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  1. #1
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    Where to find my type of trail in SW PA?

    I am used to riding simple rails to trails crushed limestone trails. I can ride these for miles and get some distance under my belt. I want to ride new stuff, but it seems that here in the Pittsburgh area, trails are either of the crushed limestone/paved variety or they are so rocky, bumpy, rooty that someone of my skill level really can't make much progress on them. I am looking for single track that is a bit smoother - something that I can ride and go for miles at a decent pace. When I try to ride the rooty, rocky, super bumpy stuff, I get stopped and caught up. I just don't have the skills for it.

    Are they any places that have smoother single track? I ride Roaring Run in Apollo, the Butler-Freeport trail, and the West Penn trail. What about Hartwood Acres, North Park, Schenley, Moraine State Park? Do they have smooth trails? I am also wiling to drive up to 2 hours away for day trips.

    Thanks for the info.

  2. #2
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    Definitely not Moraine - very rocky, rooty and technical. You should try Bavington game lands (also called Hillman State Park). The riding there is relatively smooth and not a lot of climbing.
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  3. #3
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    Raystown is probably your best bet, but not sure if its within 2 hours.

  4. #4
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    North Park for sure has what you want by the Swimming pool.

    As does south park.

  5. #5
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    North Park, Boyce and Deer Lakes all have nice smooth twisty singletrack, A little further west, Bavington rules. Harrison Hills is also nice, but not as much mileage. South Park is probably nice too, but never been there, so can't say.

  6. #6
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    Thanks. My mention of 2 hours is somewhat arbitrary. 2-4 hours is very doable. Glad to hear about Harrison Hils and Boyce Park because they very close to me. Anyone know about Roaring Run, aside from their main rails to trails paths? I have heard alot of praise, but the side trails look really tough.

  7. #7
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    I can't tell you a lot about those trails, but I agree about North and South parks. Nice and smooth. If you need someone to show you around let me know.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilbertlikesbikes View Post
    Thanks. My mention of 2 hours is somewhat arbitrary. 2-4 hours is very doable. Glad to hear about Harrison Hils and Boyce Park because they very close to me. Anyone know about Roaring Run, aside from their main rails to trails paths? I have heard alot of praise, but the side trails look really tough.
    Roaring Run is fun for me but not for you. There is a short little section of smooth singletrack at the start of the railtrail but other than that its pretty technical.

  9. #9
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    - Harrison Hills at the lower section has a dirt trail or two, not more than 3 miles each way.
    - South Park is a gorge with the main road running down the middle, with dirt trails running on each side halfway up the hills, pretty decent but you'll have some hills climbs.
    - Park near river forest country club, and you can ride an old rail line long the river across from freeport for a few miles up til the train bridges, one bridge will take you to freeport, the other to kiski and the armstrong trail (which is rocky but ride-able all the way up to east brady and beyond)
    - Racoon state park is a mountain
    - Montour and Panhandle are easy rails to trail rides
    - Cooks forest is alot of hill climbs
    - Clarion area - park at applewood mannor and jump on the trail that will take you down to the river and some nice trails

  10. #10
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    It is also worth considering the rideable trails throughout Forbes State Forest.

    Around the Laurel Mt section of Forbes, there are some very rocky trails, but there is a ton of flowy single track as well.

    The areas in Forbes closer to Hidden Valley and 7S, it is pretty much all flowy single track.

    Lots of the 7S 24 hour race loop is pretty flowy (there are some sections that are a little rocky/technical).

    Those places would all be worth checking out, IMO. Fairly readily accessible from PA turnpike depending on where you are coming from or rt 30.

  11. #11
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    Thank you all for the info. I'll have to schedule some trips and check these out.

    Thanks!

  12. #12
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    FYI....I don't mind hills and climbs. I actually want them too. When I say smooth I mean just not so rocky and rooty that I am jammed up every foot or so.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by madvey8 View Post
    - Cooks forest is alot of hill climbs
    - Clarion area - park at applewood mannor and jump on the trail that will take you down to the river and some nice trails
    Where can you ride at Cooks Forest? Are you talking about that backroad/fire road loop on the north end of the park?

    Also, where/what is Applewood Manor in Clarion? I spend some time around the ANF and would like to check out any trails out there that I've missed.

    Thanks.

    Oh, and to the OP - definitely not Moraine. That's the home of the rockiest trails that I know (short of WV trails). And I'd second the Bavington suggestion. Nice trails, lots of route combinations, and never crowded.

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  14. #14
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    try pleasant valley park in murrysville. it's mostly fast flowing super duper fun singletrack. there are a few easy log piles, not many rocks or roots so you can go pretty fast. pleasant valley is just a couple min from rt. 22 in murrysville.

  15. #15
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    Thanks! Murrysville is pretty close to me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilbertlikesbikes View Post
    Thanks! Murrysville is pretty close to me.

    i was at pleasant valley this past weekend. had a good time. they have been continually adding more trails each year. once your skillz improve try heading over to duff park. that place requires some serious leg muscles.

  17. #17
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    Well, I rode Harrison Hills on Tuesday. Thanks for the recommendation. It was really fun. I will admit though that I will need to practice more. I guess I have spent too much time on rails to trails type stuff because I was beat after 5.5 single track miles. I had several areas that were a little too much - rooty, and a few deep crevices that almost threw me forward. It is amazing though how quickly your biking instincts come back all the way from childhood. I think with some practice I'll get better.

    Thanks again for the recommendations. I think I'll try Murrysville next.

  18. #18
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    Definitely try Pleasant Valley Park. I rode it last night for the first time. It flows great.

  19. #19
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    Well, I tried out Pleasant Valley Park, and it wasn't so pleasant for me. I went otb about 1 mile into Hank's trail.

    I'll definitely try it again, but this is the first time I went otb. Fortunately, no serious damage, but I am in quite a bit of discomfort. Landed on my left should/chest area, and I have (self diagnosis) bruised my ribs pretty good. Smacked my knee too, and it is bruised. I have been lumbering around since. Left arm/shoulder is messed up too.

    I am just about to turn 40, not very physically fit, and evidently, I have been riding too many rails to trails type stuff. This accident was a wake up call for me, and a bit depressing. Scared me too. I am not the super aggressive mountain biker like many of you. Roots, rocks, logs, and switchbacks are things I will have to work on. Guess I can't ride like I did when I was young.

    Messed up the bike a bit too, but I can fix it. May need the rim to be trued.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    Last edited by gilbertlikesbikes; 08-28-2011 at 08:28 PM.

  20. #20
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    just went to the pvp trails yesterday for the first time...they're pretty great! but you're right, they're a bit much with all the narrow-twisty single-track...
    cas im diggin a ditch where madness gives a bit.

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