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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.
Routine maintenance of the trail is performed by the Shenango River Watchers trail volunteer staff. 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 trail's northern terminus stands the Kidd's Mill Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge in Mercer County, and the only Smith truss covered bridge in Pennsylvania.
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 miles 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.
After a sporadic winter hiatus; it is good to be back on the trail on a more regular basis.
Parked in New Hamburg at approx mile 4.25 and hiked to approx mile 5.5 and back. Nice well maintained trail. Still working on completing all sections of the trail. Always an enjoyable hike.
Parked at New Hamburg and went North approx 1.5 miles and back. Trail is very well maintained. The mud bog, thankfully, was all dried up. Nice hike to enjoy.
Parked at New Hamburg and went South 1.5 miles and turned around for a 3-mile round trip. Trail is cleared of overgrowth and very passable. The creeks and streams which you cross over are dried up due to lack of recent rains. 1/2 mile into the hike there is a bridge washout from prior but able to cross since it's all dried up.
Revisited since Spring and was very happy that the trail was not overgrown and neglected. I know a group takes very good care of this trail and is constantly maintaining. The trails were well kept, nice and wide and passable. We haven't had much rain of significance in a few weeks, maybe a month and the river level was very low and the creeks very low that even have bridges over them. I hiked from Kidds Mill traveling South about 1.5 miles and turned around. That particular day the Shenango River Watchers were having river clean up and had a nice pile of junk they collected, thank you!
This section of trail is completely cleared wide. Very nice! Great place for summer hike, run, bike.
Hiked from Kidd's Mill trailhead 3.25 miles south to the beaver pond. Trail is very dry despite recent rains. Spring wildflowers are everywhere! Weeds not a problem yet. Be aware ticks are present especially if you stray into the brush. Several hikers and dogs on trail. Evidence of horses on Kidd's Mill section very unusual!
Hiked from Kidd's Mill trailhead 3.25 miles south to the beaver pond. Trail is very dry despite recent rains. Spring wildflowers are everywhere! Weeds not a problem yet. Be aware ticks are present especially if you stray into the brush. Several hikers and dogs on trail. Evidence of horses on Kidd's Mill section very unusual!
Big Bend trail access has been difficult due to recent high water and the removal of the swinging cable bridge. A new trail access point has been developed on Pew Road. A map and directions is posted at the trailhead. The trail is marked with yellow blazes. The new trail rejoins the bypass trail and main trail after approximately 500 yards.
If you park at the Big Bend trailhead, mile 0, be prepared to only go about 1/2 mile roundtrip. The Swinging bridge is completely gone. There is a detour nearby via crossing the creek but it's too wide and the step from the bank is too high. Though some have crossed it, I was unable on two separate occasions, but still nice to see the snow.
Great snow hiking on the Shenango Trail! Snowpack depth at least 12 inches from recent storms. Encountered a few hardy hikers the last few weeks. Evidence of wildlife including deer, otter, raccoon, squirrel and many bird species can be seen the entire 8.75 miles of the trail. Bald Eagles and heron observed on river banks or roosting.
Beautiful snowy day on the Shenango Trail. Temperature was a balmy 32° after a frigid previous week. Sunshine made for a very comfortable but sweaty hike. Trail was covered in a 12+ inch snowfall from previous day/night. Lots of animal tracks but no evidence of human activity. Parking lots were unplowed and access was dificult.
Frigid hike-12°, on Shenango Trail from mile marker 4-New Hamburg to mile marker 7 near the pipeline crossing off River Road. Only two other adventurous hikers on the trail and 4 hunters in parking areas. Trail frozen and dry the entire length except for seepage from Beaver pond.
Several projects gave been recently completed and several are still in the planning stage. A new Puncheon walkway was installed 2.5 miles south of Kidd's Mill trailhead. An expansion of the older puncheon walkway is partially completed. Informational kiosks will be installed before the end of the year at Big Bend and New Hamburg through the efforts a local boy scout in fulfillment of his Eagle Scout project. A much needed bridge near Kidd's Mill trailhead will be installed early next year by a girl scout in completion for her culminating Gold Award.
