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!

An Epic Story of Trail Bridges, Rail Tunnels, & other cool relics

Part of a Series of Self-Guided Itineraries

Redbank Coaling Tower, Armstrong Trail

You don’t need to be a bridge or rail history buff to take pleasure in the “epic infrastructure” along the IHTC trails. Feel the cool air as you pedal through converted rail tunnels. Look out upon river valleys from elevated rail bridges and experience awe. Have fun and connect to regional industrial heritage with our Epic Infrastructure Story Map.

Our Epic Infrastructure Story Map showcases:
  • Nineteenth Century truss bridges (Caperton Trail, Oil Creek State Park Trail, and others)
  • 17 rail tunnels-turned-places to play (including 10 on the North Bend Rail Trail alone)
  • A covered bridge (Sheepskin Trail)
  • An old railroad turntable and a 1930 coaling tower (you’ll pass right under it) (Armstrong Trail)
  • A floating bridge (Towpath Trail)
  • Suspension bridges (Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Towpath Trail, Wheeling Heritage Trails)
  • Five stone arch bridges in a 15-mile span (West Penn Trail)
  • Beehive coke ovens and old canal locks (Sheepskin Trail, Towpath Trail)

This Story Map highlights dozens of bridges, tunnels, and other epic infrastructure – both new and old. The sites are spread across three states, so feel free to take your time and discover them at your own pace. This Story Map can easily be paired with our others:


Scoops ‘N Suds Story Map has all Your Cravings Covered

Part of a Series of Self-Guided Itineraries

Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream in Pittsburgh

One of our key partners often says, “All trails lead to beer and ice cream,” and we agree. That’s why we’ve mapped some of the best beer and ice cream stops accessible from the various Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition trails. Because there is so much beer and ice cream out there, this Scoops ‘N Suds Story Map is primarily limited to hand-crafted versions of both. We’ve made some exceptions for sites that are considered iconic or offer a great and welcoming atmosphere for cyclists. Most of the sites are easily accessible from the trail, but please ride carefully and follow the rules of the road when venturing off trail for your goodies.

So what’s in store for you if you embark on a Scoops ‘N Suds ride?

We offer to you 16 ice cream/frozen treat sites and a whopping 29 craft beer stops! (To be technical, cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Parkersburg have a number of craft breweries, so we’ve bundled some of those geographically, meaning there are EVEN MORE beer stops than it may appear.) A logistical note for anyone new to the region: these 50+ sites are spread across a four-state area. Even if you’re the biggest beer and ice cream fan out there, you’ll probably want to select an area for a ride and treat(s) rather than try to do them all in one fell swoop.

Here’s a sampling of stops and what we love about them:

Levity Brewing Company along the Hoodlebug Trail

Step back in time with Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor, where sundaes are served in real glass dishes and they even pour you a glass of water to quench your dairy-induced thirst. Closest trails: Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Erie-to-Pittsburgh Trail

Some of the brewers are giving back to trails! Levity Brewing Company‘s Hoodlebug Brown benefits the local Hoodlebug Trail, and TrAils to Ales Brewery in Franklin, PA, donates some of the proceeds from their Holden’s Dream amber lager to local trail efforts. Closest trails: Hoodlebug Trail (Levity); Allegheny River Trail, Samuel Justus Trail, Sandy Creek Trail (TrAils to Ales)

Mason’s Creamery in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood shows some serious seasonal business savvy. While their hand-crafted ice cream is well-loved throughout the year, they convert their space into a ramen bar in the winter months. How cool is that? Closest trail: Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Allegheny City Brewing has done what no other Pittsburgh brewery has attempted. They brewed a Nancy B Chocolate Chip Cookie Stout. They’ve taken the massively popular local cookie and beerified it! Note: May be on tap only seasonally. Closest trails: Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Erie-to-Pittsburgh Trail

Open since 1969, Pav’s Creamery in Portage Lakes serves up fun frozen custard flavors like Lemon Blueberry Jam and Baklava. They’re doing something right if they’ve been in business for 50 years! Closest trail: Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Wheeling Brewing Company serves handmade pierogies (made in a local church) plated on Fiestaware (the factory in Newell, WV, is about an hour away)! And the beer gives a nod to local heritage with names like Nail City Porter and Centre Market Lager. Closest trail: Wheeling Heritage Trails

There are, of course, dozens of other sites to enjoy. Happy riding and tasting to you!