Information and photo courtesy of the Clarion County Trails Association

The Clarion County Trails Association and the Clarion County Chapter of the North Country Trail Association are pleased to announce the grand opening of the Clarion Loop Trail, a three-mile spur off of the North Country National Scenic Trail, which passes through the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region on its 4,600-mile route from New York to North Dakota. This weekend, the university and community are invited to explore and enjoy the new trail at the grand opening event.

Over the past four years, chapter volunteers have worked to gain accesses, get permits, build the trail, and add signage to this loop connecting the town of Clarion to the nearby Clarion River. The trail begins at the corner of the college parking lot and winds downward through a variety of hemlock and hardwood trees. Trail users will pass over creeks and around large moss-covered rocks until they reach the river below. Because this section of the river is actually part of a reservoir, the tree branches rest on the water and create spectacular mirror images when the light is right. On the return uphill, switchbacks make for more great viewing as hikers ascend back to the parking lot.

Informational and directional signs have also been placed along the trail, paid for by a Clarion University grant and constructed by the Clarion County Career Center’s welding shop. Students at Clarion University wrote the information found on the signs.

The grand opening event will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 2-4 p.m. behind the CUP Suites on Route 322 in the lower parking lot. Water and snacks will be available, and people can hike the 1 1/2 mile trail. Saturday is forecast to reach 73 degrees, so it should be a great day to check out this new recreational resource in Clarion.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, and the North Country Trail is one of only 11 National Scenic Trails in the United States. More than 100 miles of this extensive path run through Clarion and Forest Counties, and this section features several Adirondack-style shelters for multi-day hikers.

The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region features hundreds of additional miles of trails, from rugged backcountry paths to wide, smooth rail-trails, and the area’s natural scenery and rolling hills give endless variety for trail users of all types. You can access maps by stopping in to our visitors bureau, calling (814) 849-5197, or going to VisitPAGO.com. Trail maps are also available at state park and national forest offices as well as many lodging facilities and other tourist locations throughout the area.

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