Conestoga Trail: Holtwood to Pequea is a 14.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Holtwood, Pennsylvania that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
14.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,025 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Good Views of the Susquehanna and Wildlife This Trail is part of a "cross-county" trail system in Lancaster County. The trail system connects the Mason Dixon trail to the north. This section includes about a mile of hiking on railroad tracks. This out and back section does take you up a steep hill to overlooks of the river, and a nice crossing of the Tucquan Creek. This section of the trail is an up and down hike through the creek valleys back to the tracks, and back up to the Pinnacle overlook. If you plan to hike this, definitely pick up a trail system map at the overlook, and keep eyes open for the orange blazes.

hiking
1 month ago

Creek, rocks, views: this trail has it all! It’s a very beautiful tropical-like hike with swimming holes, dense vegetation and little light, until you reach the Pinnacle area. What it is not is moderate! For a Pennsylvania hike with the amount of precipitation we’ve had this summer, this trail is HARD. It made Glen Onoko seem like a good place for parent’s to push their little ones in a stroller while wearing flip flops. (Don’t do that.)

There are allot of trail markings on straightaways with no other intersections. However, there are no trail markings when they’re needed most, but that was part of the fun. Quite a few times I needed to backtrack off rocks or creek crossings when I crossed too soon. I followed the orange trail and gave up at the Pinnacle outlook. It was a great climatic approach to the trail.

What you need:

1. Waterproof boots/ shoes with great grip
2. Lots and lots of water
3. Lots of bug spray!!

1 month ago

Beautiful rolling hills type of hike. Nice section where you walk alongside a a beautiful and very approachable Creek. It is definitely is not easy though. I am an average fitness guy (I road bike 7 miles daily). AND I was only able to do 5 miles in 3 hours. There is this one place where the orange trail crosses a stream where it is easy to miss the markings. So be on the lookout.

hiking
2 months ago

I did just under 14 miles out and back from the Holtwood end. It was certainly a workout. There's a fantastic little brook about halfway where a number of people were swimming. On the way back I walked the train tracks for about a mile for a bit of variety. Nice scenery for a hike in this area.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked the northern section from Pequea Creek campsites to Bridge Valley rd area. This hike is certainly challenging and rewarding. Orange blazes were sometimes tough to notice but you catch on. The views of the river and the occasional bald eagle are terrific. This section of the trail brings you to some of the best tectonic caves on the east coast and the cold air blowing out of the openings feels awesome. It’s a great stop on the trail to do something different but bring head lamps. gloves a prepare for a dirty diversion into the caves. SO COOL! Good spot for a rest too. Don’t miss this portion of the trail. The caves are not far from Bridge Valley Rd crossing.

3 months ago

This is a very difficult hike but the views were amazing .This was my longest hike ever and I will do it again . I have no complaints at all .

hiking
3 months ago

I did this trail with another person and we parked one car at one end and another car at the other end. I really kicked our butts. Make sure you bring the necessary supplies. There are plenty of water sources along the path. Lots of hills but nothing too difficult.

hiking
4 months ago

Four words: this trail is HARD. The views and setting are awesome, but the trail is not moderate by a stretch, unless one hikes the Colorado Rockies or the like on a regular basis. I started out at 5:30 am at the parking area for Kelly’s Run trail (Holtwood), and ended at the Pequea Boat Club parking lot and pier (Pequea) before returning — the entire course, plus. I hiked about 17.5 miles total, of which about 12 miles were recorded. Water is definitely an issue and that’s another reason why this course should not be rated “moderate”. I agree that you will likely run out of water, as another reviewer posted. But, It’s everywhere! Next time I will take purification tablets (Katadyn Micropur) and/or a water filter (Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter). You can refill along Tucquan Creek and several other places. Otherwise, people may have to help you out, like they did for me.

The course is well marked, but often in inconspicuous locations. Sometimes you will have to look around carefully for the markings. And, although it can be used for trail running, I don’t recommend it on the initial visit, especially if you’ve never been here before. I think the trail is intended more so for hiking. There are so many angled slopes, dips, quick turns, and sharp inclines and declines that you will run right by the markings the first time out, going off course and having to double back again and again. After doing this several times, I realized about 2-3 miles in that I needed to hike first, look around carefully to learn where the markings were, and determine where the trail was going.

