Samuel Justus Trail In Pennsylvania

Here is everything you need to know about the Samuel Justus Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Length: 8 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Samuel Justus Trail, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, holds a significant historical background. The trail is named after Samuel Justus, a prominent figure in the region during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Justus was a pioneer and entrepreneur who played a crucial role in the development of the area.

The trail itself was originally a Native American footpath, used by the Seneca and other tribes for hunting and trading purposes. With the arrival of European settlers in the late 1700s, the trail became an important route for transportation and trade. Samuel Justus recognized the potential of this trail and began using it to transport goods between his sawmill and gristmill, which were located along the banks of French Creek.

As the region grew, the trail became increasingly important for the transportation of goods and people. It connected various settlements, including Meadville, Franklin, and Oil City, which were thriving due to the lumber and oil industries. The trail played a crucial role in the economic development of these communities, facilitating the movement of resources and enabling trade.

Over time, the trail was improved and expanded to accommodate the growing needs of the region. It became a popular route for stagecoaches and wagons, connecting towns and providing a vital link between the rural areas and urban centers. Today, the Samuel Justus Trail serves as a reminder of the region’s rich history and the important role it played in the development of northwestern Pennsylvania.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Franklin Junction Trailhead: Located at the southern end of the Samuel Justus Trail, this trailhead provides access to the trail for those starting from Franklin, Pennsylvania.

2. Oil City Trailhead: Situated in Oil City, Pennsylvania, this access point allows trail users to join the Samuel Justus Trail from the northern end.

3. Brandon Trailhead: Located near Brandon, Pennsylvania, this trailhead provides another access point for those starting from the southern end of the trail.

4. Rockland Trailhead: Situated in Rockland, Pennsylvania, this access point allows trail users to join the Samuel Justus Trail from the northern end.

5. Polk Trailhead: Located in Polk, Pennsylvania, this trailhead provides access to the Samuel Justus Trail for those starting from the northern end.

6. Dempseytown Trailhead: Situated near Dempseytown, Pennsylvania, this access point allows trail users to join the Samuel Justus Trail from the southern end.

7. Rouseville Trailhead: Located in Rouseville, Pennsylvania, this trailhead provides access to the Samuel Justus Trail for those starting from the northern end.

8. Utica Trailhead: Situated near Utica, Pennsylvania, this access point allows trail users to join the Samuel Justus Trail from the southern end.

9. Cooperstown Trailhead: Located in Cooperstown, Pennsylvania, this trailhead provides access to the Samuel Justus Trail for those starting from the northern end.

10. Polk Center Trailhead: Situated near Polk Center, Pennsylvania, this access point allows trail users to join the Samuel Justus Trail from the southern end.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service available at your fingertips.
3. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service for convenient transportation.
4. Greyhound – Long-distance bus service connecting various cities.
5. Amtrak – National rail service for comfortable train travel.
6. Lime – Electric scooter and bike rentals for short-distance trips.
7. Bird – Electric scooter rentals for quick and eco-friendly transportation.
8. Zipcar – Car-sharing service for flexible and convenient travel.
9. Megabus – Affordable intercity bus service with multiple destinations.
10. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service for longer trips or exploring nearby areas.


The amenities available at the Samuel Justus Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There might be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailhead or at various access points along the trail.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail regulations and management, there may be designated camping sites or areas nearby where visitors can set up tents or camp overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There could be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Benches and Seating: There might be benches or seating areas along the trail for visitors to rest or take in the scenery.

6. Informational Signage: There may be informational signs or boards along the trail providing details about the trail, its history, and any points of interest.

7. Trail Maps and Brochures: Visitors may have access to trail maps or brochures at the trailhead or visitor center, providing information about the trail’s route, difficulty level, and nearby attractions.

8. Water Fountains or Hydration Stations: There could be water fountains or hydration stations along the trail to provide visitors with access to drinking water.

