.
A few weekends ago a good friend and I biked the entire trail starting in Lebanon and ultimately ending in Columbia along the river. The 14.5 mile trail is well taken care of and their were plenty of workers patching up spots along the way (they just had tons of rain the week before). The majority of the trail is well shaded and there are plenty of places to stop and take a break along the way. A very pretty ride through the country side. Well worth returning to time and time again. If you continue like we did along the Conewago Connector Trail it is a another approximately 5 miles until you reach Rt 230. A left turn onto 230 will take you 3.5 miles in the lovely town of Elizabethtown. Stay on Market St. through town and you will pass several places to rest, eat, relax, and grab a coffee. Continue on Market St. and then make a Left onto Rt. 241 (W. Bainbridge St.) until you get to River Rd (Rt 441). Cross over River Rd. and make a left onto N. 2nd St. and continue into the town of Bainbridge. Make a right onto Race St. and head straight down to the river, there you will find the terminus of the NW Lancaster County River Trail. I absolutely love this trail. Paved all the way to Columbia 14.1 miles away. Twisty, turnings, rolling small hills, river to one side, and forest and corn fields on the other. The entire trip is about 40 miles. Check the NW Lancaster trail for flooding or heavy rains prior to the trip as a few areas of the trail may flood out turning your trip into 57 miles instead due to turning around and finding road routes around it. Enjoy!!!
My husband and I have ridden from Cornwall to Lebanon, Cornwall to Mt. Gretna, and Lawn to Mt. Gretna in the last 3 months. There has been significant improvement of the trail in the Cornwall to Mt. Gretna section, in particular. Asphalt has been added in the area where there traditionally has been loose gravel/rocks. What a pleasure! You can not go wrong with this trail. There is plenty of tree cover for a pleasant experience. Thank you for making these improvements!
Trail is well maintained and was very busy on a Sunday mid-day ride. There are a few sections that have asphalt paving. This is a rail trail but long grades in both directions to reach the summit at Mt Gretna.
The parking lot at Cornwall is a good starting point as there is a porta potty there and a snack stand (hours unknown but was open on Sunday afternoon.
June 6th 2017 - In the past couple of weeks some serious trail maintenance has been taking place.
Last week went from Lawn to Lancaster County end. Most of trail surface had been scraped off and was being resurfaced. Temporarily very rough.
Today I went from Cornwall toward Mt Gretna. This portion of the trail had also been scraped for resurfacing. Again very rough at this time.
So I turned North toward Lebanon. I was on this section a couple of weeks ago. Since I was last there, the gravel surface has been resurfaced and was mostly very smooth and fast. A short section was paved with asphalt.
A PIPELINE is being across this section of trail. Digging has started but trail is open... for now.
Returning, I found the fresh gravel to be rough. It looks like a tractor tire made divots in the surface. I suspect the surface wasn't packed hard enough before the tractor was out mowing.
Went to the Lebanon end and took streets to UNION CANAL TUNNEL PARK and a bit further North onto Tunnel Hill Road and the Northern section of the park. The abandoned rail bed Goes under Tunnel Hill Road. There are plans to connect to the trail sections near Jonestown using the old railroad alignment.
Sunday June 4th, I visited Jonestown trail sections. North end is currently under Highway bridge for Route 22. South end is at a bridge across Swatara Creek. Bridge will be used to connect trail to Lebanon in the south.
Three of us rode the trail on Sunday 9/4/16. It's a decent workout because there is a 2-3 mile continuous grade of approx. 4 percent three miles in. The trail is really beautiful and definitely has a lot of cover.. It's a good trail for a hot day. We continued onto Conewago and I found the return incline challenging because I was getting tired.. Once we crested, the final few miles back to Lebanon were a cakewalk. Definitely worth the hour trip there.
If you like riding through the woods under constant cover of trees, you will enjoy this trail. There is a nice parking area at Alden Way, just off of Ironmaster Road. Very easy to get to from the PA Turnpike or from Mt Gretna. From here we ride toward Colebrook. The tree cover along this section is great on a hot day and has only two drawbacks: there isn't much to see on this ride (except trees, trees, and more trees) and after a rain the trail doesn't get enough sunshine to dry out thoroughly.
