Chapter Trail Section
The Wampum Chapter of the North Country Trail Association is responsible for building, maintaining, protecting, and promoting the North Country Trail from its connection with the Buckeye Trail in the historic village of Zoar, Ohio to Alpha Pass at McConnells Mill State Park in Pennsylvania. The Chapter currently has 43 miles of off-road hiking trail and 80 miles of temporary connector road walk. The Trail traces eastward generally following the path of the stone locks of the Sandy and Beaver Canal, passing through the small communities of Magnolia, Malvern, Hanoverton and Lisbon. Crossing the OH/PA state line following the watershed of Little Beaver Creek, the NCT visits the Sheepskin Hollow Nature Preserve and Beaver Creek State Park with its Pioneer Village and historic gristmill. The Wampum Chapter’s North Country Trail miles showcase the agricultural and industrial past and present of Western PA, traveling past abandoned coal and limestone mines and family homesteads, the remnants of the infrastructure that once made this area the "brick capital of the USA," through Pennsylvania Game Lands, and past working farms and small factories and businesses. Our eastern most section of NCT at McConnells Mill State Park travels through the spectacular Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. Created by the draining of glacial lakes thousands of years ago, the gorge has steep sides and the valley floor is littered with huge boulders and is a national natural landmark. A gristmill built in the 1800's is open for tours.
Trail Town: Darlington
Darlington is a small, historically-minded town of 300 residents, located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, 40 miles west of Pittsburgh and 120 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio.
Trail Town: Wampum
Located just 35 miles from Pittsburgh and 17 miles from Cranberry Township, Wampum is nestled in a wooded valley along Beaver River.
Connect and Get Involved
Donate and join the Chapter
Monthly hike schedule
Use the Report Trail Condition form to alert NCTA and the Chapter to poor trail conditions. Visit the Trail Alerts page while planning your adventure.
McConnells Mill State Park, Hell’s Hollow to Alpha Pass: 7.4 miles, difficult. Following Hell Run and Slippery Rock Creek, the NCT’s pathway through the Slippery Rock Gorge offers some of the best natural scenery in Western Pennsylvania. Large boulders, deep woods and fast moving water create a natural escape from the modern world. This is a strenuous walk with sharp climbs and descents over rocky terrain. Hikers should plan to at least four hours for this trek and plan to be out of the woods by nightfall. McConnells Mill State Park is about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh via I-79, near the intersection of PA-19 and US-422. For GPS devices use 2697 McConnells Mill Road, Portersville, PA 16051 or Lat. 40.96674; Long. -80.16918.
Sankey Hill Road to the Edwards Family Farm: 10.8 miles. The NCT east and west of the Trail Town of Wampum offers a tour of the industrial and agricultural past of this part of Western Pennsylvania, traveling past old coal and limestone mines, abandoned homesteads, and the remnants of eras past. It also showcases the current beauty of the landscape, as well as the economic resurgence of the area focusing on outdoor recreation and the transportation industry. Sankey Hill Road at Cemex to River Road: The first 4.9-mile, certified blue-blazed section of trail is on the Cemex Company property. Although the property is posted by the company as “no trespassing,” Cemex is a very supportive partner and NCT hikers are welcome to walk the Trail. Start your walk at the intersection of Sankey Hill Road and Snake Run Road, where there is a Trail sign, a bench put in by a Scout for his Eagle project, and room to park three or four vehicles alongside the road. The Trail enters the woods and ascends multiple switchbacks, emerging at the top on the edge of a field. The pathway traces along a couple of different fields until it suddenly cuts to the left off an old skid or jeep road. Watch carefully for the blazes in this area so as to not miss the turn to the left. Just after the turn there is a haunted house to your left. Make another sharp left just past the house and continue walking along old forest double track (note the old mines on the hillside to the right) to eventually reach Fletcher Hill Road, 1 mile from your starting point. Cross Fletcher Hill Road, following the blue blazes up a short incline to the field