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The Trout Island Trail is planned to be a 13-mile rail-trail along the former Erie and Pittsburgh Railroad. Currently, 2.4 miles are open and fully paved in Sharpsville, following the Shenango River near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. Eventually, the trail will run to Orangeville.
The trail offers a pleasant mix of views, including woodlands, farmlands, and the Shenango Dam. The first half mile of the trail, from downtown to the dam, is downhill; from there, the trail levels out and provides a smooth, easy ride.
A small paved parking area is available just off Thomason Road on the northeast end of the trail.
Took advantage of a warm and beautiful Fall day for a 4.6 mile jog along the trail...from end to end, and back. Trail is asphalt paved and flat.
It's finally summer-like on the trail. Nice flat asphalt paved and well maintained by Mercer County Trails Association. Great for biking and running. Trail passes the Shenango Dam.
Though this trail is relatively short, it's short and sweet and to the point! Basically flat trail runs from Sharpsville to the rail trestle on Shenango Lake. Some of the trail is canopy shaded and other areas are open. There is street parking at the Sharpsville end, and a small lot towards the end of the trail at mile 1.9. Completely asphalt paved. The trail passes the Shenango Dam as well as the lake. For a side trip, you can venture into Sharpsville and check out the old canal lock. Off the trail is some great fishing!
This is a great trail for running or walking (maybe not biking until they extend it...would be a quick bike ride). Parking lot is small, but it was not busy on a Tuesday morning in May (use address 3700 Trout Island Road; Sharpsville, PA, to get to the lot). The only downside to the trail was that there were huge swarms of gnats the entire time I was running, which was annoying. Perhaps that would only be at certain times of the day or year, though.
We biked the trail on Saturday, February 20....one week after
walking on the trail the prior Saturday when it was snow covered. (See Winter photo's). Trail was clear. Temps were unseasonally warm in the 60's. There were quite a few people taking advantage of the trail that day. Some snow on the grassy areas along side the trail. A nice surprise to be biking on this trail in February, one week after the big snow, and big freeze!
Mercer County Trails association had a run on the trail, on the coldest and snowiest of all Saturdays in February. Nice trail in the snow, for walking or snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Parking lot open as well as the portable rest room.
The entire trail is fully paved, and relatively flat, which makes this one suitable for In-Line Skates/Roller Blading.
The trail is approx 2.4 miles in length. Most of it is paved. You begin on pavement, then a section is small gravel, then trail goes back to being paved. Starts below the dam, and then ride along the lake. I have a Hybrid bike with small tires and had no problem on the small gravel type section. Trail is mainly flat, some areas a small grade. The beginning of the trail is downhill. Due to the short length, we rode back and forth several times. About 2 miles into the trail there is a port a john. And another parking lot.
Close to all services in Hermitage - parking in Sharpsville or in the small paved parking area (equipped with Port-A-Potty), just off of Thomason Road between Hwy18 and Lamor Road (Hwy518). Easy walk, plenty of sun and shade, variety of scenery includes farm fields, a marsh, a working railroad track, and Shenango Dam - built by the Army Corps of Engineers to end flooding downstream in Sharon. Downhill from Sharpsville to the Dam, the trail flattens and straightens out from there. Not heavily used. Drive carefully on Thomason Road as folks tend to hurry between Hwy18 and Lamor Road (the Road by D'Nafrio's that intersects Hwy18) - and there is no center line or 'lifeline' paint. If you venture further north past the 'End of the Line' - marked with a sign and yellow posts, you will soon come to the railroad bridges that cross over Shenango River Lake - one of which is still working - these parallel the Hwy18 Bridge from Clark to Shenango. Not an especially pleasant walk, strong smell of creosote from RR Ties on a hot day, rough gravel to walk on, and a little too isolated to feel entirely safe - though the surrounding area is residential, single family homes, and small-town USA - nothing to worry about along the trail.
This trail has been a great addition to the Shenango Valley and offers a great alternative location for road runners and trail runners alike. The 2.5 mile paved / unpaved section is flat as a pancake and offers a great opportunity for some fast paced running for the experienced runner or a very easy route for the novice. The trail head in Sharpsville offers approximately 1.25 miles of wooded running while the rest is open to the elements as it heads towards the northern end of the current trail. The Army Corps of Engineers recently completed some maintenance on the Shenango River dam which allowed the middle, previously unimproved, section of the trail to now have a nice crushed limestone or some thick compacted material. This surface is great to run on and is a great alternative to macadam / pavement. The improvements by the Corps of Engineers also added a 700+ meter loop that attaches to the trail and scoops along the reservoir and also offers a short extension down to the waters edge. This additional loop is a great option aesthetically as well as for those looking for a nice place for the runner to do some repeat 700's or lesser distance. For those looking to add some distance to a longer run, there is single track trail that traverses for a short distance up the side of the ravine and attaches onto another paved trail to goes into and throughout Pierce Bluffs (a residential community on the top of the ravine). In addition, for those looking for more of a true trail experience, there is parallel trail / old rail bed, closer to the reservoir that starts at the north end of the previously mentioned loop...it can be accessed from a small trail coming off of the managed trail about 100 meters north of where the loop ends. This trail is unmanaged, but is flat and easy to run...there are a few fallen trees to go over and a few that have been cut out of the way apparently in the distant past...but this trail is totally and easily usable throughout the year. It loops back upon the paved trail approximately 200 meters past the Trout Island parking lot but also offers some smaller offshoot trails that eventually lead you to a way to get to Mahaney Recreation area and there are also alternative ways to get to Shenango River RV park which is a nice place to run in the off-season, especially winter, due to its solitude.
This trail has ample parking and is a great place for out and back off-road running. In good weather there are usually people on the trail but I can always run around them along the wide side shoulder. Out and back is about 5 miles which is about the limit of my abilities for a days run. I can always shorten this length though if I am not feeling up to the challenge. The main parking area is at a plaza that has two convenient places to eat; a wonderful sub sandwich shop and a quaint deli, so food and drink are readily available.
I neglected to choose a rating with my original review.The Trout Island Trail deserves 5 stars!!
Access to the trail is near the intersection of South Mercer Avenue and East Main Street in Sharpsville in southwest Mercer County, Pennsylvania, close to the cities of Sharon and Hermitage. Park in the little shopping plaza down the hill from the trailhead on the left and visit Lock, Stock and Barrel or DiLorenzo's for lunch. Another access point with parking is found along Trout Island Road (also called Township Road 573). You can see the trail marked as a railroad track on Google Maps. The improved part follows along the Shenango River, providing glimpses of the river, beaver ponds, and wetlands along the way. Phase one of about 2.5 miles is paved except for a short, unpaved section in the middle. The unpaved section is free of debris and can be easily bicycled on a hybrid bike. We walked the trail on August 28, 2010 and found it to be beautiful in every way. The scenery, the solitude and the location can't be beat. Congratulations to the folks who have worked for many years toward the goal of developing this recreation trail. Great job!!
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