We've ridden this route several times, but in future we'll probably start in Colebrook and ride toward Alden Way (i.e., toward Cornwall), because the route rises steadily in that direction and it would make the return trip--back to Colebrook--largely downhill.
On a regular weekend I start at the bridge crossing over Wilhelm Avenue in South Lebanon and proceed southwest for approx. 13 miles to the trail terminus at the Lancaster County line. The first landmark is the Root Beer Barrel, a refreshment stand where rte. 419 enters Mt. Graetna. This is a good place to park if you are from out of town. The trail ascends from there through state game lands and new housing developments popping up into farm country with streams and meadows. Plenty of park benches along the route to stop and rest. At the county line there is a sign indicating the trail end and then a continuation into Lancaster county on the Conewago Trail (5 miles). It is common to see a group of equestrians from the nearby farms riding along the side of the trail. Most riders are friendly and we exchange hellos as we pass.
While this rail to trail is shown to be 15 miles, it connects with the Conewago Recreation Trail to complete a 20 mile trail from Lebanon to Elizabethtown.Beautiful scenery helps take your mind off the long but slight inclines and declines (almost rolling-like) along a smooth gravel trail.Multiple park benches dot the trail giving plenty of opportunity to stop and take a break.Trail heads in Cornwall, Colbrook and Lawn also feature parking and there's a cutoff to take you to the Mt. Gretna trail head as well.The trail intersects multiple street/road crossings, 2 of them you need to take extra caution at - the crossing over Rt. 743 can be busy and another has you on a short, steep slope to a road crossing at a blind turn. You'll want to take out the ear buds and listen for approaching traffic.Over-all a great trail. I will ride this again.
I feel fortunate to live so near this fantastic trail which joins the Conewago trail at the Lancaster Lebanon line. I ride these trails from end to end a few times a month. They are both in great condition and well kept. The Leb Valley trail has rest rooms at the Cornwall and Mt Wilson Rd parking areas and many benches along the whole trail. The Cornwall parking area also has a root beer barrel stand which sells cold drinks and snacks. Not sure of the hours it's open but it doesn't seem to be open much when I ride unless it's a weekend. From Cornwall to the Lanc Leb line it starts out the first few miles with a slight incline and then goes to a decline for 5 or 6 more miles then is pretty level after it crosses route 241 about a mile passed the Mt Wilson road parking lot.
August 1, 2015 warm sunny day.
I started at the Conewago trail head on Pa Route 419 at the bike shop. The Conewago Trail connects with the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail after a few miles. Both are good surfaced-shaded trails. They were very popular today with many bikers and hikers. I met a group of Amish youths on holiday. The males were dressed in shirts and slacks and the females were wearing dresses. Amazingly, they were riding single speed rental bikes, while I was gearing down for the upgrades. It was a unusual sight.
The Lebanon Valley Trail had much appreciated benches spaced along the trail. I rode to The Pa Route 419 trail head in Cornwall-about 14.5 miles.
Cornwall is the site of an early Pennsylvania iron manufacturing facility. They have a museum site in the old iron foundry. My guess is they were unaccustomed to having sweating bikers taking the tour. I took the $2.50 presentation rather than the $8:00 tour.
The ride back was mostly downhill which was nice.
Biked trail from 8th street trail head to Cole Station and back. Beautiful Pennsylvania woodlands and farms are the best scenery anywhere. Many families out on Sunday afternoon and all friendly. Trail maintained nicely. I will definitely ride again.
I love this trail and use it regularly. It's well-maintained with access to the village of Mt. Gretna if one desires to grab a bite to eat during the course of their outing. I like the fact that everyone can utilize the trail...bikers, walkers, horses...everyone. But as a dog person, can I suggest that you urbanites leave your poop bags at home? There aren't garbage cans along the trail, so you must pack in and pack out...leaving a bag full of poop on the trail is counter productive! Just grab a stick and flick the poop off into the woods! It's biodegradable. The poop baggies aren't! Trust me, the animals in the woods do the same thing! Happy trails!
