Voted: PA's TRAIL OF THE YEAR 2020 by DCNR!
Black Lick to Ebensburg & Rexis Branch
Distance: 36 miles
Surface: Hard-packed limestone dust
The Ghost Town Trail is located in the heart of west-central Pennsylvania. The trail roughly parallels Route 22 in an east-west direction. From the west, the nearest trail access is at Saylor Park in Blacklick, Pennsylvania, where it connects to the Hoodlebug Trail – from the east the nearest trail access is Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.
The trail is located 15 miles south of Indiana, Pennsylvania and totals 36 miles in Indiana and Cambria Counties, Pennsylvania. It is constructed of finely packed limestone dust placed on a former railroad grade. The trail is generally flat with a few sections having grades of up to 3%. Trail sections with the steepest grades include portions of the Black Lick to Heshbon; Vintondale to Twin Rocks; and Nanty Glo to Ebensburg.
Mile markers and directional signs located along the trail will assist you in knowing where you are at and how far it is to the next access area or attraction. Interpretive signs and historical markers are located throughout the trail to help educate and inform you about the history of the area.
The Ghost Town Trail derives its name from numerous mining towns that once existed along the railroad corridor. Wehrum, the largest of the former towns, once had 230 houses, a hotel company store, jail and bank. Warren Delano, uncle of President Franklin Roosevelt, developed the town. Other ghost towns include Bracken, Armerford, Lackawanna #3, Scott Glenn, Webster, Beula, and Claghorn. Eliza Furnace, one of Pennsylvania's best preserved iron furnaces, is located along the trail. This unique relic of the Blacklick Valley's early industrial era is on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical markers along the trail provide interpretive information about the Blacklick Valley's intriguing history.
In 1991 the Kovalchick Salvage Company donated twelve miles of the former Blacklick and Ebensburg Railroad to Indiana County Parks. The railroad corridor has been recycled into a popular rails-to-trails project known as the Ghost Town Trail. In 1993 the Cambria & Indiana Railroad donated an additional four miles of railroad line from Rexis to White Mill Station known as the Rexis Branch. Access points: Saylor Park; Heshbon; Dilltown; Wehrum; Vintondale, Rexis; Red Mill; Twin Rocks; Nanty Glo; and Ebensburg -- In 1991, the Kovalchick Salvage Company donated sixteen miles of the former Blacklick and Ebensburg Railroad to Indiana County Parks. The railroad corridor has been recycled into a popular rails-to-trails project known as the Ghost Town Trail. In 1993, the Cambria & Indiana Railroad donated an additional four miles of railroad line from Rexis to White Mill Station known as the Rexis Branch. In 2005, an additional 20 miles were added to the trail - 12 miles in Indiana County and 8 miles in Cambria County. The trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior.