The weather has been so bleak lately! April showers darken our skies and pretty days remain few and far in-between. My husband and I were lucky enough to get a chance to break in our new hiking shoes on a local day hike with friends who live nearby.
The Panhandle Trail was built upon an abandoned rail line used to connect Pittsburgh with Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis. The trail received its name because the route ran west from Pittsburgh, across the northern panhandle of West Virginia. This division of the Pennsylvania Railroad was in operation from 1853 to 1916.
Scenes from the movie Shelter were filmed here.
While we only hiked 2 miles, the trail spans 29 miles in length from Collier Township to outside Weirton, West Virginia.
South of the trail is an area known as Fossils Cliff, where fossils are found, mostly of fern leaves. While we met a few people digging for fossils, some were strewn amidst the rubble of the rock pile!
In retrospect, it is almost impossible to visit Fossils Cliff without getting dirty, due to the steepness of the hillside leading up to the cliff. The hillside is covered in small rocks and can get slippery, causing oneself to reach out for a surface to hold. A trekking pole or walking stick would come in handy to give balance.
The path to Fossils Cliff is covered with wildflowers. Trillium and Spring Beauty were in bloom during our visit.
Red Velvet Mites were found on this tree:
Every August, the trail hosts a local music festival known as Rock the Quarry.
Still curious about this trail?