above. This section of Trail runs 0.8 miles to the next road, Snake Run Road, and consists of a field walk, followed by a downhill trek through a grove of crabapple trees then crosses a small, unnamed stream via a simple footbridge. Once across the stream walk across another field then descend back down into the woods as the Trail curves around a large rock formation. Several small limestone cave entrances can be seen in this area. After crossing another small unnamed stream, you’ll see to the left an old cut-stone lime kiln last used in the 1930s. It was heated by burning coal and used to bake lime out of limestone found in the area. Once past the kiln the Trail skirts the end of a cornfield, crosses Snake Run on a substantial bridge, then ascends a switchback up to Snake Run Road. At this point you are 1.8 miles from the trailhead at Sankey Hill Road. There is room to park two or three cars at this point. The next 0.6 miles is a road walk (to the right/west) down Snake Run Road in order to bypass a private property inholding in this area. The road walk is blue-blazed with trees on the right side of the road marked. At the 0.6-mile mark the Trail reenters Cemex property to the right where there is a North Country Trail sign and bench. There is room to park a couple of vehicles at this spot. The Trail leads you downward through a small field and back over the run via a bridge, then goes back into the woods and ascends a hill via switchback. This section is primarily a woods walk although it does utilize an old skid road for a distance once you get above the switchback. The Trail cuts off to the left back into the woods off the skid road after a couple hundred yards - watch closely for the blazes to the left. This section is 0.8 miles and leads you to Chewton-West Pittsburg Road. There is a trailhead sign here and room to park three or four vehicles along the road. Cross over Chewton-West Pittsburg Road and shortly afterwards you’ll utilize a substantial bridge to get across a very deep gully. After the bridge the Trail ascends through the woods and breaks out into a large field. Much of this half-mile segment is a field walk. Volunteers from the Wampum and Butler Chapters spent a good part of the trail work season five years ago on all the field walks on the Cemex section. This area is an old, reclaimed coal and limestone strip mine. Tony Dytko Road is reached next and you are 3.7 miles from your starting point at Sankey Hill Road. Tony Dytko Road receives minimal maintenance and although there is room to park alongside the road, care should be exercised in attempting to drive up there, especially in the winter. After crossing Tony Dytko Road, the Trail works its way downward over the next 1.2 miles to River Road and the Beaver River. Along the way you’ll pass an old dump site, and farm fields that permit a good view westward toward the Beaver River Valley and Wampum area. Near the bottom of this hill, cross over the Buffalo and Pittsburgh railroad tracks, then slant southward along the hillside until River Road is reached. Parking is very limited along River Road, but a boat launch has been developed 0.2 miles south of the trailhead sign and offers a place to park your vehicle.
River Road to Wampum to Gateway at PA Route 18: This section is a 1.6-mile road walk from the end of the Cemex property at River Road through Wampum to the next off-road section at the Gateway Commerce Center/Wampum Underground at PA Route 18. This entire road walk is blue-blazed and for the first 0.9 miles, parallels the Beaver River. There is truck traffic all through this area so be cautious while you travel along the roadways. Upon reaching River Road follow the blazes southwest. Bear right onto Canal street 0.3 miles from the River Road trailhead, following a lesser-used roadway (also closer to the river). Follow this narrow roadway the next 0.5 miles as it loops around and approaches the bridge to cross over the Beaver River. Cross on the bridge then you’ll be 1 mile from the Cemex trailhead. To your right is Wampum, with a bank and a general grocery-type store (The Store). The NCT goes to the left after crossing the bridge and within 0.1 miles, turns right onto Darlington Road. Follow the blue blazes! Cross over two sets of railroad tracks on Darlington Road and upon reaching PA Route 18, turn to the left and proceed 0.3 miles south. Pass under an old concrete bridge at the top of the hill and shortly afterward follow the blazes to the left up the driveway to the trailhead of the next off-road section of trail at Gateway.
