help me decide where to ride (daytrip from philly area)
a buddy is coming into town next week and i'm looking to ride somewhere on friday where i haven't been before. must be a day trip, back in philly area by ~6pm. my initial though was either blue marsh or french creek or fell mtn or prompton dam (fell mtn &prompton being the farthest from me and about the limit of what i think can be done in my timeframe)
so i'm looking for some input on the difficulty of hitting any of those places without having been there before. also, we're both decent riders and will be on singlespeeds so the terrain should factor in somewhat. some walking is fine but i'm not looking to hit any place that will have massive amounts of climbing for extended periods of time.
feel free to suggest any other places that might fit in the plan.
let me add that wissahickon, fairhill, middlerun/whiteclay, mercer & clayton are already being hit.
thanks in advance
Last edited by lanceh; 07-25-2007 at 09:14 AM.
WOW! This is the DUMBEST question I've ever heard!!! Click Here Merli-Sarnoski Workday/Ride/Cookout 7/21/07
Seriously though, I think a SS should be fine at Merli (aka Fell mtn). It's technical and flowy in one w/ some good hill climbs, but nothing that can't be done without a challenge!
If you're looking for a fast and smooth trail system, try the Lackawanna State Park. The trail maps are OK, but they won't show you the latest trails. It's not necessairly the easiest place to navigate if you don't know where to link up to the next trail at. A map will definatley help you out here though. If you have any ?'s, let me know, ttyl, Fahn
The LSP isn't much farther than Prompton. Prompton is a blast too, but I haven't been there since the dam project started. The Hubbard crew has been there though and said it's not that big of a deal to cross the dam. If you don't want to though, you can ride it backwards too.
^ The Trail Starts Here ^
Ya, I SS at Merli, LSP, and Prompton. If its a short ride you seek Frances Slocum, 5 mile loop done a few different way adds to the fun factor and mileage. SS Friendly I do it ever Tuesday night! They are all good places to ride! I run 32/20 on a 29er. I don't know how strong you are or how long you have been SSing. Try'em all sometime. None have extended hill climbs, all are rolling. Walking is cool do it only if you have too. It will give you something to challenge yourself...
thanks for the suggestions. looking like merli is a good bet. i'm not too worried about SS any of these places it's my buddy that i'm more concerned about but he'll be brining a few cogs so we can always adjust.
Blue Marsh is single-speedable. I'd probably never try it myself, but I have been there w/ a guy on a SS who was able to ride most of it (all but the steepest hills). The trickier thing about Blue Marsh is just finding your way around the lake for the first time. The trails are signed, but there aren't any really good maps and there are a few places where you have more than one option for which way to go. Make a wrong turn or two and your 30 mi loop could easily get longer.
That aside, there are a few ways you could bail along the way if it got to be too much.
French Creek is great, but it's totally different from Blue Marsh. More rocks and a handful of lengthy climbs - but it too is SS'able if you don't mind that sort of thing. French Creek trail maps are pretty good, and it's not difficult to string together a nice 12 - 15 mi ride. Starting from the parking lot at Shed Rd & PA 345, I usually ride:
up the Lenape (green) trail toward the campground road.
Left on the Campground rd to T at the main Park Rd.
R on Park Rd.
Down hill to Boone Trail (Blue) on right (by brown gate).
Climb up blue trail, bearing left at the top, and left again when trail splits
This puts you on the Turtle Trail (yellow/white)
Ignore the 'White trail re-route now open' signs. The re-route is great, but you'll cut off a lot of trail if you follow it.
Keep going straight (past the re-route turnoff) on the yellow/white until you see the Turtle trail go R into the woods.
Descend on the yellow trail for a while.
Continue to follow the yellow trail.
Go straight across the Fire Tower rd. (you'll see a parking area at the bottom of the hill, and a trail map to your right at this road).
Stay on yellow, over a bunch of wooden bridges.
Eventually, the trail will descend and the blue trail will split off to the left from the yellow. Take that left.
Continue descending a bit on the blue.
Cross the road again.
Cross road (again! It's the same road, you're just zig-zagging across it)
This time, you'll see signs for 'Group Tent Area', and a gravel road.
Head up the gravel road 50 yds or so, until you see the yellow trail climbing up through the trees. Take that trail.