Working on Shenango Trail 2.5 miles south of Kidd's Mill trailhead to alleviate muddy crossing in open field. Biker and 2 hikers encountered on the trail.
Trail maintenance was done yesterday morning at the beaver pond. But the whole almost 9 miles of trail is finally wide open to foot traffic!! The trail is in great condition considering the flooding we had. Some bridges did get damaged but the small stream crossings are easy enough to cross by foot. You may get a wet toe. And remember, it is summer, you are in the woods, there are bugs. Now go take a hike and enjoy the trail!!
The trail is recovering from the torrential rains of July. Flooding has receded from all sections. The lower section from Big Bend to New Hamburg was the worst hit. Two bridges, numbers 2 and 6 were partially destroyed and will require extensive work or complete rebuilds. The streams at those two areas can be crossed with some effort. Mud at mile 1.1 from Big Bend is very thick and can swallow your boots/shoes if not securely tied. Bridge 1 is muddy and evidence of flooding is apparent. All other bridges are in good shape. The northern section from Kidd's Mill to New Hamburg is completely clear of fallen trees from recent high winds and is weeded and open to travel. The area near the Beaver Pond is scheduled to be cleared; but can be navigated. The bog at New Hamburg continues to be a challenge to cross. See the Shenango River Watchers Facebook page or website for workday anouncements.
Hiked from Kidd's Mill to mile marker 7. Spotted 2 Eagles and a Hawk sparring in midair. New Beaver dam/pond at Bridge 14 is about 3 feet deep.
Great Spring day after rain the two previous days; temp 62°. Trail still very dry and streams low; river two feet higher. Immature bald eagle spotted near river. Small newly constructed beaver dam at mile 1. Trail very busy, counted 26 hikers in the first 2 miles; family of 10 utilizing the Fishing Loop trail. New Kidd's Mill trail sign at .5 mile.
Busy day on the trail today! Removed six downed trees from windstorm the previous day; was expecting more. Total 8 miles hiked. Despite wind damage; many people enjoying the unseasonably warm weather-22 hikers and two equestrians; plus five dogs! Trails users for the month of March total-173, thus far!!!!
Began 10 AM hike from Big Bend. Busy day on the trail; did some brush cutting and small tree removal. A total of 17 hikers and three trail runners throughout the day! All users remarked how good the trail was. Weather 44° and sunny. Trail exceptionally dry for this time of year; all streams passable and no trail obstructions. Hiked to New Hamburg and back; 8 miles.
After 2 days of rain plus the recent snow melt of a foot of snow, the trail was super muddy! Major mud pit just North of New Hamburg approx mile 4.4 of the trail. One stream was too deep and fast, unable to cross. Still nice to get out and hike it though
So much snow! Parked at the Kidds Mill Trailhead, at mile marker 8.75 and went to mile 7 and back. Well maintained trail with great markings and bridges in good condition. There was a lot of snow on the ground but trail easy to hike on due to trail traffic. Nice trail.!
Began hike at the pipeline access point from River Road; hiked 2.1 miles south crossing the beaver dam to mile marker 5. Weather clear and sunny, around 37°. Some snow remaining in shaded areas. Little evidence of recent fellow hikers. Geese present at beaver dam and recently gnawed beaver trees can be seen throughout the area.
Parked in the lot at the intersection on Valley and North Bend Roads which is mile 0 of the trai. We headed North for a few miles and turned around. A few inches of snow on the trail was easy to hike on. Very well maintained trail. Trail follows the Shenango River, recently named Pennsylvania's River of the Year.
8+ mile hike on trail. Began at 11:30 AM at Kidd's Mill trailhead. Trail still frozen from previous evening. Spotted two mature bald eagles. Deer, squirrel and FISHER sign. Cold 27° but very sunny day; fourteen fellow hikers and four dogs on trail. Finished hike at Big Bend trailhead.