Wampum, PA Route 18 to I-376: The 4 miles of North Country Trail immediately to the west of Wampum is certified off-road walking, traversing the properties of Wampum Underground, Mines and Meadows ATV Park, PA Game Lands 148, and the Edwards Family Farm. Please respect the wishes of the private property owners and the Game Commission rules and regulations regarding camping and fires as you travel this section. Begin your hike by crossing over an old concrete bridge over PA Route 18, located approximately 0.3 miles south of the intersection of Darlington Road and Route 18. Access to the bridge is along a private driveway so please don’t block the drive when parking. The homeowners are aware of and supportive of the Trail, and are used to vehicles parked in the grass alongside the driveway. There is room to park five or six cars here. Follow the blue blazes westward across the bridge and up the grade to the Wampum Underground property. Wampum Underground is an underground storage mines business and consequently doesn’t use the above-ground portion of the property, although you will see evidence of secondary/emergency access points and water drainage systems along your walk. Continue to climb to the bench above this old strip-mined area and follow the Trail westward. There is a short, white-blazed spur trail leading off to the left during your climb, leading to an overlook with a view of the Beaver River Valley and the Chewton area. There is also a cleared vista at about the 0.7-mile mark along the NCT allowing a view of Pennsylvania farm country to the west. At about the 1 mile mark the Trail begins its descent from the bench and at 1.1 miles, cross over a small unnamed creek on a wooden foot bridge. In the spring and during periods of heavy rainfall this bridge is essential as this stream can “roar” and flow out of its banks. A very pleasant spot to take a break in calmer times. About 0.1 miles west you’ll arrive at a dirt road built and maintained by the Mines and Meadows ATV Park. A right turn off the Trail at this road will take you back down to Darlington Road and another right at its end will lead you (on a pleasant road walk) back to Wampum. Cross over the Mines and Meadows dirt road and continue to follow the blue blazes through the woods in the ATV park. The owners of the park are supporters of the Trail and do their best to discourage riders from taking unauthorized detours onto the pathway. Recently, barriers were installed at various points on the NCT in this area in an attempt to further discourage riders from leaving the official ATV trails. The Trail traverses Mines and Meadows for about 0.4 miles until PA Game Lands 148 is reached. Crossing into Game Lands 148 begin an ascent, following the blue blazes up an old abandoned (and sometimes muddy) two-track through the woods. Achieving the top of this hill you’ll pass Game Commission feed plots as you follow a maintained two-track down a large hill and then back up the other side of the small valley. After climbing to the top of this elevation, a slight downward grade along the Game Commission two-track will lead you to the Possum Hollow Road trailhead where there is a maintained parking area and room for many vehicles. The distance from Possum Hollow Road from your starting point at PA Route 18 is 3.2 miles. After crossing Possum Hollow Road the Trail reenters the woods on Game Commission property along a single-track trail for 0.4 miles, skirting farm fields as it traces through the woods. When the Trail reaches Wampum-New Galilee Road follow the blue blazes to the right for about 100 yards along the road until the Trail jogs back off to the left into the woods on the Edwards Family Farm. Follow the blazes off the road into a very pleasant plot of pine trees. The fallen needles underfoot make for nice walking. The NCT exits the pines after a short distance and skirts the edge of a cornfield, then reenters the woods for the final 0.5 miles, leading you downward to the intersection of Edwards Road and I-376. Your distance from the starting point at PA Route 18 is 4.3 miles. There is room to park four or five cars at the Edwards Road trailhead. Use the following coordinates for directions to the Sankey Hill Road trailhead: 40.93366; -80.31274 or this Google Map.
