As a first biking trip after a long winter of cold, snowy or rainy and dreary weather, hitting the David Ammerman Trail was a delight.
Once known as the Clearfield and Grampian Trail, in 2011, the name was changed to the David S. Ammerman Trail, honoring the man who championed turning the abandoned rail corridor into a recreational trail.
After a short initial stretch in Grampian paralleling some backyards and farmland and Kratzer Run, the rail trail soon becomes fully shaded, and follows Anderson Creek. Right from the beginning, the Grampian end of the trail is gorgeous. Often fully shaded, the trees envelope the trail and the creek that runs alongside.
Eventually the trail crosses a bridge, and then the trail follows the western branch of the Susquehanna River. Although you’re never fully out of ear shot of the nearby roads, mostly you can’t see them, until you start getting down into Curwensville, when you parallel the road on one side and the river on the other.
The trail offers several opportunities for stops to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area, with picnic tables available at around 2.5 miles, 4 miles and 6.7 miles outside of Grampian. Several railroad bridges remind you of the commerce that was important to the area when the railroad was built in the late 1860s and 1870s. The first two bridges you pass are located in the borough of Curwensville about 4 miles outside of Grampian.
There is a elevation gain. In Clearfield, the elevation is just over 1100 feet. In Grampian, the elevation is 1640: not terrible, but you will feel it. That’s why we decided to start in Grampian.
We were grateful that we’d arranged to be dropped off at the Grampian parking lot and were able to load our bikes in Curwensville onto our waiting vehicle, as the elevation change is significant enough to allow us to coast our bikes several miles down hill.
There are multiple ways to enjoy this trail: biking and hiking in the warmer months; snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months.
The former railroad line carried tons of coal and quarried stone along the East Coast, as well as clay, which was used to make bricks in the many brickyards along the trail.
As you head into Curwensville, the woods start thinning out, the road noise increases, and the landscape becomes more light industrial. The trail crosses a road and then immediately crosses again.
You’re still by the river, but closer to the road. Further along, you head into Clearfield, passing by Elliott’s Park, a memorial a man made for his loyal dog.
Getting there: To reach the Clearfield Trailhead, take I-80 to Exit 120 for Clearfield. Take Route 879 South about 2.5 miles and turn right on the Spruce Street Exit. Take the first left (Chester Street), and in another 200 yards turn left. Parking is available at the trailhead.
The Grampian trailhead is one block from the stoplight at the intersection of U.S. 219 and Routes 879 and 729. A large sign on Route 729 identifies the trailhead and public parking area
Beginning in March 2018, I started a series of posts about Clearfield County, PA. This is a continuation of the series. To see others in this series, click on the label “Clearfield County” at the bottom of this post.