This trail found in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania is 9 miles (14 km) long and there were several operations taking place here when it came into existence for the first time as a railroad in 1860. Even with these, Ironton Rail-Trail was established for the sole purpose of transporting iron ore which was the main activity in the region at the time.
Iron ore was ferried from Ironton mines on this railroad to Leigh Valley Railroad for quite some time. Later on, the iron ore industry became dysfunctional and this is what prompted Ironton Railroad to start serving cement mills that were within the locality. These operations continued until the year 1984 when finally every other activity on the railroad ceased.
Ironton Rail-Trail has a 5 mile loop that is paved and today this rail trail has transformed the environment around to one that is not only full of beautiful sceneries but also one that is filled with various activities. Some of the sceneries to enjoy as you explore the area include the Whitehall Parkway, situated where cement manufacturing was previously practiced.
Here you will find ruins of old buildings that were occupied by workers in that industry once. Another highlight of this area is the Thomas Iron Works Property, which can be accessed through the Ironton Rail-Trail, on a paved section of the trail that passes through an area surrounded by trees next to Coplay Creek. The trail is then unfinished after you get past this property but at Saylor Park the paved surface resumes.
Saylor Park is home to two rows of old cement kilns towering high in the sky which are part of the U.S. heritage. The park has a parking lot, a playground as well as an open ground where you can go sunbathing and is a great site for picnics too. Finding your way behind these huge kilns will open up to a display of details regarding the relevance of these kilns in the history of America, on historical markers.
Apart from picnics and sunbathing, Ironton Rail-Trail is also famous for other activities which include the 10k race, which is a yearly event held right here, dog walking, biking, walking and running. Hokendauqua Park is the other attraction that draws people here on various occasions. It has basketball courts and baseball fields, parking space, a playground and restrooms.
Clearly, Ironton Rail-Trail has more to offer than just a walk, jog or sprint on it. It cuts across an environment that is rich in history, with ample parking and amenities to make your stay as a visitor more comfortable. For families staying in neighborhoods with limited space, playtime for their children may not be forthcoming.
For such, accessing some of the facilities within vicinity of the trail will mean a lot and this will not only be a time for recreation alone but also for children to learn something about the history of the United States and much more. The parking lot at Quarry Road marks the end of Ironton Rail-Trail after a treat to one of the best heritage areas within Pennsylvania, surrounded with beautiful sceneries.