9. Trash Receptacles: There may be trash cans or bins along the trail to encourage visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

10. Interpretive Displays: Depending on the trail’s significance or ecological importance, there might be interpretive displays or educational panels along the trail, providing information about the local flora, fauna, or history.

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. Lodge at Glendorn – Luxury lodge offering upscale accommodations and dining options near the Samuel Justus Trail.
2. Comfort Inn & Suites – Convenient hotel with comfortable rooms and complimentary breakfast, located close to the trail.
3. Super 8 by Wyndham – Budget-friendly motel providing basic amenities and easy access to the Samuel Justus Trail.
4. McDonald’s – Fast-food chain serving burgers, fries, and more, situated near the trail for a quick bite.
5. Subway – Popular sandwich shop offering a variety of subs and salads, conveniently located close to the Samuel Justus Trail.
6. Sheetz – Gas station and convenience store providing snacks, drinks, and made-to-order food options near the trail.
7. Clarion Hospital – Local medical facility offering emergency services and healthcare assistance in case of any emergencies along the trail.

Samuel Justus Trail Difficulty Notes

The Samuel Justus Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail spans approximately 12 miles and features a mix of flat sections, gentle inclines, and some steeper sections. Hikers can expect to encounter rocky terrain, tree roots, and occasional muddy patches, adding to the challenge. However, the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, making navigation relatively easy. With its scenic views, diverse flora, and occasional wildlife sightings, the Samuel Justus Trail provides an enjoyable and rewarding hiking experience for those seeking a moderate level of difficulty.

Features And Attractions

The Samuel Justus Trail is a 12-mile long rail trail located in Venango County, Pennsylvania. While it primarily serves as a recreational trail for walking, running, and biking, it also offers several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along its route. Here are some notable points of interest along the Samuel Justus Trail:

1. Oil Creek State Park: The trail passes through Oil Creek State Park, which offers stunning views of Oil Creek and its surrounding forests. The park is known for its rich history in the oil industry and features several historical sites.

2. Drake Well Museum: Located near the trail, the Drake Well Museum is a historical site that commemorates the birthplace of the American oil industry. Visitors can explore the museum and learn about the history of oil drilling.

3. McClintock Well No. 1: This is the site of the first commercial oil well in the world, drilled by Colonel Edwin Drake in 1859. It is a significant historical landmark along the trail.

4. Petroleum Centre: Once a bustling oil boomtown, Petroleum Centre is now a ghost town. Visitors can see the remnants of the town’s oil industry and imagine what life was like during the oil boom era.

5. Miller Farm Covered Bridge: This picturesque covered bridge is located near the trail and offers a charming spot for photos and a peaceful view of the surrounding countryside.

6. Queen Creek Gorge: As the trail follows Oil Creek, it passes through the scenic Queen Creek Gorge. This natural landmark offers beautiful views of the creek and its steep, forested banks.

7. Oil Creek Railroad Historic Park: This park features a restored train station and a collection of historic railroad cars. Visitors can learn about the region’s railroad history and take a ride on a vintage train.

8. Drake Well Park: Located near the trail, Drake Well Park offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and scenic views of Oil Creek. It’s a great spot to take a break and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

These are just a few of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Samuel Justus Trail. Exploring the trail will provide visitors with a unique blend of history, nature, and outdoor recreation.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
– Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
– No camping or overnight stays are allowed on the trail.
– Fires and open flames are prohibited.
– Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
– Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto private property.
– Do not litter and carry out any trash or waste.
– Be mindful of other trail users and yield to pedestrians.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Samuel Justus Trail, located in Northwestern Pennsylvania, offers a picturesque and serene experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery, creating a beautiful backdrop for hikers and nature lovers. The temperatures are mild, making it comfortable to explore the trail without the scorching heat of summer. Fall is equally stunning, as the foliage transforms into a breathtaking display of red, orange, and gold hues. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an ideal time for hiking and enjoying the scenic beauty of the trail.