This is a steep, usually loose climb w/ several water bars. Climb it. There will be a hard left turn mid-way up. If you get up this on a SS, more power to you.
After cresting the hill, keep your eyes open for an Orange-blazed trail on your right.
DO NOT MISS THAT RIGHT TURN. (if you do, you'll bomb down a long descent - then have to turn around and go back up.)
After the turn, follow the orange trail down, then up as it skirts the campground until you see an orange blaze w/ a green stripe on it to your right.
Follow that to the right until you hit what appears to be a 4-way intersection. Go straight through this intersection. You should hit a pretty big rock garden shortly afterward, followed by a switchbacking descent.
From there, follow the green blazes until you hit the campground rd. Go straight across to follow the green again. If you notice the trail splitting - GO LEFT - to follow the green trail out the same way you came up from Shed Rd at the start.
That brings you back to your car, and somewhere around mid-way through the ride.
Cross 345 and Shed Rd to pick up the trailhead. It's still green here, I beleive, but the green will quickly intersect the White/Red trail. There's a bulletin board here and some National Historic Site U.S. Boundary signs on your right.
Bear right, and begin climbing the gravel doubletrack/road, following the white/red blazes.
Cross under some powerlines and keep going straight until you hit a T (acually, it's a sideways T but I can't type that!).
Turn Left there. This is probably the longest descent on the ride when traveling in this direction. Have fun!
Half way through the descent, you're going to hit another T. Turn Left and continue descending.
When you finally stop going down, you're going to come around a U and hit a very short uphill section.
Just stay on the white/red, and follow it through a wet, rocky section.
When the rocks start getting more like boulder-size, you'll eventually have to pull almost a 180 to your right. Thus begins the long climb out.
Very technical rocky climb, especially if you opt not to take the easy way out (first right, kind of a Y in the trail). Since you're singlespeeding, take the easy way. Don't worry, there's plenty of suffering ahead either way.
When the trail you're on merges with anouther trail coming down from your left, you're not far from a swampy sort of area. Your only real option from here on out is to follow the white/red up - so, do that.
There will come a time, after a good bit of climbing, that you'll descend briefly then be presented with an opportunity to go left or right. Bear right, staying on white/red.
And some more.
Possibly a little more.
You should pass a trail on your right that looks familiar. That's the top of the 'longest descent' you did earlier.
Keep going straight all the way back down to Shed & 345.
Sorry I don't have mile marker data or anything, but - if you pick up a map at the park office before you start and you do your best to make sense of everything I've typed, you shouldn't have much trouble with it. The park is huge, but not so big that you can get dangerously lost. Have fun. Barring getting lost, this shouldn't take much more than 3 hrs. Maybe 4 if you end up walking a lot.
"mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson
Another possibility would be Rattling Creek- check out http://home.epix.net/~rebjsw/RCSTWeb/
Once on top it is rolling terrain- some trails are rock-infested, others fast and flowy. Great riding, and if you are feeling aggressive you can get 30-ish miles in on the day. There are trail pictures under the 'trail info' link. Good luck!
^ The Trail Starts Here ^
Last edited by Proformance Cycle; 07-25-2007 at 01:59 PM.
that's for the great writeup stick, one of these days we'll hook up for a ride. the difficulty of getting around blue marsh unguided was something i'd heard about before and kind of the inspiration for my line of questioning.
i was checking out the RCST site doing some research and it didn't seem very large, ~10mi or so. so i had figured it wasn't worth the drive.
Originally Posted by Proformance Cycle
There is already a place for this:
Go to the top of the page, click Reviews - Trails - PA and pick your poison. I've reviewed quite a few trails, posted directions, etc... If your favorite trails aren't on there, add them!
Lanceh - check out http://www.sambabiker.com/trail.htm for some nice maps and info of south central/east PA places to ride.
I would def check out french creek if you are coming from Philly, great for SS. Blue Marsh is long, but technically easy - you could do it on a hybrid.
Also, have you been to Fair Hill in MD, or Iron Hill in DE?
rattling creek would defintely be worth the drive, the whole loop is about 22 miles, a solid days worth of riding. I make the ~ 2hr drive down from state college a few times a summer. no major climbing so single speeds would be fine. great flowy single track, some rocky stuff to keep things interesting. but prompton and lakawana would be good too but i think the rattling creek might be a bit easier to get around without a local guide