Began afternoon hike from Kidd's Mill intending to hike 4.0 miles out and back total. Trail was untouched after .5 mile with newly fallen snow from previous night. At mile 1.25 crossing the puncheon bridge area was somewhat muddy but expected this time of year. Lots of deer and turkey sign digging up acorns. Beaver have been busy on the trail; a newly constructed dam has been installed in the feeder stream near bridge number 14. Hopefully it doesn't cause flooding up to the bridge. On return trip spotted a total of five bald eagles; four in one grouping! Eagles just watched us as we quietly passed. No other hikers on a Tuesday afternoon. Trail is in good shape for mid-winter.
Began a hike from New Hamburg trailhead at 10 AM; temp around 30°. Trail in good shape; still frozen from previous night. Busy day on the trail; 16 fellow hikers! Spotted 4 bald eagles; 3 adults and 1 juvenile! Hiked 2 miles in and off-trail looking for access points. No downed trees or other obstacles.
Hiking the Shenango Trail on January 1/2021! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Order of the day; lots of rain. Began hike at 10 AM intending to hike up to 2 miles completing trail work along the way. Cleaned out a number of knicks and sumps. At bridge 1 completed some needed side hill benching after crossing the bridge. Rain began falling about 11:15 AM. Spoke with three fat tire bikers from Warren, Saegertown, PA and Cleveland, OH. Positive comments in regard to trail maintenance; stated they were very happy with trail and intend to return! Shared some history of Shenango Trail and canal. Hiked out during steady rain and completed more work; out by 2PM.
Hiking during the recent week required the removal of many small trees either by handsaw work or simply moving to the side. Several trees on the Kidd's Mill section of the trail required chainsaw work late In the week. As of 11/21; trail all clear of tree obstructions the entire length.
Began hike at Kidd's Mill intending to hike to the beaver dam at mile 5.5. Perfect hiking weather about 52°. Trail in good shape despite recent rains; clear of any obstructions. Puncheon bridge wetlands at mile 1.25 living up to reputation; but dry feet! Lots of squirrels sighted and deer tracks! Beef cattle at farm bordering trail very interested in our passing. Total mileage out and back 6 miles.
Hiked the southern part of the trail today. Saw deer and an Eagle who was flying just ahead of us today. This is definitely a trail we want to hike again
Just got done running on trail for 1st time since back from out West. I moved out here in 2005 and started running the trail and in all those years I have never been able to run in July.... what the Shenango River Watchers have done with the trail is nothing short of amazing! Thank you!!
Submitted by: E.K.
10/26/2020. Very scenic views and a nice ride with moderate obstacles.
Sunday afternoon hike; 73° and sunny. A total of 19 fellow hikers and 2 horse riders enjoyed the balmy weather. Trail was dry despite recent heavy rains; the installation of drainage channels has proven successful in normally wet areas. Many kayakers and canoers on the river. Hikers from local communities; Hubbard, OH, Sharpsviile, Hermitage, and Fredonia, PA.
The Shenango River Watchers trail crew recently completed brush clearing on a small section of trail 1.25 miles south of the Kidds Mill trail. This effort opens up the trail an additional 2.5 miles of trail heading south. You can now easily hike, bike, or run from Kidds Mill trailhead south to the beaver pond. The beaver pond CAN be crossed with some some care. At mile marker 5 you can bypass the upcoming bog at New Hamburg via a small trail to the left and road walk south .5 mile on the road rejoining the trail via a trail on the right; or road walk .75 mile to New Hamburg. Signage for the bypass is pending. The trail then continues 4 miles south which is totally brushed and clear. Thanks to all SRW trail crew volunteers!
Hiked New Hamburg to Big Bend. Loved it. No need to worry about poison ivy if you stay on trail. Thank you.
The Shenango Trail is nearly completely weed free and brush cut. Two small sections must still be cleared. Maintenance is behind due to COVID-19 work restrictions. The southern section from Big Bend to New Hamburg, 4 miles, is the best it has ever been. The section bordering the beaver pond is still a concern. The swinging bridge bypass is clear and is regularly used by equestrians.
