This is rather an interesting name for a trail that has been designated as a National Recreation Trail by the United states Department of the interior. But actually, it refers to the many towns that were once served by the Cambria & Indiana Railroad as well as the Ebensburg & Blacklick Railroad. These were mainly coal mines and company towns and the growth of these towns is attributed to mining activities in the area in those former days.
The decline of the mining industry, in the early 1900s is what forced inhabitants to abandon the towns. These historic towns included Wehrum, Claghorn, Bracken, Webster, Lackawanna, Beulah, Armerford and Scott Glenn. Ghost Town Trail was constructed in phases with the initial construction commencing in 1991. This was after 16 miles of the former rail road were donated to Indiana County by the Kovalchick, Salvage Company of Indiana.
Of the 16 miles donated, 12 of these were dedicated to the trail and this was between Dilltown in Indiana to Nanty Glo in Cambria. Another 4 miles (6 km) of the Rexis Branch were donated by Cambria and Indiana Railroad in 1993 and this was the section between Rexis and White Mill Station. Another section was added in 2005 to the west from Dilltown to Black Lick; a total of 20 miles (32 km).
Last but not least was the addition of the 8 miles (13 km) stretch to the east from Nanty Glo to Ebensburg. That makes the total length of Ghost Town Trail 36.5 miles (59 km), from Black Lick were it starts to the end point at Ebensburg. From Ebensburg to Grafton this trail passes through the beautiful scenery of Backlick Creek watershed.
One is also treated to a variety of wildlife while on the trail including chipmunks and deer, which can be observed early in the morning. You may also find a snake sunbathing on the pathway in the heat of the day. Several historical features can be traced along the path of Ghost Town Trail such as Eliza Furnace, which stands as one of the best preserved iron blast furnaces and has also been featured on the National Register of Historic Places.
Information about the towns that were once robust in activity around this place can be spotted on interpretive signs along the trail that has many railroad ties and mining slag on its path too. Another interesting sight along this trail is that of discarded rail cars on the salvage yard that pop out from trees covering the spot where they lie.
As you head west to Saylor Park, you will be in a position to access Hoodlebug Trail as you follow the signs provided. A bridge that aids in crossing the Blacklick Creek is one of the most popular trailheads and is located to the west of Dilltown. This bridge is a beauty to behold and was set up in 2009. Some of the activities to take part in as a visitor include; dog walking, biking, cross country skiing and mountain biking.