The Stavich trail starts just west of Lowellville, Ohio and briefly follows Rt. 289 back into town. Since you are not likely to find Lowellville on any Ohio map, look for Struthers (2-3 miles west of Lowellville) which is just southeast of Youngstown.
This Mahoning County bikeway begins near the eastern edge of the state. At the 3-mile mark you pass a concrete marker that confirms you've crossed the border into Pennsylvania. The rest of the trail gives you a sampling of Pennsylvania hill country.
The Stavich is built on a former inter-urban electric rail route that parallels two very active train tracks. However, the two grades are very different. The tracks remain on fairly flat terrain while the bike trail ascends and descends during its entire length.
This almost continual rising and falling provides cyclists a good workout and gives trail users perspectives that range from just below the railroad grade, to far above where the tracks and a river are viewed from a bird's eye view.
There are a few large rocks deposited alongside the trail in one spot and an area of wetland that abuts the trail in another.
In two areas along the bikeway the trail surface ends and turns into street. There may be no signs to direct you. Simply continue on in the same direction until the trail picks up again.
You won't find any water or restroom stops along this older bikeway. There are a few benches scattered along the way with a picnic table near the trail's eastern endpoint in Pennsylvania.
According to news reports, the 7 miles on the PA side were repaired and repaved in late 2009. So, the majority of the trail should be in fine shape, with the remaining 3 Ohio miles perhaps needing an upgrade as well.
Expect to encounter some rough areas along the older section with a few "speed" bumps where the surface has heaved up. You may also find some dirt and loose gravel where driveways and roads join the bikeway.
At least two bridges had very rough wooden surfaces when we rode the trail, but that was some time ago.
The locals make good use of the trail. We were surprised to see several cyclists, a few rollerbladers and some folks walking their dogs on the cool, windy day when we visited.
Length: 10 miles / asphalt - approx. 8-9' wide
Condition: Fair to Excellent
Food: Roxann Carroll writes, "In Lowellville there are two small restaurants on the other side of the Tracks. One is Geno's and the other one is Carchedi's; they are both small town Italian family owned restaurants. There is also a small store to purchase snacks and beverages and even a deli sandwich. The name of the store is Ross's."
Parking: There's a small lot at each end of the trail. Ohio endpoint is on Rt. 289, just southeast of Rt. 616 and New Castle Rd. Look for the trail sign.
(Struthers) Lowellville State-Line (New-Castle-PA)
10mi 8.1mi 7.1mi 0mi