Have you ever been for a bike ride, with your friends, family or on your own? Lancaster has wonderful trails across the county where you can see the leaves changing colors, ride through scenic routes and take in the terrain. Enjoy the peace of waterways, preserved nature lands, majestic overlooks of the river and the beauty of the landscape.
Northwest Lancaster County River Trail is one of my favorites. This is a trail created in 2003 where you can bike, walk or run that is 14 miles long following the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. Created over more than 20 years ago this trail is a great example of the prosperous community all of the boroughs within Lancaster County emulate. This is a great trail to see some history within Northwestern Lancaster County. The canal era started in the late 1700’s within Pennsylvania to move people plus materials and to improve water transport within the state from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Miles of different canals along the state range from 10 miles to over 100 miles long! When riding along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail you will see parts of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal including original towpaths and parts of the quarry at Billmeyer, it’s like a ride through some history! You can start the trail at multiple locations like at Koser Park but if you start the trail by Columbia River Park there are boats, kayaks, bike rentals, shuttle services, picnic areas and historical markers for educational information about the local community, terrain and culture over the years.
A few must sees during your time on the Northwest River Trail:
- Chickies Rock County Park- you get to go through Point Rock tunnel which is an abandoned railroad path cut through rock!
- White Cliffs of Conoy- just minutes off the trail and truly breathtaking!
- Marietta- a borough within Lancaster County full of historic buildings to wander around and learn about!
- Conoy- a township within Lancaster County, when you get to this point of the trail you will get to go under the Shocks Mill Railroad Bridge!
While the trail is 14 miles long you do not need to do the whole thing in one day. Consider breaking up the trail along multiple weekends or months giving you the opportunity to absorb and soak in all the beauty within the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. The trail is continuing to be added to so consider using the trail map on their website to map out your outdoor adventure, they are currently working to expand the trail another 4.5 miles.
A few things to consider before you take on the trail for the day: the trail is open year round conditions permitting from sunrise until sunset. If you want to bring your family dog on the trail be sure you have them on a leash and clean up after them as well as yourselves. This trail is a carry out trail, there are great places to enjoy lunch or a snack across the trail so be sure to bring a bag to collect your trash. The trail is ADA accessible, wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices are permitted. There are sections of this trail that go over bridges, roads, and railways that are active so cross with caution and be aware of your surroundings.
- Windbreaker/Sweatshirt if you are going in the colder months
- Hat and sunglasses
- Lunch or snacks (though there are great places right off the trial where you can stop off and enjoy a new restaurant for lunch)
- Plenty of water
- Small first aid kit, if you are trying out biking for the first time or just taking a leisure walk this can always come in handy for yourself or someone you may pass on the trail
- Map of the trail
- Your phone fully charged
- Gator or mask
If you enjoy the trail along the river consider checking out one of the many water trails by boat, there is recreational fishing, boat marinas and more. Going by boat is another wonderful way to see the beauty of the river. If you are planning to go by a rented boat or bike be sure to look up the hours of the Columbia Crossing River Trail Center, though the trails are open year round the trail center has set visiting hours.
Lancaster is full of great trails, places to walk, hike and bike. Another gem within Lancaster County is the Enola Low Grade Trail . This trail is off of the Pennsylvania Railroad and over 28 miles long! While on this trail you will see beautiful scenery, parts of the river, bridges and more. To reach the start of the trail you will have to go to Manor Township and you can find parking at Turkey Hill Nature Preserve. If you decide to take the day and hike this trail be sure to bring a backpack with water, snacks and sunscreen! You may recognize this trail as Atglen-Susquehanna Trail, this was the name it used to be called. While the trail is in Lancaster County it is also in Chester County. It goes through many townships!
After a day outside on the water or on land you will have experienced stunning landscapes and plenty of wildlife. One of my favorite things to do after time on the trail is for my family and I to share fun memories, laughs, and favorite parts over dinner. It is the best way to end the day! While the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail is one of my favorites it is not the only trail in Lancaster County you should check out, there is an abundance of trails to check out and experience: Conewago Recreation Trail, Conestoga Greenway Trail, Lancaster Junction Recreation Trail, Enola Low Grade Rail Trail and Turkey Hill Trail & Natural Preserve, these are a few more trails that I really enjoy on nice days. Getting outside and walking, hiking or biking on trails is a great way to get active and mix up your day, Susquehanna River Lands gives great information on a handful of trails and all the ways to enjoy the outdoors within Lancaster!
Whether you have been an avid biker, leisure biker, or want to try something new, the trails across Lancaster County will provide you a peaceful afternoon and great exercise. If biking isn’t for you the River Trail is great for hiking, walking, or running too especially since it is smooth, flat and paved. Consider trying one of the trails out during this upcoming beautiful weekend!
A day in the beauty of Lancaster’s outdoors making you think of moving to the County? Contact Mary Sue Wolf to look at homes and properties that are immersed within the rich history, beauty, and prosperous community. You will love it here!
For more information on wonderful homes like: 115 Market Street, Bainbridge PA 17502 just minutes off of the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail as well as those beautiful White Cliffs. Call Mary Sue at 717-333-9653 or visit her website at WolfandWebb.com