Along the 21 miles of the Heritage Rail Trail, lie small communities ready to greet you.

Whether a tasty snack, a unique lunch spot, or a refreshing libation is calling your name, a few moments exploring one of the seven York County Trail Towns, is time well spent. Following the tracks of the Northern Central Railway, experience the history of the railways, while enjoying modern and trendy accommodations along the way. Enjoy the serene majesty of the mighty Susquehanna or the beating heart of Downtown York.

From artistic and edgy beauty in Glen Rock, to the bustling businesses of New Freedom, Seven Valleys, and Hanover, to the history of Railroad and Wrightsville, and a variety of cultural adventures in York City, we welcome trail users to stop and visit.
Each community welcomes long-distance bikers, families, casual walkers, and runners, and many are even pet friendly!

What Is a Trail Town?

Trail Towns are communities adjacent to public trails that choose to embrace the trail as an opportunity for economic growth and improved quality of life.  Trail Towns programs use an integrated and asset-based, economic development approach that considers each town’s existing resources, it’s character and local businesses to develop a memorable and inviting trail experience for users including residents and out of town visitors alike.

York County Economic Alliance launched the “Trail Towns Program”, to leverage the York Heritage Rail Trail as a platform and driver for economic development in towns located along or near the popular multi-use trail. Partnering with the York County Department of Parks, the York County Rail Trail Authority, Explore York, and our municipal partners, the Trail Towns Program is a collaborative process with outreach to local governments, residents and business owners in order for each town to reach its potential as a vibrant hub for trail users. 

Stay Connected

York County Trail Towns
York County Trail Towns4 days ago
Earlier this week, we stopped by AleCraft Brewery in Railroad Borough which recently received the Trail Friendly-Business Designation AleCraft Brewery opened the doors of their location in Railroad at the end of last year. They’ve got great selection of craft beers and they just rolled out a new mixed drink menu. AleCraft partners with Fox & Fern to provide a rotating menu of gastropub-style fare. They have a lots of great upcoming events including live music from local artist, open mic nights, and comedy shows. AleCraft is a great place to stop in after a day on the Trail.

They also have great plans for this St. Patrick’s Day weekend including live music, green beer, and an Irish-inspired menu from Fox and Fern Café. Be sure to stop in and check it out.
York County Trail Towns
York County Trail Towns6 days ago
With the official start of Spring just a few days away, we’re excited for the return of the Trail Season. Trail-Friendly Businesses across York County are planning tons of great events that for the coming months. Among those is Old McDonald Had a Farm Stand which already planning for their 2023 Opening Weekend which will take place from Wednesday, March 29 to Saturday, April 1st. Be sure to check out the event page and stay tuned for details on this great event.
York County Trail Towns
York County Trail Towns2 weeks ago
We are pleased to announce that Main St Market, Glen Rock PA in Glen Rock has received our Trail-Friendly Business Designation. We had the pleasure of stopping by yesterday to chat with Ali Collier, the Owner of Main Street Market (17 Main St Glen Rock, Pennsylvania 17327). It's located right on to the Heritage Rail Trail and it's a great place to stop in for a cold drink or a quick snack.

Main Street Market is open Wednesday through Sunday and has a great selection of locally- sourced seasonal and organic items. They also have a wall of Bulk Wall for dry goods. Be sure to bring your own containers or buy one there!

Be sure to stay tuned for more details on the open-air farmers markets which take place from 11am-3pm on Sundays. The first farmers market will be Memorial Day Weekend. Check out the website for more details:
York County Trail Towns
York County Trail Towns2 weeks ago
Be sure to register to attend the next edition of the BLOOM Business Series Webinar focused on being a Trail-Friendly Business! The webinar will feature a panel discussion with three Trail-Friendly Business owners. Be sure to tune in for tips and tricks to increase your business volume by providing a welcoming environment for trail-users.

BLOOM Business Series events are FREE to attend and open to the public, though RSVPs are required. You can register for the event here:
York County Trail Towns
York County Trail Towns1 month ago
Check out some of our Trail Towns, Black-Owned member businesses! Happy Black History Month!
York County Trail Towns
York County Trail Towns
York County Trail Towns1 month ago
We had the pleasure of attending the Wrap up Meeting for the Susquehanna Holiday Trail, earlier this week. 2022 marked the fourth year for the event. Folks came out from across the region to visit the 11 participating businesses (see below). We we're glad to be able to support last year's event with some funding for marketing.