It is important to note that the Samuel Justus Trail is open year-round, but there are certain seasonal closures to be aware of. During the winter months, the trail may be subject to closures or limited accessibility due to snow and ice. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed for maintenance or repairs during other times of the year. It is always a good idea to check for any closures or updates before embarking on your journey to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Overall, the Samuel Justus Trail offers a delightful escape into nature throughout the year. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring or the stunning foliage of fall, this trail provides a tranquil and scenic experience for outdoor enthusiasts. Just be sure to plan your visit accordingly, taking into account any seasonal closures or weather conditions to make the most of your time on the trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for individuals with disabilities.
2. Paved Trail Surface: The trail is paved, providing a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are located at designated points along the trail, equipped with features like grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Rest areas along the trail offer benches for individuals to take a break or enjoy the surroundings.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating are available for individuals with disabilities.
6. Wheelchair Accessible Viewing Platforms: Elevated platforms along the trail provide wheelchair users with accessible viewpoints to enjoy the scenery.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signage includes Braille translations to assist visually impaired individuals.
8. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to be accessible, with ramps, handrails, and appropriate signage.
9. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the trail.
10. Assistance Animals Allowed: Service animals are permitted on the trail to assist individuals with disabilities.
11. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps are available in accessible formats, such as large print or digital versions.
12. Accessible Trailside Interpretive Panels: Interpretive panels along the trail are designed to be accessible, providing information in both visual and tactile formats.
13. Accessible Trailside Seating: Benches and seating areas along the trail are designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
14. Accessible Trail Crossings: Crossings along the trail are equipped with curb cuts and appropriate signage for wheelchair users.
15. Accessible Trail Lighting: Lighting along the trail ensures visibility for individuals with visual impairments during low-light conditions.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Samuel Justus Trail is a relatively easy trail suitable for all skill levels, with a mostly flat terrain and well-maintained paths.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is exposed to the elements, and carry appropriate gear such as rain jackets or sun protection.
3. Trail Etiquette: Practice good trail etiquette by yielding to other users, keeping pets on a leash, and respecting the natural environment.
4. Water Availability: Carry an adequate supply of water, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of wildlife encounters, including snakes, insects, and occasional larger animals, and maintain a safe distance.
6. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost, as some sections may have multiple intersecting paths.
7. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone, a basic first aid kit, and inform someone about your planned route and estimated return time.
8. Trail Maintenance: Report any trail maintenance issues or hazards encountered to the appropriate authorities or trail organizations.
9. Nighttime Safety: Avoid hiking alone at night, and if necessary, use a headlamp or flashlight to ensure visibility.
10. Personal Safety: Stay aware of your surroundings, avoid isolated areas, and consider hiking with a companion for added safety.

Conservation Notes

The Samuel Justus Trail, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, is considered to have a favorable conservation status. The trail is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and is part of the larger Oil Creek State Park. As a result, the trail benefits from the park’s conservation efforts and is well-maintained to ensure its ecological integrity.

The conservation status of the Samuel Justus Trail is primarily attributed to the preservation of its natural surroundings. The trail winds through a diverse range of habitats, including forests, wetlands, and open fields, providing a home to numerous plant and animal species. The DCNR has implemented measures to protect these habitats, such as controlling invasive species and promoting native plant restoration. This conservation approach helps maintain the biodiversity of the area and ensures the long-term sustainability of the trail.

Furthermore, the Samuel Justus Trail is designed to minimize its impact on the environment. The trail’s construction and maintenance follow sustainable practices, such as using locally sourced materials and employing erosion control techniques. Additionally, the trail features interpretive signs that educate visitors about the importance of conservation and encourage responsible outdoor recreation. By promoting environmental awareness, the trail management aims to foster a sense of stewardship among trail users, further contributing to its conservation status.

Overall, the Samuel Justus Trail benefits from the conservation efforts of the Pennsylvania DCNR and is considered to have a positive conservation status. Through habitat preservation, sustainable practices, and environmental education, the trail remains a valuable resource for both recreational enjoyment and the protection of the natural environment.

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