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  1. #1
    avg. joe
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    New question here. What southern trails are best?

    My family and I have a vacation plans to visit southern Pa. during the second and third weeks of June. We will be staying in the areas of Gettysburg, York, Lancaster, and Hershey. Iím an intermediate XC rider and would appreciate any trail suggestions for these areas. My two oldest kiddos (6 and 7) will also be riding with me. If there are any trails with a combo of beginner and intermediate trails, this would be perfect.

    Also, what LBSs would you suggest me stopping by to pick up any last minute items, if something fails to get packed?

    Thanks in advance!

    STinGa
    The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.

  2. #2
    No Gansta Lean here.
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    Provide a little more info. but....

    http://www.gretnabikes.com/contactus.asp for your Hershey kind of stuff.
    "Lancaster" is a pretty big area. Do you mean the "city" of Lancaster itself? Or, somwhere "tourist-y" in the county. For example, if you were staying in ELANCO (Eastern Lancaster County) I'd rec. Shirk's Bike Shop 717-445-5731 and to ride at French Creek State Park or Blue Marsh in Reading.

    Drop a little more info. as to the town names where you'll be and the info. will come!
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
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  3. #3
    avg. joe
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    We'll be in the county being touristy...

    We will be the ones wearing the hawiian flower shirts, floppy straw hats and sandles with black socks.

    Actually, we spent a long weekend in the area a few years ago and decided to plan an longer vacation around the region. Since there is so much to see and do, the long weekend left us wanting more. We will be spending a day or two in Hershey and a few days in the Gettysburg area and the remainder of the time exploring the York and Lancaster County areas.

    Thanks again for your help / info.
    The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.

  4. #4
    No Gansta Lean here.
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    Well, hey..., the black socks will fit in GREAT with the Amish!

    Actually, it will be cool for you to see how the bike is SUCH a huge part of daily life for the "Plain people" in this area. Real amish actually only ride scooters. (Yeah, the push type.) Their religion prohibits the mechanical advantage of a chain and gears.) The "Old order Mennonites" will be the ones on the bikes but at times you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart. Bonnets all around.

    Mt. Gretna would be a great place to start for your Hershey/Gettysburg time. Drop them an email. York is a little out of my league. But, I believe that there is a YAMBA (York Area Mtn Bike Assoc.) that may help in that area.

    As far as Lancaster goes. Let me know where you think you'll be staying to do the touristy stuff and I'll get back to you. (I'm in E. Lanc. CO. but I have a buddy in Lancaster City who can tell me info. if you're staying out that way.)

    ERA Ski and Bike (sorry, don't have their info. a search should turn them up) if near the city.

    I traveled a lot for work at one time (Corp. Pharmacy Trainer for Albertson's) to many diff. states out west. (Worked GREAT for riding... took my bike with me on every flight and charged it to the company.) Each training trip lasted 10-14 days with me making my own schedule. I found that contacting bike shops in the area that I'd be in BEFORE the trip was the best thing going. Then, I'd stop in, buy a shop water bottle/T-shirt, etc., they'd remember me, and I'd be on my way! That way, on limited time, you were sure to only hit the "good stuff" and not waste an afternoon on something that you wished that you had never even gave up "whole family time" for in the first place. (Critical in your case having your two children on a ride with you!) I was always alone on my trips but the time value was still the same.
    Also...Shops ALWAYS helped with the good places to eat in the area...the ones that may be for the family yet not a tourist trap...etc.
    Anyway. Let me know more about where you'll be in Lancaster and I'll try to steer you in the right direction. Staying near Intercourse, Blue Ball, Bird-in-Hand, Paradise? (all the funny names that everyone loves to hear!) Dutch Wonderland? The whole "Tanger Outlet" complex? Let me know.
    Cheers!
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
    Microbeer's Better!

  5. #5
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    I'm in the heart of Touristy Lancaster County . . .

    Minutes from Dutch Wonderland, Amish farms, and all the outlet shopping you can stand. Spinner's Cycling (717-656-0072) is in nearby Leola and they are fantastic. They will certainly take care of you.

    As for good beginner / intermediate trails I would say Fair Hill in Elkton, MD. It's about one hour south of Lancaster, but you have to drive through some of the most beautiful farmland in the world to get there. You will get a chance to see the real Amish travelling on these roads. At Fair Hill, you can ride for days without crossing the same trail twice. I have a 9 year old son, who does a little bit of biking and he would do okay on parts of Fair Hill. If you would like a tour guide, let me know - maybe we can work something out.

    Blue Marsh is about one hour north of Lancaster. Also, some absolutely beautiful trails. They have some flat trails that would be good for the kids, as well. I'm more familiar with Fair Hill, but could get you around Blue Marsh, as well.

    Hope this helps.

    How can you tell if someone is truly Amish? inhale!

  6. #6
    avg. joe
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    Thanks for the info

    Thanks for the trail info

    We don't have a concrete timetable set for what days we will be spending in each area. We enjoy the freedom to detour from the paved road when we see something that sounds interesting and then hop back onto course to continue on the original way. Once in the area, I can track down a city library to drop a note here to hook up for a ride.

