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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    A message to the SAMBA/Gov. Dick people

    Simply put, keep doing whatever it is you have to do to make more trails like #15.

    I was down there because it is one of the few hunting free areas, and had no clue what to expect of the trails at Governor Dick. We were really worried that there was going to be nothing there when we were on the opposite end. Some helpful hikers mentioned the keywords "dangerous," "rocky," and "tough," about #15 so we knew where we needed to get to. The land management at the park makes no sense.

    When we finally got our tires down on #4 we saw that someone had a clue about how to make a trail. We were having fun and didn't really pay attention which way we should go to get to #15. We ended up taking it to the education center (or whatever the building is). This gave us a quick taste of the trail and set us up to ride the whole length of it to get back to the car on the other side of the park. We ran into local guy Chett who was our tour guide, thanks!

    #15 is just a great trail. Rock is the defining feature of the trail, but it's actually mostly dirt based, smooth, and fast. The trail really gets you to use a variety of skills and gives you opportunities to play on all kinds of obstacles. First up the side to side fun. The turns are well done and give you the chance to really whip the bike back and forth and still keep your speed. Now mix in the rocks to avoid and have some little swerves to add to the bigger swoops.

    The ups and downs are what really make the trail special. It's hard to miss all the big smooth boulders everywhere. Soon you'll be checking them out to see if there you can get on and off them. There is a huge variety in the what must be close to 50 optional things to play on. Start off and get the feel for the rock with a smooth transition onto a boulder and a couple in drop off the back side. Then you can really start seeing all the lines that are available, and the work done to make them work.

    Step up one a car sized boulder. Ride through the filled in gap to the next boulder. Split the two trees and then roll out on the rock ramp back onto the trail. Or pedal right up a dome shaped rock, do a little dip from it and onto an even bigger dome that gets you about eight feet above the ground. There you had just enough room to make a 90 degree turn and roll off the steep end of the big rock. There were others with four foot drops off the back side, a few log rides including one steeply uphill one, and a few rock gardens that give you a chance but punish you for any mistakes. I think the trail might have involved some pedaling up hill, but I this was the kind of trail that stressed you upper body as much as your legs.

    Is there any other good riding in the area to combine with this? It might be still worth the two hour trip to do the lap around the park and then #15 a few times. I saw camp Mack listed but really have no idea what is there.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thanks Chriffer for your complimentary review of trail 15 and the park itself. Unfortunately, for now we do not have permission for any new trail construction nor do we anticipate being able to do so for some time. The politics of the park for now will not allow it. But, when worked properly the 12 miles of official trails can be a fun and challenging ride. The right guide is helpful too.

    For additional info. and maps go to Camp Mack and Swatara are worth your time and effort. If you like riding a hardtail / singlespeed you will thoroughly enjoy Swatara. The trails there are well designed and flow well and at most intermediate in skill. Camp Mack is a nice mix of singletrack and fire roads. The section of Horse Shoe Trail from the top is rocky and fun and mostly downhill.

    Good luck and enjoy the trails!!!


  3. #3
    Chilling out
    Reputation: bear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    How much trail is at Swatara? It made my "list of places" a while ago, but am looking for my next XC epic day. I still have Bald Eagle SF on my list, and soon I could start hitting these on a Sat again - which is a lot easier.

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