Hiking this trail in spring-summer is an insect-a-thon — spiders, mosquitoes, gnats, and other critters. You will be sweating and swatting the whole way. Waterproof repellent worked fine for me, no bites. The return from Pinnacle Overlook back to Holtwood is a very strenuous workout, and that’s just hiking. Be prepared for that as well.

Finally, the part of the trail along Tucquan Creek is almost otherworldly, reminds me of some of the trails back in Hawaii. The views are spectacular, peaceful and natural, and yet adventurous, making for an awesome hike.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fantastic rock scramble and climb.

hiking
Monday, October 16, 2017

Beautiful hike very remote. Be prepared for some strenuous uphill climbs,however they are not very long.
The graph at the bottom of the map shows you everything you need to know about the difficulty. Very nice and secluded.

hiking
Monday, September 25, 2017

There are no words to describe how difficult this trail is. I can't imagine how this trail got a moderate rating as there is nothing moderate about it. We started at Holtwood with the goal of ending at Pequea before heading back but by the time we got to House Rocks we new we were risking running out of water (we each had a GALLON of water with us) and not getting back to Holtwood before dark. This trail consists of nothing more than continuous steep steep uphill climbs and equally steep, slippery difficult downhill hill climbs. There are some great views/overlooks, several stream crossings, and lots of rock climbing. There are several parts of the trial that were difficult to follow (finding the orange blazes weren't always easy to find). This is not a trail for the new or inexperienced hiker and the difficulty rating should definitely be changed to HARD!!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Loved the view at the top of Pinnacle Overlook with large predatory birds flying overhead. The trail itself is amazing too with a large stream and small waterfalls at many spots.

hiking
Monday, July 31, 2017

Would start earlier in the morning if we were able to. We started up at the top of the Conestoga trail in Martic Forge and went south before having lunch and turning around at House Rock Overlook. Moderately challenging ups and downs. You can find a great topo map of the trail with distances to each of the milestones here: http://www.midatlantichikes.com/id149.html

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Loved it! Beautiful scenery and varied terrain. Got my heart pumping. Will definitely do it again

Monday, July 04, 2016

It was a beautiful trail, but extremely technical in some places if you "follow the blazes." We hiked from face rock overlook to the backpacking campsite at Reeds run and deviate from the orange and it was REALLY TOUGH. a lot of up and over rocks, and sometimes tough to see the blazes, especially around the river areas. Having a 25lb pack made it a little more challenging.

hiking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

This is a great trail with nice overlooks of the Susquehanna river. The trail along the Tucquan creek and Kelly's run is so beautiful with lots of cascading water falls. I consider the Conestoga trail as moderate with several strenuous spots. This is one of my favorite trails and my "go-to" when I want a good work out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

One of the best yet.

hiking
Friday, April 22, 2016

i absolutely love this trail. i just started hiking last year so some sections of this trail were hard for me. it is well marked. the section between River Road and the Pequea Boat Club is the easiest and gorgeous year round.

hiking
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We started at Pinnacle and made our way down to Tucquan Glen to enjoy the creek (this direction is a steep downhill and then mostly gradual uphill till you get to the creek.. Then headed back to Pinnacle, which was mostly downhill to flat and much easier until the steep climb to enjoy the sunset at the overlook. Great trail for exercise and some really nice views along the way. Next time we will try the Tucquan Glenn loop in combo.

Monday, November 11, 2013

wanted to add, The Lancaster Hiking club maintains the Conestoga trail. Here is a link to there website, with maps and descriptions.

http://lancasterhikingclub.angelfire.com/ctshistory.html

hiking
Monday, November 11, 2013

The last 8 miles of the Conestoga trail is the best part of the trail if you like "backcountry" type hiking. My wife and I use it to train for our bigger backpacking trips. It's never too crowded and gives a good mix of rocks, streams, ups and downs. We hike with our two girls, 5 and 7, and they can do it with a little help on the rock climbing sections.

hiking
Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Conestoga can be accessed from Kellys Run, Tuquon Glen, House Rock, and Reeds Run Trails. My favorite sections are from Safe Harbor to Holtwood near PA 372. Not to far from Safe Harbor is a huge labyrinth of caves, the trail meanders through a section. Continuing south there is a chestnut tree farm near House Rock, but you have to veer about 50 yds off the trail. The section near Pinnacle has recently opened for rock climbing and it is a strenuous climb here, better to go up than down this section. The ridge views make this a great hike in early winter or early spring. I have seen bobcat on this trail. The trail is well marked with orange blazes.

backpacking
12 days ago

hiking
3 months ago

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

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