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  1. #1
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Eastern Pa Bikepacking route

    Looking to formulate an North/south Bikepacking route in eastern Pa:

    Agenda
    1. Using as little pave as possible
    2. Camping locations
    3. Bike shops

    I would hope to avoid rough singletrack or really steep sections of such as most BPing has a element of weight on a loaded bike...

    I would feel the D&H/O&W R/T is the northern most section, and the D&L could be used as the southern section, but there are other trails and dirt roads I would like to add more to the west of these.

    http://www.nepa-rail-trails.org/

    Map - Delaware & Lehigh - Delaware & Lehigh
    Last edited by NEPMTBA; 09-22-2015 at 08:13 AM.

  2. #2
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    Basically coming from the south:

    Lancaster county, which has a lot of dirt roads, and plenty of great back roads with little traffic. As you head further north Lebanon, Schuykill, Northumberland, Montour, Columbia, Lycoming, Sullivan, Bradford the more linear dirt roads increase greatly!
    Last edited by NEPMTBA; 02-03-2016 at 05:38 PM.

  3. #3
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    Some random thoughts (N to S):
    From D&H in Whitehaven, somehow pick your way over to Lofty Road in Delano and ride the windmills over to Centralia.
    Head a little north to Aristes and ride across Roaring Creek (8 mile Rd or upper mining roads) to Natalie.
    From there you can utilize more dirt mining roads to Shamokin.
    ...then..IDK.. You either ride west until you hit the big river and ride pave for awhile. Or you have to start going against the grain in ridge and valley land, maybe somehow pick your way to Stony valley RT? Either way you're then down around Harrisburg.

  4. #4
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    jonz,

    Excellent I can imagine a trip through Weatherly on the railbed then up to the Greater Hazelton R/T and I'm sure there is a secret trail over to Lofty. I say secret cause at this time I'm sure it's private. Around Pottsville there are routes on old railbeds too.

    I had a chance to ride near Jamison City and plan to include a route through there on up to Eagles Mere. Great county up that way with lots of water and camping

  5. #5
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    You'll probably find this useful if looking for dirt roads. Some of them have been "fixed" by now but most still seem to be gravel / dirt.

    Preview Unpaved Roads
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  6. #6
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    AlexCuse, I just signed up to MTBR to tell you that map overlay is awesome and incredibly helpful to the likes of us who seek gravel routes. Where did you find it, and do you know if similar maps are available for other states?

  7. #7
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    You can find lots of info on abandoned railroads in New York state by googling "Russ Nelson"

    Ex:
    Inventory of Abandoned Railroad Rights of Way locator maps

  8. #8
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    Pedaling when it's dry
    And paddling when it's wet

    My insignificant blog:
    http://swampboy62.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
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    swampboy62

    That is excellent, I hope I can do that route in the future, so much to see!

    Thanks

  10. #10
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    Add a few links and info:

    What Is Bikepacking? - Good Rotations

    http://forums.mtbr.com/bikepacking-b...ad-998560.html

    I've been busy checking this route the past month on weekends. The Old Berwick Turnpike(OBT) in Pa, parts are dirt and other parts are used by traffic very little. This would make an excellent BP route in NePa But be prepared to climb!!!!!!!!! It does run through some of the most interesting areas of Pa. OBT runs within a mile or so of Mt Pisgah Staet Park, but no camping is allow there.
    Bradford County, Pennsylvania - Berwick Turnpike History

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bguiles View Post
    AlexCuse, I just signed up to MTBR to tell you that map overlay is awesome and incredibly helpful to the likes of us who seek gravel routes. Where did you find it, and do you know if similar maps are available for other states?
    Totally agree. Thanks!!!!

  12. #12
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    ^^ to update Berwick turnpike also called "Old Tioga Turnpike" and many other names.

    I traced the Old Berwick Turnpike (OBT) from Jonestown mountain to Rt 487, but what I seem to find is once this old road encounters a mountain it's namesake disappears, at least on google maps, where as the name of the mountain takes precedence for the road up and over, but since I roamed around the woods up there, and found no trace of an old road I assume it went over this mountain now the present day paved road. Other stories tell it as so...

    In my opinion trying to put myself in the old days of horses, They would need a rest, water, and feed, and Rt 487 is boring to say the least. The old stage coach did travel up rt 487 and was prolly the original route of the OBT then known as the Susquehanna and Tioga Turnpike. Confused yet?

