Shenango River Trail


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Shenango River Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Mercer
Length: 7 miles
Trail end points: Greenville and Jamestown
Trail surfaces: Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016902
Trail activities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Shenango River Trail Description

The Shenango River Trail once served as a towpath along the Erie Canal Extension. During the mid-1800s, mules pulled boats along the canal, linking goods from the Great Lakes to Pittsburgh and beyond. Recognizing the geographic significance of such a link, Andrew Carnegie formed a conglomerate group to lease the nearby lines for 999 years.

In addition to the structural and historical details of the canal and towpath, the Shenango River Trail offers a wealth of natural attractions. Many species of both plants and animals thrive in the region.

Maintenance is sporadic at best on this trail. The nearby Seth Meyers Trail is only .5 miles long, but it offers the opportunity to take a self-guided hike and learn more about nature. More recreational activities are available at the Shenango River Lake Area.
Near the trails northern terminus stands the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge in Mercer County, and the only Smith truss covered bridge in Pennsylvania.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the Shenango River Trail at Kidds Mill Bridge, Follow Route 18 north from Hermitage. Exit Route 18 at the Reynolds Industrial Park Road Exit (8.5 mile north of Shenango Valley Mall). Follow Reynolds Industrial Park Road 1 mile. Kidds Mill Bridge is on the right. The trailhead is at the bridge.

Location: Mercer County Miles: 8 Endpoints: Kidds Mill Covered Bridge to Big Bend Surface: Dirt Contact: US Army Corps of Engineers
Shenango Lake 2442 Kelly Rd. Hermitage, PA 16148 724-962-7746
Northern trailhead: N41º 21.242 W80º 23.855 Southern trailhead: N41º 17.740 W80º 26.135

Shenango River Trail Reviews

Easy path - follow the white blazes - towpath has white blaze with a blue dot. Little maintenance- but worth a visit

We parked at the North Bend Road parking area just off Valley Road, which is across the river from the Big Bend Boat launch. The trail is not very wide and we had to go single file. From what I've read and heard, there is a lot of brush on the trail the other 3 seasons of the year. We headed out towards Hamburg but only made it 1/3 of a mile due to the swinging bridge being in very poor condition. (See photo's). Apparently over the past few years this bridge has been deteriorating. Half way across the bridge a board is missing and there is a loose board just stuck on there. We did not cross it. Even if the bridge were intact, it may be a challenge on snowshoes. Next time we will try to enter the trail at the Hamburg end. Hopefully the swinging bridge will be repaired soon. Snowshoeing was nice for the short time we were out there.

We started at the Covered Bridge at Kidds Mill.Not very well traveled with overgrowth and Nettles !! Made it about a mile in and trail just ended because of a downed tree.
Next we started at the Hamburg Bridge to go to Big Bend.Made it to Camp Nazareth and the trail just ended.Took the road the rest of the way.
Too bad....This could be an awesome single track trail and the scenery is beautiful as it follows the Old Erie Canal on the Shenango River.The bridges are impassable on a bike but not a big deal waking the bikes across.


My last review was after just a couple visits to the trail. I have now covered the entire trail in sections.

There has been a recent boost in volunteer efforts to improve the trail, which has finally made it possible to finish the upper section without getting lost. Unfortunately, due to this spring's weather patterns, some sections have become more overgrown than they were a year ago. Also, the rain this year has seemed to stay in the ground and leave whole sections very wet. On foot, this adds to the adventure. On a bike, this means you get stuck, or worse, plunge into a rut that you can't see.

Back to the lower section, it is only slightly overgrown, having been very clear last season. I have to emphasize that this is moderately challenging singletrack. The many dips and crossings each have a unique difficulty. I have found that the best way to ride many of these is to just be prepared to hike the bike across, almost in a cyclocross style, if it's beyond your current comfort level.

With just a little bit of bike oriented maintenance, this could be a very nice hidden gem of a mountain bike trail.

I started in from transfer, ran into several downed trees, overgrown thorn bushes, mud holes, and broken bridges. I got 1.3M in and had to turn around. I wold not recommend walking or biking this trail.

