Spooky Fall Jaunts Along the Trails of IHTC

Atlanta may have the Doll’s Head Trail, but the trails that are part of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition offer their fair share of frightful fun, too. Here are a handful of seasonally appropriate trail locales for you to consider visiting this Halloween:

Ghost Town Trail

Hands down, the Ghost Town Trail has the best trail name for the season. The trail itself isn’t scary at all, but the name fits the bill. The 36-mile trail is named in recognition of the abandoned mining towns along the way. Venture Outdoors is offering a sold-out ride, “Bike A Boo,” this weekend. It’s too late to jump on to the ride this year, but keep an eye out for similar programs next fall (or get a group of your own to costume up and pedal the trail sometime this weekend). Use our Ghost Town and Hoodlebug Trail Trip for ideas on how to design your ride.

Dead Man’s Hollow

Another spot with a great name and a rich history is Dead Man’s Hollow. The 450-acre conservation area adjacent to the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is subject to legends as to how it got its name. Was it a bank robbery gone awry or a tragic workplace accident? (The Ruins area, easily reached from the GAP, is where the Union Sewer Pipe Co. was once located.) Walk in to The Ruins if you dare, although you are more likely to find terra cotta pipe remnants than any ghosts or ghouls. Even so, the Allegheny Land Trust is hosting Paranormal Investigation Hikes this fall. Both dates are sold out, so mark your calendar for potential repeats this time next year.

West Virginia Penitentiary

Speaking of paranormal activity, the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville is believed to be an active site. While not on a trail, a trip to the penitentiary can be combined with a trail ride. Nearby paths include the Glen Dale to Moundsville, Ohio River, Brooke Pioneer, and Wheeling Creek trails. As for the Penitentiary, the massive Gothic facility was open 119 years until its 1995 closing. The present day ownership runs tours year-round including seasonal programs into November. Imagine everything from a flashlight tour to Zombie Paintball out in the yard. Our Wheeling and Moundsville Trail Trip can help you to navigate the trails and find other things to do in the area.

Rail Tunnels (Turned Trail Tunnels)

Passing through tunnels can be frightful, right? That’s probably why historians and trail managers along the Harrison South Rail-Trail in Clarksburg recently teamed up to host a “Spooky Tales on the Trail” event earlier this month. Their pay-what-you-please program paired the sharing of local folklore with a trail walk that included an old rail tunnel. The event drew more than 600 people! Looking to find some rail tunnels on your own? Check out the North Bend Rail Trail in West Virginia. The 72-mile trail has 10 tunnels along the route, more than exists on any other trail in the region. To locate other tunnels throughout the region, use our Epic Infrastructure Story Map as a guide. Note: not all rail trail tunnels are lighted. Plan to take a light or to walk your bikes through.

American Trails Costume Contest

What other Halloween trail experiences are out there? We’d love to know! And if you take part in any costumed rides or simply decide to don your own mask or cape or whatever, consider sending your pics in to American Trails. They’re running their annual American Trails Costume Contest through November 1. Photos of you, your kiddos, and/or your pets are all welcome!

Visit and Play Respectfully, Please

Halloween is a fun holiday and we hope that you can pair your quest for the spooky with your love for getting out onto trails. We ask you to leave no trace of your visit and stay off the trails after dark (most trails are closed at dusk). Have fun! Oh, and boo!

Trail Itineraries Galore!


See our Trail Trips page to plan your next ride

Tired of the same old trail rides? Whatever your speed or desired mileage, we probably have the trip for you. We’ve got eight self-guided itineraries along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Allegheny River Trail, Ghost Town Trail, Montour Trail, and more. The shortest one is nine miles (the Towpath Trail through Cuyahoga Valley National Park). The longest is closer to 90 (Armstrong and Redbank Valley trails).

Find all eight itineraries – in both mobile-friendly and “print and fold” formats – on our Trail Trips page. There, you’ll also find a number of Story Maps, thematic itineraries that cover the whole IHTC region. With these, you can just plug in wherever you are or make it a goal to see all the sites. We’re really excited about the Story Maps because they highlight a lot of points of interest beyond the trail and there’s so very much to see. Here’s what we’ve got with these:

Scoops ‘N Suds (beer and ice cream, yeah!)

Epic Infrastructure (bridges, rail tunnels, and other neat old relics from our industrial past)

Modern Day Makers (think pottery, marbles, refurbished bikes, and baseball bats)

Boats Along the Trails (this is for those of you that are looking to get out on the water or perhaps have a pedal/paddle experience)

Not sure where to start? Check out our Open Trails Story Map for an overview of all of the places you can ride, where to park, and some other good info.

Get Social to Stay Posted This Fall

If we’ve piqued your interest, follow us on Facebook and Instagram (hashtag #rideihtc) this fall. We’ll be posting about a lot of the sites there and welcome you to send us some of your fall foliage bike photos at We might just post them for others to see your trail adventures!

About the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC)

The Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC) consists of more than 100 organizations and stakeholders collaborating to complete and connect a system of 1,500 miles of shared use trails in a four-state area of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. The system is currently 47% complete, with over 700 miles of trail to be discovered and enjoyed.

The coalition includes government, nonprofit and private foundation entities, as well as land managers and railroad interests, working together to position trail development as a regional priority. Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) lead and staff the regional effort. The National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program (RTCA) provides additional staff and technical support.