Sandy Creek Trail is 12 Miles of Beautiful Views
Exploring scenic bike routes less than two hours from Pittsburgh.
The Sandy Creek Trail, located near Franklin in rural Venango County, mirrors a Pittsburgh commute. No matter which way you are going, you’re likely to cross a bridge or go through a tunnel.
The big difference, the asphalt path had no potholes during a recent ride on a steamy summer afternoon. The 12-mile route that follows the Allegheny River and East Sandy Creek crosses seven bridges and goes through one tunnel.
The highlight is the Belmar Bridge, the trail’s longest at 1,385 feet, which crosses the Allegheny River. It’s impossible to resist the urge to stop and take in the view.
Five other bridges that traverse East Sandy Creek offer similar views. There also are long, cool stretches of the trail through a forest that provide relief from the sun.
There are four primary options for accessing the trail:
- The Belmar trailhead is at Belmar Village on the west side of the Allegheny River.
- The east-end trailhead is in the village of Van
- The trail may also be accessed from East Sandy Road
- The west-end trailhead can be reached by Fisherman’s Cove Road
Good to Know
From west to east, the trail gains 271 feet in elevation at an average grade of 1 percent. If you start at the west-end trailhead, it’s a slow, steady but manageable climb for 12 miles. The return trip is a breeze.
There are no bathroom facilities on the trail nor places to buy food and drinks. However, there are a few benches and picnic tables if you bring your own refreshments.
There are reflectors in the tunnel but no lights so a flashlight comes in handy.
Go here to learn more.
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