The Big Bend to New Hamburg trail section is fully passable and usable for hiker, horse, mountain biker and trail runner. There are several two extensions that traverse a well developed trail system at Camp Nazareth and one road / trail that attaches to Pew road. A new breath of fresh air has been given to the trail as a new and motivated crew of trail runners have organized a group and are starting to maintain the trail including the New Hamburg to Kidds MIll section which has been preliminarily cleared, measured and marked in one direction. Currently, as of this writing (September 2013) approximately 1.5 miles of the Kidds Mill section is clear and .75 of the New Hamburg to Kidds Mill section is clear and mulched. The middle, approximate 2 mile section, is still overgrown but is getting cleared out. For further information, contact our Facebook page: Shenango Valley Conservancy Trail

I tried to walk the trail from kidds mill to hamburgh but didn't make it, the brush and thorn bushes were to hard too pass, I got lost twice because I went off the trail but that could of been my fault for listening to music, most parts are very over grown, I wish they would maintain it better, I have lots of friend always looking for a good hike. I think with all the campers it would get used a lot if a little better maintained. It sould be a really nice trail.

This trail is a bit of a flyer for a site that focuses mainly on rail trails. This should really be described as a cross country mountain bike trail.

Like another person suggested, biking does not seem to be a significant intended use. There are several spots where the trail splits for hikers one way and horses another. One of them is a long plank suspension bridge that crosses a stream that's too deep to ford. I nearly dropped my bike walking it across. Other crossings featured less deep streams and rigid bridges, so bikes could go either way.

At this point the trail is essentially a few good but poorly connected sections. From Big Bend to New Hamburg, the trail is well defined. There is a split that allows you to take the winding towpath one way and climb the hill the other way. There are also side spurs that I have not investigated but am told offer good MTB riding. The downside is frequent drops for creeks, and small obstructions such as a continuing steel pipe that you have to cross frequently, but you stop complaining once you try the upper section.

To see the trailheads at big bend and at Kidd's Mill, you would think it is a well defined singletrack its entire length. But between New Hamburg and Kidd's Mill, the trail is very overgrown with thorn bushes. In fact, sections of the trail look as though they specifically plunge through a thorny thicket, while there is plenty of open woods to the side.

I tried to cover the whole distance from Big Bend, but eventually lost the trail. I then met up with that point starting from Kidd's Mill. Each time I could not find the other trail, only the same landmark, a seemingly private path to the river, that told me I had reached the same spot.

It seems that most people who use this trail use the lower section, or just go a couple miles in from Kidd's Mill and that's enough for them. For those of us who like to cover distance, this trail needs a lot more work. I only half jokingly thought that this trail was charted on Google Earth and Traillink just to get people to develop it themselves.

My daughter and I rode the 4 Mile stretch from Bend Road to Hamburg Rd.It was very good ride.
If your horses do not like water crossings you may want to start at Hamburg Rd. 1 deep water crossing approx. 3 1/2 feet. With a little work this could be a very nice trail

Just ran trail from Kidds Mill Bridge approximately 3 miles into trail and back; 3 inches of snow was not an issue, but approximately 2.5 miles into run trail became impassable due to extremely thick briars and loss of trail visually. Trail markers on trees are infrequent and poorly visible. Trail needs significant maintenance. Luckily, I had my footprints in the snow to follow on the return trip. I was looking for a local alternative for trail running...typically, I love to run on the North Country Trail which is an extremely well managed trail in our region but is far to drive to for frequent trail runs. Next venture is to try this same trail from Hamburg road to the trail end.

It has been suggested to me that starting at the end of the Trail which is the Big Bend Trail Head and walking to New Hamburg is the best route. That part of the trail is four miles. Near Big Bend, the trail splits so it is possible to walk on the Tow Path of the Canal for a distance.

I didn't realize anyone would be thinking of biking on the trail. There are numerous foot bridges to cross.
Possbily with a lot of work it could be open to biking.

I would like to see a large group of people commit to making the trail as useful and beautiful as it could be.

L. Ealy

trail in bad need of maintence barley walk most of it let alone ride a mountain bike or ski . was very disappointed in trail!

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