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Friday, June 10, 2011

Oil City Emlenton PA Allegheny River Trail and Samuel Justus Trail

Fri 06/10/1111 #222 70.1mi 5h27m

Rode 70.1 miles in 5h27m along the Allegheny River Trail and the Samuel Justis Trail, from Oil City PA to Emlenton Pennsylvania round-trip.

Oil City PA is a nice small town located about 30miles northeast of Butler PA. Back in the day there must have been a lot of money there because some of the houses are quite nice. The trailhead is well marked, has a small restroom and an ample parking lot.

Riding south we realized this is an excellent, flat, paved, and well-maintained trail. We made good time. Across the river from Franklin PA, there's a nice trailside bike shop called Country Pedalers, 814-432-8055.

It's worth mentioning that there's no water or supplies between Oil City and Emlenton. There's a few hundred houses, and you could certainly knock on a door if you had to, but FWIW you'll want to carry all the water you'll need with you.

The scenery along the Allegheny is beautiful and unspoiled.

Just north of the Kennerdell Tunnel there's a mile-long area of the trail that's unpaved, and in fact it's an unfinished, primitive dirt trail. It's not bad enough to call it a hazard, it just stands out in great contrast from the rest of the trail.

The Kennerdell Tunnel is 3350’ long and has a curve in the middle so that you can't see the other end. You must have a light, or wait to accompany somebody who has a light, to get through this tunnel.

Later the Rockland Tunnel is 2868’ long, and again lights are a necessity. The two tunnels are extremely interesting to ride through.

We continued on the rest of the trail to Emlenton. In Emlenton they have old bicycles painted white to mark the route toward the trail. It's effective signage, but I think they may not know about Ghost Bikes.

We rode around town and asked a few people to recommend a restaurant, they all recommended Sue's Pizzaria so we had lunch there as the clouds darkened overhead.

As we finished lunch the skies opened in a moderate to heavy rainfall, so we carried our bikes across the street to find shelter under the bank's awning, and retreated back into Sue's to wait out the storm. The staff was very pleasant, they filled our water bottles with ice water while we waiting for the rain to pass. We really recommend Sue's Pizzeria in Emlenton PA.

Riding in The Cloud On the return trip, the passing rain had cleared the skies but left an accumulation of moisture which turned to fog in the two tunnels. It was quite surreal with extremely reduced visibility.

Sightings: several pair of deer, one porcupine, one snake that was about 3/4 inch diameter, one raccoon that bared its teeth and barked at M., a woodpecker, a hawk, lots of various birds, butterflies, and a turtle. We did encounter a few dogs on the unfinished trail section north of the Kennerdale Tunnel.

I really recommend this trip, anchored in Emlenton about two hours from Pittsburgh. Flat and friendly. Road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes are all appropriate. Caution: no supplies available between Oil City and Emlenton; you'll need a light to get through the two tunnels.

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