Path of the Flood Trail In Pennsylvania

Here is everything you need to know about the Path of the Flood Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Length: 14 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Path of the Flood Trail is a historic trail located in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. It follows the path of the devastating Johnstown Flood of 1889, which was one of the deadliest natural disasters in American history. The flood occurred on May 31, 1889, when the South Fork Dam, located 14 miles upstream from the city of Johnstown, failed after days of heavy rainfall.

The South Fork Dam was originally constructed in the 1850s as part of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal system. It was later modified to create a recreational lake for the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, an exclusive retreat for wealthy industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. However, due to poor maintenance and neglect, the dam was in a state of disrepair by the late 19th century.

On that fateful day in 1889, the dam could no longer withstand the immense pressure of the swollen Little Conemaugh River. The resulting floodwaters rushed down the valley, picking up debris, trees, and even entire houses, as it barreled towards the city of Johnstown. The floodwaters reached speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and rose to heights of 60 feet in some areas, causing widespread destruction and loss of life.

The Path of the Flood Trail was established to commemorate the tragic events of the Johnstown Flood. It stretches for approximately 9 miles, following the path of the floodwaters from the South Fork Dam to downtown Johnstown. Along the trail, visitors can explore various historical markers, interpretive signs, and remnants of the flood, including the remains of the South Fork Dam and the Stone Bridge, which miraculously survived the flood. The trail provides a poignant reminder of the devastating power of nature and the resilience of the people who rebuilt their lives in the aftermath of the disaster.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Johnstown Flood National Memorial: This is the starting point of the Path of the Flood Trail. It is located at 733 Lake Road, South Fork, PA 15956.

2. South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club: This historic site is located along the trail and marks the location where the catastrophic flood of 1889 was triggered. It is situated near the intersection of Clubhouse Road and Lake Road.

3. Staple Bend Tunnel: This tunnel is a significant landmark along the trail. It is the first railroad tunnel constructed in the United States and is now part of the Path of the Flood Trail. It is located near Mineral Point, PA 15942.

4. Mineral Point Trailhead: This trailhead provides access to the Path of the Flood Trail and is located at 1000-1098 Forest Hills Drive, Mineral Point, PA 15942.

5. East Conemaugh Trailhead: This trailhead is located at 100-198 Railroad Street, Johnstown, PA 15909. It offers parking and access to the Path of the Flood Trail.

6. Johnstown Flood Museum: This museum is not directly on the trail but is located nearby at 304 Washington Street, Johnstown, PA 15901. It provides valuable information about the historic flood and its impact on the region.

7. Peoples Natural Gas Park: This park is located at 90 Johns Street, Johnstown, PA 15901. It serves as a trailhead for the Path of the Flood Trail and offers parking and amenities for trail users.

8. Point Park: This park is situated at the confluence of the Stonycreek and Little Conemaugh Rivers in downtown Johnstown, PA 15901. It marks the end of the Path of the Flood Trail and offers beautiful views of the rivers and surrounding area.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Path of the Flood Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or parking areas along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service connecting passengers with drivers.
3. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service available for transportation needs.
4. Amtrak – National passenger railroad service with nearby stations.
5. Greyhound – Intercity bus service offering transportation to various destinations.
6. Megabus – Low-cost intercity bus service with convenient stops.
7. Local Bus – Public transportation service operating in the area.
8. Bike Rental – Local bike rental service for exploring the trail.
9. Car Rental – Various car rental agencies available for personal transportation.
10. Walking – Enjoy the trail on foot for a leisurely experience.


The amenities available at the Path of the Flood Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas at the trailhead and other access points along the Path of the Flood Trail.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not available directly on the trail, there are nearby campgrounds and camping facilities in the surrounding area for visitors who wish to stay overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack amidst the scenic surroundings.

5. Interpretive Signage: The trail features informative interpretive signage that provides historical and educational information about the Johnstown Flood and the trail itself.

6. Benches and Seating: There are benches and seating areas along the trail, allowing visitors to rest and take in the views.

7. Water Fountains: Some sections of the trail may have water fountains or hydration stations for visitors to refill their water bottles.

8. Bike Racks: Bike racks are available at various points along the trail, allowing cyclists to securely park their bikes while exploring on foot.

9. Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead may have additional amenities such as visitor information centers, gift shops, or snack bars.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the trail and its access points. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information on available amenities.

