The Knox and Kane RR once paralleled PA66 between Knox and Kane. The section between Marianne and Vowinckel is being converted to the Rail 66 Trail. It runs though farms and small towns, often within sight of PA66. This trail is part of the IHTC PA Wilds Corridor.
The trail begins near US322 and Willow La in Marianne and runs beside PA66. The first 4.75 miles have been cleared and graded. This section is reported finished with asphalt as we go to press (July 2018). We have not ridden this section, which ends just north of the Variety Store where the crushed limestone trail starts at about MP4.75; there is no trail access here.
The crushed limestone trail closely follows PA66 to Schupp Dr, where it bends away from the highway at a farm. It maintains a fairly level grade by curling around hillsides, affording nice views to one side, then the other, over farms and open woods. At MP5.9 the trail crosses Old Fryburg Rd. At about MP6.3 the homes of Lucinda appear, and at MP6.7 the trail reaches the Lucinda train station and trailhead.
Rail 66 Trail
Location Marianne to Vowinckel in Clarion County
Trailheads Marianne, Lucinda, Snydersburg, Leeper
Length, Surface 20 miles planned (8.9 paved, 4.3 packed pea gravel, 6.8 undeveloped)
Character Woods and farms
Usage restrictions No motorized vehicles, no horses
Amenities Restroom, restaurants, camping
Driving time from Pittsburgh 1 hour 40 minutes northeast
From Lucinda the trail continues through woods and farms to a crossing of PA66 at MP8.1. This crossing features high speeds, big trucks, and poor visibility, so caution is required. After one more farm, the trail enters open woods to the Lutz Rd trailhead (MP8.5). At Whitney La (MP9.0) the packed pea gravel surface changes to asphalt. At Griebel Dr (MP9.1) DB Smokin’ BBQ which has won some national awards is a short distance to the left across PA66. For the next 3.1 miles the trail swings away from the highway and alternates between farmland and woods before swinging back to cross PA66 in Leeper.
The current (2018) end of the trail is in Leeper (MP12.2) just short of the intersection of PA66 and US336. Trailhead parking is on the east side of PA66, across the trail from a long Car Mate Trailer building.
Local history, attractions
The Knox and Kane RR was originally a short line railroad providing freight service to Knox and Kane. It later provided train service between Marienville and Kane, then beyond Kane to cross the Kinzua Bridge. Loss of the bridge to a tornado in 2003 doomed the tourist train, freight service declined as well, and the railroad no longer runs. The former right of way of about 60 miles from Clarion Junction to Kinzua Bridge State Park is gradually being converted to trail. Rail 66 covers the southern 14.3 miles. MJ2KB Club (Mt Jewett to Kinzua Bridge) is working on the northern end.
A major portion of the abandoned rail line is in Allegheny National Forest.
Landers General Store near the intersection of PA66 and Old Fryburg Rd is an old-fashioned hardware store that has an amazing collection of hardware, parts and stuff.
About 250 feet north of the Lucinda train station is the “General Store”. This is not an operating store but a private collection that is occasionally open for events.
Extensions of the ride
The rail bed from Leeper to Vowinckel is reported to be brushy with some drainage issues and with a rough surface that is normally left after rails and ties are removed. We have not personally explored this.
In June/July 2018 the trail group has extended the 4.2-mile crushed limestone trail with asphalt paving at each end. The trail now (2018) has 12.2 miles finished. We have ridden the north end, and the trail group reports, as we go to press, that the south end is done.
Efforts are under way to complete the trail from its current (2018) end in Leeper, through Crown and Vowinckel to the county line.
It may someday be extended northeast on the former Knox and Kane railroad for another 11 or 12 miles to Marienville (the edge of the Allegheny National Forest) and beyond that for 50 miles to Kinzua Bridge State park.
At the southern end of the trail, the old rail line extends across Deer Ck south of Shippenville, and there are possibilities for a connection to the Clarion Highlands Rail/State Games Lands #45 Trail (page NE-232) about 5 miles to the west, and thence to the Sandy Creek Trail (page NE-111), the Allegheny River Trail (page NE-78), and the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail (page NE-15).
50 miles farther from Leeper, along the former Knox and Kane RR alignment, the MJ2KB Club is actively working to develop about 3.5 miles of trail between Mt Jewett and Kinzua Bridge State Park. The Club hopes to extend this trail another 4 miles southwest along the rail line from Mt Jewett to Lantz Corners on US219.
Vicinity: Directions begin at the intersection of US322 and PA66. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, take PA28 north to Kittanning, then PA66 north.
Marianne (southern) trailhead: From the intersection of US322 and PA66 follow US322 east for 0.6 miles and turn left/north on Willow La. Trailhead parking is immediately on the left.
Lucinda Train Station trailhead: From the intersection of US322 and PA66 follow PA66 north for 5.8 miles and turn left/north on Maple Dr. Go 0.4 miles to where the road bends to the right. Follow the bend, but immediately turn left/north on Lander Dr. The train station will be on your immediate left. Go past the station for 300 feet to where the trail crosses and the road splits with a kink to the left and a turn to the right. Go straight into the parking lot with the trail on your left.
Snydersburg trailhead: From the intersection of US322 and PA66 follow PA66 north for 7.6 miles and turn right/east on Lutz Rd. Go 400 feet to trailhead parking on the left just before the trail.
Leeper (northern) trailhead: From the intersection of US322 and PA66 follow PA66 north for 11.2 miles. Just before Car Mate Trailers on the left, on the right is a long building. Trail parking is next to PA66 just across the tree line from that building, and the trail passes between that building and the tree line.
Rest rooms, water: Chemical toilet at MP7.1
Bike shop, rentals: None.
Restaurant, groceries: Along US322 in Clarion Junction. A tenth of a mile east of the Old Fryburg Rd crossing. A barbecue joint that has won national awards is located at PA66 and Griebel Ln. Turn left/west on Griebel lane (MP9.1) and go 100 feet to cross PA66
Camping, simple lodging: Motels along US322, Camping along Miola Rd.
Swimming, fishing: None.
Wheelchair access: Okay.
Rail66 Country Trail
Maps, guides, other references
USGS Topographic Maps: Lucinda, Fryburg, Clarion.
Text version of 22 Jul 2018 based on riding Leeper to Whitney La (MP9.0) 7/2018, Whitney La to the Variety Store (MP4.75) 4/2018. Trail group reports on new construction 6/2018. Conditions may have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 4/2018.