The J. Manley Robbins Trail is a former railroad line for the “Montour,” a 10-ton narrow gauge locomotive used for carrying iron ore between local deposits and furnaces. The line was converted to a bicycle path in the 1890’s by a club of local bicycle enthusiasts, and is believed to be the oldest rail trail in the United States. 5 J. Manley Robbins Rail Trail Trail Length: 3.8 miles
4 Montour Preserve’s Goose Woods Trail Trail Length: 0.9 miles The Goose Woods Trail at the Montour Preserve is a naturalist’s dream. Although short, trail goers could spend hours wandering the trail looking at wildflowers, insects, pond life, small woodland dwellers, and animal tracks by the creek. Goose Woods Trail is great for families with children or the elderly, as it is short in distance and almost completely flat. Plus, children will love exploring the forest! Goose Woods Trail is also a great place to bring a nature journal or camera. You can find a comfort- able spot just off the trail to sit and journal about the sounds, sights, and small details of the natu- ral world around you. Or perhaps a camera is more your speed; photograph birds, spiders, flowers, or practice taking some landscapes by the creek. Learn about the different types of trees, leaves, and animal tracks, and see if you can spot a scarlet tanager or red-winged blackbird flying from tree to tree. Along the way, you’ll pass the Preserve’s Sugar Shack, where maple sugar is made in the early part of each year. If you go: The Preserve is open dawn until dusk daily. Be sure to visit the education center and learn about some of the animals and plants you might see during your visit. For those looking for additional hiking beyond the Goose Woods Trail, the Chilisuagi Trail that circles the 165-acre Lake Chillisquaque is approximately 3.8 miles long. Bring a picnic lunch and spend some quality time enjoying the lake! Plan for: As much or as little time as you’d like to spend exploring the Preserve.
The trail also connects with additional trails and recreation amenities at the Hess Field Complex. After walking the first portion of the trail that runs parallel to State Route 54 (and crosses a small covered bridge), it winds through a beautiful stretch of deciduous forest above Mahoning Creek. The enjoyable 3.8 mile loop is a multi-purpose trail that accommodates bicyclists and walkers of all ages. Dogs are allowed, if they are leashed. If you go: If you’re coming into Danville on State Rt. 54 from Interstate 80, turn right onto Route 642 (Liberty Valley Road) and make an immediate left onto a dirt road/parking area. This is the J. Manley Robbins trailhead. Further down the trail, the Hess Recreation Area has several fields and a
pavilion that can seat up to 75 people. Plan for: 1.5 to 2 hours to walk the trail.
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