Trail Benefits

Every trail, regardless of its stage of development, has a unique history and vision for the future.

All of our trails are in different stages of development. Public access to a particular trail depends on its current stage of development. Generally speaking, trails under study or in design and engineering phases are not open for public use.

Heritage Rail Trail Facts

  • Approximate Rail Trail users: 395,000
  • Users residing in York County: 61%
  • Age of Trail Users: 80% over the age of 35
  • Favorite section: Hanover Junction to Brillhart Station
  • Most popular reason for using the trail: Health & Exercise 45%
  • Favorite activity on the trail: Biking 71%
  • Average length of a trail outing: 2 hours

Recreation Benefits

Rail-trails provide for a variety of activities all year such as walking, hiking, bicycling, running, horseback riding, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Various amenities are provided along the trails for the convenience of the public. Typical amenities are picnic tables, benches, information boards, and parking areas.


Transportation Benefits

Trails that are designed to make popular connections within a community or between communities offer a viable option for residents to choose walking or bicycling rather than automobile travel, especially for shorter, daily trips.

In this way, residents benefit from a daily exercise routine, local highway infrastructure becomes less congested, and air quality is improved.


Health and Fitness Benefits

Rail-trails support the needs of the community by providing natural surroundings for regular exercise. People of all ages can enjoy healthy outdoor activities that are safe and accessible to everyone.

Rail-trails typically provide minimal grades that encourage the very young, the elderly, the physically challenged, and the novice exerciser to participate in a variety of activities that promote mental and physical wellness. Avid outdoor enthusiasts seek trails that provide endless miles of uninterrupted solitude for long-distance running, bicycling, and horseback riding.


Conservation Benefits

Rail-trails help safeguard the environment and improve the quality of air and water. Trails are essential for the protection of plants and wildlife.

Trails also play a vital role in preserving and providing access to many historical landmarks such as bridges, canals, historic buildings, battlefields, and rail depots.


Educational Benefits

Trails are virtual laboratories for learning about our natural environment, cultural places, and historic past.

Traveling along a trail offers opportunities to view woodlands, farmland, wetlands, and waterways. Trails invite visitors to experience the culture and history of an area. Rail-trails that follow former transportation routes, such as railroads and trolley lines, encourage communities to restore and creatively reuse historic structures.


Stay Active

A sampling of events designed to keep you active year-round, visit:

Hanover Cyclers:  www.hanovercyclers.org

PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources:  www.ExplorePATrails.com

Friends of the Sunset Scramble Bike Rides Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/223466781452878/

York Area Mountain Biking Association:  www.yamba.org

York County Parks Department:  www.yorkcountyparks.org

York Hiking Club:  www.yorkhikingclub.com

York White Rose Wanderers:  sites.google.com/site/yorkwhiterosewanderers/home/the-wanderer