Houtzdale Line Trail In Pennsylvania

Here is everything you need to know about the Houtzdale Line Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Length: 10.2 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: https://horsetrail.pa.gov/trails/horse-shoe-trail-warwick-to-fcsp-section/

The Houtzdale Line Trail, located in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, holds a significant historical background. The trail follows the path of the former Houtzdale Line, a railroad that played a crucial role in the region’s industrial development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Constructed in the 1880s, the Houtzdale Line was primarily used for transporting coal from the numerous mines in the area to larger markets.

The railroad was operated by the Beech Creek, Clearfield, and Southwestern Railway Company, which later became part of the New York Central Railroad system. The Houtzdale Line was a vital link in the transportation network, connecting the coal-rich areas of Clearfield County to the main rail lines and enabling the efficient movement of coal to industrial centers across the country.

During its peak years, the Houtzdale Line witnessed a bustling activity of coal trains, as the demand for coal soared due to the rapid industrialization of the United States. The line played a crucial role in fueling the nation’s factories, powering locomotives, and heating homes. The railroad also facilitated the growth of Houtzdale and other nearby towns, as it provided employment opportunities and attracted businesses to the area.

However, with the decline of the coal industry and the rise of alternative transportation methods, the Houtzdale Line gradually lost its significance. The last train ran on the line in 2002, marking the end of an era. In recent years, efforts have been made to repurpose the abandoned rail corridor into a recreational trail, preserving its historical significance while providing a space for outdoor activities such as walking, biking, and horseback riding.

Today, the Houtzdale Line Trail serves as a reminder of the region’s industrial past and offers visitors a chance to explore the area’s history while enjoying the natural beauty of Clearfield County. The trail showcases remnants of the railroad infrastructure, including old bridges, trestles, and cuttings, providing a glimpse into the once-thriving coal transportation network that shaped the region.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Houtzdale Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Houtzdale Line Trail, located in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania. It provides parking facilities and amenities for trail users.

2. Brisbin Trailhead: Located in Brisbin, Pennsylvania, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Houtzdale Line Trail. It is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

3. Osceola Mills Trailhead: Situated in Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania, this trailhead provides parking and access to the Houtzdale Line Trail. It is a convenient entry point for trail users in the area.

4. Ramey Trailhead: Located in Ramey, Pennsylvania, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Houtzdale Line Trail. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors to start their journey on the trail.

5. Smoke Run Trailhead: Situated in Smoke Run, Pennsylvania, this trailhead provides parking and access to the Houtzdale Line Trail. It is a convenient access point for trail users in the Smoke Run area.

6. Madera Trailhead: Located in Madera, Pennsylvania, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Houtzdale Line Trail. It is a popular starting point for hikers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

7. Glen Hope Trailhead: Situated in Glen Hope, Pennsylvania, this trailhead provides parking and access to the Houtzdale Line Trail. It is a convenient entry point for trail users in the Glen Hope area.

8. Irvona Trailhead: Located in Irvona, Pennsylvania, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Houtzdale Line Trail. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors to start their journey on the trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Houtzdale Line Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Houtzdale Line Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically catering to the Houtzdale Line Trail.
2. Local Taxi Service – Taxi service available for transportation needs in the area.
3. Ride-Sharing Service – On-demand ride-sharing service accessible through a mobile app.
4. Bus Service – Local bus service connecting various destinations in the vicinity.
5. Bike Rental Shop – Rental shop offering bicycles for exploring the Houtzdale Line Trail.
6. Car Rental Agency – Car rental service providing vehicles for personal transportation.
7. Train Station – Nearby train station offering regional transportation options.
8. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from the nearest airport.
9. Motorcycle Rental Service – Rental service offering motorcycles for transportation and exploration.
10. Horseback Riding Tours – Guided horseback riding tours for a unique transportation experience.


The amenities available at the Houtzdale Line Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities that you might find:

1. Restrooms: Public restrooms or portable toilets may be available at certain points along the trail.

2. Parking: Parking lots or designated parking areas may be provided for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: Some trails may offer designated camping areas or nearby campgrounds for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic tables, shelters, or designated areas for picnicking and enjoying meals may be available.

