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  1. #1
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    MTB based town in PA Jim Thorpe possible ?

    I recently rode down in NC at Dupont and we rented bikes in Brevard NC which isnt far out of Ashville. It seemed like the entire town is mountain bike based (bars, several shops, multiple trails etc). I got to wondering if we had, or could we have something similar here.

    A few posts back I mentioned trails around Jim Thorpe which I think would make a great "Brevard" type destination but a lot of the trail reviews say anything technical there isnt marked well.

    Is there an active mtb group in that area ? has anyone given thought to trying to make certain towns-areas very mountain bike friendly as a whole for all levels of bikers ?

    Thanks, I had a great time down there being surrounded by hundreds of other bikers and would love to have something very similar here.

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    I don't know the trails up there, but as a SEPA rider it would be great to have a place up that way to do 1-3 day riding trips. Rays town lake is setup that way and I think MT. penn has aspirations to be a destination too.


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    I've heard real good things about Raystown but didnt think there was a town per se that could be kind of a after ride hangout, plus I like Jim Thorpes proximity to Philly for selfish reasons.

    Like you were saying it would be great to have an area that is a MTB "destination" like Brevard is. I know we will never have a Park City but with all of PA's awesome trails I think creating a destination place would be fairly easy

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    Can't see it ever happening in JT. They had an opportunity in the early 90s. Most of the people making money off tourism aren't natives and many of the natives think the tourists are just a nuisance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GT_guy View Post
    Can't see it ever happening in JT. They had an opportunity in the early 90s. Most of the people making money off tourism aren't natives and many of the natives think the tourists are just a nuisance.

    This. It once WAS Brevard. Then the town decided to close certain area's and made it less friendly towards mountain bikers.

    Both Pisgah and Dupont are amazing but honestly, the JT area is just as good. It could have been a NE mecca.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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    I'm glad you know the exact area I'm talking about I had so much fun in Brevard after the ride I couldn't help but think that we could have things ten times as good within an hour and a half drive from Philly

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    Mt Penn / Reading has potential. 3 trail systems in town and many more within 30 minutes. The city is also very open to mtb tourism.

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    Going to be really hard to do this without more cooperation from the PA Game Commission which controls so much land in the JT area.

    Anyone who knows the history of this agency and mountain biking knows their cooperation won't be happening anytime soon. Also they helped kill off mtbing there originally just when it had a real chance.

    So what you have today is the D and L railtrail and a bunch of poorly-publicized single track that you need a local to show you around. Add in an apparent lack of interest in mtbing by Carbon County, Jim Thorpe Borough, and the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau and I'd say making JT into a mtb mecca isn't likely anyone soon.

    Also mentioned by someone else, native Mauch Chunkers don't tend to like flatlander tourists from Philly, N.Y., and Jersey anyway. At least that was true when I was growing up just a few miles south of there.

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    That stinks, when we were there most everyone was welcoming and I (again) would love it if the single track trails could be marked well to encourage riders to come there.

    OTE=Clayncedar;13206060]Going to be really hard to do this without more cooperation from the PA Game Commission which controls so much land in the JT area.

    Anyone who knows the history of this agency and mountain biking knows their cooperation won't be happening anytime soon. Also they helped kill off mtbing there originally just when it had a real chance.

    So what you have today is the D and L railtrail and a bunch of poorly-publicized single track that you need a local to show you around. Add in an apparent lack of interest in mtbing by Carbon County, Jim Thorpe Borough, and the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau and I'd say making JT into a mtb mecca isn't likely anyone soon.

    Also mentioned by someone else, native Mauch Chunkers don't tend to like flatlander tourists from Philly, N.Y., and Jersey anyway. At least that was true when I was growing up just a few miles south of there.[/QUOTE]

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    I totally agree with you, lpranger467. It is sad. And the locals are good and friendly people at heart - my own family was coalcracker born and bred next door in Schuylkill County. It's just not a particularly progressive self-starting area and the state of PA, and its various agencies, haven't really paid much attention to it either since the 1870s Molly Maguires rebellion, I swear.

    The worst thing is that Carbon County has one of the highest unemployment rates in eastern PA and always has. With its highway access and scenery it SHOULD be focusing bigtime on non-winter outdoors-related tourism like mtbing, kayaking, and rock climbing more than it does. But old habits are hard to break so skiing seems to get most of the attention other than Blue Mt. running some DH on weekends.

    The other issue is that the area is fairly old and decidedly sedentary like a lot of Appalachia (fairly negative health habits like smoking, obesity,etc.) according to the statistics, unlike some places in the U.S. South and West where mtbing is a thing. Many people around there who do have jobs spend their time driving to relatively low-paying ones in warehousing, retail, etc down in the Allentown-Bethlehem area. You have to have a young, physically-active local population base with disposable income to support the infrastructure for a real mtbing town. The current JT ain't it.

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    Thanks for the reply again, like you said its too bad because the aesthetics of the town are beautiful and not easily found elsewhere; as a matter of fact while Brevard was awesome I would say that JT is visually more awe inspiring with its high hills and rivers.

    I would hope that the possibility of tourism dollars in within the most populated area of the U.S. would change some minds up there, and maybe I'm looking at this to simplistically but it seems so easily attainable if they would just mark and "market" their trails and other summer activities (climbing etc).

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    Awesome discussion. 👍 I wish more people like you were interested in the revitalization of that area, especially for mtbing.

