When we all still lived at home, my parents frequently took my siblings and I on adventures.
When we asked where they were going, they’d just say, “crazy, wanna come?”
Sometimes we complained when hiking in the rain, or whined when biking in the cold, or totally freaked out when canoeing with alligators (it was scary, okay)… but we were always glad we went.
For their 25th anniversary, they went on a 100-mile bike trip together without us kids.
I was only 9 at the time and the thought of biking 100 miles was completely insane to me.
Not because of the distance (fourth-grade confidence = I could handle that), but because how could a trail be that long? The longest trails I had ever seen were maybe 10 miles!
The answer? Rails to Trails.
Rails to Trails is a network of trails built where railroads used to be. When I discovered there was a Rail to Trail located less than an hour from me, I knew I had to go.
The Clarion-Little Toby Trail was no disappointment. It blew me away. Check out this short video to learn about the history of the trail.
Location: Ridgway, Pennsylvania to Brockway, Pennsylvania.
Distance: The trail is a 36.6 mile out and back (18.3 miles one way). I started late in the day and thunderstorms were predicted in the afternoon so I decided to park at the Carman trailhead (7.8 miles in). My track was 21 miles.
Parking: Great parking at both ends of the trail and several lots along the way. The map labels the access points well.
Views: Oh my. There is so much to see on this trail — ghost towns, ruins, a swinging bridge, wildflowers, animals. Most of the sights have informational signs, too — I loved reading about the history of each ghost town. The entire trail parallels the Clarion River.
Dogs: This trail is flat and great for walking your dog.
Difficulty: This trail is moderate. It is flat and easy to ride on, but the whole trail is a fairly long ride. CAUTION: wear bright colors. It is a popular hunting area.
Trail markers: Excellent. There is a marker for each mile. The trail is clear, paved with crushed limestone.
This trail is way more than just a bike trail. I passed so many walkers, runners, and river-fishers. It can also be as long or as short as you’d like! It is great for a variety of activities and skill levels.
I did not take my camera with me on this trip, just my iPhone. I like to take my time when I bring my camera and I knew I wanted to cover some ground on this trail.
I can’t wait to go back for a walk with my camera. Now that I’ve done some exploring, I know where along the 18 mile path I’d like to go first.
I’d also like to do the whole trail sometime. I could have easily done the whole 36.6 if I had started earlier. I think I made the right call only doing 21, though. The very second I loaded my bike into the car, it began to rain (pour).
The Clarion-Little Toby Trail is worth traveling for. I mean, I could see spending a week there. In fact, some people do! There are vacation cabins and campsites along the way :).
Are you a biker? I love, love my bike. I would LOVE to do the Bike and Build program after college!
Have you ever been on a Rail to Trail?