5. Benches: Benches or seating areas may be placed along the trail for resting or taking in the scenery.

6. Water Fountains: Drinking water fountains or hydration stations may be available for trail users.

7. Bike Racks: Bike racks or bike parking areas may be provided for cyclists.

8. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead, you may find information kiosks, maps, or visitor centers providing information about the trail and its surroundings.

9. Interpretive Signs: Educational signs or interpretive panels may be placed along the trail, providing information about the history, flora, and fauna of the area.

10. Trash Receptacles: Trash cans or recycling bins may be available for proper waste disposal.

11. Dog-Friendly Areas: Some trails may have designated areas where dogs are allowed, along with waste disposal stations.

12. Accessibility: Depending on the trail, there may be accessibility features such as ramps, handrails, or paved paths for individuals with disabilities.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Houtzdale Hotel – A historic hotel offering comfortable lodging in the heart of Houtzdale.
2. Houtzdale Family Restaurant – A local eatery serving delicious home-style meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
3. Houtzdale Fire Department – Emergency services providing fire suppression, rescue, and medical assistance to the community.
4. Houtzdale Police Department – Local law enforcement agency ensuring public safety and maintaining law and order.
5. Clearfield Hospital – A nearby medical facility equipped to handle emergencies and provide healthcare services.
6. Houtzdale Post Office – Postal services for sending and receiving mail and packages.
7. Houtzdale Public Library – A community library offering resources, books, and educational programs.
8. Houtzdale Dollar General – A convenient store for purchasing groceries, household items, and more.
9. Houtzdale United Methodist Church – A local church providing spiritual guidance and community support.
10. Houtzdale Pharmacy – A pharmacy offering prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs.

Houtzdale Line Trail Difficulty Notes

The Houtzdale Line Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers. The trail spans approximately 10 miles and features a mix of flat, paved sections and more challenging, uneven terrain. While the trail is generally well-maintained, there are some areas with loose gravel and occasional tree roots, requiring caution and proper footwear. Additionally, the trail includes a few gradual inclines and descents, providing a moderate level of physical exertion. Overall, the Houtzdale Line Trail is suitable for individuals with a moderate level of fitness and outdoor experience, offering a rewarding and enjoyable outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Houtzdale Line Trail is a 10-mile rail trail located in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. While it primarily follows the former Houtzdale Line railroad, there are several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the trail. Here are some notable points of interest:

1. Houtzdale Station: The trail starts at the Houtzdale Station, which served as a passenger and freight depot during the railroad’s operation. It is a historic site and offers a glimpse into the area’s transportation history.

2. Muddy Run Reservoir: As you travel along the trail, you’ll pass by the Muddy Run Reservoir. This scenic body of water provides a tranquil setting and is a great spot for birdwatching and fishing.

3. Woodland Tunnel: The trail passes through the Woodland Tunnel, a historic railroad tunnel that was built in the late 1800s. It adds an element of adventure and intrigue to the trail experience.

4. Philipsburg Historical District: Near the end of the trail, you’ll reach the town of Philipsburg, which has a well-preserved historical district. Take a stroll through the charming streets and admire the Victorian-era architecture.

5. Black Moshannon State Park: While not directly on the trail, Black Moshannon State Park is located nearby and offers stunning natural beauty. The park features a large lake, hiking trails, and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

6. Clearfield Creek: The trail follows the Clearfield Creek for a portion of its route, providing scenic views of the water and surrounding landscape.

7. Houtzdale Community Park: Towards the beginning of the trail, you’ll find the Houtzdale Community Park. It offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and sports fields, providing a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Houtzdale Line Trail. Exploring the trail will allow you to discover even more hidden gems and points of interest.

Usage Guidelines

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Seasonal Information

The Houtzdale Line Trail, located in central Pennsylvania, offers a scenic and enjoyable outdoor experience for visitors throughout the year. However, certain times of the year are particularly ideal for exploring this trail. The best times to visit the Houtzdale Line Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild and the natural surroundings are at their most vibrant.

In the spring, the trail comes alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. The temperatures are pleasant, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the trail. The trail offers picturesque views of the surrounding countryside, with the opportunity to spot various bird species and other wildlife. Springtime also brings the added bonus of fewer crowds, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquility of the trail.

Similarly, the fall season offers a stunning display of colors as the leaves change, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities. The cooler temperatures make it comfortable for hiking or biking, and the trail becomes even more enchanting as the foliage transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. Fall is also a great time for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the trail and its surroundings.

