Sandy Creek Trail
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
Deep Valley Tunnel
View from one of the seven bridges