    Coming forward the original way of the OBT wasn't through Jamison City,(read food and water) but the Sullivan Falls road which ends on top of the same mountain just a spot from downtown Ricketts. I have already ridden this route, so it is open and a beautiful dirt road. It is more scenic and gradual than Rt 487 and a 4.6 mile climb. It then passes Ganoga Lake back then called Long Pond.

    Just a note Ricketts Glen State park would make for a great camping location, but it is usually booked solid in summer months, sadly all the surrounding land is State Gameland and camping is not allowed, but light weight camping "just happens anywhere"...LOL.

    From Ganoga Lake at Painter Den creek and Spring Brook creek it seems to have disappeared for some reason, and finding it is very difficult, yet it appears as a dirt path then forms into a dirt road on the way to Lopez, but the connection to Ganoga Lake has vanished. Since I have traced and ridden the old Lehigh Valley railbed from Ricketts to Lopez this might be a better choice for my trip.

    Next...Lopez!

  13. #13
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    Continued from a southerly location

    Logged some miles looking for a good route...
    ...for my N/S Bike Packing route.

    None the less on a rain soaking day I was at least out on dirt!

    Lancaster area provides lots of opportunities to travel by bike, many miles of dirt roads exist, although they may not be direct, it's just what I'm looking for. I had more than a few surprises today, as the local animals come out to greet anyone who is traveling slow, like on a bike! I'm pretty sure they were quite amused by my presence.

    The NW River trail to the Lebanon Valley R/T looks to be the way so far, this will put me towards Berwick and the Berwick turnpike, in the long run.

  14. #14
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    On an added note...
    ...I'm lucky to have a newspaper reporter friend trampling around on the route of the Old Berwick turnpike, his last reports are very interesting as he has found segments of the old corduroy road and a very old cemetery.

  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Everything leads to something...
    ...look hard enough and paths will fall in front of you...
    ....just watch that first big step!
    Eastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160217_090554%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160217_092558%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160217_104300%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160217_105634%5B1%5D.jpg
    It's a way of future change, that lot's of really cool old farm roads were once the main route of travel have been ended and cut off of civilization by the domain of an Interstate highway system. Making them the perfect way to travel by bicycle, little use and very rustic! Note to self "Better bring climbing gear"

  17. #17
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    Looks like the first BP for 2016 will be in a few weeks. From Tobyhanna SP to home, a distance of 40 or so miles. Having done this before it will take a bit of recon this weekend to make sure everything is open and passable. Especially through the un-exploded ordinates in the park...LOL Yes Suzanna, don't roam dem woods!

    From the park website:
    Caution: Please Read

    "Visitors using more remote and undeveloped areas of Tobyhanna State Park should be aware that they could encounter old, unexploded artillery shells. Three types of shells have been found in the park. The largest projectile is 18 to 24 inches in length and about 6 inches in diameter. The medium projectile is 2.5 inches in diameter and from 10 to 14 inches in length. The smallest projectile is 3 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter. Shells are found in severely rusted condition without any recognizable markings or imprints. Their overall appearance is that of a pointed cylinder of rusted steel. Visitors encountering such items should not touch, attempt to move or otherwise disturb the items, and should call the park office and report the location to insure proper disposal"

    With that said, back to the route. There are no paved sections on this ride, except for "crossing" the paved roads, all dirt all the way to a 1/4 mile from the end. They have built a new right of way for the gas line and that might have a few muddy sections to cross, but really just another reason to pre-ride a great desolate area...LOL I have found a few wilderness trout streams that should hold fish also.

    There is a very good possibility the Suscon Screamer might join us for the ride since we will be passing through his domain. I did mention this is a very desolate area didn't I?
    Pennsylvania Haunts & History: Suscon Screamer

  18. #18
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    Looking forward to summer

    Really appreciate these posts. I live in CA, but spend the occasional week in Wayne County, where we have family. Hoping to ride the D&H and O&W trails this summer. Last summer did a little bit of roaming between Calicoon and Honesdale, following old turnpikes.
    Eastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_1538.jpg
    Eastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_1543.jpg

    For now I gotta content myself with the San Gabes
    Eastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_2011.jpg

    -Dave

  19. #19
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    Great Pics!

    I try to add as much as I can knowing others will follow and enjoy the routes!

