Heritage Rail Trail County Park, Pennsylvania

From York County Department of Parks and Recreation

Traversing York County to the Maryland border, this 19-mile multi-use trail provides an integral link in a statewide trails system and epitomizes the concept of a close-to-home trail experience, but has regional, State, and national significance as well.

by American Trails Staff

June 01, 2008

Steam into History tourist train leaves Hanover Junction Train Station; photo by Tim Senft

Featured
National Recreation Trail

Designated in 2008


• View more details for this trail
in the NRT Database

• Learn about the NRT Program.

Heritage Rail Trail County Park, sharing the corridor of the former Northern Central Railway chartered in 1828, provides a link for visitors to some of York City’s oldest buildings and the creek where America’s first iron steamboat chugged.

The trail travels south 19 miles passing through eleven municipalities including the towns of Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Railroad and New Freedom and adjoins directly with the Maryland Northern Central Railroad Trail (20 mile non-motorized rail trail). This trail, located in the center of York County, is the central spine of a planned greenway trail system to interconnect communities.

The trail is constructed adjacent to the railroad tracks (tracks remain in place and are usable) with a surface of crushed compacted stone. The cost to construct the trail totaled 3.7 million dollars. Funding partners included: federal, state, county and municipal dollars, individual and corporate donations as well as utility fees collected for use of the corridor. In 2006, visitation to the trail totaled 310,295.

Equestrians and cyclists share the Heritage Rail Trail; photo by Carl R. Knoch

Equestrians and cyclists share the Heritage Rail Trail; photo by Carl R. Knoch

Trail amenities include twelve interpretive signs that explore natural and historic features such as:

  • Hanover Junction Railroad Station - a rail stop with a connection to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
  • Howard Tunnel (1838) – a 250 foot long tunnel named for a Revolutionary War soldier from Baltimore
  • New Freedom Railroad Station (1860) - served as a passenger and freight station until 1971
  • Mason Dixon Line – the old line of freedom
  • Agricultural – numerous preservation lands adjoin the trail

For more information

York County Department of Parks and Recreation 400 Mundis Race Road, York, PA 17406 (717) 840-7440