2014 Pennsylvania Rail-Trail Sojourn participants enjoying a relaxed ride. | Photo by Cleo Fogal

More than Just an Incredible Ride

RTC Rail-Trail Sojourns are more than just great rides (and they are great rides!); they’re powerful “trail-building tools” that highlight the incredible impact of long-distance trail routes on America’s communities.

Since 2001, RTC’s annual Rail-Trail Sojourns have guided thousands of riders from all over America along the most scenic trail networks in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York…and the list continues to grow. 

These premier RTC biking events—in which participants explore incredible communities and attractions along the way (from the picturesque to the historic, and beyond)—are designed to celebrate open trails and draw attention to gaps in would-be trail systems that, if completed, could result in innumerable benefits (economic, health, social, environmental and much more) for their local regions.

Our sojourns are for all ages and skill levels—from the young to the young-at-heart, aficionados to first-timers, families to freewheelers! Experience these truly unforgettable adventures for yourselves, and be a part of the effort to complete these critical trail networks.

Our Influence

Our sojourns unite a selection of trails for a short period of time—ultimately serving as unique “dry runs” designed to benchmark—through real-world examples and user surveys—how trail-system improvements could increase local bikeability and walkability.

Photo by Cleo Fogal

Over the past decade and a half, Rail-Trail Sojourns have helped influence the creation and/or growth of multiple regional trail alliances. This influence is due in large part to the evidence we provide of the significant local spending generated by sojourn participants in just a few days. To capture this direct economic impact, we compile data that communicates our combined spending on food, supplies, rentals, equipment and other sojourn-related services. The information is shared with our hosts to inspire future trail building and enhancements.

The 2014 sojourn’s positive economic impact to the region through which we traveled was $211,000. More and more, the communities we visit know that trails can play a large role in revitalization!

By participating in our Rail-Trail Sojourns, you can make a lasting impact as a trail advocate—helping to inspire the creation of regional biking/walking networks that boost our local economies and our quality of life.

Events

2015 Pennsylvania Rail-Trail Sojourn

Returning to the Montour Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage, the 2015 sojourn continues the trailblazing tradition of previous sojourns.

Register Now!

PA Sojourn MapThis year’s ride will visit new communities and utilize new camping and accommodation sites. Not only does this provide fresh attractions for returning riders, it also continues the sojourn’s theme of helping more communities boost their local economies through trail tourism.

Registration opens Monday, Jan. 12. This sojourn is limited to 300 riders, and space will fill up fast, so be sure to act quickly to claim your spot!

Dates: June 21-26, 2015
Location: Approximately 200 miles along the Montour Trail and Great Allegheny Passage, from Coraopolis, Pa., to Cumberland, Md.
Cost: $690 Adults, $590 Youth (Under 16)
Capacity: 300 Riders
Registration: Register Now →

2015 West Virginia Rail-Trail Sojourn

RTC is excited to be launching the first ever West Virginia Rail-Trail Sojourn in April 2015!

The 2015 sojourn in West Virginia will center on the city of Morgantown, home to West Virginia University and the burgeoning Mon River Trails system, 48 miles of rail-trail in the north central part of the state, connecting Marion, Monongalia and Preston counties. 

undefinedWith Morgantown, as the hub, riders will take a full day each to explore the region’s three premier rail-trails: the Deckers Creek Trail, the Mon River Trail North (including the Sheepskin and Cheat River trails) and the Mon River Trail South.

West Virginia has taken great strides recently toward developing a rail-trail system that complements its wonderful natural landscape of the Appalachians and its historic small towns and cities. The inaugural West Virginia sojourn will highlight key gaps in the Mon River Trails system that, if completed, would result in a 142-mile rail-trail system and unite with the Great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania to create an unrivaled two-state network.

Dates: April 24 – 26, 2015
Location: 122 miles beginning in Morgantown, W.Va., and including the Deckers Creek Trail, the Mon River Trail North (including the Sheepskin and Cheat River trails) and the Mon River Trail South.
Cost:
WV Sojourn price per person (adults and kids): $345
Single Supplement Fee (additional if traveling solo): $221.76
*The single supplement charge is required for the WV Sojourn because of the hotel stay. 
Capacity: 100 Riders
Registration: Registration closed on April 17, 2015

Recent Sojourns

Photo by Cleo Fogal

Sojourn participants have the opportunity to explore communities and attractions along routes spanning hundreds of miles. We design each trip so that individuals can ride at their own pace, which makes the events appropriate for people of all ages.

2014 Pennsylvania Rail-Trail Sojourn

This 191-mile, three-state ride began on the Panhandle Trail in West Virginia. The 300 participants then crossed the border into Pennsylvania and connected to the newly expanded Montour Trail, which is south and southwest of Pittsburgh. From the Montour Trail, the ride connected to perhaps the most famous rail-trail in the world, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), for the journey south to Cumberland, Md.

Sojourners enjoyed a variety of fun—from whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River, to touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, to visiting a restored opera house in Rockwood, Pa. 

View photos from the 2014 trip

2010 Rail-Trail Sojourn

The 2010 Pennsylvania Rail-Trail Sojourn (July) took 300 cyclists on a 250-plus-mile grand heritage loop through southeastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware River Valley of New Jersey. Cyclists explored seven rail-trails, including the Delaware Canal Towpath, Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath, Ironton Rail-Trail, Lehigh Canal (South) Trail, D&L Trail - Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail, Perkiomen Trail and Schuylkill River Trail.

Highlights included a kickoff overnight stay on Battleship New Jersey on the Camden/Philadelphia waterfront, white-water rafting on the Lehigh River and an overnight on Bull’s Island (Delaware River).

2007 Rail-Trail Sojourn

This 335-mile Sojourn took 500 cyclists on the Grand Opening Ride of the Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh, Pa., trail connection via the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, Western Maryland Rail Trail and Great Allegheny Passage. The last 10 miles were punctuated with an escort from 12 state police motorcycles!

Riders enjoyed numerous parks and historical sites along the way; highlights included rides through Fort Frederick State Park in Maryland and the Big Savage Tunnel in Pennsylvania, as well as stops at Ohiopyle State Park and to tour a stained glass factory.

2005 Rail-Trail Sojourn

This six-day, 210-mile bike tour kicked off along the shores of Lake Erie on the beautiful trail at Presque Isle State park and followed nine more trails south to the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pa., including the Bayfront Connector, Cory Junction Greenway, East Branch Trail, Oil Creek State Park Trail, Samuel Justus Recreational Trail, Allegheny River Trail, Sandy Creek Trail, Armstrong Trail and Butler-Freeport Trail.

The 400 riders toured rolling country roads and Amish farmland, visited America’s first commercial oil well (Drake Well), enjoyed live performances and cultural sites in Franklin and made an Allegheny River crossing by boat!