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The Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail-Trail, first envisioned in the 1990s, is a developing pathway being built along the former Reading Railroad. The 7-mile route is hoped to be completed in 2018 and will connect the central Pennsylvania communities of Lititz, Warwick, Akron, and Ephrata. Today, just over half the trail is complete and open.
Its most western completed segment, known as the Lititz-Warwick Trailway, traverses both urban and rural landscapes in the community of Lititz. It passes two restored 18th century buildings and includes signage explaining their history.
Farther east, the rail-trail begins off Fulton Street in Akron. For just over a mile, the paved trail continues northeast primarily through residential neighborhoods and includes a lighted pedestrian tunnel under Route 272 (7th Street). On its eastern end, at Parkview Heights Road, it seamlessly connects to the next segment of the rail-trail in neighboring Ephrata.
Once known as the Ephrata Linear Park Trail, this eastern segment was renamed in 2013 as the Major Richard D. Winters Memorial Trail in honor of a decorated World War II veteran and hometown hero. Dick Winters was featured in the book, Band of Brothers, by historian Stephen Ambrose, and portrayed in a TV miniseries of the same name. Ephrata was his boyhood home and he was buried here in 2011. The well-developed, paved pathway through downtown Ephrata runs for a mile and offers lighting, benches, and landscaping.
For the Ephrata section: Take Route 322 to E. Fulton Street; the trail begins at the street’s intersection with Railroad Avenue in the center of EphrataBorough.
For the Lititz section: From Lancaster, follow Route 501 North to Lititz. Turn right (east) onto Route 772 (Main Street). Turn left onto Clay Road and follow it up the hill to the Warwick Township Municipal Complex on the right. Parking is available all around the municipal building; the trail entrance is directly across Clay Road.
This trail is great but it took a long time for it to be completed. Lancaster County has a good number of rail trails that are heavily used. Finally the local governments are realizing the tremendous benefits that these trails provide. I wonder when this trail will be finally completed from Ephrata to Lititz.
Well done trail that, when completed, will be an excellent destination trail. Paved for about 3 miles from downtown Ephrata. Lighted (lit didn't look right)for the first 2.5 of those miles. On a nice weekend day expect to see lots of user. Easy to connect to the Warwick section on back roads. We've been using this abandoned rail line for over 30 years and are excited each time a new section has been improved. Recently checked out the bridge section which is the final hurdle only to have two white tail deer dart across the trail in front of us. Anxiously looking forward to the day I can do a night ride from Ephrata to Lititz and back without being on the road at all.
Two segments of the trail have recently been completed. (as of 12/28/2016).
Warwick Township added 5200 ft. going east from East Newport road to Picnic Woods road.(* NOte, East Newport road is a very busy road! Flashing lights have been installed at the crossing, but use caution!)
On the other end, an additional 2000ft. have been completed from the Akron Borough line to Millway road in Ephrata Township.
Warwick Township anticipates completing the segment from Picnic Woods road to Old Rothsville road by the end of 2017. The Final segment from Rothsville road to Millway road, which requires redecking and fencing the bridge over the Cocalico Creek is expected to be completed in 2018.
From downtown Ephrata to Akron and return.
Walked as part of a 'Volksmarch'. Trail is well done and a bit longer than the current map indicates. Lighted of night time use. Open 6AM to 11PM. I'm planning on a night bike ride next spring.
There are side detours that should be considered. Easy to make a loop in Akron to connect Lloyd H Roland Memorial Park 'East' of the trail on Main Street. Ephrata Cloister is located 'West' of the Ephrata trailhead with numerous restaurants in the downtown area.
Great to be alive. We enjoyed another PA rail-trail. Short. Undone. Confusing at times, especially in Ephrata and alittle bit in Lititz. Need signage. Nearing completion. Liked the lights from Ephrata to Akron. May return when finished.
Went up and back and did the whole thing today. There is everything from walkers to bikers to pet owners so it can get crowded. Easier parking on Ephrata side. 95% is paved, some gravel at Akron side. Literally takes you to downtown Ephrata but you can park and pick it up at many locations.
My wife and I learned of this trail last year and have walked on it in the Ephrata-Akron area a number of times. Very well developed and maintained, a relaxing walk on most any day. We want to walk the trail in the Lititz-Warwick area next.
Can't wait till it's done
first time on this trail. Can't wait until it is completed. The trail itself is great, was just very short. Hard to believe it is there because it is so well hidden. Great for walking or jogging or for a quick short ride. Only reason for the 4 stars versus 5 stars is the length. Otherwise definitely a five star!
Having benches along the trail are great.
The trash cans and doggie waste bags are great.
Beside each other, not so great.
The long awaited extension of the trail into Akron Borough was openend on january 1st 2015.
This new segment from Parkview Ave in Ephrata Borough extends the trail 1.3 miles to Fulton Street in Akron.
It is expected that work on extending the trail to Millway Road in Ephrata township will begin this Spring.
