The 9/11 Memorial Trail Goes Through Adams County

by Dennis Hickethier

The Gettysburg TIMES March 18 article, “Memorial trail designated a Statewide Major Greenway” was even better news for Adams County than many realize. The northern route of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail includes a loop that drops down from Harrisburg and goes to Mechanicsburg, to Shippensburg, to Chambersburg, to Gettysburg, to Hanover, to Columbia, and then joins back with the northern route near Elizabethtown. The trail enters Gettysburg on Mummasburg Road and West Lincoln Avenue and Carlisle Street, going to the square in Gettysburg and then going back out on Biglerville Road to Table Rock Road. The trail then winds its way through Straban and Mount Pleasant townships eventually reaching McSherrystown and Hanover.

The 9/11 Trail will intersect with the Gettysburg Inner Loop (GIL) Trail along Carlisle Street and riders will be able to follow the GIL to the Visitor Center for the Gettysburg National Military Park.  

As Robert Thomas, one of the 9/11 Trail developers said, “This is a pilgrimage route that wanders from one important site to another. Getting there quickly is not a high priority; seeing what’s important is.” Mr. Thomas also stated that he “pushed very hard for the 9/11 Trail route to include Carlisle, the Cumberland Valley, the Historic Lincoln Highway, Gettysburg, Hanover Junction, York, the Bridge across the Susquehanna, Columbia, and Marietta.”

According to the website for the 9/11 trail, the reason for this loop along the 9/11 trail is to add “other places of resilience and freedom,” many of which were important during the battles of the Civil War. The study for creating the 9/11 trail is titled, “The September 11th National Memorial Trail, The Northern Pilgrimage through Pennsylvania, Trail Alignment Study, and was completed in 2015. A copy of the study can be found here.

Looking at the 9/11 Memorial Trail interactive map, users can see all the routes and roads of the entire trail system. The roads in Adams County were selected by staff from the Adams County Office of Planning and Development with input from staff at the Gettysburg National Military Park. To save you time, HABPI created a detailed cue sheet showing all the roads from Chambersburg to Hanover.

The 9/11 National Memorial Trail is wonderful tribute to those who died in the attacks of 9/11 or died responding to the attacks. All long-distance trails have shown over time that they bring a good number of users who stay in hotels and eat in restaurants along the route, bringing money into “trail towns.” Since Gettysburg is an historic and significant destination, over time we can expect to get a number of trail users, traveling the 9/11 National Memorial Trail. National Park Service officials have predicted hundreds of thousands will make at least part of the pilgrimage annually. With an established, friendly atmosphere of hospitality, Gettysburg should see a new group of visitors as the 9/11 National Memorial Trail becomes established.

Dennis Hickethier has been a board member of HABPI since it was created in 2005. He has volunteered to serve as an Adams County “Trail Ambassador” for the 9/11 National Memorial Trail.