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The Slate Heritage Trail is built on the former Lehigh Valley Railroad, which opened in 1874 and transported slate products from quarries in northern Lehigh County to Slatington to connect with the railroad's main line. Trail-goers can learn about this history through interpretive panels along the way while enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
The trail also features a few unique structures using the area's key natural resource: a series of slate benches providing rest and reflection points along the path and a building made of slate, which houses restroom facilities near the Trout River crossing. A covered bridge and refurbished railroad bridge offer other picturesque highlights. Near the trailhead in Slatington, travelers can continue their journey on the Delaware & Lehigh Trail, which also connects with the well-known Appalachian Trail.
From Rt 145N, make a left onto Main Street at the McDonalds and follow the road that becomes Diamond Street. Follow this for about 1 mile and then make your first left after the Lehigh River Bridge, where parking is plentiful. From here, you can access both the Slate Heritage Trail and the D&L Trail.
The map directions cite an address on Railroad Street; a narrow road where there is no public parking or facilities. There is excellent parking, comfort facilities, a covered pavilion, and trail access at (across the street from) 102 Main Street, Slatington PA, 18080. This parking and facilities are adjacent to the D&L Trail. The Slate Heritage Trail branches off of the D< a short distance south of the parking lot.
The address cited above is for Sal's Pizza; the food is excellent.
This trail has extreme damage at the west end (Slatedale) as of Sept. 2020. Coming out of Slatington it is fine for the first mile or so, but when you get to the Turnpike overhead bridge, the trail surface is large rough stone. Looks like it was never restored after the construction work was completed. Beyond that, it is Ok for about half a mile, then the packed fines have washed away in many places. some people are using the grass shoulder to get around this, but that can be very soft if there have been rains. Not worth the effort to go west of the Turnpike bridge until repaired.
This little trail is less than 4 miles long but is connected to the D&L which at the present time (fall 2018) allows roughly 10 miles north (to Lehighton) and maybe 10 miles south (to Cemeton). So if a longer ride is wanted there you go. The easiest way to access the trail is from the Slatington trail head on the D&L, proceed south a very short distance to the Heritage trail which is to the right and starts on a neighborhood roadway. There are ample signs pointing the way.
The Slate Heritage Trail is open the entire length as the turnpike bridge is complete. As others have mentioned the trail follows the creek. There are (I think) 3 through truss bridges and an old railroad trestle for your creek crossing pleasure. There is also a (very nice) reproduction 19th century covered bridge next to a covered picnic grove. Signs and markers along the way tell of the once booming slate industry complete with ruins of old slate workings. It is a very pleasant abet short trail.
The trail surface is a combination of paved and packed cinders. There are small elevation changes but overall a fairly easy trail to ride or jog.
I mentioned the much larger and much touted D&L Trail which intersects the Slate Heritage Trail. A few words here note I write as of Fall 2018:
As mentioned going north it is 10 miles to Lehighton, 15 if you continue along the Weissport section (Lehigh Canal). The D&L abruptly ends at the waste water treatment plant in Jim Thorpe, leaving the explorer really no viable option to continue north along the Lehigh Gorge section of the D&L. The Carbon County Commissioners have constructed a rather impressive bridge over the Lehigh River that will at some point in the future connect the Lehigh Canal to the Lehigh Gorge Trails adding another 35 miles of rail trail extending from Jim Thorpe to just south of Glenn Summit. However this bridge is closed until a half mile of the northern end of the Lehigh Canal trail is constructed which will not be completed until mid to late 2019 at the earliest (as of fall 2018). Check with the D&L if contemplating this trip.
Heading south on the D&L from Slatington, the trail is closed just south of Cemeton due to a road bridge replacement. This bridge will not be completed until Dec. 2020. At that point, a road bridge just upstream of the current project is due to start which will put another gap in the D&L that will last until late 2023. It is possible to detour the current gap and it might be possible to detour the future gap but make sure before you plan your vacation.
This is a nice trail to bike on a hot day. Lots of shade. There is a covered picnic pavilion right after the covered bridge.
After many times of having to stop short of the turnpike, we were able to go the entire length of this trail on August 13, 2017. This is a nice shaded trail with only a few small hills. There are many benches along the way to stop and rest if needed.
From where this trail turns off of the D&L it climbs gently along a stream. There is one very rough bridge and then all too soon you reach where the trail is blocked. We saw no sign of construction still going on. Still it was a pleasant ride, mostly in full shade, which was appreciated on a hot June day.
My leashed dog was attacked, unprovoked, on a section of this trail on May 11th, 2016 by an unleashed, unsupervised dog. The section is beneath the Route 873/Main Street overpass. I've walked this trail for years, even walking my dog on the same section the day before. I've never experienced an issue. I used to love this trail; it's beautiful. Unfortunately I no longer feel safe on this trail and I will not put my dog or myself at risk again.
My wife and I walk / jog regularly along this trail. The Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge over Trout Creek and the Trail is being re-decked, so the trail is closed in the vicinity due to the risk of falling debris.
The Eastern section from the Franklin Bridge over Trout Creek is open and is paved; that runs ~1.7 miles.
The Western section from Center Street in Emerald over to Slatedale is open with a crushed gravel surface; it's ~1.2 miles in length.
Worth a diversion especially if you're on the D&L Trail in Slatington.
Why? Because it is closed just before the Turnpike bridge. That pretty picture of the bridge on this site is old. Right at the end of the bridge are signs and concrete barriers (5 July 2015). Disappointed for sure.
Nice scenic trail along trout creek. This trail is local for me and I use it regularly. Nice for a short sprint, uncongested and plentiful parking at Slatington trailhead. Return trip is much faster. Saw quite a few fishermen as it is day after opening day in PA.
Hi, this is an excellent accent or diversion to the D&L trail North. There's not much signage where to enter, but it's right at the Slatington trail head to the D&L trail. It's really worth it. Pay little attention to the short sighted 'other' commenter. The trail has several new bridges, however the first one is a little rough and will probably be redone. I've seen weddings at the covered bridge and there is a stage where they have bands occasionally. You end up at Slatedale Park, which is a little league field that also has tennis courts and a nice pavilion to have lunch. This is a short, but interesting, historic and underrated trail. Check it out if you have the opportunity.
I biked it after a friend told me about it. I had biked the D&L trail and had overlooked this side trail. The sign for this trail does not really stand out when you are on the D&L. At Slatington, the east start of the trail looks like an alley way. It is well maintained. The coarse gravel section is short and not bad at all. There are many benches along the trail. It goes over many bridges - one is a covered bridge. About halfway there are bathrooms. Its the slate bldg. that the trail goes by on the back side so you might not realize it.
Its a great trail to bike & hike.
I did this trail and all I can say is it is not worth a special trip but if you are doing another trail in the area it is not a bad little trail. The first 1.7 miles is paved and the rest is a couple of different surfaces and for about a half mile it is very lose and not friendly. Other than that it was ok.
Hi please add Mountain Biking as an activity to this trail. Only Bike and Walking are presently listed. Thank you.
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