    There are some Mennonites in the southern Ky / northern Tn area where my parents live, so they won't be new to me. My kids on the other hand will probably be curious.

    Five days and counting ... woohoo!
    The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.

  7. #7
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    if you are in york at all, i would say that lake redmond/kain has some nice intermediate trails to ride (mostly hardpack, single to double track) with rocky ridge offering a slightly more challenging ride. york also has the heritage rail trail which has multiple starting points which may be better for the family and is 17-18 miles long.

    if you are into some more aggressive riding for yourself you could always check out michaux state forest. its about 15-20 mile west of gettysburg but contains some of most difficult, technical, and rockiest trails in the area.
    The wheel of Ka turns and the World moves on.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
    No Gansta Lean here.
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    Speaking of the shop that I mentioned earlier...

    Quote Originally Posted by STinGa
    Thanks for the trail info

    We don't have a concrete timetable set for what days we will be spending in each area. We enjoy the freedom to detour from the paved road when we see something that sounds interesting and then hop back onto course to continue on the original way. Once in the area, I can track down a city library to drop a note here to hook up for a ride.

    There are some Mennonites in the southern Ky / northern Tn area where my parents live, so they won't be new to me. My kids on the other hand will probably be curious.

    Five days and counting ... woohoo!
    Don't know if you get BIKE magazine, but there was an article on Shirk's Bike Shop in it a few issues ago. Mr. Shirk (Luke) is a Mennonite. Funny to go to the shop (pole barn) and have dogs and cats underfoot yet, at the same time, have riders pulling in the parking lot from Philly because they're so Shirk's loyal! It's an experience. Seeing a 50+ yr old bonnett wearing lady adj. a der. on a Colnago? See a Santa Cruz Bullet in the stand at the same time? All while the PA Dutch language flows about the place while they're working on the REAL bikes that matter...the local person's hybrid that gets them to and from work each day. The people that NEED it get help first and, that's OK with me!
    Frame builder Joe Williams of Williams American Cycle (formerly a builder for Serrotta) said to me one day in the shop, "Everytime they switch from English to PA Dutch, I swear that they're talking about me!"

    Oh, and if you're into beer...Don't miss Troegs (Harrisburg) or Stoudts (Ephrata/Adamstown)
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
    Microbeer's Better!

  10. #10
    I am the big German!
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    York area

    I used to live in York, my experience is a few years old. Good riding opportunities:

    1. South of York there is Lake Redman/Lake Williams area: its been a few years but lots of riding around these two parks. Not too hard to string together 20-30miles w/out riding the same thing twice. Do a loop of redman, do a loop of Williams. Can be crowded, more beginner/intermediate opportunities.

    2. even further south of York is Spring Valley Park. I've heard this trail system is even better than it used to be. Not so crowded. Less beg/interm. opportunities.

    3. East of York is Rocky Ridge. Not as extensive a trail system. Probably about 10 miles of trails. A bit more technical. good riding if you're in the area.

    Don't know that any of those deserve a special trip. It depends on where you are staying in the York area. Hit the closest one. However, the following two areas deserve special attention:

    4. West of Gettysburg is Michaux state forest. This is worth driving to. Great trails/forest roads. Some rocky technical stuff here, advanced level trails. See if a LBS can give you a map and show you the Michaux Ironmasters Classic race loop (20 miles point to point).

    5. Reading area: Ride Blue Marsh Lake. This is an out-and-back trail along Blue Marsh lake. I rode it for the first time ten years ago because it was named one of the top twenty trails in the nation! Maybe not that good, I think the local publishers in Emmaus were a bit biased, but it was a damn fun trail. Good flow. Like a roller coaster in some parts. A couple of decent climbs too. If its still there and you're even close, its worth riding.

    enjoy!

  11. #11
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    parks in york

    Here is a topo and track of my last ride at Rocky RIdge in York. 12.19 miles and 1700 feet elevation gain. There are more trails than the ones that I rode too. I included some waypoints with the trail junctions or landmarks. A great place to ride. There are some easier beginner level trails on up to intermediate level and a few places to play on logs or rocks.



    Here is a topo and tracks of two rides at the Lakes, (William Kane County Park). There are more trails around the Lake Williams side, although there was a lot of logging in that area recently. The ride around Redman was almost 8 miles with a little over 1700 ft elevation gain. Hi-lites here are two underpasses (under I-83) with water running thru. I find the riding slightly less technical but the climbs are longer.



    Hope this helps along w/ what the others have posted above. Spring Valley is another fun place to ride, and overall is on the low-intermediate level except for trail 5 which I have yet to ride clean. Tight, rocky, rooty, off camber, and if you have to stop good luck getting started.

  12. #12
    avg. joe
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    Good job! Thanks a bunch!

    Thanks a bunch for all of your suggestions, you have been a big help. I am sure that this will be a fantastic trip.

    Tom
    The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.

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