    That's the shame of it. Young people with ambition generally move away for jobs and stuff to do. I ended up in suburban Philly myself after living up there for 35 years - simply no decent work there.

    The elderly, those without the resources to relocate, and Philly, NY, and NJ residents with weekend vacay homes in Penn Forest Township seem to be the only ones left there. Thus, IMHO there's no proactive native-born leadership to think outside the box and not a lot of excitement for outsiders with big ideas either.

    That's the problem with the western Poconos and Coal Region. So much potential crippled by politics and a lousy economy for like the last 60 years. Even getting a frikken pedestrian/bike bridge over the Lehigh River in JT to link the D&L trail took a zillion years to get started and that's one of the county's biggest tourist attractions.

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    Reading, on the other hand, recognizes that it needs tourism of all kinds and has been far more friendly to mountain biking.

    The presence of Mount Penn, Neversink Mountain, Blue Marsh Lake, and the ongoing work to develop a decent trail along the Schuylkill River reflect the possibility.

    Berks Area Mountain Biking Association is relatively new but making some real strides over that way towards the goal.

    And no PA Game Commission presence in the vicinity. ☺

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    This. It once WAS Brevard. Then the town decided to close certain area's and made it less friendly towards mountain bikers.

    Both Pisgah and Dupont are amazing but honestly, the JT area is just as good. It could have been a NE mecca.
    This, spot on!

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    Tamaqua was to be the new JT and had a chance back in the day, John Rich properties, and Rich Chwatski(sp)did mt bike races a few years over there! But has all dried up, sad!

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    I'm not very familiar with Reading and that area (still fairly new to PA) I had liked that I could get from home (Media) to JT in just over an hour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clayncedar View Post
    Reading, on the other hand, recognizes that it needs tourism of all kinds and has been far more friendly to mountain biking.

    The presence of Mount Penn, Neversink Mountain, Blue Marsh Lake, and the ongoing work to develop a decent trail along the Schuylkill River reflect the possibility.

    Berks Area Mountain Biking Association is relatively new but making some real strides over that way towards the goal.

    And no PA Game Commission presence in the vicinity. ☺

  17. #17
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    This is really too bad, frankly between NYC/Philly and maybe even Baltimore there are so many people who would flock here for active weekend events. I (we) loved JT for the activities they have now, if you threw in MTB it would be over the top.

    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    This, spot on!

  18. #18
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    Went to JT anually with a couple of families for a weekend of riding close to 20 years ago. We'd get in a ton of riding and there were trails for all levels. I couldn't believe the business the bike shops were doing. Also used to be a festival there. Sadly with antagonism from PA Game Commission it's pretty much all gone. Surprised the local Chamber of Commerce wasn't able to prevail and keep it going.
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    A local old-timer who doesn't ride anymore has told me many stories of his mountainbiking adventures all over the US. The conversations always include him saying something about them regularly riding the trails at JimThorpe.

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    There was talk about 4-5 years ago about maybe resurrecting the festival, but it pretty much died out. I'm not sure how hard the chamber tried to keep things going. I would ride JT regularly since I only lived on the other side of the Broad Mtn. You always ran into other bikers whatever trail you were on. Now you might be lucky if you saw anyone. Trails are all still there and rideable, but none are marked. There are some new trails being built near the Lake Hauto area. Some sweet singletrack from what I hear.
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    I live close enough to ride there and dont bother. I've ridden there but TBH I'd rather stay away from that tourest trap area if I have a choice. All they want is silly rail trails and bike trains trips and tourist with fat wallets. I do enjoy riding Tamaqua area sometimes but I dont go often.
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  22. #22
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    Back in the day we didn't rely on the internet! Heck there was none! we rode it all...

    ...being an ole schooler and participant of many JT MTBWs, it's all there except maybe for Mauch Chunk Ridge aka Arner's property. It's all blown open now and I don't suggest you ride there being private, but that's only a small window of what's there. Don't let the internet stories ruin your riding. There are new connections and trails that make JT better than it ever was. Great thing is you will have it all to yourself pretty much now a days!

    Mt Biking is about exploring, and if you do you won't be sorry! I ride there regularly and can say the old stuff is a bit grown in but us oldies keep it just open enough to enjoy! No one is going to lead you by the hand now a days through JT's trails, so do your research ahead of time, and go learn the secrets JT has to keep.

    Hometown, Hauto, Tamaqua, Neskie, Lofty, Weatherly, Shenandoah, want me to keep going? They are all connected! Heck I can ride from Mt Top, Hazelton to JT, it's one big mega land mass!

    By the way the Moto guys do a great job of keeping stuff open, give a wave if ya see them!

    Ride it...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scubapiper View Post
    Went to JT anually with a couple of families for a weekend of riding close to 20 years ago. We'd get in a ton of riding and there were trails for all levels. I couldn't believe the business the bike shops were doing. Also used to be a festival there. Sadly with antagonism from PA Game Commission it's pretty much all gone. Surprised the local Chamber of Commerce wasn't able to prevail and keep it going.
    Yes, I never understood the antagonism from PA Game Commission. That area still draws people but nothing like when all the mountain-bikers were there. We used to stay in the main hotel on main street and even they started to give us problems.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Yes, I never understood the antagonism from PA Game Commission.
    I've only been here since '09 but my uninformed take on it is two fold

    - there were surely land use conflicts between MTB and hunting community, to what degree? I don't know, I'd be surprised if there weren't both trivial and horrible cases.