This newly opened section is easily accessible to the apartments adjacent to the trail,and since the section is lighted, provides another place for evening dogwalkers
Went for a nice winter walk that included this trail.
Great trail, Lots of early morning users. Parking? Other Facilities appear lacking.
Saw a sign saying 'No Winter Maintenance'.
That's wrong. For the number of snow events we get, there must be a couple of minutes in the snow removal schedules the take care of the trail.
There probably is a requirement to shovel snow off a sidewalk in the township so why doesn't this extend to the township/town trails.
Maybe just trying to avoid the legal liability.
My wife and I bought bikes over the winter. As retired folks, although we are not in bad shape, we feel we need the exercise and just the chance to get out and enjoy the outdoors. This was our "first ride". We did the trail out to Oak St. then up to Newport Road. It was OK, but we didn't expect to be riding along a main highway. Remember, this is our "first ride", so we weren't sure what to expect. HOWEVER, we found some side trails, all paved that wound around between developments. WONDERFUL! Also, appreciated the Warwick Municipal building and park with bathrooms, good parking.....and very friendly people along all the trails.
The Lititz-Warwick Trailway is a short, but sweet trail that passes two beautiful, historical structures. It also provides valuable links between nearby subdivisions, and will eventually extend both westward to Lititz-Springs Park and eastward to the Ephrata Linear Park. In the meantime, take the branch trail that begins just east of the creek north to Oak Street, then go south past John Bonfield Elementary School to the western terminus of the trailway for a longer hiking or cycling route.
Constructed along the right-of-way of the old Reading-Columbia Railroad, the Ephrata Linear Park is one of the best trails in Lancaster County. The trail's paved, level surface (the only incline is a ramp located near the southern end of the trail at Pointview Ave.), numerous benches and trash receptacles and legible signage make the trail ideal for cyclists, walkers, strollers and wheelchair users. It is also one of the few multi-use trails in south-central PA that is lit along its entire length, making it relatively safe for evening use.
Although the completed portion of the trail currently begins in the parking lot next to the Ephrata Review building off E. Main Street, it is best accessed from a free, public parking lot off Fulton Ave. The wheelchair-accessible porta-potty that serves as the trail's only public restroom is located here, and a small flower garden is located on the right bank that separates the park from Railroad Ave. A branch trail that connects to a nearby elementary school demonstrates that the Linear Park is intended not just for recreation, but to tie the community closer together.
South of Fulton Street, the trail enters lush, wooded areas as it passes light industrial factories and suburban-style homes. A section near the Brickyard development runs high on an embankment that provides panoramic views of Ephrata on one side, and a look into thick woods and a stream valley on the other. A flight of stairs that branches off to the east provides acess to the Brickyard Trail, a walking path that extends through the valley before climing a steep hill to the adjacent development.
A small basketball court is located nearby,providing another reminder that this trail is intended to be a full-fledged "park."
The embankment yields to a small ravine as one travels further south on the Linear Park, passing behind more homes and a church, before finally ramping up to a small parking lot off Pointivew (signs specifically inform motorists that this parking lot is private and not intended for trail users). Ave., near the southern end of town.
The small section of the trail between Fulton Ave. and the Ephrata Review parking lot runs on an embankment behind the borough's municipal building and police department. This portion also has a more urban feel than the southern section, and gives users good views of downtown Ephrata and a nearby feed mill.
Local officials plan to extend the Linear Park in both directions in the near future. The next phase, slated to begin in mid-2010, will take the trail north of Main Street, past the old train station, to a caboose that the borough purchased from the Reading Railroad next to State Street. Although no more than 1500 long, this portion will give users a glimpse of the trail's past, railroad heritage, and provide access to numerous shops and restaurants in the borough's downtown. Phase 3, which will be completed in 2012 or later, will extend the Linear Park further north to Pine Street, near the borough's north end.
Extension southward from Pointivew Ave. to connect with a trail that officials in Akron and Ephrata and Warwick townships plan to construct along an additional 4 miles of the defunct rail line, is also anticipated. That trail, when completed, will provide an indirect link to the Lititz-Warwick Trailway.
As a newbie to riding a bike, but a long term hiker/walker, this is one of my favorite trail/bikeways.
With the Newport Square trail ( built as part of a recent housing development) it forms a "T" that is 3 miles.
When the Township expanded the park facility at the municipal campus, they extended the trail around the perimeter of the ball fields, adding some additional length.
I often exit of the trail onto Front street in Lititz and ride over to the Warwick/Lititz Linear park and then back for a 10 mile loop.
Warwick township, Akron Borough and Ephrata township acquired the undeveloped right of way
of the former Columbia and Reading railroad in 2007. They do intend to develop this into a bikeway so that one will be able to bike from Ephrata Borough (which paved it's existing segment last year) to Lititz Borough.
The municipalities will be concentrating their efforts on extending the trail from Ephrata to Akron in the near future, and Warwick will follow with their segment
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