Read lpence's April review that trail had been overrun by horses when we were already arriving at Mount Gretna trailhead. Don't know if volunteers did prodigious spring cleanup or what, but we had an easy ride to east to Cornwall and partway west to Lawn with no more impediment than two dung piles and some loose gravel. Beautiful, quiet trail on a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Since my last visit horses have used this trail extensively rendering it unsuitable for bike riding, especially west of Mt Gretna. Not a pleasant ride at all.
This is a very nice, quiet and clean trail through a large portion of Lebanon County. Most of the trail is shaded with nice tall trees. The trail takes you down to some very nice places.
Real pleasant ride in Sept on this really nice trail. This was my 4th or 5th time on trail. I think my mountain bike handles some of rough spots on trail better than my hybrid bike. Would ride it more often if I lived in area. Great scenery. Gradual 2-3 mile uphills provide pretty good workout for older fellow like me.
I started biking last year with the goal of riding the many trails in the area. Today I finally went off road. I can't compare to other trails because this is my first experience but I road it from start to finish and had a great time. The trail was smooth and flat. There were a good number of other bikers, joggers, and walkers I will ride this trail again.
Most of this trail was in good shape when we rode (on hybrid bikes). There was a small section that crossed a section of road work and so the trail was also torn up in that section, but it was still passable. We enjoyed taking the spur into Mt. Gretna and eating brunch at Le Sorelle. The food was great.
Hi hear you. Same thing happened to me a while back. It is a rarity though as most on the trail are very polite and respectful. Don't let a couple bad apples ruin your experience. Give it a second chance.
Mt bikers very rude treated the trail like a race track.My wife was almost hit severel times and my 12 yr old son was knocked off his bike me and my wife were walking and he rode his bike. had one say get the f out of the way! Nice trail but will not go back.
I started at the 8th street trail head and drove the entire length plus the Conewago trail. The trail is in great shape,lots of shade and plenty of benches. You can notice the grade in both directions. Be sure to stop at the Root Beer barrel for cold drinks.
This is one of those trails I want to ride again in the fall.
Spring ride on the trail today (5/17).
Sections that received damage a couple of years ago have been repaired. Portion near Mt Gretna has been resurfaced.
They were working on the 8th to 5th street extension. New crosswalks and signage connect the sections that were paved by National Guard a couple of years ago. The finishing touches of marking the street crossing are almost done.
Great trail. I ride it often.
Just enjoyed a fabulous ride on the section between the Cornwall & Lebanon trailheads. I also recently rode from the Cornwall trailhead to the Butler Rd. crossing in Mt. Gretna. Everything is in great condition. Love this trail.
Great ride for our 9 and 11 yr old. Easy for them to keep up. Loved exploring the stone foundation ruins of the train station!
easy access, facilities along the route. easy to ride.
I rode the Conewago and Lebanon Valley Trail on Saturday Sept 15, 2012. It was a great ride for us seasoned citizents. The trail is in very good shape. The Conewago parking lot on PA route 230 was very crowded on the Saturday afternoon. The trail had all kinds of bike riders, hikers, joggers, and horseback riders. Also, the privy was in need of a pump-out. I rode out about 9 miles and back and it really a secnic ride through the PA country side. THERE IS NEED OF A WARNING ABOUT TRAFFIC AROUND THE CITY OF LANCASTER! Alow extra time if coming from the south or the east. Many small roads were blocked for miles. With the really nice fall weather, the traffic will get worse with leaf peeper on the weekend.
Sept 18, 2011. Took a post Hurricane/Flood ride on south 1/2 of trail. Numerous locations with water damage. Passable but rough in spots. Expect hardpack gravel, loose gravel, sand and some mud.
Hope the damage gets fixed soon.
We picked up the trail at Cornwall and headed south toward Mt. Gretna. It is a very shady trail and wide enough for us to ride side by side and chat. There was some construction equipment in place but on the weekend it was not doing any work. The surface was rough for about 1/2 mile but still managable. There were families riding the trail as well as some hikers, and a few on horseback. Wish we lived close enough to ride this trail regularly. Well maintained.