Little Beaver Creek in Darlington to Ohio State Line: 10.4 miles. This hike on the westernmost section of North Country Trail in Pennsylvania showcases the natural beauty of the area, tracing the banks of the North Fork of Little Beaver Creek and offering vista views west into Ohio. Along the way, hikers encounter the remains of the brick industry that once dominated this area. Darlington to Louthan Road: This hike begins at the bridge over the North Fork of Little Beaver Creek in the Trail Town of Darlington where here is a sign for Kathy’s Country Kitchen in front of the closed restaurant on the north end of the bridge. Hikers are asked to park on the south side of the lot near the creek. The NCT turns to the right at the south end of the concrete bridge, leading down along the bank of the creek. Follow the creek walk for approximately 0.3 miles. The Trail reaches a pipeline and turns left across a small bridge to follow that and to switch back up the hillside for approximately 0.4 miles until PA Route 168 is reached beside a business, Crescent Supply. High water detour: In the late winter and early spring the Little Beaver Creek will flood, obscuring parts of the NCT that run alongside it. In the event of high water, instead of turning beside the bridge to go into the woods and down along the creek, follow PA Route 168 south out of town until Crescent Supply is reached. The North Country Trail crosses PA Route 168 and reenters the woods directly across from Crescent Supply, and the next 0.5 miles of trail gradually climb through the woods to the Seceder Cemetery on Georgetown Road. The Trail passes through the woods behind the cemetery and uses the driveway at the south end to reach Georgetown Road itself, where the road bridge is used to cross PA Route 51. After crossing the bridge over Route 51 the Trail cuts up a steep bank to a very pleasant double-track that runs parallel to the highway. The landowner asks that hikers do not deviate from the blue-blazed route. Please stay strictly on the pathway as marked. Upon leaving the double-track the NCT curves left away from the highway and enters an area that was logged in late 2014. A mile from Georgetown Road a small bridge is encountered, and from there the Trail travels another 0.6 miles through the woods to Louthan Road. Louthan Road Walk: Upon reaching Louthan Road turn right and follow the blue blazes for 0.6 miles until PA Route 168 is reached. Turn right on 168 and the NCT will cut left into the woods about 35 yards from the intersection. First Energy / McGaffick / Crawford Properties: Start this 0.6 miles of trail by turning off PA Route 168 and walking up an old, abandoned ATV access two-track, following the blue blazes. The pathway goes up the hillside through the woods and then crosses a cleared powerline right-of-way. The Trail reenters the woods and works its way westward through former strip mined areas on the McGaffick and Crawford properties. Near the end of this section the Trail shares the route with an informal nature trail on the Crawford Family Campground property where there is a bench, which provides a nice place to take a break. This very pleasant off-road woods walk finishes upon reaching Hodgson Road. Kirkwood Farm / PA Game Lands 285 / Garrett Property: There is parking room for a few cars at the Hodgson Road trailhead. The space is generously maintained by Mr. Crawford of Crawford’s Family Campground and is located on his property. Begin this off-road section by following a gas pipeline onto the Kirkwood Farm and then follow the blazes to the right into the woods. The Trail ascends a low hill, descends into a dip and crosses an old logging road, then ascends slightly again until the top of a ridge that parallels the North Fork of the Little Beaver Creek is reached. The Trail turns westward at this point and follows the ridgetop. At 0.6 miles from Hodgson Road the Trail begins to descend via switchbacks, crossing into PA Game Lands 285 (the boundary is denoted by a line of white circle blazes painted on trees) until at approximately 0.75 miles from the road the bottom of the hill and Painter Run is reached. Cross over the run via the two bridges in place and upon ascending the next hillside the hiker will notice yellow, rectangular blazes on a trail coming in from the left. This 0.5-mile spur trail leads to the Game Commission parking area at Sterling Road where there is room to park at least 10 vehicles. Passing this spur trail and continuing on the NCT, a Game Commission double-track is reached a short distance further along. Cross the double track and skirt the west side of the bottom of Indian Rock Hill (also known as Painter’s Knob) for 300 yards until a T in the Trail is reached. Straight ahead is the North Fork of Little Beaver Creek and right is a yellow-blazed spur trail that leads to the top of Indian Rock Hill and Indian Rock. The reason for the carving on this rock is unknown, as well as the identity of the carver. Local historians suggest it was a farmer or farmhand creating a bird feeder. Others suggest it was an Indian or even someone working in the area when it was strip-mined years ago. The NCT is to the left at the T at the bottom of the hill, following the blue blazes and the creek westward. Follow the blue blazes westward for 0.25 miles to an old iron bridge. This bridge was rehabilitated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2013 and now provides a safe crossing of the North Fork of Little Beaver Creek. A left turn