The state of Pennsylvania ensures that outdoor enthusiasts enjoy and embrace adventures and challenges of any kind in its wilderness. You will experience breathtaking mountain bike trails, including some that are rated “epic.” The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) is the association responsible for ensuring that all the sites in the state meet the required standards.
Mother Nature blessed this state with verdant, mountainous, and rolling terrain. What’s more Pennsylvania has some of the best State Park System that hosts the best trails in the country. Not to be left behind, cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have beautiful mountain bike trails inside the cities.
Below we look at a list of some of the best mountain bike trails in Pennsylvania:
1. Allegrippis (Raystown)
Allegrippis Bike Trail is also known as Raystown Lake, and it features a stacked loop trail system that boasts about 30 miles of rolling single track. Generally, the trails at Allegrippis are very fast and they flow quiet well.
Many of the bikers to the facility have characterized the system as being the largest pump track in the United States. Every May Dirt Rag hosts the annual Shindig Dirt Fest. Additionally, there is a campground that is located right at the trails leading to easy access all year round.
If you are looking for flow, length, layout, and quality then Allegrippis is the place to be. For a perfect MTB trail then you should visit the site. Some of the trails at the site are bombers, some are tame, some have rock gnar, and some are butter smooth, which will offer a perfect MTB trip as you enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
2. The Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage is a long, easy trail that runs from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania all the way to Cumberland in Maryland. What’s more you can decide to keep going even more if you so wish as there is another trail that picks up right where this one ends and it stretches and extra 184.5 miles to Washington D.C
Most of the path has gravel, though there is a part that has pavement as well. The pavement ensures that it is easy for even the least skilled of bikers to navigate the trail. The sheer length of this trail makes it fun for the most experienced riders. The passage has some uphill and downhill but only at mild grades.
The trail follows different rivers and there are a few bridges that you can cross. The trail is very popular with bikers and as such there are water fountains and bathrooms along the route. Additionally, there are campsites that offer places where you can spend the night.
Moreover, there are places where you can eat and bike repair shops where you will be able to do repairs for your bike. If you are an experienced rider you can ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. The most popular route is from downtown Pittsburgh and ride southeast to mile zero in Cumberland. The route follows the Casselman River and scenic Youghiogheny. You can then pick up at the end of C&O canal Towpath and follow the Potomac River. There are so many sites that you will enjoy along the way. It is one of the most beautiful rides that is full of history.
3. Rothrock State Forest (State College)
The Rothrock state forest is found in State College. It offers some of the most technical, mountainous riding in the State of Pennsylvania. Within the State Forest, there are trails like Tussey Ridge which is beautiful and the Wildcat Gap which is considered as a must ride.
If you are one of the riders that enjoys rocky trails then you should visit Rothrock State Forest. Not only that, you will have an opportunity to visit an IMBA epic route that is known as the Cooper’s Gap Epic that is located within the Rothrock State Forest.
Another great addition to the park is the Cooper’s Gap. It has heart pounding climbs, rock gardens, beautiful views, and hair raising descents.
4. French Creek Loop
The French creek loop is one of the loveliest trails that is located in French Loop State Park. There are seven different places you can ride all over the extensive park, and this makes sure that no one place is crowded with hikers and bikers.
French Creek Loop has camping complete with restrooms making it convenient and easy for several days as you check out all the trails in the area. Additionally, there is boating and other things in the area in case you want to take some rest from biking. Having this kind of variety makes the park one of the best places to visit with family and friends.
The trails are nicely marked and have some technical rocky sections around the camping grounds. You can decide to visit the park offices for a map of the trails or you can print one out for yourself to have a clear idea of how the route looks like ahead of time.
Moreover, there are wooden bridges and maintenance roads, and a few technical steep areas. One thing to note is that some of the parks trails are for hikers only and that rule has to be respected. It is one of the greatest places to start riding as long as you are in shape. The many creeks and lakes in the area make it enjoyable to ride.
However, you should ensure that your bike is tough enough to do rocks. Though the park has some steep parts, the majority of them are moderate but rocky. The landscape is full of trees and thismeans it is not easy to spot other riders especially during winter. Most of the trails are well marked though there are a few that are hard to follow.
5. North Park (Pittsburgh)
North Park has over 40 miles of trails that are located 10 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The site is considered among the best mountain biking trails in Western Pennsylvania. The site is maintained by the Pittsburgh off Road Cyclists (PORC). Most of the trails are XC-style and they regularly host group rides at North Park.
