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  1. #1
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    Questions for the Aristes/Roaring Creek regulars

    Questions for those of you who frequent Roaring Creek:

    1) If I take the Big Mountain Trail (or is it Broad Mt Trail, I forget, the one that closely follows the ridgeline) from the Aristes side, what is the best way to get down to the valley? Even if it is closer to the Natalie side. I'm not looking for uber technical downhill, average technical is fine, though.

    2) What is the best way to get back up to the ridgeline trail after doing # 1)? Again, super uber technical is not what I'm looking for. And knowing that is quite a vertical rise, what is the easiest way to get back up?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Pump house trail or any of the Coal miners trails I think

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    1.) Pumphouse Trail is on the RT 42 side - just on the west edge of the clear-cut. Probably not going to want this. Either "Old Natalie Road" or "Natalie Miners Trail" will work. These trails run parallel to each other. NMT is strictly a downhill, ONR is up or down. Both will take you down to the '8 Mile Rd'. Problem is, neither of these trails are easy to spot, because they're concealed from the Big Mountain Trail by a berm. But they're both less than 1/2 mile from RT 54, so when you get close, just keep your eyes open.

    2.) Couple options:
    A.) Pumphouse trail will get you back to the top. From the bottom, Pumphouse is at mile marker 7.5 on the 8 mile road, right across from some water company infrastructure. This trail is steep, especially near the bottom. After the switchback, you're good to go.
    B.) This one is more complicated - from the bottom, cross RT 42 over to the east side. You'll have to negotiate the network of trails, but will eventually find your way to "Headwaters", which takes you back to the top.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Jonz.

    On the 2 b) option, when you cross Rt 42 to the east side, are you on a dirt roadway (I can't picture any there), a trail-head directly across from the end point/parking for the 8 Mile Rd (can't picture that either)?, or are you traveling south some distance on Rt 42 then going east on some trail or gated road (that I can vaguely remember)?
    Last edited by XCoalMiner; 07-21-2011 at 06:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XCoalMiner View Post
    Thanks Jonz.

    On the 2 b) option, when you cross Rt 42 to the east side, are you on a dirt roadway (I can't picture any there), a trail-head directly across from the end point/parking for the 8 Mile Rd (can't picture that either)?, or are you traveling south some distance on Rt 42 then going east on some trail or gated road (that I can vaguely remember)?
    Starting from the lower RT42 parking lot (adjacent to the reservoir)
    - Go out to RT42
    - Turn left (north) and cross the little bridge over the reservoir inlet
    -immediately start looking for singletrack on your right (it's relatively discrete)
    - there's miles of trails on this side to explore, but as long as you keep working your way south, you'll find the trail back up the hill to the upper trail system and parking lot.
    - hope that makes sense, without any map of the trails, it's kinda hard to explain

  6. #6
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    Another option on the east side of 42 is right across from the 8 mile road. There is a sign post there and it goes down the bank on an off camber. I think this is Homestead trail. Goes toward Aristes parallel to 42 for a bit, then turns east. After crossing a creek, there is Old Field trail, but this is strictly downhill. Go past that to Not A Trail (yeah really there is a sign post with that) and that will take you to the climb up to the top.
    If you want a tour, let me know.
    Jim

  7. #7
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    We often park at the Brush Valley Reservoir on RT42. Then use the Pumphouse (@mm 7.5) to climb out of the valley, head west on Big Mountain Trail, and use the Old Natalie Road to descend back into the valley. Neither is technical, they get you where you're going. We then ride the gravel road back to the car.

    There is also some seldom used singletrack down in the valley that takes you around the north side of the big reservoir.

    Enjoy!

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the responses so far, they filled in a lot of the blanks.

    I rode from the Aristes side on Sat, 7/23, this is a mini TR.