Planning for year five is all ready underway. Be sure to stay tuned for details!

Participating Business: Shank's Mare Outfitters The Cycle Works John Wright Restaurant Flying Fibers Virtue Local Art Market The Glazing Sun JillyBeans Sweet Shoppe The Wild Batch Bistro The Gardener of the Owl Valley Flinchbaugh's Orchard & Farm Market Half Nuts Popcorn Co. LLC

Want To Learn More?

Contact our team to learn more and get involved. 

Thank you to our sponsor:

Education Benefits

Trails of all kinds offer layers of benefits, an often overlooked one is the opportunity to educate its users. Providing signage, programs or events that present information about natural resources, the history of the area, or cultural resources along the trail or a specific site enriches the personal experience and can encourage further exploration or increase awareness and stewardship.

Social Capital Benefits

Expanding on the theme of the community identity and civic pride is social capital. Social capital is the effective functioning of social groups in a place through interpersonal relationships, a shared sense of identity, and a shared understanding that leads to a positive product, benefits, or outcome. It is similar to financial capital but within a group of people or community – it’s personal. Trails function to bring people together through shared experience and therefore generate and enhance an area’s social capital. Having adequate social capital can be very beneficial when a community is met with a challenge requiring collaboration, cooperation, or common action among residents.

Rail trails have been called the 21st century’s “town square”, representing meeting places to socialize, exchange ideas, and get to know their neighbors. In this way, trails can capitalize on the social capital that they create and enhance community communications and interactions.

Heritage Preservation/Community Identity

Rail trails also represent an opportunity to celebrate the heritage and history of towns located on the trail. The preservation and restoration of historic buildings and other man-made structures (like rail tunnels,
bridges, etc.) can enhance a community’s identity, highlight historical figures and events and generally boost civic pride. A popular rail-trail can encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings; these types of activities are catalysts for future community preservation projects of other buildings.

Reuse and rehabilitation of historic resources enable those assets to continue to contribute to their community and will offer succeeding generations the opportunity to appreciate the history of places that the rail trail passes through.

Conservation & Environmental Benefits

Rail trails are linear greenspaces with all the expected and traditional conservation benefits of open space. They help preserve important natural landscapes, provide needed links to create wildlife corridors between fragmented habitats, and offer important opportunities for protecting plant and animal species. Rail trails that lie along watercourses (like the HRTCP) are also assets in the preservation and protection of wetlands and the improvement of water quality. When used as transportation alternatives to the auto, as noted above, trails can also help with improved air quality. In addition, they can allow humans to experience nature with minimal environmental impact.

Providing opportunities for people to experience and interact with nature fosters appreciation for natural resources and increase the likelihood of those people supporting efforts to preserve and sustain those resources. This support can then be leveraged for environmental stewardship activities.

Transportation Benefits

A rail-trail, with its easy-to-cycle grades and off-road character, is an excellent transportation option with several transportation-specific benefits. As a transportation corridor, the trail provides accessible and safe routes for people to use for work trips or errands, trips to community facilities like local parks or the library, to go to school (primary, secondary and post-secondary), for some shopping trips, or for visiting friends.

Trails are community connectors, within communities and between communities. Rail trails, due to historic alignments that typically went through the middle of towns, offer easy mobility into town centers. This facilitates the exploration of nearby towns without the use of cars.

Health & Wellness Benefits

Pennsylvania has the 24th highest adult obesity rate in the nation and the 14th highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17 a clear indication that Pennsylvanians (and Americans in general) don’t engage in physical activity as much as we should. In fact, only 50% of adults in the United States meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended guidelines for physical activity: 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, or its equivalent.

By contrast, physical activity, such as walking, running or cycling on a trail, can prevent the development of chronic disease or the progression of existing health conditions.

Along with reducing the risk of disease, physical activity has also been shown to improve individuals’ sleep, functioning and overall wellness. A single instance of physical activity can decrease blood pressure and anxiety symptoms while improving sleep, insulin sensitivity and cognition throughout the day the activity is performed.

Rail trails are non-discriminatory towards people, they benefit people of all ages, abilities, gender, ethnicity or race and are free! They are particularly suitable for families to exercise together, being accessible and safe for children. As attractive places to walk and bike, they are desirable to use and studies find people are more likely to exercise on a scenic trail giving them the added benefit of being in touch with nature. Trails provide a cost-effective way to exercise and provide a place for people to see others doing physical activities – a visible social support, which researchers have found to be an effective tool to encourage participation in physical activity.

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