West Branch French Creek Conservation Area Trail


Trail Name: West Branch French Creek Conservation Area Trail
Trail Head: Trail head is accessible from the parking area located on the east side of Route 8, near the village of Lowville, approximately 4 miles north of Wattsburg, PA.
Trail Hours: Open year round from dawn to dusk. The trail is not groomed during the winter months.
Amenities: From the parking area, a short, paved, handicapped accessible path leads to a covered pavilion containing tables and grills.
Parking: The parking area is a dirt and asphalt pull-off set a short distance back from the road.
Is Trail Handicap Accessible: Only the paved path leading to the pavilion is accessible.
Trail Length: 1.1 mile loop
Trail Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult (A portion of the trail includes a narrow log boardwalk.)
Contact for Trail: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (T: 866.564.6972)


French Creek is a 117-mile tributary of the Allegheny River. French Creek contains more species of fish and mussel than any stream of its size in Pennsylvania and all states to the northeast. In 1796, surveyor William Miles set up a fur trading station at the “forks of French Creek” and named the site Wattsburg after his father-in-law, David Watts.


While in the Lowville/Wattsburg area be sure to visit:


Route 8: Today’s Route 8 follows closely the original 1809 Wattsburg Road. In 1853, the road was temporarily repurposed as the Erie-Wattsburg Plank Road. Toll booths located near 27th and Parade Streets, Lowville and Greene Township charged farmers $0.31 per double team of horses and $0.25 per single team. The road was expensive to maintain, however, and the venture was a financial failure for the Erie & Wattsburg Plank Road Company. By 1865 local farmers had demolished every toll gate and proclaimed the road a free thoroughfare.


Wattsburg Historical Society: (14438 Main Street, PO Box 95, Wattsburg, PA 16442; T: 814.438.9226) The museum is situated in a restored grocery store with a period kitchen, living room and bedroom of the early 1900s. It features photograph displays of local and Erie County history and extensive genealogical records. The second floor is used for meetings and as a depository for archival material. The Society is open by appointment.

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