    The area just west of 42 is way different than when I was last in there about three years ago. From three years ago (and even years before that), I remember a paved road, not used, overgrown and lined with white-bark trees (the ones that grow well in the mine waste piles prevalent in the area), with a gentle incline leading to -- if you are riding east -- the gate on the west side of Rt 42. If you were riding west, that paved road would lead you to the Ďelevated road/pathwayí, the one with the two to three food man-made rock berm on each side. And, as a footnote, Iíd still like to know what that elevated roadway/pathway was or is used for, does it bury a water pipeline, it seems too narrow for an old railroad track, and there no evidence of rail ties. See the following locals question, is that entire section called the Roman Road?

    Anyway, that paved roadway was not to be found (the whole area was dug up since my last visit), and so I was somewhat disoriented starting out. I did find the Pump House Trail, and after I went downhill on it for a few hundred yards I realized it was not the trail I wanted. I saw the three foot rock wall on the ridgeline trail as I was slowly going down the Pump House trail. So a quick turn around back uphill, a U turn and back on track. Three years ago there were no brown trail post signs and so no trail names. I now know that the ridge line trail is called the Big Mountain trail all across the ridgeline.

    Whoever laid out the Big Mountain trail winding back and forth through the solid rock outcrops on the ridgeline on the Aristes side, and filled in some undulations and depressions with big rocks, did a very nice job. Cheers to whoever you are.

    I like the rocks on the Big Mt Trail, a lot. If you donít pick a good line through some of the gnarlier rock fields and rock gardens, youíll pay, either by using up a lot of energy, beating up your bike, or kissing the ground. I managed to do all three on Sat, luckily only one time on the last, kissing the ground, and the cause was a root, not a rock.

    I also scoped out the Roman Road (I recognized it from some videos), didnít get it, but I hope to next time. Another question for the Regulars: Do you call the Roman Road the entire elevated berm/path, or is that only the name for the 40 foot-long feature-like elevated-rock section, (shown here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-R2Vat6pCw), and in the 2nd and 3rd pics here: 29ers @ Aristes.

    It was a very hot and humid day, and about halfway into the ride I felt some rain drops coming down, that didnít stop me, but I thought I saw some lightning off in the distance, And that, along with a leaky hydration pack, caused me to turn around. I then stayed close to the PL to explore some of the marked trails off that area.

    At the beginning of the ride, when I was in the PL on the east side of 42 getting ready, I saw a group of about eight or so people, come around the gate, they said hello, stopped to regroup and to wait for one or two more people, and then they took a trail-head pointed southward in the Aristes/Ringtown direction (off the dirt road into the parking lot). No sign posts on that trail-head, so I have no idea where it or they went. And I was the only vehicle in the lot, so they obviously started out somewhere else. Thatís one more trail there to investigate, Iím wondering if it goes downhill to the SGL parking lot on the Aristes-Ringtown Rd.
    Last edited by XCoalMiner; 07-24-2011 at 05:07 PM. Reason: 2nd and 3rd pic link

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    Good job! I totally agree...

    "Whoever laid out the Big Mountain trail winding back and forth through the solid rock outcrops on the ridgeline on the Aristes side, and filled in some undulations and depressions with big rocks, did a very nice job. Cheers to whoever you are"

    ...the flow just continues on that trail, It holds your interest. Best in fall when you kinda get a glimpse of both sides of the valleys left or right. You know your on top of something yet mot quite sure cause paying attention to the line is important. Eerily similar to Rothrock/Tussey Mt

    "I also scoped out the Roman Road (I recognized it from some videos), didnít get it, but I hope to next time. Another question for the Regulars: Do you call the Roman Road the entire elevated berm/path, or is that only the name for the 40 foot-long feature-like elevated-rock section"

    I've heard it called: "DRAGONS BACK" but Roman Road works. Just damn good stuff and I've been on 25 plus milers there, so yes there is lots to ride.

  10. #10
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    I did the Aristes to Natalie to 8 Mile Rd loop on Saturday. Some GPS tracks attached. This was the first time I rode there this year, unfortunately.

