Hiking and Biking at Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
Hiking at Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site is a unique way to get some great exercise and also learn the amazing history from this site. Park trails follow sections of the original route of the Allegheny Portage Railroad and allow hikers to see where important features of the railroad would have been located. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site has over 15 miles of trails in different sections of the park.
Trails are for pedestrian use only.
No motorized equipment is permitted on trails. This includes ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) of any description, snowmobiles, and 4 x 4 off road vehicles.
Bicycles are not permitted on the Summit area trails. Bicycles are permitted on part of the Incline 6 to 10 trail, please see the map below.
Cross country ski use is welcome.
Pets must be on a 6 foot (max) leash at all times. Pet owners are required to clean up after their pet.
Hunting is not permitted on National Park Service land.
Wear bright colors during hunting season. While hunting is not permitted on park land, State Game Lands will be busy during hunting seasons.
Skew Arch Bridge Trail
The Skew Arch Bridge can be accessed by a trail at the end of the boardwalk. It is approximately 1/3 mile long each way. Please keep in mind that you are roughly walking alongside Incline 6 on your way down, so it is uphill on the way back!
This trail is also the start of the Inclines 6 to 10 Trail system. Hikers can continue from the bridge down the eastern side of the Allegheny Mountain.
The bridge is also accessible by vehicle from Old Route 22 where there is a small parking lot in front of the bridge!
6 to 10 Trail System
The 6 to 10 Trail System of the park follows the route of the Allegheny Portage Railroad of the 19th century. The hiking sections of the trail are located on or near the original route of the Allegheny Portage Railroad. The bicycle section is located on the route of the New Portage Railroad.
Trailheads are located at the park Visitor Center and along Dry Run Road. Parking is available at the trailheads as well as State Gamelands and parking lots.
The 6 to 10 Trail System is over 8 miles long following the main section of the trail from start to finish. If you also hike the loop trails that follow the oldest sections of the railroad, the entire 6 to 10 Trail is over 12 miles. Please respect the private property of nearby landowners. The trail section from the Visitor Center to Muleshoe, viewed below, is for hiking only. Bicycling is permitted on both sides of Valley Forge Road, but be advised, it contains steep grades and poor sight lines.
Please see the trail map below.
Summit Level Trail
This trail starts at the head of Inclined Plane 6, at Engine House 6 and ends at the head of Inclined Plane 5. Hikers can follow the railroad trace for approximately one mile to the park boundary. A short distance from there, it turns into a paved road maintained by Cresson Township.
Round trip, this hike on nearly flat ground, is a little over 3 miles in length. The Summit Level was the highest point that the Allegheny Portage Railroad crossed the Allegheny Mountains.
Picnic Area Trail
From the Summit Level, there is a trail to the left of the railroad trace to the picnic area. The distance from the Lemon House to the picnic area is 1/3 mile. If you are looking for a longer hike, the trail loops down to the railroad trace farther down on the Summit Level. The full section to the picnic area, looping down to the Summit Level and following the railroad trace back is about one mile. This trail contains mixed terrain; there are flat portions and parts with steeper slopes.
Nature Loop Trail
The Nature Loop Trail starts off in the woods to the right of the railroad trace on the Summit Level. The beginning of the trail is marked with a sign on the service road a short distance up the hill from the Lemon House. The trail contains steep climbs as it goes to one of the higher points in the park. It then circles down to the railroad trace along the Summit Level. The entire trail is about one mile long.
Staple Bend Tunnel Trail
Since, 2001, the Staple Bend Tunnel has been open as a separate area of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. It is not in the immediate area of the Summit Level Visitor Center. Rather, it is near the town of Mineral Point, 5 miles from Johnstown. Once you park your vehicle at the trail head, it is a two mile walk to the Staple Bend Tunnel (and, of course, a two mile return trip to your vehicle). You are welcome to bring bicycles, but no motorized transport for the limestone dust surfaced trail.
Directions: Take US Route 22 to the Mundy's Corner/Nanty Glo exit. Turn right onto PA Route 271 South. Continue on Route 271 South approximately 5 miles until a (marked) left turn onto Mineral Point Road (PA 3030). After approximately 2 miles make a (marked) right turn onto Beech Hill Road and proceed over the bridge. Go through the railroad underpass (wait for the green light!); the paved parking lot for Staple Bend Tunnel will be located on the right. Please use the parking lot and do not block the emergency access road. This same parking area is used for the Path of the Flood trail as well.
Bicycle use is prohibited on park roads closed to public travel. Bicycle use is prohibited on all trails in the parks, except the Staple Bend Tunnel Trail and the bicycle section of the 6-10 Trail, from the Muleshoe Bridge to the Dry Run Road trailhead parking area.