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Find your Perfect Pace on Pennsylvania's Trail of the Year

Whether your summer was a barrage of frenetic activity or a true vacation full of breezy beachside views, the beginning of fall can bring out a desire to slow down in all of us. What better way to take in the changing seasons than strolling down Pennsylvania’s “Trail of the Year”, an eight-mile section of the Knox and Kane Rail Trail Bridge beautifully managed by the MJ2KB Trail Club. This carefully-maintained trail stretching from Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge, which offers some sweeping views of Pennsylvania’s stunning fall foliage, has much to entice those looking for a change of pace.

Although walking the full length could fill an afternoon (taking up to 3 hours to complete), the portion of trail from Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge is considered “easy” and is suitable for all fitness levels, accommodating strollers and wheelchairs as well as runners and bikers. Constructed over an obsolete rail line and surfaced with crushed limestone, the smooth grade of the trail allows visitors to take in the views surrounding the trail rather than what’s merely immediately ahead. Beyond interior views of Pennsylvania’s lush deciduous forests and inhabiting wildlife, the elevated lookout on Kinzua Bridge—providing visions of the Kinzua Gorge and the time-patinaed trestles of the former railroad below—is sure to put you in an introspective frame of mind. With several rest stations along the way (including five covered pavilions with picnic tables), it would be easy round out a daytrip to Mount Jewett with a nostalgic childhood-invoking picnic (or classy charcuterie board with wine pairings, depending on your tastes). Either way, come see for yourself why Pennsylvania’s “Trail of the Year” is worth the trip.

If you like to come prepared with a printout of the trail map. Please note that the trail features two different trailheads: one in Mount Jewett (located at the intersection of Center Street and Peterson Street) with an information kiosk and bicycle repair station, and one at the Kinzua Bridge State Park (located at 296 Viaduct Rd). For those looking for more challenging hiking opportunities, local guides recommend parking near Kinzua Bridge for easy access to the bridge before exploring the surrounding hiking trails in Kinzua Bridge State Park.

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