  20. #20
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    Dave,

    Here's a map of our local trails in that area...
    ...if you have any questions, or come in to visit, and would like to ride let me know!
    Honesdale, PA Mountain Bike Trails | Mountain biking in Honesdale, PA || SINGLETRACKS.COM

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Dave,

    Here's a map of our local trails in that area...
    ...if you have any questions, or come in to visit, and would like to ride let me know!
    Honesdale, PA Mountain Bike Trails | Mountain biking in Honesdale, PA || SINGLETRACKS.COM
    Thanks for the link! I've roamed Prompton SP already. It's --- GREEN!!! Not so used to that.

    Eastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_1563.jpg

    Definitely will get in touch when in the area.

    -Dave

  22. #22
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    OK, so back to the next big thing...
    ...20 miles in all yesterday covered the first half of the above mentioned BP trip

    Lots of new stuff happening out in the wild blue yonder, even found an old woods road I used to ride the CT70 on when I was a kid, thanks to Jeremy for the info, he is the next generation of moto explorer. The old road is now just a a singletrack grass path...Excellent! Being as that road still exists, now it opens another route and can be used as a hub for future rides in other directions. Of course if you want to climb one route is all uphill, while the other is fairly level.

    Everything is open and rideable! There "are" trout in the streams. Cooking these Wild Brook trout in a dutch oven will take mere seconds. A great food source. The beavers have been busy rerouting a few of the streams creating new ponds. The forest service has placed rustic camping spots with fire pits in certain places. Way to open for my needs as they look more like party spots than basic camping locations, but none the less they made the effort! The Forest service has added a new snowmobile route also. The woods are great this time of year, stuff is starting to bloom and the Teaberry is everywhere.

    Eastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_131044%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_131524%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_132048%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_133631%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_140835%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_132729%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_134233%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_134810%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_135309%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_141710%5B1%5D.jpgEastern Pa Bikepacking route-img_20160312_131333%5B1%5D.jpg

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    On an added note...
    ...I'm lucky to have a newspaper reporter friend trampling around on the route of the Old Berwick turnpike, his last reports are very interesting as he has found segments of the old corduroy road and a very old cemetery.

    We were up in Dushore this weekend, rode over to Lopez and explored SGL13 for a bit. We had limited time so had to turn around. We took Old Berwick from the intersection with Masonite. At this gate there was a small plaque indicating no bikes or horses.

    I am considering some bike packing from the place in Dushore to either the Haystacks on the Loyalsock, Sones Pond or Worlds End.

    Did your friend tell you whether it is possible to bust through to Ganoga Lake? That is without chainsaw and pushing knee deep in swamp. There may be an alternate by using Newell Rd.

    The route from Lopez to Ringdale ( towards the Haystacks) meets private property before 220 and not likley possible to get through without confrontation.

    From Lopez to Lake Mokoma looks good except for the exit which may be blocked.

    thoughts??....is there a concern running into the PGC during the summer?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailnimal View Post
    Did your friend tell you whether it is possible to bust through to Ganoga Lake? That is without chainsaw and pushing knee deep in swamp. There may be an alternate by using Newell Rd.
    Ganoga it is private, and there is a trail off the backside by Sullivan Falls, not really the correct alignment, but this is why I spoke of coming up from Jamison City taking the long climb up Sullivan Falls road and ending up on Rt487. From there the place is a swamp from the old mill pond once at Ricketts, pretty much no way around that without getting really wet and mucky.

    The old Lehigh Valley railbed heads to Mildred and Lopez then Dushore, a few wet spots back there as well and private sections.

    I'm not for condoning running through private property and will do more research to gain access.

    Other options are South Branch Road, the Meat trail then Rt3001, not really out of the way just over a bit. I was up there this past weekend on Dutchman Mt, and found a few other alignments that will work. A trip up the old switchbacks at Kasson Brook to Coalbed swamp dropping into the coal mines on top are interesting, but badly grown in. You could only do that route when the leaves are off then trees, unless you know your way around up that way. With that said just better off to use Rt3001 from the CCC and then the old Jennings Brother's mine right of way to Murray.

    You could also do a mega run and head up towards Painter Den pond and come in the backside of Lopez via Grassy Hollow Rd

    Pretty much depends on where you wanna end up.

  25. #25
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    Found a page on Facebook called 'Metrotrails' that seems to know an awful lot about the old roads, railroads, and trails in eastern PA, southern NY and NJ.

    It might be worthwhile for you to check them out and see how far their knowledge goes.

    Good luck.

    Steve Z
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    And paddling when it's wet

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    ^^ Steve:

    Thanks!

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