    - PGC may believe the trail cyclists negatively affect the wildlife. It's possible, just not very likely. I watched disputes like this in TX go on for a decade and regardless of scientific investigation there was nothing the cycling community could to do convince land managers otherwise. I'm guessing probably the same here.

    - PGC has more than a bit of "it's our land get off" attitude that I have seen, not unique to them.

    The solution?

    Only solution I can think if would be for *every* MTBer to be a registered hunter AND enough MTBers get work within the PGC AND stick to it long enough to effect policy change.

    {sigh}

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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    I've only been here since '09 but my uninformed take on it is two fold

    - there were surely land use conflicts between MTB and hunting community, to what degree? I don't know, I'd be surprised if there weren't both trivial and horrible cases.

    - PGC may believe the trail cyclists negatively affect the wildlife. It's possible, just not very likely. I watched disputes like this in TX go on for a decade and regardless of scientific investigation there was nothing the cycling community could to do convince land managers otherwise. I'm guessing probably the same here.

    - PGC has more than a bit of "it's our land get off" attitude that I have seen, not unique to them.

    The solution?

    Only solution I can think if would be for *every* MTBer to be a registered hunter AND enough MTBers get work within the PGC AND stick to it long enough to effect policy change.

    {sigh}
    The PGC has actually gotten more conservative with general public access to its lands over the years even as hunting #'s have dwindled with older generations dying off.

    Not the best way to conduct public relations.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Mt Biking is about exploring, and if you do you won't be sorry! I ride there regularly and can say the old stuff is a bit grown in but us oldies keep it just open enough to enjoy! No one is going to lead you by the hand now a days through JT's trails, so do your research ahead of time, and go learn the secrets JT has to keep.

    Hometown, Hauto, Tamaqua, Neskie, Lofty, Weatherly, Shenandoah, want me to keep going? They are all connected! Heck I can ride from Mt Top, Hazelton to JT, it's one big mega land mass!
    Great information and sounds like there's some great riding. The issue for me is that I'm not likely to drive 2+ hours to see if I can find the sweet single track. Been there done that. For me I just end up being frustrated. I don't mind doing some exploring within an hour or so from home but what used to be great about JT and what makes destinations I enjoy great is the ability to go and actually ride the great trails not spend time searching for buried treasure. I also used to take the kids, they really hated it when I heard of some great trails and we traveled there only to not be able to find the good stuff. I'll never forget one ride where I was exploring a semi-local trail system. We had been on this crappy trail that the equestrians had pretty much torn up. It wasn't a lot of fun but I was hopeful that something better was there. After about :15 my son said "Dad this is why people hate riding with you, this is horrible and you just keep going". We gave up and I went back alone another time. Seems the trails were all pretty sucky and not worth a :10 drive let alone the hours drive they were.

    My point is that JT used to be a "destination" worthy of a weekend trip. Sounds like it still is IF you know where to look. Great for locals but not so much for someone looking for a weekend of riding.
    Last edited by Scubapiper; 06-30-2017 at 01:08 PM.
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  27. #27
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    The PGC has no public relations. It's all just politics. It's their way or no way. You either live with it or violate it. Where other areas across the country are growing and working with the biking community, JT is just stuck in reverse. Seems they don't want to grow. Just stay the "Switzerland of the US".
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Back in the day we didn't rely on the internet! Heck there was none! we rode it all...

    ...being an ole schooler and participant of many JT MTBWs, it's all there except maybe for Mauch Chunk Ridge aka Arner's property. It's all blown open now and I don't suggest you ride there being private, but that's only a small window of what's there. Don't let the internet stories ruin your riding. There are new connections and trails that make JT better than it ever was. Great thing is you will have it all to yourself pretty much now a days!

    Mt Biking is about exploring, and if you do you won't be sorry! I ride there regularly and can say the old stuff is a bit grown in but us oldies keep it just open enough to enjoy! No one is going to lead you by the hand now a days through JT's trails, so do your research ahead of time, and go learn the secrets JT has to keep.

    Hometown, Hauto, Tamaqua, Neskie, Lofty, Weatherly, Shenandoah, want me to keep going? They are all connected! Heck I can ride from Mt Top, Hazelton to JT, it's one big mega land mass!

    By the way the Moto guys do a great job of keeping stuff open, give a wave if ya see them!

    Ride it...
    So true - you're right, there is good stuff to ride around there but the local chambers of commerce and county tourism bureaus gotta put out the welcome mat if they really want mtbr to visit. They're not doing that so those tourism dollars go elsewhere.

    If you're not a Skook or else from Carbon/Luzerne counties, you're not going to know Neskie = Nesquehoning; how to get to Hauto; or finding the flyspeck on the map that's Lofty. Figuring out where some random moto trail in the birches off a backroad in those places requires a local to guide you. Hell, I grew up south of Tamaqua and I'd be damned if I could find the singletrack I've heard starts at the western edge of town near the LCCC campus.

    Coal cracker mtbrs can find the good places to ride, someone from Philly or North Jersey? Not so much.

  29. #29
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    ^^ Your on the number, How did myself and Dutch Eagle, Arner and Van Dine do it? We went out rode, and rode more and worked more and more to get JT where it was in the heyday. The Local Gov didn't start the mt biking, riders did! Growing up here and riding all these years moto atv and mtb finding all the stuff out there was way fun. In todays riding culture riders want "instant" It can be had by using google maps, GE, mtbr project, heck there is way more now. People don't wanna look and do some preride research. Of course the alt is Raystown or a pay to ride place. You can't get lost at those places and someone is right around the corner to guide you.