    Once again I have to rave about the Big Mountain Trail. Whoever laid that out that trail did a great job, you deserve some kind of award. Itís a nice touch where they painted a few red marks on the rocks on one prominent rock garden surrounded by low bushes. I assumed that was the line over the rocks, so I followed it.

    Someone above posted how itís a nice ride in the fall, and that is spot on-accurate. The leaves were mostly down, and covered much of the trail, and in some spots, had it not been for the red marks Iíd have lost the trail. With no leaves on the trees you are without the corridor/tunnel sight-line of a trail through the woods, and the angled, double red marks indicating a turn served their purpose.

    At the west/Natalie side of the loop, the only trail I could find down to the 8 Mile road in the valley was Natalie Miners Trail #1 -- saw a post/sign for MNT #2 but lost it, and I think I saw a post for Old Natalie Road, but immediately lost that also. As sais above, NMR is strictly downhill. Scoping it out from the bottom, ONR looks like the best option, and seems like it can be done uphill also.

    Edit, the DCNR SF map shows two Natalie Mines Trails #1, and East and West. Map: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ucmprd2/...cnr_009591.pdf

    Questions for the Aristes/Roaring Creek regulars-roaring-creek-loop.jpg

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCoalMiner View Post
    I did the Aristes to Natalie to 8 Mile Rd loop on Saturday. Some GPS tracks attached. This was the first time I rode there this year, unfortunately.

    Once again I have to rave about the Big Mountain Trail. Whoever laid that out that trail did a great job, you deserve some kind of award. Itís a nice touch where they painted a few red marks on the rocks on one prominent rock garden surrounded by low bushes. I assumed that was the line over the rocks, so I followed it.

    Someone above posted how itís a nice ride in the fall, and that is spot on-accurate. The leaves were mostly down, and covered much of the trail, and in some spots, had it not been for the red marks Iíd have lost the trail. With no leaves on the trees you are without the corridor/tunnel sight-line of a trail through the woods, and the angled, double red marks indicating a turn served their purpose.

    At the west/Natalie side of the loop, the only trail I could find down to the 8 Mile road in the valley was Natalie Miners Trail #1 -- saw a post/sign for MNT #2 but lost it, and I think I saw a post for Old Natalie Road, but immediately lost that also. As sais above, NMR is strictly downhill. Scoping it out from the bottom, ONR looks like the best option, and seems like it can be done uphill also.

    Edit, the DCNR SF map shows two Natalie Mines Trails #1, and East and West. Map: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ucmprd2/...cnr_009591.pdf
    Looks like a good ride, it's beautiful there this time of year. Old Natalie Road Trail and #2 Natalie Trail are a little hard to spot from the top. Big Mountain pops out into a little open calm-bankish looking area, and if you look to the right there a short steep up that then goes immediately steep down and the two trails split from there. #2 is down hill only, and ONRT is the best climb on the west end of Roaring Creek, no hike-a-bike required.

  12. #12
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    yeah, autumn leaves are a mixed blessing.

    pretty, for a while.

    then pretty on the ground.

    but the trail does get harder to follow, in a lot of places.

    and not just Roaring Creek.

    Night-riding because a particular challenge for this crazy old coot.

  13. #13
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    So quick question about big mountain. How is that during the week with hunting? Does it get used very much or is it ok to ride?

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    Quote Originally Posted by adamkob32 View Post
    So quick question about big mountain. How is that during the week with hunting? Does it get used very much or is it ok to ride?
    It's all State Forest open to hunting, with a tiny sliver crossing into Game Lands on the far east of the trail system. I feel comfortable riding there during archery season. I would advise against riding there on Saturdays during rifle season. As far as weekdays during rifle.... I don't honestly know because I'm at work, so I only night ride there this time of year, but I'd probably avoid as well.

