Middle Creek Trail


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Middle Creek Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Lancaster
Length: 1.3 miles
Trail end points: Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
Trail surfaces: Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017053
Trail activities: Walking

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Middle Creek Trail Description

Forming the eastern side of a triangle with Elders Run Trail and the 130-mile Horseshoe Trail, the short, charming Middle Creek Trail is contained within wooded Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County.
Local citizens must have been delighted in June 1914 when the Ephrata and Lebanon Street Railway completed construction of a 22.7-mile trolley line between the towns of Ephrata and Lebanon. The trolley passed through nine small towns in a trip that took an hour and a half to complete. Today all that remains of the line is the one-mile Middle Creek Trail. Located on State Game Lands 46, the trail skirts along the creek side and is enfolded by a canopy of tall oaks.
A stop at the Middle Creek Visitor Center is well worth making prior to visiting the trail. Neither end of this trail is well marked.

Parking and Trail Access

From the Visitors Center follow Kleinfeltersville Road 2 miles and turn right onto Mountain Spring Road, a trailhead and parking are on the right.
The Northern end can be accessed approximately .7 miles south of the visitor's center on Hopeland Road. There is a small unsigned pull off where one or two cars can park.

Middle Creek Trail Reviews

Located in the rural, isolated hills of far northern Lancaster County, the Middle Creek Trail is also clearly the wildest and least-known of the region's numerous greenways. Although the trailhead off Mountain Spring Road includes a decent-sized, gravel parking lot, the terminus at Klinefeltersville Road (which is also where the Horseshoe Trail crosses) is little more than a pulloff along the shoulder. Also, neither end is well-signed, meaning you have to know the location of the trail ahead of time. Finally, the surface of the trail is either dirt or coarse stones that appear to be left over from the ballast of the defunct trolley line that it follows, making it more like the adjacent Horseshoe Trail or other primitive footpaths than the asphalt or crushed stone surfaces that most rail trails are noted for. Unless you have a mountain bike, this trail is not for cyclists; it is definitely a hiking trail. I would also advise using caution if the weather has recently been rainy; although there are boardwalks that allow users to cross some of the muddier sections, some fo these are in poor condition. On the plus side, this is an awesome trail for nature hikes and enjoying the pristine beauty of Lancaster County's Furnace Hills. Lush forests dominate the landscape on its entire length, and the waters of Middle Creek are never that far away. Finally, although the line, which once provided trolley service between Lebanon and Ephrata, was abandoned around the time of World War II, it is surprising how much of the old grade is still intact. In addition to the ballast that now serves as pavement for the southern half of the trail, the abutments to the old bridge across Elders' Run are still in place and now support a small, wooden footbridge constructed by the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps. As others have stated, the trail is best enjoyed on conjunction with the nearby Elders Run and Horseshoe trails, which form a loop through the lovely woodlands of the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and adjacent State Game Lands.

Follow the "Tour" signs around the reservoir for a nice 6 mile loop. Very little traffic except for Kleinfeltersville Road (which has a very wide berm you can ride on) Most of the people are there for bird-watching. Pin Point trail and a couple of other roads are one-way as well. Very nice scenery. Nice people. No water available though.

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