Kevin and I decided to check out some of the York County Heritage Rail Trail on our bikes today. I absolutely LOVE rail trails as you can usually cover some pretty decent mileage on flat terrain with amazing views. The trail is approximately 20 miles long and also connects at the Mason Dixon Line to the Northern Central Railroad Trail (AKA the Torrey C. Brown trail) which is a 20 mile rail trail in Maryland. I had done a portion of these trails in the beginning of the summer with my Mom, but there were sections that I had seen pictures of online that I wanted to check out – so we grabbed our bikes and headed out!
We were going to park at Mile Marker #1 (just a bit north of the Mason Dixon Line). There is a huge parking lot there with a cute little café and very nice bathrooms (More on this section in a bit). As we were driving Kevin noticed another parking lot so we decided to check it out – this was at mile marker #3 – we decided to start there as I had already seen the other section and it would get us a tiny bit closer to our destination – mile marker #15 and the Howard Tunnel.
The day was going to be a hot one and there is very few shaded areas on the trail. It was a slight downhill for a few miles and then pretty much flattened out. Most of the trail is hard packed gravel – your bike and you will be COVERED with dust within a few miles- there is only a short section that is paved. The trail crosses over a lot of roads -most of them are not very busy – there are signs at every road crossing instructing you to get off your bike and walk across the intersection, but no one was doing this. There was always something to look at as the trail continuously crossed over the rail road tracks it paralleled and went through small towns with places to stop and eat, farms, and wooded areas.
Just before mile marker #11 there is an awesome statue of a horse and person made out of metal. There are also nice bathrooms here, a water fountain, picnic tables, and a museum which we did not go in.
Just before mile marker #12 is a little antique shop with a vending machine full of snacks and drinks. The have an ADORABLE dog that was begging for some attention. The owners said the dog is pooped by the time sunday afternoon rolls around because of all the attention it gets from the bike riders. They told us that a lot of bike riders find things they like so the store will mark it sold and once you are done with your bike ride you can just come back with your car and pick it up – how awesome!
A little bit down from the Antique shop were these awesome bike statues!
Just after mile marker #15 is the Howard Tunnel. It was a little hard to adjust my eyes to the inside of the tunnel, but it is not very long so you don’t need a flashlight or anything. We went through the tunnel and stopped for a snack at one of the picnic tables they have scattered along the trail. There are PLENTY of places to get off your bike and rest if you need to as there are benches and picnic tables fairly often along the way.
We did a little more than 24 miles today – I wanted to stop at the Railroad Café (mile marker #1) but we decided to just go home – These are a few pictures of the Railroad Café from the other time I was there – it’s a great little place with excellent food and amazing friendly staff. Check it out if you are on the trail!