It is important to note that the Houtzdale Line Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions during the winter months. Due to potential snowfall and icy conditions, the trail may be temporarily closed for safety reasons. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management before planning a visit during the winter season. However, during the open seasons, the Houtzdale Line Trail offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of central Pennsylvania throughout the year.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trail Surface: The Houtzdale Line Trail features a smooth and level surface suitable for wheelchair users, ensuring easy navigation along the trail.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance, providing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: The trail offers accessible restroom facilities equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair users.
4. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to be accessible, featuring ramps or level pathways for easy entry and exit.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: The trail provides accessible picnic areas with tables and benches designed to accommodate individuals using wheelchairs.
6. Accessible Seating: Along the trail, there are designated areas with accessible seating options, allowing individuals with disabilities to rest comfortably.
7. Accessible Signage: The trail features clear and visible signage with large fonts and contrasting colors, ensuring easy navigation for individuals with visual impairments.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the trail, allowing individuals to stay hydrated during their visit.
9. Accessible Trail Loops: The trail offers accessible loop options, allowing individuals using wheelchairs to enjoy a variety of scenic routes.
10. Accessible Trail Information: Trail maps and information are available in accessible formats, such as braille or large print, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can access important details about the trail.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any trail closures or maintenance updates before heading out to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be aware of current weather conditions and dress accordingly, as the trail may become slippery or hazardous during inclement weather.
3. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by yielding to pedestrians, keeping pets on a leash, and maintaining a reasonable speed.
4. Stay Hydrated: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot and humid weather.
5. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
6. Insect Repellent: Use insect repellent to prevent bites from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects commonly found along the trail.
7. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signage to avoid getting lost or straying off the designated path.
8. Emergency Contacts: Carry a cell phone with emergency contact numbers programmed in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
9. First Aid Kit: Bring a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers for minor injuries.
10. Trail Buddy: Consider hiking or biking with a friend or in a group for added safety and companionship.
11. Wildlife Awareness: Be cautious of wildlife encounters and maintain a safe distance, especially if you come across larger animals.
12. Secure Valuables: Keep personal belongings secure and out of sight to deter theft while on the trail.
13. Trail Hours: Familiarize yourself with the trail’s operating hours to ensure you plan your activities accordingly.
14. Emergency Exits: Identify the nearest emergency exits or access points along the trail in case of an emergency or sudden need to exit.
15. Report Suspicious Activity: If you notice any suspicious or illegal activities, report them to the appropriate authorities.
16. Trail Maintenance: Report any trail hazards, such as fallen trees or damaged infrastructure, to the relevant trail management authorities.
17. Be Prepared: Carry essential items like a map, compass, flashlight, and extra batteries in case of unexpected situations or emergencies.
18. Respect Nature: Leave no trace by disposing of trash properly and respecting the natural environment along the trail.
19. Plan Ahead: Research the trail’s length, difficulty level, and amenities available to ensure it aligns with your fitness level and expectations.
20. Follow Local Regulations: Observe and adhere to any local regulations or rules specific to the Houtzdale Line Trail for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Conservation Notes

The Houtzdale Line Trail, located in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, is a significant natural resource that contributes to the conservation efforts in the region. As a rail-trail conversion project, it has been developed to preserve and protect the natural environment while providing recreational opportunities for the community. The conservation status of the Houtzdale Line Trail is considered to be stable, with ongoing efforts to maintain and enhance its ecological integrity.

The trail traverses through diverse habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, and open fields, providing a home to a variety of plant and animal species. The conservation efforts focus on preserving these habitats and promoting biodiversity. The trail management actively engages in habitat restoration projects, such as reforestation and invasive species control, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem.

Additionally, the Houtzdale Line Trail serves as a corridor for wildlife movement, allowing for the conservation of species that rely on connected habitats. The trail management works closely with local conservation organizations to monitor and protect the wildlife populations along the trail. This includes implementing measures to minimize disturbances and providing educational resources to promote responsible trail use, ensuring the preservation of the natural environment and its inhabitants.

Overall, the conservation status of the Houtzdale Line Trail is a testament to the commitment of the trail management and the community towards protecting and enhancing the natural resources in the area. Through ongoing conservation efforts, the trail continues to provide a valuable space for both recreation and the preservation of the local ecosystem.

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