    JT needs an ambassador mt biker/group who will actually step up, stick to it and do all the work, communications, and arrangements with local government in the JT area. Still no promise of being a success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    ^^ Your on the number, How did myself and Dutch Eagle, Arner and Van Dine do it? We went out rode, and rode more and worked more and more to get JT where it was in the heyday. The Local Gov didn't start the mt biking, riders did! Growing up here and riding all these years moto atv and mtb finding all the stuff out there was way fun. In todays riding culture riders want "instant" It can be had by using google maps, GE, mtbr project, heck there is way more now. People don't wanna look and do some preride research. Of course the alt is Raystown or a pay to ride place. You can't get lost at those places and someone is right around the corner to guide you.

    JT needs an ambassador mt biker/group who will actually step up, stick to it and do all the work, communications, and arrangements with local government in the JT area. Still no promise of being a success.
    Agreed.

    I think another issue is that much of the Coal Region is basically invisible to outsiders - it just doesn't register on the average mtbr's radar as a place to go to rather than drive through on their way to somewhere else.

    For many guys living in the Northeast U.S., NEPA isn't much more than I-80, I-81, the Pike and a little skiing now and then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayncedar View Post
    I think another issue is that much of the Coal Region is basically invisible to outsiders
    This.

    When I moved into the area (Wilkes-Barre) in '09 I was very happy to find the trail options around that I did, and very appreciative of the particular people that brought the new guy along on rides.

    It was clear very quickly though that even more than some other areas, that lacking local historical knowledge left one with the barest awareness and availability of singletrack, like seeing the tip of the green iceberg.

    Even today, 8 years later, while I know a bunch more of the region I still feel that way. I doubt I'll ever feel like I know the area, truly.

    And between left overs from the coal industry, PGC, and atv damage it's hard to decide to go exploring when 80% of that exploring results in "meh"

    It doesn't help that for the last couple years my work life has been ramping up into consistent and major stupidity, the effect being to make it extremely difficult to make invited- or group-rides, particularly during the week.

    For example, I'm typing this note during my lunch break while at work. Been here since 6am. Argh.

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    Go Ride Thorpe.....I ride there every weekend. (live 15 miles south of Thorpe.

    Some guys are working on clearing out the "good stuff" (Sweet singletrack) again.!

    Also....The classic trail, the American Standard is Now marked out....Not sure if whomever marked it had gotten permission....BUT it's Done.!......Red paint on the trees to follow.....So, now you don't even need a guide to hit 15 miles of Rocky fun single track.

    Enjoy Thorpe....Ride on.
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    ^^ this +1

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    Honestly, coming from Philly where we have 20+ miles of Wiss, driving for 90 minutes to get to maybe find some single track seems kind of....pointless? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get out and explore, but I'm not sure I'm going to commit 3 hours of round-trip driving to poke around hoping to find something cool. Especially as a new parent with precious little free time. I'm glad to hear that people are putting in the work though, the MTB scene in town sure as hell didn't come into being out of thin air. I hope it takes off again. Semi-locally, it looks like the scene out of Port Jervis seems to be a few steps ahead of the game, very exciting times!!

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    Well, you have a few resources at-hand if you tried.
    I would start with MTB Project: https://www.mtbproject.com/directory/8016719/jim-thorpe
    Great app that uses phone's gps to locate you on a map even if there is no service.
    surprisingly Trailforks has less than MTB project (usually they have more trails, but fewer 'routes' for visitors to follow).
    A bit dated (to their own demise): https://www.facebook.com/Nepmtba-Nor...6914687356975/

    And, well, this forum, where people may be available to ride.
    I mean, the Wiss has some variety, but, real talk, you are missing out on a lot if you just stay there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lwkwafi View Post
    And, well, this forum, where people may be available to ride.
    I mean, the Wiss has some variety, but, real talk, you are missing out on a lot if you just stay there.
    No doubt about it, I try to take my MTB whenever we go out of town, but it's good to have well established destinations in mind. But don't get me wrong, I'd love for Jim Thorpe to take off. Probably closes "real" mountain biking we have when coming from Philly.

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    I think there's a lot of stuff closer than 90 minutes to Philly, both in PA and NJ, some very different stuff too.

    Mt Penn, French Creek, Lake Nockamixon, Sourlands Nature Preserve, White Clay (never been but I read it's nice), Fair Hill, I'm sure there's others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    I think there's a lot of stuff closer than 90 minutes to Philly, both in PA and NJ, some very different stuff too.

    Mt Penn, French Creek, Lake Nockamixon, Sourlands Nature Preserve, White Clay (never been but I read it's nice), Fair Hill, I'm sure there's others.
    I've done Nockamixon, White Clay and Fair Hill- all pretty fun, more flowy, less tech which I like. But none are in locations that call to mind a small mountain town the way a place like Jim Thorpe or Port Jervis could.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roma258 View Post
    I've done Nockamixon, White Clay and Fair Hill- all pretty fun, more flowy, less tech which I like. But none are in locations that call to mind a small mountain town the way a place like Jim Thorpe or Port Jervis could.
    Try looking up the other NJ stuff, east and northeast of NYC to get away from the 'coastal effect ' ... may take more time though.

    The referenced sources have some solid trail info, as do JORBA group events. I have a GPS route or two that are worthy rides IMO up in Wawayanda, Ringwood that anyone is welcome to. I didn't originate them, found them via someone else, happy to share.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk

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    ...there was an attempt a few years back to build more trail via the Nature Conservancy behind Hauto, but it fizzled as far as I know.

