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A Guide to Maine’s Scenic Rail Trails: Where Nature Meets History

There are 20 rail trails in Maine established from former (some current) railroads ranging from 2 miles to almost 90 miles. These multi-use rail trails are all over the state through forests, farmland, and coastal areas.

When traveling, we always plan on biking on rail trails as we know we will be able to enjoy our ride as they are usually level. Many of them go through small towns and boost the economy of the area. You get to see and experience many cultures along the trails as many of them run through rural areas.

What is a rail trail?

A rail trail is a multi-use trail that usually has a level grade making it easy for everyone to ride. From biking, hiking, running, jogging, and even cross-country skiing these flat-level trails offer an easy way to enjoy the great Maine outdoors.

Many of the rail trails in Maine are also used for ATV riding, horseback riding, and snowmobiling.

man riding a bike

Many of the rail trails in Maine are also used for ATV riding, horseback riding, and snowmobiling.

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Rail Trails New York

With over 50 trails and many more proposed these trails are opening up all over the state including several upcoming trails in downstate New York.

The 750-mile Empire State Trail includes sections that are rail trails, but it is not exclusively a rail trail. The trail spans New York SRail Trails in New York have become very popular and an economic boost to many of the areas. tate from New York City to the Canadian border and from Albany to Buffalo, connecting various types of pathways including rail trails, canalway trails, and on-road sections. Rail trails, which are pathways converted from abandoned railway lines, form significant parts of this extensive trail network, especially along sections that follow historic canal routes and disused railways.

For the best information on rail trails in New York and other states, the Rails-to-trails Conservancy is a great resource. 

These recreational trail systems not only help many New Yorkers with fitness and health getting them into the great outdoors but also aid many small towns financially by the increased tourists.  

Here is a list of the Best Rail Trails in New York list by region:

New York Rail Trails Catskill Region

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Pennsylvania’s Pine Creek Rail Trail

Pennsylvania’s Pine Creek Rail Trail is a 62-mile trail where you ride through the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Built on the former Jersey Shore, Pine Creek, and Buffalo Railroad this hard-packed gravel surface trail runs through Tioga County and Lycoming County. It begins north of Wellsboro and ends in Jersey Shore. It is located in the Appalachian Mountains in the area called the PA Wilds.

Voted the best rail trail by USA Today in 2001, this trail offers stunning scenery as you ride on a hard packed stone surface with only a 2% grade.  Running through the Tioga State Forest and Tiadaghton State Forest makes for a peaceful ride passing beautiful waterfalls and mountains along the way.

This trail is multi-use so you can bike, hike, horseback ride (limited areas), or cross-country ski. The trail runs parallel to Route 6 from Wellsboro Junction to the Ansonia Access Area then goes through the Pine Creek Gorge and then parallels Route 414. There are many things to see along the way and after the gorge area, there are towns and restaurants to visit.

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Ashokan Rail Trail

The Ashokan Rail Trail, as known as ART, is New York’s newest rail-trail which opened in the fall of 2019. This 11.5-mile trail parallels the Ashokan Reservoir.

The hard crushed stone surface is made for biking, hiking, walking and running and is wheelchair accessible.

In winter the parking areas are plowed however the trail is not but can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Note: This trail is for non-motorized uses as all ATV and snowmobiles are prohibited.

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Margaretville, NY aka Grandma’s Mountain

A vacation guide to Margaretville, NY in the Catskill Mountains

About Margaretville NY

Margaretville NY is a small town of about 600 year-round population in Delaware County on the west side of the Catskill Park area about 3 hours northwest of New York City. It’s one of the bigger towns in the area and has so much to offer to the surrounding communities with its small-town country feel.

View from Palmer Mountain overlooking Margaretville, NY

I was introduced to this quaint town some 37 years ago when I met my now-husband, Gerry. You see his parents, Herbert and Simone, decided to build a small cottage to enjoy their retirement and with the help of their 4 sons, their vision became a reality. Unfortunately, my father-in-law (whom I never knew) passed before his dream came true. Simone kept this cottage which her whole family has come to cherish.

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20 Weekend Getaways from NYC

Sometimes you just need a break and let’s face it, we all could use a change of scenery which helps us relax and can do wonders for our attitudes. But with work and other responsibilities getting in the way, it’s just hard to get on that plane or take that long drive. We also love to camp but sometimes it’s just not worth taking the camper on a short trip (yes remember we live on Long Island and need to go over the New York City bridges to go just about anywhere). So this is when a weekend trip getaway from NYC comes to mind.

Over the years we have taken many of these trips, so check the following list to see where you want to take your next fast getaway to. I’ve also taken many of these trips with my friends (girl’s weekend) that we look forward to every year.

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Pine Creek Gorge Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon Guide

The Pine Creek Gorge Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon is located in the Tioga National Forest is an area known as the “PA Wilds”. The gorge covers 165,000 acres of pristine mountains and beauty.  It’s an outdoor adventurer’s dream.

There are many outdoor activities in the area from biking the Pine Creek Rail Trail to many miles of hiking trails and paddling Pine Creek. There are several state parks in the area that offer stunning views of the gorge and have their own programs for you to experience. I’ve put together a list of things to see and do so you can enjoy the Pine Creek Gorge Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon.

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America’s Rail Trails

You may say what are Rail Trails and how can you take advantage of them?

Rail trails are converted railroad bed used as multi-purpose trails for recreation use.  Because of the gentle grade on most rail trails you can walk, bicycle, hike, horseback ride, run, inline skate and cross-country ski.   Although most trails are multi-use trails, no motorized vehicle are permitted.

Most importantly rail trails make these activities available to most everyone’s physical condition.  The flat to gentle grade makes it possible for all ages, young and old to enjoy the scenery and tranquility that awaits you. Most of these trails are by mountains, rivers and historical landmarks. I’ve been to some that have benches to rest along the way and picnic areas to stop and enjoy lunch.

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