Shenango River Trail

Not seeing too many options on our searches before reaching the Shenango River Recreation Area, we asked the ranger that stopped by our site about hiking. He kind of chuckled and responded with a statement that was translated to, “You want to hike? Here?” He went onto to explain that the trails were pretty unkept and he could not guarantee the condition of them, but would come back with a map. That he did. We went out to see for ourselves.
We decided on a trail called Kidd Park Trail that lead to another called Shenango Trail. Our plan was to park one vehicle at the start of Kidds Park and start hiking seven miles down the road then drive to pick up the other car. Ambitious, yes, but we were ready to set out knowing that we had two rescue vehicles placed so we could turn around at any time.
Bridge along Shenango River Trail.
Photo by Robert Weaver
We followed plan and set out on our hike. The trail started along a tire treaded path, muddy from recent rains. As we began following the trail that seemed to run parallel to the river, we were stopped by a completely washed out path that crossing would have resulted in mud up to the knee caps.

After only about 5 minutes of walking our plans were void.
We saw a fantastic old bridge leading to another path and decided to check it out.
(This bridge was really neat. They don’t make them like this anymore.) According to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, this trail:
Shenango Trail entrance
Photo by Robert Weaver

once served as a towpath along the Erie Canal Extension.” During the mid-1800s, mules pulled boats along the canal, linking goods from the Great Lakes to Pittsburgh and beyond. Recognizing the geographic significance of such a link, Andrew Carnegie formed a conglomerate group to lease the nearby lines for 999 years.”
We soon reached the entrance to Shenango Trail. We know this part of the trail was equally long, so we couldn’t do the entire thing, as our second car was miles away in the other direction. We headed out about a mile in before turning around. It was not a difficult trail in the parts we hiked. It is obviously used more for horseback riding than hiking. We reached a few picturesque spots, but weren’t feeling like we were going towards anything, as the topography didn’t change much.  We turned back. It would have to be completed another time. This part must connect to what is referred to as Big Bend in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

Kidds Mill Covered Bridge
Photo by Robert Weaver
We headed back to the beginning to try to start the hike at the covered bridge near Kidd Park Trail. Not long into it, we came across someones belongings… someone that must be hiding…pillows, clothes, clotheslines, etc. Not quite what we were after. Our sense of adventure had faded. We turned around and went back to camp.
We did not get the impression that these trails were used much by foot travelers and they certainly weren’t maintained regularly. I wouldn’t recommend this trail.
One thing we can say is that Army Corp of Engineers gets a prize for fitting the most print on one sign. Why they felt the need to publish every rule they have on this sign is beyond me.
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