    And com'on drop the 2003 Gamelands thing already! Way in the past!

    In the wayback... people were happy to ride up from the town and hit trails. They didn't care if it was the Switchback or a dirt road, it took them to the trails.

    Pay 5 bucks, park, get your ride on. Head up town, climb up the Wagon Road if you can! Hit the Switchback, From there the world is yours... Blue Ponds, Twin Peaks! Mauch Chunk Ridge, Broad Mountain Loop! Back at town grab a bite.. all this makes the town better and your trip a great memory!

    Lets look at the facts...

    JT has more broad spread out trails than other areas!
    JT has great singletrack!
    JT has AM... nuff said there!!!!!!
    JT has a campground!
    JT has a main street to get goods!
    JT has multiple parking trail heads!
    JT has R/Ts if your into that, or use it as a transport section!

    Logged thousands of miles at JT over the 30 or so years, never had a bad time at JT, never made it up the Wagon Road either without stopping, LOL still trying, maybe in the next life I sure have enough practice for that!

    ...and since your open to OT, Port Jervis is all that, and a stick of butta! Talk about trail network!!!!!! I rode with the "Mayor of PJ... He is a Mt Biker!

    Please by all means check out PJ. Myself and a few friends did the Snowballs Chance race in March, had pre-ridden last year, so why not support and hit the race, see what the skinny was. The town was all involved, if you wore a mt bike helmet in the town that day you were king. People were beeping at us and in a friendly way not cause we were in the way! DJ has done a wonderful thing the new JT basically...and ya know Lippman Park isn't too awful far from PJ... Total diff flowy, swoopy small town park.

    Com'on fellas, bucket list! Get out ride and support these places! I'd be sad if ya missed this shit!

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    FYI : There is some new trail built by Hauto. But you'll need a local to help you find it.
    LOVE THE RIDE!

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    Ahh... the Pine Tar trail...
    https://www.strava.com/activities/71999463

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    My impression, as an out-of-stater, who visits NEPA and Jim Thorpe with some frequency, is that JT has the potential but doesn't want it. The town has its winter festival and mug walk, the leaf turning festival, etc. It has the train ride. It has Mauch Chunk Lake. There are a few raft operators, at least one of which also has paintball and I think a zip line. It has Glen Onoko which was worth a day trip but has become too crowded. And it has both the Switchback trail and Leigh Valley rail trail. There seems to be interest in little else.

    The two bike shops seem interested only in renting bikes to shuttle people to the Switchback trail or Leigh Valley rail trail. PGC is only interested in hunting and fracking. Since much of the trail network is on or through SGL, that's a big issue. That's not unique to JT of course, and the town can't control PGC, which I assume exists for hunting so the focus is understandable. Yet, I also wonder whether JT could successfully influence PGC if it wanted to.

    I've heard about secret singletrack nirvana around JT, but I've never found it. There's information on American Standard, Deer Path, and the trails on Pisgah. Other trails escape the uninitiated. I wouldn't travel to search out lost or hidden trails.

    The Main Street has also taken a hit in the last few years. Bear Appetite, for example, was the best post-ride, non-alcoholic, meal stop around. It closed for a while and then re-opened. It's however not the same and not worth going into. This is where there's a bit of chicken and egg. Molly Maguire's, Moya, and Flow aren't going to cut it. Would more restaurants and bars open if riders flocked to JT? Neither bike shop could support an influx of riders looking for top quality service, gear and advice. Would that change if riders came?

    My sense is it all starts with the trails. Get the word out. Make it easy to find the trails and people will come to ride them. That should spur development of secondary support, like bike shops and restaurants. I get it if the locals want to keep it that way. But, if that's so, JT won't be a ride destination.

    There is a dedicated group of locals. I saw a guy ride up the aptly named Hill Rd, I presume to access either Switchback or Pisgah. That's like 1500' straight up. This was probably his lunch ride. That's a guy who can ride. The big question is whether the local riders want JT to be a ride destination. If so publicize and map the trails. People devoting scarce free time don't want to waste it looking for trails. That's time better spent riding trails. If not, that's cool but JT will stay a strictly local affair.

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    I go up to Jim Thorpe at least once or twice a year just for family camping and such, and itís almost heart breaking to know how much potential there could be (was) there.

    I used to go to the mt Bike festival every year, I had the trail book from the local bike shop, and everyone seemed pretty welcoming...seemed like it was on itís way to being a mt bike mecca and the rocky trails were just so great.

    Fast forward a few years (probably more than 10!) and Iíve made a few attempts to ride out there and they just didnít go that well. It wasnít really clear to me where to ride anymore, but worse, it seemed like maybe we were trespassing in some areas or not really suppose to be riding in others. This compounded with no longer feeling the same welcoming vibe really turned me off to the whole thing. Iím fine getting lost a bit in search of good trails, but if Iím not familiar with the area and how people are going to react if you end up on a trail youíre really not suppose to be on, Iím just not interested.

    So after a few attempts Iíve resigned myself to just camping and taking the kids on the rail trail. For a brief moment prior to my last few experiences I even considered searching for a vacation cabin of sorts since itís so close to philly and the area is so nice...but unless things change it ainít gonna happen.