Volunteers recently began reinstallation of a puncheon boardwalk approximately 1.25 miles from Kidds Mill trailhead. This effort opens up about 2.5 miles of trail which were previously difficult to access. Many thanks to R. Knight and B. Frazier! More boardwalk to follow in the same area.
Hiked from Big Bend. Trail is very well maintained and thank you to the volunteers that have been working on the trail upkeep. Joe was there working on the day we were hiking.
We hiked up towards New Hamburg for 3 miles and made our turnaround for a nice 6-mile round trip hike.
Some areas were kinda buggy so you may want to hit your self with the insect repellent before you take off.
The river level was low and it was muddy looking. There is a section off to the side of the trail which is usually submerged in several feet of water was actually dry. Never have seen it that dry.
We saw one person on a mountain bike and 3 people on horses come by.
The new mile markers are great.
The installation of mileage markers from Big Bend to Kidds Mill trailhead is nearly complete! The final marker is being manufactured and will be installed at Kidds Mill next week. The trail was measured through the use of three GPS units. Final length was measured at 8.75 miles. Thanks to Bob and Donna K, Ron and Gloria K, and Terry J for all your patience and help.
Fourteen eager volunteers spent a 65°-70° day completing a number of water mitigation projects on the Shenango Trail. Started the day at 10 AM. Perfect day for working; bright sun, clear skies, and dry weather. Hiked in about 3/4 of a mile to several normally damp areas of the trail. Due to a lack of recent rains the trail was exceptionally dry. Installed knicks, drainage sumps, and rolling grade dips to deal with any water which may run down the trail during rainy weather.
Each volunteer worked on all three types of installations and gained much needed experience. Completed all work by Noon and ended at that time. Several volunteers continued the hike nornorthwardthward toward the two mile mark surveying the trail for future work projects. Thanks to all who participated in the scheduled workday! Next workday is scheduled for June 28, 2020 at the Kidds Mill trailhead. Check the Shenango River Watchers website or Facebook page for updates.
Finished installation of mileage markers on southern section of Shenango Trail; Big Bend to New Hamburg, four miles. Mile markers had been requested by many trail users. Installation was delayed since March due to COVID-19 restrictions. Initial response has been positive. Markers are planned for the northern section and will be completed by June 28. Thanks to all that assist in maintaining the Shenango Trail!
Hiked 8 miles on the Shenango Trail; Big Bend to New Hamburg and back. Total of 13 fellow hikers, 3 bikers, and 2 horse riders. Great day for a hike but very warm in late afternoon. Trail was recently brush cut at both ends and was very dry; no recent heavy rain. Bikers/horses utilized the swinging bridge bypass just north of Big Bend; well appreciated!
Parked in New Hamburg and headed South. We went approx 3 miles and turned around only because we were on a time schedule. The trail is very well maintained by the Shenango River Watchers. It's very green and full in there with beautiful purple and yellow wildflowers. Quite a few pedestrian bridges we crossed. Each bridge now has a number. Great trail!
8 mile hike on Shenango Trail from Big Bend to New Hamburg and back. Temp around 57° at Noon; perfect for a longer hike. 17 other hikers had the same idea to get out of confinement on a sunny Saturday. Many new faces on the trail; including two former students! Wildlife absent due to increased numbers of hikers. Performed some brush clearing while walking.
4/17/2020 Late afternoon hike during wet snowfall. Spotted immature bald eagle perched near riverbank. Lots of deer sign, no other hikers. Examined recently installed grade dips to channel water from the trail. Further work curtailed due to health guidelines.
3/22/2020. Decided to hike Shenango Trail to break away from home and isolation. Began hike at about 9:30 AM hoping to hike about four miles and relax; maybe do a little trail work along the way. Usually on a clear, bright Sunday I see about 8-10 fellow hikers. NOT TODAY! 28 hikers, 2 bikers, and 1 horseperson were seen on trail by the time I finished my hike/work at 2:30 PM. It seems a lot of others had the same idea to escape home and boredom after being cooped up for at least a week. Trail was in great shape; little muddy and slightly high streams but very passable. Glad to see so many people with children on the trail; at least 15 elementary and Jr high age hikers; the future of hiking, biking, etc.
