River Road | Lower Chanceford Township | York County
OUTSIDE OF LANCASTER COUNTY
This hike runs along the Mason Dixon Trail from Lock 12 to Lock 15 and takes you onto Peavine Island; which isn't always an island, unless the river is high. The trial follows the path of what was once the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal. When the canal was in operation it ran parallel to the Susquehanna River for a total of 43 miles, connecting Wrightsville to Havre de Grace, Maryland.
This hike offers amazing views of the Susquehanna River and some of the rocky islands in it, known as the Conowingo Islands.
This can be a challenging hike with some steep climbs over rocks, but the views of the river are some of my favorite. You are also able to park at Lock 15 and hike the opposite direction.
Distance: 1.75 miles point to point (3.5 miles out and back)
Time: 1-2 hours
Terrain: dirt | rocks | wooded | water
Difficulty: medium well to well
Activities: hiking | trail running | leashed dogs
Trail Blaze: blue
Parking: large parking lot
Restrooms: bathrooms at Lock 12 | port-o-potty at Lock 15
Start this hike in the Historic Lock 12 parking lot and head south on the blue blazed Mason Dixon Trial. The trail takes you under the Norman Wood Bridge and onto Peavine Island. Along the way you will see several side trails and a loop that take you towards the river. I recommend exploring all of these. Each one offers another amazing view.
You will pass a stone abutment from a long gone bridge and Locks 13 & 14. Giant trees now grow in the middle of the locks that once carried lumber, coal, iron, and grain to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.
After climbing up a large boulder you will see a pink arrow trail marker leading you towards the river. Be sure to follow this trail, it take you to the cliff's edge of Peavine Island and has amazing view of the other Conowingo Islands which are the product of thousands of years of eroding exposed bedrock. This side trail will also lead you to a swimming hole, which can be rather crowded during the summer months.
The trail then takes you off Peavine Island through a section with large rock outcroppings. There are several sections that have rebar stairs that you have to climb up.
The trail continues on heading up an embankment and around cabins by the river, eventually taking you out to the road that leads to Lock 15.
From Lancaster take PA-272 S through Willow Street
Turn Right onto PA-372 West at the Buck
After crossing the Norman Wood Bridge take the first right into the parking lot.
The road sign says McCall's Ferry Rd. even though it is River Rd. (It does eventually turn into McCall's Ferry Rd)
There is a lot immediately to the left, but continue on for parking closer to trail head.
Mason Dixon Trail