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    I was just contacted by one of the bike shops up there that I initially emailed. They put me in contact with the local MT group on facebook (bright path cycle club). Apparently there is some issue with the folks at the state level opening some of their land for riding. Go search out this group if your curious it was pretty informative

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnangry View Post
    My impression, as an out-of-stater, who visits NEPA and Jim Thorpe with some frequency, is that JT has the potential but doesn't want it. The town has its winter festival and mug walk, the leaf turning festival, etc. It has the train ride. It has Mauch Chunk Lake. There are a few raft operators, at least one of which also has paintball and I think a zip line. It has Glen Onoko which was worth a day trip but has become too crowded. And it has both the Switchback trail and Leigh Valley rail trail. There seems to be interest in little else.

    The two bike shops seem interested only in renting bikes to shuttle people to the Switchback trail or Leigh Valley rail trail. PGC is only interested in hunting and fracking. Since much of the trail network is on or through SGL, that's a big issue. That's not unique to JT of course, and the town can't control PGC, which I assume exists for hunting so the focus is understandable. Yet, I also wonder whether JT could successfully influence PGC if it wanted to.

    I've heard about secret singletrack nirvana around JT, but I've never found it. There's information on American Standard, Deer Path, and the trails on Pisgah. Other trails escape the uninitiated. I wouldn't travel to search out lost or hidden trails.

    The Main Street has also taken a hit in the last few years. Bear Appetite, for example, was the best post-ride, non-alcoholic, meal stop around. It closed for a while and then re-opened. It's however not the same and not worth going into. This is where there's a bit of chicken and egg. Molly Maguire's, Moya, and Flow aren't going to cut it. Would more restaurants and bars open if riders flocked to JT? Neither bike shop could support an influx of riders looking for top quality service, gear and advice. Would that change if riders came?

    My sense is it all starts with the trails. Get the word out. Make it easy to find the trails and people will come to ride them. That should spur development of secondary support, like bike shops and restaurants. I get it if the locals want to keep it that way. But, if that's so, JT won't be a ride destination.

    There is a dedicated group of locals. I saw a guy ride up the aptly named Hill Rd, I presume to access either Switchback or Pisgah. That's like 1500' straight up. This was probably his lunch ride. That's a guy who can ride. The big question is whether the local riders want JT to be a ride destination. If so publicize and map the trails. People devoting scarce free time don't want to waste it looking for trails. That's time better spent riding trails. If not, that's cool but JT will stay a strictly local affair.
    So well put sir, this was my thoughts exactly that I dont want to have to search forever for a good ride. If it was mapped and marked people would come.

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    Read this article from 1990 for some perspective. Tourism Awakens, Startles Jim Thorpe - tribunedigital-mcall

    Elissa Marsden in the article and her husband Tom bought a prime piece of real estate and opened Blue Mountain Sports right across from the train station. In the early 90's it was more of a bike shop and a pretty big Cannondale dealer.

    There were a few locals that were into MTBs. A local teacher in JT assembled the trail map book that was sold in the shop. I think they are still selling photocopies of the pages today to day trippers. Most of the trails were on SGL and PGC didn't notice or care at that time. The ban that came later got its start in central PA.

    Mountain Bike magazine was spun off of Bicycling in nearby Emmaus and several of the editors would head up to JT to ride and test/photo bikes for the magazine. IMO that's what's largely responsible for the hype of JT as a destination. It got some national exposure back in the day.

    Mountain Bike Weekend got started when the county was also looking for business at the relatively new Mauch Chunk Lake Park. There was some connection with Dirt Rag Magazine that helped promote it. (remember, this is early days of the internet - magazines still ruled) It helped fill campsites in that time but eventually the county realized they were shutting down the entire park for what had become an individual's commercial operation so they ended it.

    The biggest issue in JT is access. There's only1 road in/out and there is nowhere to park. Because of the geography this isn't going to change. It's also the county seat, so there is lots of govt business/traffic in town.
    When the bulk of the trails were on SGL, you could avoid town all together and many likely did.

    The rental/shuttle/rail trail crowd is who comes into down and so that's where the focus turned.

    btw, Elissa Marsden is now Elissa Garafalo, executive director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpranger467 View Post
    I was just contacted by one of the bike shops up there that I initially emailed. They put me in contact with the local MT group on facebook (bright path cycle club). Apparently there is some issue with the folks at the state level opening some of their land for riding. Go search out this group if your curious it was pretty informative
    Lately, it has come down to this: The state is generally anti-mountain biking which is unfortunate since between state parks, farmlands, and state forest - it owns a lot of Carbon County.

    For just one example, Hickory Run State Park is vast and yet bans mountain biking. There's no legitimate reason why this park couldn't accomodate the sport on a sustainable trail system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpranger467 View Post
    So well put sir, this was my thoughts exactly that I dont want to have to search forever for a good ride. If it was mapped and marked people would come.
    So true but the most successful places nationally attracting mtbing tourist dollars make it evident that they're welcoming and that they WANT you as a mtbr there. JT doesn't give off this vibe and maps and some signage would represent only the start of what they would need to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnangry View Post
    My impression, as an out-of-stater, who visits NEPA and Jim Thorpe with some frequency, is that JT has the potential but doesn't want it. The town has its winter festival and mug walk, the leaf turning festival, etc. It has the train ride. It has Mauch Chunk Lake. There are a few raft operators, at least one of which also has paintball and I think a zip line. It has Glen Onoko which was worth a day trip but has become too crowded. And it has both the Switchback trail and Leigh Valley rail trail. There seems to be interest in little else.

