Sandy Creek TrailDescription
The Sandy Creek, built between 2000 and 2005, has 12 miles of asphalt surface, 7 pedestrian-safe bridges and a tunnel. The eastern section of this trail winds 8 miles along East Sandy Creek through some of Pennsylvania's most spectacular hills, valleys, and forest.
The trail runs east and west, crossing over the Allegheny River and the Allegheny River Trail 5 miles south of Franklin. The Belmar Bridge is 1385 feet long with a wooden deck and railings and a great view of the river valley. To the west of the Belmar Bridge, the trail runs four miles along the Allegheny River to the Fisherman's Cove Road where it crosses Big Sandy Creek. The area is almost entirely undeveloped, remote, and of great natural beauty.
Bring your own food, water, spare tire and pump. Bring a cell phone if you have one. A Porta-Potty has been at the Belmar Trailhead from May through September. Also a couple picnic table are near the trail at Belmar and one about a half mile from each end of the trail. You'll find sporadic benches and there's an Adirondack Shelter just east of the 7 mi. marker near Van.
The spectacular Belmar Bridge over the Allegheny River was built in 1907 as part of a railroad built by local oil man Charles Miller and John D. Rockefeller intended to connect New York with Chicago. Ultimately, it transported much of the coal from Clarion County to Ashtabula on Lake Erie. Creek vistas and occasional benches dot the trail.
- The Belmar trailhead is at Belmar Village on the west side of the River. Access is from Route 8, 3 miles south of Franklin. Turn on Pone Lane and go past the Franklin High School to Belmar Road. Turn right and follow it to the parking area at the foot of the hill with the river and bridge in sight. GPS N 41 19.983 W 79 46.467
- The east-end trailhead is in the village of Van on Route 322. Follow 322 to Van, turn west onto Tarklin Hill Road and go about 1/2 mile to the parking area. GPS N 41 18.86 W 79 39.51
- Rockland Road - The trail may also be accessed from the Rockland Road. Follow Route 322 to the intersection of Route 257 in Cranberry (site of the Cranberry Mall), turn south and travel about 3 miles until you cross over the old railroad grade (just before you cross East Sandy Creek). There is an access road that turns to the right. GPS N 41 19.022 W 79 43.486
- Fisherman's Cove - Reach the access at the far western end of the trail by traveling on old Route 8 (north from I-80 turn to old Route 8 just north of Barkeyville, or south by leaving new Route 8 just south of Franklin before new Route 8 becomes a divided highway) and turning off onto a dirt road at the end of the Pecan Bridge at the sign that leads to Seneca Hills Bible Camp. Turn right at the foot of the hill, and travel along the dirt road about 3 miles. At a sharp right turn, the trail is just ahead. Park along the road. GPS N 41 19.583 W 79 50.933