It has been more than four years since an arsonist destroyed the Martic Forge Trestle on Thursday, April 12, 2018. But like a literal phoenix rising from the ashes, the 1905 structure has been returned to its former glory and is ready to ferry passengers between Conestoga and Martic Townships. The newly opened (October 27, 2022) Martic Forge Trestle Bridge is worth every penny of the $3 million, offering stunning views of Pequea Creek and the surrounding River Hills. Click here more a detailed article on the trestle and its history.
Accessing the Martic Forge Trestle
Here are four options for accessing the Martic Forge Trestle located at 39.907954, -76.328575. They are listed from shortest to longest. Happy adventuring!
Colemanville Church Road Parking Lot
Approximately .4 miles one way to the trestle
From the Colemanville Church Road parking lot, you can easily access the Enola Low Grade. Here are the GPS coordinates to the location: 39.908037, -76.337108. Finding it can be a little challenging as there are two Colemanville Church Roads. At one time, the two roads were connected. You can access the parking area via River Road. It is not large and fills quickly on weekends
From the Colemanville Church Road parking lot, head east (or left). The trestle is .4 miles away, and you will almost instantly be able to see it. Your trip is entirely level and wheelchair accessible.
Red Hill Road Parking
Approximately 1 mile one way to the trestle
Further away is the Red Hill Road access area. It has a much larger parking lot than Colemanville Church Road. The GPS coordinates are 39.910060, -76.313542. From the parking area, head west; however, you will need to cross Route 324. Luckily there is a four-way stop at this busy intersection, so crossing the road should be easy. Your trip will be entirely flat.
Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve
Approximately 2 miles one way to the trestle
Google lists the address for Shenks Ferry as 857 Green Hill Rd S, Conestoga, PA 17516, but that stops short of the preserve, with most people stopping at a residential home. The Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve parking lot is located at the bottom of Green Hill Road off Shenks Ferry Road off of River Road. As you approach, you will drive through a large tunnel on your way to the bottom of the hill near the Susquehanna River. Here are the GPS coordinates: 39.905861, -76.368222.
From the Shenks Ferry parking lot (which is by far the largest of the four listed parking areas), walk up Greenhill Road to the Shenks Ferry tunnel you drove through earlier. There is some parking near the tunnel, but it is minimal. On the northern end of the tunnel, find the walking trail.
This short, steep path will take you up the hill to the Enola Low Grade rail trail. Once you reach the trail, turn left (east). The trestle is two miles away once your reach the rail trail. While your initial hike to the Enola Low Grade is steep, the remainder of your trip will be flat once you reach the main trail. Accessing the path with strollers or bikes from this location will be cumbersome.
Sigman Road Parking Lot
Approximately 2.75 miles one way to the trestle
There is a small parking area with only a few spots for accessing the Enola Low Grade off of Sigman Road. Here are the GPS coordinates: 39.918341, -76.279283. From the Sigman Road parking lot, you can again easily access the Enola Low Grade. From the parking lot, you will travel west (or left). It is approximately 2.75 miles one way to the trestle. Along the way, you will need to cross Route 324. Luckily there is a four-way stop at this busy intersection, so crossing the road should be easy. Your entire will trip is flat.
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Side Quest: How to Access the Safe Harbor Bridge Trestle
I’ve received many questions asking how to best access the Safe Harbor Bridge Trestle. As I see it, you have four options. They are from shortest to longest Safe Harbor, Shenks Ferry, Colemanville Church Road, and Turkey Hill Overlook Trail. Happy adventuring! Click here for their exact locations.
Brief History of the Atglen & Susquehanna Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad
Cutting through the southern end like a demarcation line is one of the most remarkable feats of engineering marvels in Lancaster County—the Atglen & Susquehanna (A&S) Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) commonly referred to today as the Enola Low Grade. The goal of this ambitious project? Create a low grade railroad line with no slope steeper than one percent and no curve sharper than two degrees. Easy on paper. Difficult in reality. Click here for a brief history of the Enola Low Grade.
Unlock the secrets of Kepler Lodge—Martic Forge’s ironmaster mansion, YWCA, and Jewish Community Center
This is your chance to own a piece of American history! Built in 1735 and used by millionaire ironmaster Robert Coleman between 1793 and 1805, Kepler Lodge is the Martic Forge’s crown jewel and is currently for sale. This former ironmaster’s mansion was also home to the YWCA in the 1930s and the Jewish Community Center in the 1950s. Unlock the secrets of 5,400 square foot Kepler Lodge and how to purchase the historic property when you click the link.
How did this Martic Forge property end up with 300 millstones? Learn the history of Flory’s Mill.
If you have ever driven down Route 324 towards the Martic Forge, you may have noticed a brick wall with at least five embedded millstones near the intersection of Hilldale Road. After years of driving past them, myself, I wonder two things. Why are they there? Where did they come from? Click the link to answer both questions.
A brief history of Martic Township Park
Today Martic Township Park is a forest thick with trees. But you might be surprised to know that the land was once barren after being clear cut in the production of charcoal to feed the nearby Martic Forge. Click the link to learn a brief history of Martic Township Park.
- LancasterHistory: Martic Forge image search
- Martic Forge trestle rises from ashes, Low Grade Rail Trail now linked [column]
- Remembering Lancaster County by Jack Brubaker
- Atglen and Susquehanna Branch
- Measuring Worth
- Enola Low-Grade Trail
- Enola Low-Grade Trail Trail Access Guide
- The Cost Of Labor | Constructing The A&S
- Workin’ on the railroad / A century ago, a monumental task began along the Susquehanna River
- The Atglen & Susquehanna Low Grade