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  1. #1
    kevboz
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    Jim Thorpe trails question

    So I've never ridden in PA. I'm from Baltimore County and I normally ride a few places around there. My wife wants to take a trip to Jim Thorpe this weekend or next weekend with our two year old son. I get on their website and I see they have Mtn Biking there. The photos look like it is all "family" trails. Do they have pretty good single track? Sorry but the website wasn't very informative.

    Appreciate any info and or maps.

    thanks
    Kevin

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Yes, there is single track, and yes family trails. The centerpiece trail of the area is a 35+ mile long trail on an old railroad bed that follows the Lehigh River in a scenic gorge. That trail has mostly families and people who ride moderately. Don't be fooled if that is all the pics you see, the place is not really marketed to the single-track rider anymore.

    The "anymore" means the Jim Thorpe area went through a change several years ago, in that some of the popular technical and single track trails were deemed off limits to MTB-ing. That was because some of the trails were on (partly or mostly) what is called State Game Lands (state lands used for hunting funded by sales taxes to hunters and hunting). And unless the trail was specifically deemed open to MTB-ing, it was considered closed to MTB-ing. That was statewide on all State Game Lands, not just in the JT area.

    But not everything is closed. The land in the area is a mix of State Game Lands, State Forest Land, State Parks, plus county owned land (in parks and just raw land). The only trails ones that were closed were the ones on State Game Lands. That's the good news.

    The bad news is JT has not done a very good job communicating how this worked to the bike riding public. They have nice pics or families riding on the main rail trail in the Lehigh Gorge, but beyond that, even long term residents of the state and some locals are not quite sure what is open and what is not. I'm in that category (long term residents of the state ... not quite sure).

    I used to keep up with it all, but the uncertainty turned me off in the last few years, and now I go elsewhere. If you ask at the two local bike shops (both sell maps), they will be able to tell you exactly. Some locals on here also keep up with what is open and closed. To summarize, there is a mix of easy (family), intermediate, and very technical. And you can ride to all of it from the very center of the downtown.

    The next few weeks will be nice there, with the leaves changing color, and the cooler and drier fall weather. And it will be before hunting season gets into full swing in state.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    What type of riding are you looking for? Family stuff? Technical? Semi tech? At Mauch Chunk Lake you can ride the switchback which is some singletrack mixed with old railbed. This can be connected Mt Pisgah which is a bit more technical and rocky. The Lehigh Gorge trail is more family oriented, about a 1% grade. It is all smooth dirt trail. On the Broad Mtn you have the loop, about 13-16 miles, mostly dirt roads, some grassy trails mixed in. Terrain varies. Some ups and downs. Deer Path(singletrack) is closed as is Pine Tar trail, American Standard, and Uranium Road. These are all located on the Broad Mtn. There is also the Lehigh Canal trail, which is again mostly a smooth dirt trail. If you do this there is some singletrack off to both sides. Not too bad since there are some north shore type bridges and teeter tooters thrown in. Overall not too bad of a trail. I suggest as coalminer said stop in the shops and ask. They also have map books for sale. Enjoy the stay.

  5. #5
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    If your riding preference tends towards AM you might like French Creek (maybe you already know it) near Birdsboro, PA on the Chester/Berks Co. border. Big state park - heavily-wooded, lots of hills, very rocky in places. Kinda Poconoish feel but not nearly as far away from where you live and no PITA Game Commission restrictions.

    For those who love Thorpe, don't get me wrong, I like JT too since I grew up only 12 miles south of it (and directly next to one of those annoying State Game Lands) but a lot's changed in Carbon County in recent years and IMO I think there's better, less touristy, places to ride in eastern PA now.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    real mountain biking in JT

    The best source for info on real (singletrack) mountain biking in JT is the Trail Coalition site: http://jttrails.wordpress.com/

    As has been pointed out, a number of trails have access issues due to being on game lands. Technically these trails are closed except on Sundays, or unless you are legally engaged in hunting/fishing activities. There are also a bunch of great trails that are on mining company land and we cannot publicize.

    Another option is to hire a guide from: http://www.thejtx.com/ , but they are also limited in where they can take you.

    Enjoy.
    Jim Thorpe Trail Coalition
    http://jttrails.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thorpe Trails
    The best source for info on real (singletrack) mountain biking in JT is the Trail Coalition site: http://jttrails.wordpress.com/

    As has been pointed out, a number of trails have access issues due to being on game lands. Technically these trails are closed except on Sundays, or unless you are legally engaged in hunting/fishing activities. There are also a bunch of great trails that are on mining company land and we cannot publicize.

    Another option is to hire a guide from: http://www.thejtx.com/ , but they are also limited in where they can take you.

    Enjoy.

    Is that ROD MANN in the JTX?? If so, and if you are going to ride in Thorpe, and need a guide, I don't know a better person. He's one of the best humans walking on this planet. I worked for Rod at Pocono Whitewater for a few years, he taught me so much, biking and life wise. If you want history, he's the man. His house/bed and breakfast at the end of the canal is a really nice place to stay as well.

    Well if it is Rod, and I'm sure it is, tell him Jason says hello, I miss home, soo much. Jim Thorpe is Mountain Biking, because of the adventure, and the great people that live there.

  8. #8
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    I went through Jim Thorpe (the town) on Sunday, and it was mobbed with people and traffic. Looked like a fall festival weekend of some sort in the parking lot near the train station.

    Traffic on incoming Rt 209 from Lehighton was bumper to bumper for a looooong way, more so than I've ever see before.

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