Why Ghost Town Trail is My Favorite in Indiana County

I must admit that I’m a lazy person generally. I do not go running for a long period, but then I get the urge to spend some time outside running.

I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by numerous trails in the state of Pennsylvania. But my county surpasses all others in this regard.

Ghost Town Trail is my favorite and I will share with you why this is the case.

The Most Important Features

The Most Important Features of the Ghost Town Trail

When you start Ghost Town Trail, you will immediately see that the natural beauty is overwhelming.

The trail spans for 44 miles:

  • 32-mile main stem from Blacklick to Ebensburg.
  • 12-mile C&I extension includes:
    • 4-mile Rexis Branch from Vintondale to U.S. 422.
    • 8-mile Stritty’s Way from U.S. 422 to Expedite Road

It weaves through the serene Blacklick Creek Valley, with lush greenery and the gentle sounds of flowing water accompanying me.

The trail’s terrain is a mix of flat, easy stretches and slightly challenging sections, making it accessible yet engaging for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.

Each step on this trail not only connects to nature but also to the rich industrial past of this region.

Recreational Opportunities

The Ghost Town Trail Recreational Opportunities

The trail offers a variety of recreational activities that I have personally enjoyed. The Ghost Town Trail caters to all, whether it’s:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-country skiing in the winter

I particularly love hiking at White’s Woods Nature Center nearby, which offers serene trails and beautiful scenery.

The trail is well-maintained and marked, which makes it safe and enjoyable.

Along the path, facilities such as bike rentals are available, enhancing the experience for visitors. It hosts challenges and events that encourage physical activity and engagement with nature.

Each visit offers a new way to experience it, a leisurely bike ride, or an energetic ski trip.

Personal Experiences and Anecdotes

There are many reasons why I simply adore this trail, even though I already said I am not much of a runner.

Here are some of the anecdotes that cemented Ghost Town as my favorite:

Autumn Bike Ride

The Ghost Town Trail Autumn Bike Ride

One of my most cherished memories occurred on a crisp autumn morning when I set out on a bike ride along the trail.

The fall foliage was at its peak, with leaves in shades of fiery red, golden yellow, and orange forming a stunning outline that seemed to light it up under the soft morning sun.

The cool, fresh air and the gentle rustling of the leaves created a perfect symphony of autumn.

Encounter with Local Wildlife

On a different occasion, during a quiet hike, I had a thrilling encounter that added a wild twist.

I spotted a family of deer grazing near the path. We watched each other cautiously and curiously, sharing a moment before they bounded off into the thicker parts of the forest.

On another day, while exploring the serene trails of Yellow Creek State Park, I was fortunate to observe a pair of red foxes playing near the creek, their rust-colored fur vivid against the green backdrop. It was a magical sight, adding to the wonder of nature’s beauty.

A Misty Morning Jog

A Misty Morning Jog at the Ghost Town Trail

There was also a misty morning when the trail seemed to whisper secrets.

The damp air carried the earthy scent of wet leaves and soil, enhancing the quality of the morning.

I must confess, that a good cup of coffee after the run made it even better.

Starlit Night Walk

Perhaps the best experience was a late-night walk under a clear sky.

I did nighttime walks only a handful of times but I enjoyed each thoroughly.

The usual trail was subdued under the night sky, with the sounds of nocturnal animals rustling in the underbrush and the occasional hoot of an owl.

A little adventure of mine was a profound reminder of the beauty that nature holds when the rest of the world sleeps.

Awards and Recognition

The Ghost Town has earned widespread acclaim, recognized as one of the best trails in the U.S.

In 2020, it was rightfully designated as Pennsylvania’s Trail of the Year, a testament to its exceptional qualities and the comprehensive experiences it offers.

These accolades reflect its importance and value, not just as a recreational site but also as a cherished natural resource.

Such recognition reassures me that my affection for the trail is shared by many, elevating its status and ensuring its preservation for future generations.