|Allegheny River/Samuel Justus Trail|
Allegheny River Trail and
Samuel Justus Trail is actually one
continuous trail. I am fascinated by old train tunnels, so when I
am in this area, I always end up just riding the Allegheny River Trail
which offers two train tunnels.
What I do know about the Samuel Justus Trail though is that is offers many remnants from the oil boom that gave this area its name, Oil City. The trail is paved, similar to the other trails in the area.
As for the Allegheny River Trail, this is actually one of my favorite trails. The trail parallels the Allegheny River, which has cut its way through the mountains in the area. You not only get to pass under the Belmar Bridge, which you can access via the steps that have been constructed, but you also get to venture through two pitch black tunnels.
The first tunnel you come to is the longest, the Kennerdell Tunnel. The Kennerdell Tunnel is unique because not only is it 3350'long, but it also curves at the end. This curve blocks all the light from coming in at the end, until you pass through the curve. Now the tunnel is paved and does offer three rows of reflectors, but I like the challenge of traveling through with out a light. Your eyes may play tricks on you and you may have to stop every once in awhile, but it can be done with a little concentration. If you feel you need a light however, Simply point it at the reflectors so you have a guided path. Heading north through the tunnel is easier to do since you pass through the curve much sooner and then have the light at the end of the tunnel as your focal point.
My first encounter with the Kennerdell( which I have passed through on three separate occasions) was rather ominous. As I approached what appeared to be the tunnel, I saw a gray object blocking the entrance. It was around 12 noon and it was sunny, but I could still not make it out. As I traveled closer I realized that it was a wall of fog just guarding the tunnel entrance. I have to admit that I hesitated entering such an evil looking structure, but I did. As evil as it was going in, it was as heavenly coming back through. Imagine traveling through the heart of a mountain in pitch black cold, only to be met by a momentary wall of fog that gives way to a burst of sunlight and warmth!! Pretty amazing experience!
The second tunnel you encounter is the Rockland Tunnel, measuring 2868' long. This tunnel is similar to the Kennerdell in that it is paved and has reflectors. This tunnel, however, is a straight shot.
The nice thing about the Allegheny River Trail is that you can get in a 40 mile round trip ride on pavement. This usually allows for additional riding on some of the other trails, which are easily accessed. I highly recommend visiting this trail, as well as the surrounding town, as Franklin is a very quaint town.
Points of Interest: Allegheny River, Belmar Bridge, Indian God Rock, Kennerdell Tunnel, Rockland Tunnel.
Photos From Trail- Allegheny River Trail Photos (Nov 2006)
This site was last updated 11/24/06