The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail runs down the middle of its namesake—the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania, between the South Mountain and Blue Mountain ridges on the eastern flank of the Appalachians. Most of the trail runs fairly straight through open farmland, with a few dips into woodlands and some limestone outcroppings. At the Newville trailhead, where PennDOT runs an instrument calibration facility and maintains a measured course on the trail, a half-mile is paved with asphalt and cement. On the western end, the improved section of trail ends at Shippensburg Township Park The right-of-way does continue into the Shippensburg University campus but it is unimproved, unsigned and includes a steep and dangerous road crossing. There are a few local eateries on the opposite side of the campus at very end of the right-of-way.