Nearby Services

1. Holiday Inn Johnstown-Downtown: Conveniently located hotel offering comfortable accommodations near the Path of the Flood Trail.
2. Quality Inn & Suites: Affordable hotel with modern amenities, situated close to the trail for easy access.
3. Super 8 by Wyndham Johnstown: Budget-friendly lodging option providing basic amenities and a convenient location near the trail.
4. The Boulevard Grill: Casual restaurant serving American cuisine, perfect for a meal before or after exploring the Path of the Flood Trail.
5. The Phoenix Tavern: Cozy pub offering a variety of food and drink options, ideal for a quick bite or refreshing beverage.
6. Johnstown Galleria Mall: Shopping center featuring various dining options, including fast food and sit-down restaurants, near the trail.
7. Conemaugh Health System: Local hospital providing emergency medical services for any unforeseen incidents along the Path of the Flood Trail.

Path of the Flood Trail Difficulty Notes

The Path of the Flood Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it accessible to a wide range of hikers. The trail spans approximately 9 miles and features a mix of paved and unpaved sections, with some gentle inclines and descents along the way. While the terrain can be uneven at times, it is generally well-maintained and easy to navigate. Hikers can expect to encounter beautiful scenery, including lush forests, charming bridges, and the remnants of the historic Johnstown Flood. Overall, the Path of the Flood Trail provides a satisfying challenge without being overly strenuous, making it a great option for both experienced hikers and those looking to explore the outdoors at a leisurely pace.

Features And Attractions

1. Johnstown Flood National Memorial: This memorial commemorates the devastating Johnstown Flood of 1889, which was caused by the failure of the South Fork Dam. It offers a visitor center, exhibits, and a film about the disaster.

2. Staple Bend Tunnel: This historic tunnel was the first railroad tunnel constructed in the United States. It was built in the 1830s as part of the Allegheny Portage Railroad and is now a National Historic Landmark.

3. Inclined Plane: Located in Johnstown, the Inclined Plane is the world’s steepest vehicular inclined plane. It provides a scenic view of the city and surrounding areas from the top.

4. Horseshoe Curve: Although not directly on the Path of the Flood Trail, the Horseshoe Curve is a short drive away. It is a famous railroad engineering marvel, featuring a tight horseshoe-shaped curve that allows trains to navigate the Allegheny Mountains.

5. Lake Conemaugh: This picturesque lake was formed by the South Fork Dam, which failed during the Johnstown Flood. It offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking.

6. South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club: This private club was responsible for the maintenance of the South Fork Dam. It played a significant role in the Johnstown Flood and is now a historic site.

7. Morrellville: This historic village was once a thriving industrial community. It features well-preserved buildings and structures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

8. Mineral Point: This small town is known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. It offers hiking trails, fishing spots, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

9. St. Michael’s Church: Located in Loretto, this beautiful church is known for its stunning architecture and historical significance. It was built in the late 19th century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

10. Cresson Springs Resort: Although no longer in operation, this former resort was a popular destination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It offered luxurious accommodations and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Path of the Flood Trail. There are many more attractions and points of interest to explore along the trail, making it a fascinating journey through history and nature.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Path of the Flood Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Bicycles are permitted on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians and follow all traffic laws.
3. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be closed or have limited access during winter months due to weather conditions.
4. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the trail.
5. Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and motorcycles, are prohibited on the trail.
6. Littering is strictly prohibited. Visitors are expected to carry out any trash they generate.
7. Hunting or fishing is not permitted on the trail.
8. Fires or open flames are not allowed on the trail, except in designated picnic areas with provided grills.
9. Alcohol consumption is prohibited on the trail.
10. Visitors are encouraged to stay on designated paths and not venture off into restricted or private areas.
11. Horseback riding is allowed on certain sections of the trail, but riders must clean up after their horses.
12. Motorized scooters or skateboards are not allowed on the trail.
13. Visitors are encouraged to respect the natural environment and wildlife, refraining from disturbing or feeding animals.
14. Use of the trail is at your own risk. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and should be aware of their surroundings.
15. Please be considerate of other trail users and maintain proper trail etiquette, such as yielding to faster users and keeping noise levels to a minimum.

Seasonal Information

The Path of the Flood Trail, located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the historic sites and natural beauty of the area. When planning your visit, it is important to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy the trail and be aware of any seasonal closures.