The only difficulty we had was finding the parking area for the Cornwall trail head. There is no sign at the entrance to the parking area and we drove right past it. There is a small snack bar and port-a-potty for comfort added :)
Rode the Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail today for the first time. Beautiful trail and well maintained. Will diffiently do it again. Nice, slight upgrade until about the half way point then the slight down hill for easy riding. Of course the same on the return.
Rode the trail today for the first time. There is a brand-new section of crushed limestone/gravel pavement covering the recent sewer work along the line on the up hill from Lebanon up and under RT 72. This pavement is complete, but 2/3 of it is still so wet that thin tire bikes sink slightly into it and have HUGE rolling resistance. I found, however, that if you get off the pavement onto the dirt--it is much faster going, even on a 28mm tired tandem. Spoke to one of the construction workers--they rolled a lot of sand into the dirt bridle trail alongside the pavement to improve drainage. Until the pavement gets a couple of weeks more sun, the dirt is the thing.
Interestingly, there was also some clearing work going on along the old rail bed beyond the current trail end about mile 15. Not sure if they are working on the planned extension or not.
I did this trail yesterday July 1st from Lawn Pa to Lebanon 12th street. From Lawn it is up hill for about half the trip. At the mid point there is a lot of construction as a pipe line is being installed. It is about a 2 and a half mile section. I did talk to a construction manger and he told me that by the middle of July they would be finished and that it would be the best part of the trail. All but the last two miles are under a canopy. I was on my old Jamis Dakar with a street tire and it worked well for me. This is a other family friendly trail. There a park benches along the trail and a few picnic tables. The mile markers are hit or miss and that was about the only negative of the trip.
Great trail and trailhead in Lebanon. Very well-maintained trail, except for some sewer work being done which has the trail a little torn up and rough. (We did take a very easy detour onto Rte. 117 on the way back to Lebanon.) Spent the whole day riding (tacked on the Conewago Recreation Trail too). Missed the opportunity to see the Cornwall Iron Furnace (either there wasn't any signage to find it or we missed the sign!) Thoroughly enjoyed our detour in Mt. Gretna...had lunch on the way south and stopped for ice cream on the way back (my husband loved the Strawberry "shortcake", but doesn't recommend it if you still have 7 miles left to ride). Great day, great weather, and a great trail!!
The Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail runs close to my home, so I ride it often. Overall, this is an excellent trail with some occasional rough patches. Usually, I ride my Canondale hybrid on the trail with no problems at all. It connects to a rail-trail in Lancaster County as well, so you can ride all the way from the city of Lebanon to Elizabethtown without leaving the trail.
The trail from Butler Rd to Rt 72 is a morass. Best to avoid this unless you want the true mountain bike experience! The trail surface is either rust colored mud or dried into a tractor tire pattern that is like riding over a washboard. It appears from the stacks of green pipe along the trail that the section from Timber Rd. access (at the Mt. Gretna town line) to Butler Rd is scheduled to be torn up next. I hope when the work is completed that a gravel surface will be put down in place of the current dirt surface. This section never was up to the standards of the rest of the Lebanon Valley Trail. Fortunately, Rt. 117 runs parallel to the trail from Colebrook to Rt. 72 (it does continue to Cornwall but not along the trail), so it is possible to detour to the asphalt at various areas along the section under construction.
Lebanon Daily News article says the end of April 2011
74 and Sunny, NOT BAD for March 18..... Just took the trail from Etown to Lebanon and back and found out the trail is (or should be) closed from Mt Gretna area to Rt 72 area. Just an FYI this was not marked so I went about 1/2 mile into the construction before realizing it was not passable. If anyone is planning that ride just hit the hard road on the stretch from 72 to Gretna, everything else was fine end to end. If anyone knows how long the construction is planned for please post that info here.....
