Rail Trail riding is an outdoor activity worth exploring! Pennsylvania's industrial history built a well organized network of railroad grades across the state. Today, in many communities, those same railways connecting small towns have been transformed to one of the state's best recreational resource. One that is well worth exploring is the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail near Lewisburg, PA.
The Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, shown on the Bald Eagle Lizard Map, follows the path of an old railway through agricultural lands between the picturesque Pennsylvania towns of Mifflinburg and Lewisburg. A nine-mile long section has been restored as a public rail trail. The railroad was used for industrial transportation from the 1850's until the early 1980's. Since 2011 the railway, now part asphalt and part gravel, has been used by thousands of visitors to explore and recreate on bike, foot, or stroller. Highlights of the trail include interpretative signage, cool old industrial buildings, and some beautiful active agricultural landscapes.
Parking is available at both ends of the trail. The western terminus is located on North 10th Street in Mifflinburg (just north of route 45). The eastern terminus is along North 12th Street in Lewisburg, and includes a trail sign, bike racks, and bathroom facilities.
The path is very level throughout this valley. Along the route, visitors will experience both open farm fields and tunnel-like hedgerows. Users do need to keep an eye open for road crossings and farm equipment at all times, but otherwise the path is very peaceful. Local Amish community members prefer not to be photographed, so please respect their wishes. Seasonal farm stands with refreshments for visitors often appear along the route so you may want to have some cash on hand.
Earl's Bicycle Store and Cafe is right on the path and offers daily refreshments. Be sure to stop in for a snack, a quick bike fix or just to check out the newest bikes on the market.
There is also a nice rest stop roughly halfway through the rail trail near Vicksburg. Features include signs, flowers, picnic tables, bathrooms, and a small parking area.
There is plenty to see as the trail passes through the beautiful town of Mifflinburg too. A historic covered bridge rests a few blocks north of the rail trail here. The Bald Eagle Lizard Map has this bridge marked with a purple lizard so it can't be missed! Rusty Rail Brewing Company is just a few blocks further west. Stop in to check out the renovated industrial building and to taste their liquid creations!
If this wets your appetite for more rail trail rides, be sure to check out the Pine Creek Rail Trail, a top-ten rail trail in the United States! Follow along with the Purple Lizard Maps blog of the full 62-mile Pine Creek Rail Trail. There are also rail trails on the Moshannon-Quehanna, Athens, Ohio and Raystown Lake Lizard Maps. Go ahead and grab the entire PA Adventure Pack and head out to explore!
With over 300 miles of non-motorized trails, tons of gravel and dirt roads, and 24/7 access, Rothrock State Forest is a true gem for year-round outdoor recreation near State College, PA. Although the forest roads are not maintained in winter, a few parking lots along the perimeter of the forest provide ample access in almost any conditions. Below, we've chosen a few of our favorite very difficult trail loops accessible in the winter from one of these parking areas. The following loops are best for those who enjoy challenging, steep, and rocky climbs and descents.