To get most out of the single tracks requires piecing together various segments that are connected by roads, and you are at liberty to choose the best route that suits you. The site offers for great trails, as they have a little bit of everything – rocks, some roots, log-overs, steep climbs and descents, but most importantly smooth and flowy trails.
Moreover, there are optional lines that include more technicalities, which help mix things up a bit. North Park has extensive skills park area, downhill freeride courses and jumps and a, pump track. Most of the trails in the site are well labeled to help bikers with easy navigation. Overall, they are great trails that give you lots of variety. After you are done with biking you can stop at OTB and enjoy your burger and beer.
6. Mick Jaggers
Mick Jaggers is located in Alameda Park in Butler, Pennsylvania and at first sight it might not seem as much. The trail has a single bridge and a number of banked turns and even pump-track-style bump sections that help keep things interesting though the trail is not long.
The trail is one of the well hidden gems and it is well worth any effort you put in checking it out. It has well thought out trails, banked curves, and a skid free bridge. It is challenging for riders of all levels with plenty to offer for beginner and intermediate riders.
The site has two different parking areas that come complete with restrooms and water. What’s more, the trails are located close to the city and there are many places you can stop to eat and get refreshments. Additionally, the system of trails that connect to Mick Jaggers has layers of loops that range from easy to intermediate. The loops are well arranged and you have to go through the easier loops before you get to the more challenging ones.
The park added two incredible downhill trails in the west section, two skinnies, and some excellent connectors along the ridge. The park offers fun for riders of all levels and you can take it slow and easy, or fast and airborne.
7. Wissahickon Valley Park (Philadelphia)
Many people refer to the park as Wiss. It is a massive park system that begins at the Schuylkill River in downtown Philly, and it stretches over a dozen miles to the city’s northern limits. It has a multi-use trail that runs the length of the park with single track trails that peel off to either direction as you move down the stretch.
However, it is important to note that not all trails are open to mountain bikes. Nonetheless, those that are open to bikers will offer you everything from fast flow to techy rock gardens. Where as there no many sustained climbs that are found in the Wiss you will come across short steep climbs and descents.
Many riders who visit the park are surprised by how technical and enjoyable the trails are. Most of the single tracks are tight and have log crossings, rock gardens, tree roots, and several steep hill climbs. A great advantage of the park is that it is very close to the city.
8. Rattling Creek Trail
Rattling Creek Trail is one of the greatest and hardest loops to ride in Pennsylvania. There are several different spots where you can access the trail, giving you more choices to make. There are many spectacular Country side to see and a hang glider launch found near one part of the trail.
The trail has lots of rocks that have short reprieves in between them and several tough uphill climbs with exhilarating downhill sections. Keith Whitcomb is responsible for maintaining the trails. There are small loops that you can cut through if you do not want to ride the whole loop.
It makes one of the best climbs as it never gets too steep. The rocks at Rattling Creek trail are bound to get your heart pounding as you enjoy the view of the challenging rock gardens.
9. Yellow Creek State Park
Yellow Creek Park is found in Pennsylvania in a small town known as Indiana. There are less than 400 feet that separate the high and low points in the park. Riders will get a chance to climb over 2,000 feet while they complete a 19-mile loop around the lake.
The park has technical terrain, climbs, and descents which makes no surprise the trail system averages a 4.7 rating on most of the rating scales. As a rider you will get fast flow through the big pines, creeks, climbs and a one and a half mile long rock section. When you are done with the ride you will feel the thrill all over your body.
The park has enough miles of rocks that will offer for the best challenge all year round. The most technical part of the site is found on the northern shore. The southern part of the park is mostly twisty and it is single track.
10. Coopers Gap Road Trail
Coopers Gap Road Trail is an easy and nice trail that has some of the best scenery. Located in Rothrock State Forest it is behind the Thickhead Mountain. The best thing about the trail is that it is a few miles away from Mifflin County Airport, making it easy to access. It is also convenient if you have a few hours to spend due to a stopover.
In fact, there is hundreds of miles worth of trails that you can explore around the mountain. Some of the trails are easy but others like Coopers Gap Epic have 30 miles of difficult trails that are found all over the mountainside.
Most of the trail is made up of single track and there are restrooms with water available. The park has so many trails that will make you want to stay all day. The trail is great with a lot of rocks and many more roots to boot. Literally, Cooper’s gap has it all, heart-pounding climbs, beautiful views, rock gardens, and nice descents.
Though the state of Pennsylvania is not the most mountainous in the United States, it still offers some of the best sceneries in the country. If you are coming to mountain bike in the state ensure you carry your camera along as there are sites you will want to always remember. There are plenty of trails to choose from, and you should definitely try them as you visit the state.
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