    The two bike shops seem interested only in renting bikes to shuttle people to the Switchback trail or Leigh Valley rail trail. PGC is only interested in hunting and fracking. Since much of the trail network is on or through SGL, that's a big issue. That's not unique to JT of course, and the town can't control PGC, which I assume exists for hunting so the focus is understandable. Yet, I also wonder whether JT could successfully influence PGC if it wanted to.

    I've heard about secret singletrack nirvana around JT, but I've never found it. There's information on American Standard, Deer Path, and the trails on Pisgah. Other trails escape the uninitiated. I wouldn't travel to search out lost or hidden trails.

    The Main Street has also taken a hit in the last few years. Bear Appetite, for example, was the best post-ride, non-alcoholic, meal stop around. It closed for a while and then re-opened. It's however not the same and not worth going into. This is where there's a bit of chicken and egg. Molly Maguire's, Moya, and Flow aren't going to cut it. Would more restaurants and bars open if riders flocked to JT? Neither bike shop could support an influx of riders looking for top quality service, gear and advice. Would that change if riders came?

    My sense is it all starts with the trails. Get the word out. Make it easy to find the trails and people will come to ride them. That should spur development of secondary support, like bike shops and restaurants. I get it if the locals want to keep it that way. But, if that's so, JT won't be a ride destination.

    There is a dedicated group of locals. I saw a guy ride up the aptly named Hill Rd, I presume to access either Switchback or Pisgah. That's like 1500' straight up. This was probably his lunch ride. That's a guy who can ride. The big question is whether the local riders want JT to be a ride destination. If so publicize and map the trails. People devoting scarce free time don't want to waste it looking for trails. That's time better spent riding trails. If not, that's cool but JT will stay a strictly local affair.
    Yep. This.

    For what is one of the poorest counties with the highest unemployment rates in the region anywhere in the eastern half of the state . . . . and which emphasizes fall foliage and ski tourism so heavily to bring needed dollars in from richer places south and east. Carbon sure knows how to leave easy mtbing $ on the table.

    As for the local riders, I don't see any reason why they'd want their under-the-radar trails filled with out-of-staters anyway. They would probably prefer it as it is now.

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    We have Ridley Creek SP here in Media (PA) and it too is closed for MTB. a few initiatives have started to open it but so far all have failed. Funny thing is paved trail in park is always busy but the off road trails are never busy and need maintenance that our groups would do

    Quote Originally Posted by Clayncedar View Post
    Lately, it has come down to this: The state is generally anti-mountain biking which is unfortunate since between state parks, farmlands, and state forest - it owns a lot of Carbon County.

    For just one example, Hickory Run State Park is vast and yet bans mountain biking. There's no legitimate reason why this park couldn't accomodate the sport on a sustainable trail system.

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    Rode JT yesterday, stopped by the campground, full to capacity. Rode basically Twin Peaks backwards! Had the place to ourselves. Great time! Brought a friend who never rode JT. Now he says he will ride JT many more times and wanted to do a different ride each time! He was completely amazed by the tour I showed him from one mt top to the other. Very hard to find another area around that has the views JT does!

    This spawned the future idea to camp once in July and once in August. Which brought me right back to the old days riding from the campground to the trail out the back! Simply amazing that we rode all around and only saw 2 hikers and one runner. In fact more runners are using the trails than anyone else, and we were on the main known trails.

    So we bought food and gas in town and helped JT a bit by doing so, felt great to think about what once was and how it still is...

    ...a kinder, gentler, quieter JT with the same killer climbs and rocks!
    ...long live JT

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Brought a friend who never rode JT. Now he says he will ride JT many more times and wanted to do a different ride each time! He was completely amazed by the tour I showed him from one mt top to the other.
    The friend was definitely lucky to have you to guide him. 👍

    Mauch Chunk has some awesome stuff to ride but the average flatlander is SOL if they don't have a local to shown them around. And the reality for 99% of those guys is that they don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpranger467 View Post
    We have Ridley Creek SP here in Media (PA) and it too is closed for MTB. a few initiatives have started to open it but so far all have failed. Funny thing is paved trail in park is always busy but the off road trails are never busy and need maintenance that our groups would do
    Yeah, I heard that actually. Fortunately, there are exceptions. Nockamixon S.P. in Upper Bucks County has apparently been very supportive and the success of the trail system there reflects that positive relationship between it and local mtbr trailbuilders. I'm pretty sure that could be recreated elsewhere with the right openminded people working together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayncedar View Post
    The friend was definitely lucky to have you to guide him. 👍

    Mauch Chunk has some awesome stuff to ride but the average flatlander is SOL if they don't have a local to shown them around. And the reality for 99% of those guys is that they don't.
    JT never was a well marked trail system, it was always a cult following and you explored to find amazing stuff, as it is today! I don't understand why in this day and age anyone wouldn't be able to find their way around with all the GPS based phones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    JT never was a well marked trail system, it was always a cult following and you explored to find amazing stuff, as it is today! I don't understand why in this day and age anyone wouldn't be able to find their way around with all the GPS based phones.
    I certainly agree. The old-school JT mtb scene had a certain element to it that was pure fun. However, that was then and this is now.

    If I had to guess by playing Devil's advocate, I'd suggest that it's because today the average dude from Lansdale, PA or Morristown, N.J. isn't willing to drive a hour and a half or so to the Coal Region to ride around a mountainside looking for relatively obscure trails by phone. If they were, there would be crowds of mtbr everywhere in Carbon County.

