Riding the Samuel Justus Trail Gets You Close to the Allegheny River Without Getting Wet

Exploring scenic bike routes less than two hours from Pittsburgh.
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The Samuel Justus Recreation Trail is perfect for an all-day biking excursion or a short leisurely ride. Connecting the Allegheny River trailhead at Franklin to Oil City, the trail is just 7 miles long and has several lovely spots to stop and enjoy the river, or even take a swim.

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We started off in Franklin and were delighted by how close the paved trail followed the Allegheny River. With the exception of a few small inclines at the beginning and end, the trail is level. Along the way, you’ll encounter a few working natural gas pumps.

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About 3 miles outside of Franklin are the gates to River Ridge Farm. A 35-room mansion was built on its 760 acres in 1913 by a former congressman, Josephy Sibley Jr. It is owned today by Life Ministries and is used as a religious retreat.

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Near the very end of the trail is a large recreation area with picnic tables, workout station and a narrow beach leading down to the river. Signs warn potential swimmers that they do so at their own risk. The trail ends at the Oil City Marina boat launch. Riders can use the Oil City Trail, which crosses the Petroleum Street Bridge and joins the McClintock Trail to Oil Creek State Park.

The Samuel Justus Recreation Trail is named for an oil baron who created a trust fund to help orphans of Venango County.  He died two days shy of his 84th birthday in July 1967. The trail is part of a future 270-mile bike path that will connect Erie with Pittsburgh.

The Justus trail can be accessed at:

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Good to Know:

  • There are restroom facilities at both trailheads.
  • There are several picnic areas and benches along the trail to stop for a lunch break or just to enjoy the scenery.
  • Restaurant options abound in both Franklin and Oil City
  • There is a bike pump and repair stand at the southern trailhead near Franklin
Categories: Hiking & Biking, Things To Do