Hi, I really love this trail, ride it all of the time between the Daily News and Cornwall, sometimes even go past that point. About 7 months ago, I was really struggling to lose weight and be healthier for my 2 young girls, I started on a really great nutritional program that I found that was all natural and then soon after that started biking rails to trails because we live right near the trail and it is very convenient. Before I started losing weight trying to ride this trail was impossible for me without stopping several times. Now I can bike the trail all the way to Cornwall or past at times without stopping and sometimes, don't stop at all and continue on the return ride. This trail is so convenient for us because of where it is and I really like the layout of it. Very easy to ride on this trail, even take the girls at times. Love riding during the fall with the colors of the leaves and the trail itself. To this date because of riding rails to trails so actively as well as the nutritional program I am on, I have lost 84 pounds in the last 7 months. I just want to say thank you for this convenience and this great trail!!!!!
I rode the entire length of this trail and the adjoining Conewago trail and back 2 weeks ago, and it was a great ride. One of the posts mentions some washed out sections. The short section were the trail shares a private drive near the village of Mount Gretna is a bit rough, but not terrible. I would imagine after a rain it would be a bit of a mess, though. It's about a 1/2 mile (writeup above says 1/4 mile). Other than that, the other 20 miles is really nice.
Yes, we had a similar experience with the rough washed out trail and felt like turning around but didn't and it soon was good again. Hope that will soon be fixed. Over all the trail is lovely and I hope to do it again this fall. We have ridden the trail since it's beginning and it is great to see the trail extentions.- EMB
This is a great trail from Lebanon to just past Cornwall. After you pass over 322 towards Mt. Gretna the surface got A LOT rougher. I turned around and came back after a quarter mile. Did I turn around too quickly? I was afraid of blowing out a tire and didn't continue. Has anyone had a similar experience. On the positive side there were many benches to take a break.
Continuing northeast from Lancaster County's Conewago trail, the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail tranverses the wooded hills of southern Lebanon County before turning due north to the city that bears the region's namesake. The pastoral farmlands that dominate much of the landscape along the Conewago Trail give way to lush forests a short distance into Lebanon County, giving users the impression that they are far from civilization (though, in reality, you are never far from main roads). In addition to providing some breathtaking scenery and opportunities to spot wildlife, this environment also provides users with a cool shade to the warm summer sun. The trail also passes through the hamlets of Lawn and Colebrook, the latter of which is known for its Twin Kiss restaurant and ice cream shop, the resort town of Mt. Gretna, noted for its lake, playhouse and The Jigger Shop, a world famous ice cream parlor and Cornwall, a former mining town and rail hub now known for its retirement communities. The bucolic mix of forests and farmland gives way to suburban housing developments as one gets closer to Lebanon, and the trail currently ends off 11th Street near the southern end of the city. However, this will not be the northern terminus for long, and work on the next section, which will extend to Chestnut Street, is slated for later this year. The authority in charge of the trail also has longer-range plans to continue north of the city, eventually connecting to the Swatara State Park Trail. If realized, this vision will result in a greenway system that will bisect Lebanon County and may eventually connect the Susquehanna River just south of Middletown to the Poconos.
The trail now runs from Zinns Mill Rd into Lebanon to Rte 72, S10th st. It is crushed stone until the overpass bridge, then it is paved to 10th st. There is an extension on the south side of the bridge to South Hills Park. There is parking at South Hills Park and between S 8th and S10th st, Lebanon. It is 4 miles from 8th st to Cornwall Parking area.
Meeting set for Lebanon Rail-Trail
by MONICA VON DOBENECK, Of The Patriot-News (Harrisburg Pa)
Saturday September 06, 2008, 3:25 PM
With the Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail nearly complete, organizers are looking to extend the 20-mile path for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders another seven miles north to Swatara State Park.
Chairman John Wengert told the Lebanon County Commissioners that his organization has contacted 110 people whose properties adjoin the abandoned railroad line and has heard back from about 60. Many want more information, he said, so he has invited them for a wagon ride on the existing portion of the trail on Sept. 13 and has scheduled a public meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the North Lebanon Township municipal building.
"There's a lot of interest among people for close to home recreation," Wengert said.
The Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail extends from the Lancaster County line west of Lawn to Zinns Mill Road south of Lebanon . An extension to be complete by April will bring it into Lebanon around Eighth Street. The Conewago Trail extends the route six miles from the Lancaster line to Elizabethtown.