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    Are the trails on the top of the mountain, east of 42 accessible with all of the construction going on there?
    Going to be a beautiful day Sunday and cant decide where to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dliquid1 View Post
    Are the trails on the top of the mountain, east of 42 accessible with all of the construction going on there?
    Going to be a beautiful day Sunday and cant decide where to ride.
    Yes, but access points are limited. There's really only two ways in, here's a link to the east end trail affected: LINK The RT 42 access is right next to the brown state forest sign as you're driving north out of Aristes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonz View Post
    Yes, but access points are limited. There's really only two ways in, here's a link to the east end trail affected: LINK The RT 42 access is right next to the brown state forest sign as you're driving north out of Aristes.
    Great Info on that map, thanks!
    Hope the trails did ok with the storm.
    Are there any scheduled work days for Roaring Creek at all?

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by dliquid1 View Post
    Great Info on that map, thanks!
    Hope the trails did ok with the storm.
    Are there any scheduled work days for Roaring Creek at all?

    David
    Agreed that is a nice map.

    I can't speak to any organized work days up there, maybe call the forest district office to inquire. Last year I ran into someone on the Natalie side who did trail maintenance on the Big Mt trail. He was local to the area, and I got the impression he did maintenance work when he could (i.e., no schedule), with maybe a friend or two to help. If you contact the forest office maybe they can put you in touch with that guy.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCoalMiner View Post
    Last year I ran into someone on the Natalie side who did trail maintenance on the Big Mt trail. He was local to the area, and I got the impression he did maintenance work when he could (i.e., no schedule), with maybe a friend or two to help. If you contact the forest office maybe they can put you in touch with that guy.
    That would be Shawn. I don't know if he has an account on here or not though to ask for a work day. I'd usually run into him once ever 2 weeks or so on a ride up there. He sometimes has a few dogs along with him as well. Really good guy.

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    You can sign up as a volunteer here, but don't expect an answer soon.
    I signed up in Feb and was just contacted about a month ago.
    Unfortunately I'm way too busy with work to even ride, let alone do trail maintenance.

    https://www.volunteers.dcnr.state.pa.us/Login.aspx

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    Yep, Shawn, and some other dudes from Mt Carmel area. I've ridden with them a few times, really cool guys. I don't think any of them are on MTBR, and they seem to be happy to do TM themselves. For my part, I carry a folding saw and cut out dead fall as needed.. generally the trails there don't need much work though.

    I've been meaning to finish that map but just haven't found the time. The new DCNR map is pretty good, but still leaves some stuff out.

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    The Danville crew has helped up there in the past also.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCoalMiner View Post
    Agreed that is a nice map.

    I can't speak to any organized work days up there, maybe call the forest district office to inquire. Last year I ran into someone on the Natalie side who did trail maintenance on the Big Mt trail. He was local to the area, and I got the impression he did maintenance work when he could (i.e., no schedule), with maybe a friend or two to help. If you contact the forest office maybe they can put you in touch with that guy.
    As others mentioned that would be Shawn. He does have a trail association (Big Mountain or something along those lines) and is in with the forest office so they prob could put you in touch with him.

    I ride and do some trail work with him and the other Mt Carmel guys once in a while. I know Shawn isn't on here and I don't think anyone else is either. I'm over on the Kulpmont side of things and try and get out and do some work on those trails when I can. I don't think we've really had any "organized" work days, it's more along the line of when time permits and you can get 2 or 3 people together.

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    In the email I got from Nick with DCNR, he expressed an interest in getting a group together to clean up South Branch trail (behind the big lake). Not sure how quickly that would come together, but it seems there is some interest from DCNR in an organized work group.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beaverracing View Post
    In the email I got from Nick with DCNR, he expressed an interest in getting a group together to clean up South Branch trail (behind the big lake). Not sure how quickly that would come together, but it seems there is some interest from DCNR in an organized work group.

    Any idea what they're looking at doing? That trail was pretty good a few years back, granted very technical and they decided to try to make it more friendly to the masses and essentially make it a walking trail. Not sure what condition its in now or what they're looking to do..

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