From Coal Run Jct to Banian Jct via Houtzdale and Ramey in Clearfield County
This pleasant trail parallels PA53, PA 253, and PA 453 as it connects several small towns in Clearfield County. In doing so, it alternates between residential neighborhoods and typical lowland Pennsylvania woods.
The full length of the trail includes 10.5 miles from Coal Run Jct, a mile west of Osceola Mills to Banian Jct , a mile south of Madera . The mid-part of the trail has been finished in an 8' width of packed crushed stone, but the east and west ends are still unfinished.
The trail begins a mile west of Osceola Mills, where PA53 crosses the railroad grade 100 yds east of Coal Run. The trail side of the Coal Run Bridge is missing, but there are still rails and ties on the west side of Coal Run. The trail proper begins just west of this bridge, or perhaps a little farther west where the tracks have been removed. This 3.3-mile section of the trail is unfinished, with a two-track cinder surface and an occasional puddle. Aside from a short stretch of ballast near Houtzdale, this section is a little rougher than finished trail but very pleasant. Beaver Run borders the trail on the north side, and PA53 is not far away to the right. There are a few nice views into the bottomlands and flood plain of Beaver Run. After 2.9 miles, the trail crosses SR <<xxxx>>. Most of the services along the trail are a block or two away along PA53. Unfinished trail continues for 0.4 mile beyond SR<<xxxx>>, to the east edge of Houtzdale.
As the trail enters Houtzdale, it picks up an 8' crushed limestone surface. In Houtzdale the trail parallels the main drag. Unfortunately, most of the activity of interest to trail users has moved out to PA53. Heading west out of town, houses line the south side of the trail and Beaver Run resumes its position on the north. More lowland woods line the trail for the 2 miles between Houtzdale and Ramey. Entry to Ramey is marked by the Rolling Thunder Raceway, a motorcycle race track. On race days you'll go right past the starting gates. Just east of the race track, the trail passes under PA253. This is the highest point on the trail – it's noticeably downhill in both directions from here. Ramey is principally a pleasant residential town, and the trail picks its way through with only one road crossing, at PS453.
Another mile of finished trail extends west from Ramey, for a total of 5 miles with good surface. In October 2001, another mile of trail had been graded and scraped, presumably in preparation for finished surface. This section ends at SR2002 near Smoke Run (not SR2005 as reported in another guidebook). At SR2002 the trail surface becomes loose ballast for the remaining 1.2 miles to Banian Jct.
Vicinity: Directions begin headed north on I99 north of Altoona. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go east on US22 to the I90 interchange.
Houtzdale (east) trailhead: Exit I99 at Tyrone, exit <<??>> and go northwest on PA453. Follow PA453 for <<??>> miles to Ramey. In Ramey, turn right on PA253 and follow PA253 <<??>> miles east to Houtzdale. PA253 ends at the junction with SR53 at the edge of town. The trail is four blocks to your left. Take any left hand turn in town and look for on-street parking in Houtzdale. Alternatively, continue straight to go east on PA53 for <<??>> mile to the shopping plaza with the BiLo store and park there. The trail is behind the store, but it's across the creek. To avoid wading, ride through the parking lot and exit on the east end, turning left on SR<<??>> toward the trail. Go 300 feet and pick up the trail.
Ramey Exit I99 at Tyrone, exit <<??>> and go northwest on PA453. Follow PA453 for <<??>> miles to Ramey. In Ramey, stay on PA453 (now called Union St) for 0.6 mile past PA253 to the trail. Immediately after crossing the trail, turn left. There are two or three parking spaces parallel to the trail here.
Smoke Run (west) trailhead: Exit I99 at Tyrone, exit <<??>> and go northwest on PA453. Follow PA453 for <<??>> miles to Ramey. In Ramey, stay on PA453 (now called Union St) for 1.9 mile past PA253 to PA2002. Turn left on PA2002 and bear right at the fork to remain on PA2002. In a third of a mile, turn right into trailhead parking at the trail crossing.
Rest rooms, water: None
Bike shop, rental: None
Restaurant, groceries: One restaurant in Houtzdale, several restaurants and grocery store along PA53 east of Houtzdale.
Camping, simple lodging: Motel east of Houtzdale on PA53
Swimming, fishing: << Fishing quality unknown>>
Winter sports: Cross-country skiing
Wheelchair access: Two gates narrower than 36"
Houtzdale Line Trail
501 David St
Houtzdale PA 16651
Maps, guides, other references
USGS Topographic Maps: <<??>>
Text version from 2002 edition. Conditions will have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 1/2002