One of the best times to visit the Path of the Flood Trail is during the spring and summer months, from April to September. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and blooming flora along the trail. The lush greenery and vibrant colors create a picturesque backdrop for your hike or bike ride. Additionally, the warmer months allow for more outdoor activities, such as picnicking, birdwatching, and fishing in the nearby Stonycreek River.

However, it is worth noting that the Path of the Flood Trail is open year-round, and each season offers its own unique charm. In the fall, the trail is transformed into a stunning display of autumn foliage, with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows painting the landscape. This is a popular time for photographers and nature enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the changing seasons.

During the winter months, the trail may experience closures or limited accessibility due to snow and ice. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the trail’s official website for any updates on closures or trail conditions. However, if you are able to visit during the winter, you will be rewarded with a peaceful and serene atmosphere, as well as the opportunity to witness the trail covered in a blanket of snow.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Path of the Flood Trail are during the spring and summer months, when the weather is pleasant and the trail is teeming with life. However, each season offers its own unique beauty, so whether you visit during the vibrant fall foliage or the peaceful winter snowfall, you are sure to have a memorable experience exploring this historic trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Trail Surface: The entire Path of the Flood Trail is paved, providing a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available at designated locations along the trail.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Rest areas with benches are conveniently placed along the trail, providing opportunities for wheelchair users to take breaks.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating are provided for individuals with disabilities.
6. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear signage and wayfinding markers are installed along the trail, ensuring easy navigation for wheelchair users.
7. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to be accessible, with ramps and smooth pathways leading to the trail.
8. Handrails and Guardrails: Handrails and guardrails are installed at certain sections of the trail to provide additional support and safety for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail are designed to be accessible, allowing wheelchair users to engage with the information.
10. Accessible Trail Connections: The Path of the Flood Trail is connected to other accessible trails, providing opportunities for extended wheelchair-friendly exploration.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trail: Stick to the marked path to avoid getting lost or straying into unsafe areas.
2. Wear appropriate footwear: Use sturdy shoes or hiking boots to protect your feet and provide better traction on uneven terrain.
3. Carry water and snacks: Stay hydrated and energized during your hike by bringing enough water and snacks.
4. Check weather conditions: Before starting your hike, check the weather forecast to ensure safe conditions and avoid potential hazards.
5. Use sunscreen and insect repellent: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent insect bites by applying sunscreen and repellent.
6. Watch out for wildlife: Be aware of your surroundings and respect the wildlife by observing from a safe distance.
7. Be cautious of slippery surfaces: Some sections of the trail may be wet or slippery, so proceed with caution to avoid falls or injuries.
8. Stay alert for cyclists: The trail is shared with cyclists, so be aware of their presence and yield to them when necessary.
9. Carry a map or use a GPS device: Ensure you have a reliable navigation tool to avoid getting lost or disoriented along the trail.
10. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans, including your expected return time, for safety purposes.
11. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a basic first aid kit and know how to use it in case of minor injuries or accidents.
12. Respect private property: Stay on public land and respect any signs indicating private property to avoid trespassing.
13. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly to help preserve the natural beauty of the trail.
14. Hike in groups: Consider hiking with a companion or in a group for added safety and enjoyment.
15. Follow trail etiquette: Yield to other hikers, communicate with courtesy, and be mindful of noise levels to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Path of the Flood Trail is considered to be well-maintained and protected. The trail is managed by the National Park Service and is part of the Johnstown Flood National Memorial in Pennsylvania, USA. As a designated national memorial, the trail is subject to strict conservation guidelines and regulations to ensure its preservation and historical significance.

Efforts have been made to maintain the trail’s natural integrity and protect its surrounding environment. The National Park Service actively monitors and manages the trail to prevent erosion, control invasive species, and maintain the overall health of the ecosystem. Regular inspections and maintenance work are conducted to address any potential threats to the trail’s conservation status.

Additionally, the Path of the Flood Trail is designed to minimize its impact on the surrounding natural resources. The trail is carefully constructed to follow existing paths and avoid sensitive habitats. Interpretive signs and educational materials are provided along the trail to raise awareness about the area’s ecological importance and promote responsible visitor behavior.

Overall, the conservation status of the Path of the Flood Trail is considered to be in good standing, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the National Park Service and other stakeholders involved in its management. The trail’s conservation measures ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy its historical significance and natural beauty while preserving the integrity of the surrounding environment.

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