The Enola Low-Grade Trail provides breathtaking views

The Enola Low-Grade Trail looks peaceful as the sun sets. JAMIE HUGHES / SNAPPER

Jamie Hughes
Associate Photography Editor

Stretching from Quarryville to Turkey Hill, the Enola Low-Grade Trail is a walking and bicycling trail with a low grade. Low-grade trails are highly forgiving due to their lack of heavy slopes, a feature left over from the trail’s past as a railway line. However, the real attractions here are the two trestle bridges that formerly served the railway but are now developed for pedestrian traffic.

These bridges are very tall and offer a stunning view of their surroundings. One is located near Martic Forge and overlooks a scene of tree-covered hills and the Pequea Creek. The other is in Safe Harbor and overlooks the Susquehanna River and the Safe Harbor hydroelectric dam. The latter bridge also crosses over the point where the Conestoga River flows into the Susquehanna.

The Enola Low-Grade Trail has multiple entry points, each with parking. If you want to visit both trestle bridges, I recommend two of the lots; the one in Safe Harbor and the other on Red Hill Road. For either option, I suggest you travel the trail by bicycle, as the bridges are roughly four miles apart. The path between the bridges is mostly wooded on each side and features tall rock walls in parts, some of which are set up to be used by rock climbers.

If you want to see the Safe Harbor bridge first, go to the parking lot in Safe Harbor. This lot is directly underneath the bridge, and you will need to climb a long set of stairs to get to the bridge deck. To get to the Martic Forge Trestle from Safe Harbor, walk or bike towards the east away from Safe Harbor. 

The other option is to come from the opposite direction and see the Martic Forge Trestle first. To do this, park instead in the Red Hill Road Trailhead lot, which is along Route 324 close to the town of Martic Forge. Now, this ride will be slightly longer, as there is about a mile between the Red Hill Road lot and the Martic Forge Trestle, making a full trip to both trestles roughly ten miles round trip from the parking lot. However, I find this to be the more satisfying trip, as it saves the best views for last.

Overall, the Enola Low-Grade Trail is a must-see for those living in or visiting Lancaster County. The trail provides a way for people to appreciate the county’s natural beauty and get some exercise at the same time. The scenic vistas from both bridges allow for a nice break from your ride, and the view at sunset from the Safe Harbor bridge is stunning, especially in autumn. My best time here was coming to the Safe Harbor Trestle on a November evening, and watching the sun set on the Susquehanna from the bridge. Now, the trail closes at dusk and is not lit, so if you intend to do this please have a safe, quick way of returning to your car!

While the distance between the bridges may seem daunting, the low grade allows bicycle riders to maintain a steady pace along the trail. For me, the miles breezed by on my bike. For students at Millersville University who drive and own a bike, this is a perfect local getaway.

For more information on the Enola Low-Grade Trail, see the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership’s webpage for the trail at https://susquehannagreenway.org/land-trails/enola-low-grade-rail-trail/