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Tricounty Rails to Trails
The Clarion/Little Toby Trail
Town of Carrier and the sawmill.
    This scenic trail runs along the Clarion River and Little Toby Creek on the former Ridgway and Clearfield branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The line was built in 1885 and ran from Ridgway through Carman, Croyland, Blue Rock, Carrier, Brockwayville (now Brockway), Lanes Mills, McMinn's Summit and ended at Falls Creek (near Dubois).  Over the years many of towns along the route faded away and the last train ran on November 2 of 1968.  The tracks were removed in 1972 and nature began to reclaim the line.  Ridgway resident and railroad historian Bob Imhof has written an excellent  history of the line which can viewed by clicking here.

The Blue Rock Swinging Bridge.
    Work started on the Clarion/Little Toby Trail in 1992 with the goal of converting 18 miles of the former line between Brockway and Ridgway into a trail.  It took nine years, $1.8 million and thousands of volunteer hours to complete the trail.   The trail is open year round for non-motorized use (bicycling and walking) and in the winter it is an excellent cross country skiing trail.  The trail is surfaced with a compacted fine gravel and is fairly level with the exception of one very short hill one mile south of Ridgway.  From the Ridgway trailhead (mile 0) the trail follows the Clarion River, an excellent trout fishing stream, for approximately 8 miles.  At mile 2.6 the trail runs along State Route 949 (Portland Mills Rd) for 800 feet to use the roadway bridge across Island Run.  At mile 6 the trail runs alongside the tracks of the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railway for 1.8 miles.  Please stay off the tracks as this is an active rail line.  The trail leaves the B&P tracks and runs along Little Toby Creek at mile 7.7.  Along this portion of the trail are signs marking where small towns once thrived.  At mile 9.7 are the ruins of the Garavil Stone Crusher, built in 1905,  which was part of a quarrying
Anglers often use the trail to get to their favorite spots.
operation.  The well known Blue Rock Swinging Bridge is located at mile 12.2.  This suspension bridge is anchored by the abutments of a railroad bridge which once crossed Little Toby Creek.  The bridge was built by volunteers from "Friends of the Toby" and the Future Farmers of America.  Please use caution on the bridge and cross at your own risk.  The trail ends at the Brockway trailhead at mile 18.

    Along the trail you can expect to see lots of wildlife, including ducks, herons, deer, wild turkeys and even an occasional porcupine. Both the Clarion River and the Little Toby are trout streams and fishermen can often be seen casting their lines or riding their bikes with waders on.  Most of this trail is on Game Commission land so it is recommended that you wear orange during the fall & spring hunting seasons.

 

Tricounty Rails to Trails, P.O. Box 115, Ridgway, PA 15853