3/8/2020. Began a trail survey hike in AM, 35° temp. Hiked in 2.0 miles to midway point. One downed tree blocking trail at eye level, trail dry and clear. Nine other hikers enjoying the day. Hiked back out and drove to New Hamburg after lunch and hiked in 2.0 miles to midpoint again. Trail temp around 60° by 2 PM. Met another eight hikers on the second leg; all enjoying the unseasonably warm/sunny weather. Several mature bald eagles circling around on the river. Two fishermen trying their luck on far side of river. Explored possible reroute of trail north of bridge number 1. Hikers from Grove City, Hermitage, Fredonia, and Masury, Brookfield, and Cortland, Ohio.
Hiked 1.5 miles in from Big Bend to complete a small wooden 'seep' crossing which has been a nuisance for quite some time. Trail snow covered, weather sunny and bright; 18° at 8:45 AM. Set puncheons for crossing in AM. Returned at 3 PM to complete installation. A total of 13 other hikers and runners enjoying the beautiful day; some looking for "Bigfoot". Temp in afternoon around 45°. Hiked forward to mile 2.0 for snacks and a break. Explored original route of towpath and remnants of canal lock near bridge crossing.
2/29/ 2020. Midday hike on the Shenango Trail. 20 ° and bright sunshine. 2.5 miles in and back from Big Bend. Side trip up a creek drainage to Pew Rd. looking for mid-trail access. Trail in great shape, frozen surface, no tree obstructions. Saw three deer near Camp Nazareth and two immature bald eagles on the river. Evidence of two other hikers from previous day.
I walked from Big Bend to the covered bridge and back. I started at 10:45am and arrived back at Big Bend at 6:00pm When I made it to the covered bridge at the end my phone said 8.62 miles. I'm not sure if this is 100% but it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect if you do the whole trail to the end. I want to thank each and everyone that has volunteered to make this trail so great your work is greatly appreciated.
This trail is actually closer to 8 miles long, point to point running from kidds mill bridge to big bend. It's a great trail for all levels of hiking or trail running, with great views of the river and wildlife along the whole length of the trail, and is the only primitive hiking trail in the area. A great group of volunteers and the Shenango River Watchers put in alot of work getting the trail cleared up and bringing it back to life. When its wet out, it can be muddy in spots, and when its warm out, there are bugs, because well you are in the great outdoors! 😁
1/8/2020 Decided to take a little hike on Kidds Mill trail intending to scout out a proposed loop trail and then hike on to the Shenango Trail. Scouted past eroded bluff and rejoined Kidds Mill trail. 25° degrees and sunny, fresh trackless snow. About a half hour in, a dense snow squall dumped another inch of snow on the previous blanket. Snowed hard enough to limit visibility to 50 yards. Wildlife was absent during the height of the squall which lasted 30 minutes. After the band moved through, spotted three doe and a perched bald eagle. Hiked total 5 miles out and back. Great day, quiet, no fellow hikers.
Great hike. Trail is marked with white blazes and the towpath trail has a blue dot in the white blaze. North Bend to Kidds Mill Bridge was 9.2 miles. There’s a parking area at Hamburg rd which I think is about halfway.
Beautiful trail along the Shenango River. A suspension bridge near North Bend Rd is a bonus. Horses and bikes welcome. Follow the white blazes - the towpath has a blue dot on the white blaze. Relatively flat. North bend to Kidd’s mill bridge was 9.2 miles for me.
New Years' Day hike on the Shenango Trail. 35° and sunny. Spotted three bald eagles; two juveniles and one mature bird. Several hawks sighted by river. Lots of deer sign and evidence of beaver work. Hiked two miles, out and back from Big Bend. Shared the trail with a family of three from Hermitage, PA.