The proposed new section would start near Eighth Street in Lebanon and roughly parallel Route 72 before reaching Swatara State Park.
I am fortunate to live in northern Lancaster County (about 20 miles from the Cornwall Trailhead). I rode this trail in portions for a while,.. the section between the Cornwall Trailhead and Colebrook parking area is 6.5 miles and between Colebrook and the Elizabethtown Trailhead is 9.3 miles (each way), although 5 of the 9.3 section between the Colebrook are actually the Conewago trail. I finally rode the entire trail yesterday, and what a ride,... highly recommended to anyone.
It has parking at nicely spaced locations along the trail to break it down in manageable chunks for less experienced riders, plenty of rest stops/benches along the way, and is fairly flat (especially the 9.3 mile section) so kids can ride greater distances. It is also close to Mt. Gretna for lunch/ice cream stops, convenient shopping and lake swimming (a pay for beach that is worth the trip alone if you have never been to it). Also, there is a Twin Kiss restaurant by the Colebrook parking for a nice lunch/ice cream stop if you feel so inclined.
All in all, this is one of the nicest trails in the area with the various ammentities, ease and length of trail, variety of scenery from open fields to wooded areas.
"As a biker and hiker I find the lack of trail ettiquette of a lot of the bikers appalling. Very few give warning to hikers that they apptoaching from the rear and some pass so close in passing that I have actually felt the air from thai bikes on my arm. I believe you you should post on your rules that a simple ""on your left"" is the proper way to let someone know you are overtaking them from the rerar. Otherwise my wife and I always enjoy our time on the trail. "
"Its is a beautiful trail...I must say, however, as a horseback rider that the ""woodchip"" trail that was provided for us is a very inadequate and carlessly thought out. In the fall, it is completely frozen over and hard for our horses to walk over...and in the past years the ""woodchips"" are no more...its mostly mud and grass. Hard, lumpy mud. So, basically, it was a nice idea at first...until the place forgot about us and let the designated area become overgrown and an unpleasant place for horses to walk.
Another thing are the cyclists. Its not just their trail. I'd like to thank those who slowly pass our horses, or warn us that they're passing...and don't just wiz by.
Besides the whole ""woodchip"" path deal, and non-horse people seeing that as an adequate place to ride and actually expect us to stay on it, the trail is actually a wonderful riding experience. I keep my horse nearby and we walk over to the trail every now and then for a nice long afternoon ride. "
"We started on the Conewago trail and only rode the bottom 3 or 4 miles of the LV trail. Nicely finished with cinders, plenty wide for 2 bikers and well marked. Much nicer than the lower Lancaster county portion. Watch out for horses."
"We are fulltime RVers who spent last summer and this summer in Lancaster County, PA. We have enjoyed riding this trail at least weekly during this time. A word of warning to bicyclists: There are many who bike this trail who pay no attention to etiquette or safety-- probably due to ignorance. Single adults traveling very fast down the grade often overtake you without announcing their presence endangering both you and themselves. The cinders you are riding on make so much noise that you may be completely unable to hear them coming up behind you. Be very careful to use your mirror and glance to your side often. Young families with children allow their youngsters to ride ""pack"" style and do not warn them to get into single file when being approached by other cyclists. We always announce ""passing on your left"" upon approaching folks. Only once has someone waved a hand to acknowledge hearing our verbal greeting. Always be ready for someone to walk into or bike into your path. Be very careful of the other cyclists on this path to protect yourself and to protect them. "
"I first discovered this gem of Lebanon this past May. My sister and I took our bikes for a short ride. From that point on I have bee riding this trail at least once a week and love it.
Starting from Cornwall the trail head the tril goes on a slight uphill grade for 3 miles. From here to the Conowago trail it is either flat or a slight down hill. At mile mark 3.5 (I think) there is a chain gate that you can go around and continue to colebrook. But if you are ready for a break take thae trail on the left which will lead you to the Jigger Shop. continuing on the tril the colebrook trail head is 6.5 miles from Cornwall. there you will find a Twin Kiss where you can eat lunch. At 10.5 miles from Cornwall on the trail it turnes into The Conowango trail.