onto the Game Commission double-track will lead 0.6 miles to the Sterling Road parking area and a right turn (across the bridge) leads to the Game Commission parking area 0.4 miles away along Cannelton Road. There is a trailhead parking area sign along Cannelton Road designating access to the North Country Trail. Following the blue blazes and continuing westward, the next mile of NCT traces through this old clay strip mine area in Game Lands 285, crossing numerous spring-fed streams, skirting private-property inholdings, bypassing numerous beaver dams (both abandoned and active) and winding through two separate groves of very pleasant hemlock trees. The Trail courses up and down the hillside to avoid the swampy patches near Little Beaver Creek and the ones created by the beavers. At the 2-mile mark (from Hodgson Road) the Trail crosses a small stream just below a beautiful five-foot waterfall by means of a footbridge built from the timbers of a 100-year old barn that was formerly on property in Darlington owned by Mrs. Garrett’s father. The Trail rejoins the North Fork of Little Beaver Creek shortly after the waterfall area and runs parallel for a distance. At 2.1 miles the NCT crosses out of the game lands and is routed onto the Garrett property. Camping: Right before crossing the property line there is an access trail to the Watt’s Mill hiking shelter, which cuts off to the left. This Adirondack-style shelter overlooks the creek and is available for hikers to use as an overnight spot. All other uses of this shelter and area require the express consent of the property owner. At the shelter there is a picnic table and fire ring, and there is some level ground behind the shelter that can be used to pitch a tent. There is no potable water nearby so if water from the creek is used it should be treated. The Trail reaches Watts Mill Road at the 2.2-mile mark from Hodgson Road. At Watt’s Mill Road the remains (stonework) of the old mill and the mill keeper’s house built in the early 19th century are in evidence, particularly in the winter time when the leaves are off the trees and weeds have died off. Mrs. Garrett’s father maintained a summer cottage in this area in more recent years. Another attraction along Watt’s Mill Road is the bridge over the North Fork of the Little Beaver Creek, located about 100 yards north (to the right) of where the Trail crosses the road. The bridge was built in 1878 by the West Penn Bridge Company and is a good example of the Pratt Pony Truss design used during that period of time. PennDot has closed the bridge to vehicular traffic but walkers can still cross Little Beaver Creek on it. Watt’s Mill Road to the Ohio State Line: The Trail goes through the Garrett’s old camp property along Little Beaver Creek until reaching PA Game Commission Game Lands 285 at about the 0.25-mile mark (from Watt’s Mill, 2.45 miles from Hodgson Road). Upon reaching the game lands boundary the Trail ascends a hillside on a series of switchbacks and heads generally southwest, skirting feed plots and going through a pleasant area of hemlock trees and large rocks, climbing gradually and in stages. At the 2-mile mark (from Watt’s Mill Road) a vista with a view westward along the creek valley toward Negley, Ohio is encountered and is very pleasant. This vista is located in a recent logging clearcut area. After leaving the clearcut area the Trail generally trends southwestward on a very easy-to-walk, evenly contoured bench along the hillside far above Little Beaver Creek. Evidence of the area’s former role as a strip mine is abundant as grown-over tailing piles define the landscape, with tree-covered mounds and parallel ridges predominating. At the 3-mile mark (from Watt’s Mill, 5 miles from Hodgson Road) the Trail breaks out of the woods along a gas pipeline right-of-way and ascends Booth Hill, a large grassy area with expansive views of the surrounding countryside. The Trail follows the maintained Game Commission two-track up and around the edge of Booth Hill. When the two-track ends follow the blaze posts across the remainder of the hill to the top. The Trail reenters the woods as it leaves the top of Booth Hill, and by a series of gradual descents and switchbacks over the last mile, traversing both single- and double-track, reaches PA Route 251 (Blackhawk Road) and the PA/OH border. The Wampum Chapter and the Pennsylvania Game Commission teamed up and built a parking area along PA Route 251 approximately 0.25 miles east of the state line. There is an access trail from the parking lot to the main trail that runs approximately 0.4 miles through the woods and is marked with yellow, rectangular paint blazes, and is signed with Carsonite posts at either end. Please do not park in the driveway on the property directly across from the trailhead as it is posted. The Darlington Trailhead is located on Route 168 at the south end of town. Darlington can be reached via I-376 and Constitution Boulevard (PA Route 51) from Chippewa from the east, and via OH Route 14 and Constitution Boulevard from the west. Use these GPS coordinates for the Darlington trailhead: 40.80676; -80.42339 or this Google Map.
Chapter Maps and Guidance
View our section of the Trail on the interactive online map
Support for hikers
Section detail maps
Ohio line to Hell’s Hollow mileage chart
Lawrence County NCT guide
Beaver County NCT guide
Trail maintenance document
Advocate for the NCT in PA
Additional Local Resources
NCT mileage in McConnells Mill and Moraine State Parks