Had a brisk winter hike on the Kidds Mill/Shenango Trails. Sunny, but only 25°at 2 PM. Began at Kidds Mill bridge; no hiker tracks but lots of squirrel, rabbit, dear and coyote sign. Spotted a mature bald eagle as the trail neared the river; screeched and took off flying from the riverbank. Canada geese along the river surface. Trail surface frozen in most spots; some muddy breakthroughs on creek crossings. Skirted around the beaver pond/bog area at the end of Kidds Mill trail and picked up Shenango Trail at mile 1. Hiked an additional 1.5 miles to the beaver pond near Spook Hollow road. Pond frozen, therefore no waterfowl or beaver activities. Met up with a SRW member on the way out. Both trails are clear of obstructions and dry/frozen. The bypass skirting the pond at the end of Kidds Mill allows you to extend the hike another 2 plus miles one way.
Walked the entire trail from New Hamburg to Big Bend on Dec. 16, 2019. Trail is completely open; free of tree obstructions and brush. Recently completed swinging bridge bypass is open and passable; although 'muck' boots are needed to cross the first stream. Boots are helpful the entire length of trail this time of year due to high stream volumes. Trail muddy in spots: PLEASE do not go off trail to avoid mud; it only makes the problem worse. Lots of evidence of deer traffic on the trail. Lots of squirrels sited and beaver work on riverbank; look for freshly gnawed saplings on your right going south. Work being performed throughout trail to mitigate water and mud concerns. All bridges are passable. Small reroute on Towpath Trail clearly marked. A small reroute is also pink flagged north of bridge no. 1 near Camp Nazareth to avoid water on trail.
The trail north of New Hamburg is completely open to Kidds Mill trail but is for the adventurous and well equipped. Muck boots are definitely needed for a small section just north of New Hamburg and for crossing atop of a large beaver dam at mile 1 north. Beaver are active at dusk each day and can be observed from either end of the dam. Best viewed from the northern end. Waterfowl are also abundant in the pond. At about 1.5 miles north of New Hamburg there is a blazed reroute away from private property and a cow pasture; also signage directing trail traffic. The connection with Kidds Mill trail at 2.8 miles north New Hamburg continues to be a water problem. The beaver have expanded their pond and flooded the existing puncheon bridges. The area can be bypassed by going to the right, skirting the flooded area and rejoining the Kidds Mill trail after a short off trail walk.
The Shenango Trail is a hidden gem for those who want a semi-primitive adventure. Don't be scared off by the challenge of the trail. Be prepared for all conditions and to observe lots of wildlife.
We hiked from New Hamburg to Big Bend, approx 4 miles on Sunday, November 17, 2019. Group hike was organized by Shenango River Watchers, who maintains the trail. They've done some clean up a few weeks prior. Trail was passable but muddy.
Parking in New Hamburg for about 10 cars. Parking in Big Bend for about 20 cars.
The swinging bridge was open and operational and all slats were intact.
I have only hiked this trail in the Spring and Fall but heard it's very thick over the summer months.
Nice local trail.
The Shenango Hiking Trail has recently been taken over by a new organization and they have lots of work ahead of them. As the other reviews say, the bridges need lots of work, and there are parts of the trail (especially between New Hamburg and Kidds Mill) that are impassible. It will take a few years, lots of money, and lots of hard work to get this trail up and running. If you are interested in doing trail maintenance or volunteering please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to hike this trail you should definitely try the section between Big Bend and New Hamburg. The hanging bridge needs repaired, but can be bypassed if you are adventurous.
This trail is meant to be followed in a single file line, and was not intended for bikes, but some mountain bikers do still run it. The trail is also used by local equestrian clubs.
This trail tends to be very wet year round. Many locals suggest avoiding the trail during the summer months due to poison ivy! Unfortunately in Western PA there is little we can do to control the poison ivy especially in a natural setting. With our winters becoming more and more mild, poison ivy and tick populations are becoming even harder to control. Please be smart when hiking and always wear proper attire.
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.
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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