The Conowango Trail is cool it is dirt but that keeps it interesting, and the deer are neat to see as they cross in front as you ride. Also beware of the rabits they are every where I bet I see 30 rabbits during a ride. Another part that is cool about the Conowago trail is when we get a lot of rain that Creek that Parallels it is rouring, just kep you distance.
Just one request to Horse back riders. Please ride on the wood chips when you can. The horse dropping are not fun to dodge, Thank you."
"The rail trail is now paved with stone chips, with an strip of wood chips for horses alongside. This portion of the old C&L should not be confused with Lancaster County's ""Conewago Trail"" which becomes a swamp with every rain."
"This was a great ride for a Sunday afternoon. The trail was in good shape, a little softer in some places than others, but still very rideable. It was a bit windy but the going was not hard. The trail is relaxing and not too heavily traveled once you leave the vicinity of the trailhead. My 5-1/2 year old enjoyed the ride a lot and thought there were plenty of benchs for ""taking a break"". We all could have used a restroom at the Cornwall trailhead, so that's a note that anyone with young ones might want to make. The trail goes past Cornwall a couple of miles and begins to get smaller and smaller toward the end. We saw a few bikers coming out of the tiny trail in the woods at the end of the regular trail, but we didn't attempt it as my bike with my son's 3rd wheel attached doesn't like tight turns. Still those on montain bikes might enjoy a little longer ride in the ""real"" woods. My guess is that this is the ""future"" expansion noted on the trail map. Anyway, after the return to Colebrook, we enjoyed the obigatory ice cream as the ""Twin Kiss"" located at the trailhead. There's also a nice playground there as well. All in all a great Sunday afternnon. Next time we'll try the other way and see what that ride holds. "
I took a bike ride on the Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail for the first time yesterday and it could not have been more perfect. Thank you for transforming a railroad bed into the nicest bikeride I've ever taken. Beautifully maintained trail and everyone we met along the way was friendly. I can't wait to visit it every season to enjoy the changes.
"Like the other reviewers, I thoroughly enjoyed this trail. It's surfaced with well finished cinder, easily fits two wide, and it's well marked as well at road crossings.
I was a bit miffed however at the ""leavings"" of horseback riders. There is a separate grassy trail adjacent to the cinder one but I found much ""evidence"" of the horses riding on the cinders. How rude."
"I started taking my dog there this summer and fall and we both really like it a lot. I took Nova on one of those days when we were having lots and lots of rain in Sept. and it was even great then. There's so much to see and for Nova, to smell."
"Nearly complete, about 13 miles long, this trail is well built with a smooth stone riding surface. Ample room exists for both Horses (limited to grass or wood chips), hikers and bikers. Plenty of benches to rest. Travel through wooded areas that screens the bright and hot sun. Only about 5 road crossings on the trail, so many miles of uninterupted riding. Enjoy"
"Access the trail in Colebrook (Twin Kiss Fast Food Joint adjacent) if you enjoy going uphill for the way ""there"" and downhill for the return trip. You also may want to check out the large pond on left, shortly after the trail begins.
Two of my boys (ages 8 and 14) and I did the trail during a light rain one Sunday. The surface is not quite as smooth as, say, stone dust (like the York Heritage Rail Trail) but riding under lush tree canopy compensates.
I recommend this trail -- just do it."
Park where the Website tells you to because that way you will be going uphill first & downhill when you turn around to go back to your car. The trail is well maintained & in the shade most of the time. Basically you're riding in a tunnel of trees. There were a couple of soft areas where you need a cross or mountain bike. There's a Twin Kist next to the parking lot in case you work up a hunger on your ride. I didn't see any drinking water along the trail. Overall an enjoyable ride.
This is one of the finest rail trails I know of. There are separate horse and hiker/biker sides of the trail. The horse side is covered with wood chips and the hiker/biker side has a firm stone-dust surface. Both times we rode it recently we saw deer crossing the trail. It will be great when it eventually links the Conewago Trail in Lancaster County to Lebanon City.
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