Northwest Lancaster County River Trail in Marietta
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Along the Way
From the time of the earliest
native peoples, land
and water routes along the
Susquehanna River were
essential to America’s early
transportation and helped
define settlement patterns
in the region. The Northwest Lancaster County
River Trail follows the route of the historic
Pennsylvania Main Line Canal and uses some of
the original towpath to create the trail.
Columbia – The River Trail’s southern trailhead is
Columbia River Park, located in historic Columbia
Borough. Along with beautiful
views of the river, the park
offers power boat and paddlecraft
launches, picnic areas, an
outfitter, and a trail services
building with rest rooms and
visitor information. From the
park you can also view remnants of the historic
bridge piers which were burned during the Civil
War in 1863 to prevent Confederate troops from
crossing the river. Columbia is home to museums,
galleries, a market house, antique shops, restaurants,
a visitors center, and many other attractions.
Chickies Rock County Park – At the south end of
the 420+ acre county park, you will pass through
Point Rock Tunnel, an abandoned railroad tunnel,
carved through 180 feet of solid rock. The trail
runs through Kerbaugh
Lake, a reclaimed woodland
and natural meadow,
and along former canal and
railroad beds. Towering
more than one hundred feet
above the trail is Chickies
Rock, a quartzite rock outcropping. Also in the
park, are ruins from several anthracite-fired iron
furnaces, which were part of a thriving industry
during the mid to late 1800’s.
About the Trail
The Northwest Lancaster County River Trail is a
fourteen-mile, multi-use, public recreation trail
along the Susquehanna River. The trail spans
five municipalities, including land owned by the
County of Lancaster and the Lancaster County
Solid Waste Management Authority.
Enjoy the trail at your own risk. The trail is open
year round, dawn to dusk, conditions permitting.
Motorized vehicles are prohibited except for
emergency and maintenance vehicles.*
The trail is available for walking, bicycling, jogging,
cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Pets must be kept on a leash. Owners are
responsible for removing all pet waste.
Keep the trail clean – carry out all waste.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Use caution when crossing bridges, roads, and
railways , because they are actively used.
Stay to the right on the trail and warn when passing.
Please do not disturb natural habitats.
Discharging of weapons on or from the trail is
prohibited. Hunting may be permitted on
Other borough, township, or park ordinances
shall be in effect.
*Individuals with mobility disabilities should refer to the trail’s ADA
accessibility policy regarding the use of powered mobility devices on
the trail. This policy is available at municipal offices and on Lancaster
County’s website at: http://web.co.lancaster.pa.us/DocumentCenter.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the
trail, please contact any of the following landowners:
Columbia Borough – 717-684-2467
Conoy Township – 717-367-4927
East Donegal Township – 717-426-3167
Marietta Borough – 717-426-4143
Lancaster County Dept. of Parks & Recreation –
In the event of an emergency, please call 911.
Marietta – Steps from the trail in the river town of
Marietta are beautiful historic buildings and many
great restaurants, pubs, and
shops. Historically, Marietta was
known for its rich pig iron
production and railroads. Along
the trail is the Vesta Furnace
Office building, which was part
of a furnace operation from
1868 to the 1920’s. Today the
Vesta Furnace building is maintained by Marietta
Restoration Associates. Also near the trail is the
engine house from Chickies Furnace No. 2 (1854-
1899), which is privately owned.
East Donegal Township – This section of the trail
runs through scenic woodland and farmland along
the Susquehanna River. The trail
travels through Riverfront Park,
a major trail access point that
boasts beautiful views of the
river. Park facilities include a
large pavilion, boat access ramp
and ample room to picnic and explore nature. The
park’s extensive wetland areas were restored with
assistance from the USDA Natural Resources
Conservation Service’s Wetland Reserve Program.
Conoy Township – Just off the trail are the towns
of Bainbridge and Falmouth. Bainbridge is home
to the Haldeman Mansion, where internationally
recognized scientist Samuel S. Haldeman was
born. The home is listed in the National Register of
Historic Places. This part of the trail offers access
to Conewago Falls, the river potholes, the Conoy
Canal Trail and views of York Haven Dam. The
trail’s northern trailhead is located at Fisherman’s
Wharf access area, just south of Falmouth, which
is also known for its annual goat races.
The River Trail is a joint effort of
the following community partners :
East Donegal Township
West Hempfield Township
Lancaster County Conservancy
Lancaster County Department
of Parks & Recreation
Lancaster County Planning Commission
Lancaster County Solid Waste
Pennsylvania Department of
Conservation & Natural Resources
Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area
TRAIL MAP & GUIDE
SGHA 11-14LCPC 11-14