    This kind of rider isn't particularly adventurous or patient. They want quick access to get in and out. Decent restaurants/brewpub. Maybe a good local mtb-oriented shop. And a well-marked and maintained trail system. JT doesn't offer enough of these "welcome mat" elements to achieve critical mass.

    And that's OK, it is what it is. JT, like any other place, will only ever be whatever it itself is, willing to aspire to. Catering to mtbr isn't either on the state's or the locals' agenda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    JT never was a well marked trail system, it was always a cult following and you explored to find amazing stuff, as it is today! I don't understand why in this day and age anyone wouldn't be able to find their way around with all the GPS based phones.
    We have a little book full of all the trails in JT - sold by both of the bike shops in town. I think last time I looked, half of those trails were no longer open to ride.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    We have a little book full of all the trails in JT - sold by both of the bike shops in town. I think last time I looked, half of those trails were no longer open to ride.
    I got all them too, your looking at "history books" from the past. I agree everything changes, but more has been added and expanded. I ride there quite often have found many new ways to access and never had a problem... Still lots of snakes though!

    Here's something newer just for you!
    https://www.mtbproject.com/directory/8016719/jim-thorpe

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    ^^I pick "then", but I can do "now" also, lots of good food in JT and a downtown atmosphere that is cool also.

    Were you at any of the JTMTBWs? Do you ride there now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    I got all them too, your looking at "history books" from the past. I agree everything changes, but more has been added and expanded. I ride there quite often have found many new ways to access and never had a problem... Still lots of snakes though!
    Exactly the point. JT reportedly has plenty to offer if you're in the know. That's great, but it's not going to make JT a destination. If there's interest in JT as a destination the singletrack bliss needs to be publicized. Existing maps are largely outdated. Trailforks, MTBProject and Strava have nothing beyond Pisagh, Switchback and American Standard/Broad Mountain. Plenty of riders aren't particularly lazy and spend a good amount of time researching new and legal trails to ride. They're perfectly content exploring local rides. However, they're not traveling in the hopes of finding trails. That's just not a good use of precious but limited riding time. I'm also not going to ride trails that I don't know are legal. It's not good for local riders when out-of-towners come in to ride and inadvertently ride trails closed to mountain bikes and thereby ruin things for everyone.

    I'm sure JT is a cool place to ride. But, if the question is whether it's a cool destination, the answer is not at this point. That's perfectly fine if the JT scene stays local. If there's interest in making it a destination, changes are needed.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnangry View Post
    Exactly the point. JT reportedly has plenty to offer if you're in the know. That's great, but it's not going to make JT a destination. If there's interest in JT as a destination the singletrack bliss needs to be publicized. Existing maps are largely outdated. Trailforks, MTBProject and Strava have nothing beyond Pisagh, Switchback and American Standard/Broad Mountain. Plenty of riders aren't particularly lazy and spend a good amount of time researching new and legal trails to ride. They're perfectly content exploring local rides. However, they're not traveling in the hopes of finding trails. That's just not a good use of precious but limited riding time. I'm also not going to ride trails that I don't know are legal. It's not good for local riders when out-of-towners come in to ride and inadvertently ride trails closed to mountain bikes and thereby ruin things for everyone.

    I'm sure JT is a cool place to ride. But, if the question is whether it's a cool destination, the answer is not at this point. That's perfectly fine if the JT scene stays local. If there's interest in making it a destination, changes are needed.
    Sorry I disagree, JT and the people I bring consider it a "destination" It has trails food and plenty of atmosphere.

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    I think it's an awesome town, but as a mtb destination as many have pointed out they don't want to drive hours to habe to find or search out trails. if trails were well marked, then marketed as such JT would be much more attractive. and I would think local chamber would want the extra tourism associated. after all mtb community doesn't conflict or take away from any other tourism related attractions

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Sorry I disagree, JT and the people I bring consider it a "destination" It has trails food and plenty of atmosphere.
    You're allowed and encouraged to have your POV, but the MTB community outside Coal country considers a "destination" MTB area differently, and one of those aspects *is* the various "welcome mat" elements that were talked about in this thread, including *not needing* a local guide to reliably find a good day out.

    JT currently *does not* qualify in those ways, so ppl have very valid points that JT is *not* a "destination" for what is probably a larger majority of riders.

    I agree there's good stuff down there, and am well aware there's more than than I know, but when I don't have unlimited time for exploration even with my own current knowledge level I tend away from JT to where I can get a known good ride.

    ... and I can navigate AS w/o GPS, maps, or painted trees, so I'm not a complete JT noob ... just mostly a JT noob.

    {shrug}

    To me it simplifies down to whether the communities (cyclist and civic) want to maintain their "it's better here than you think but I'm not showing it publicly" or change to a more widely inclusive behavior.

    I've quit investing energy in trying to broaden people's thinking though, I've had my enthusiasm eroded for that.

    I really appreciate that there are people like DT @ Sicklers hosting the open wednesday nighter at Moon and that there are others leading rides from some other venues. It's too bad you have to be on the right list on what amounts to a spam-feed web-machine in order to have a chance for awareness of them.

    {shrug} {shrug}

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    Used to go to Thorpe twice a month spring thru fall years ago. Been to a few of the festivals but our little crew liked it better when we had the trails to ourselves. We would park at the train station and head up to the top behind the prison. Haven't been there in years, since the Pa Game Commission did their thing. Plus a lot of my friends gave up or just got too old for it. Now me and a buddy park at the train station and go out on 100 mile road rides through the area.
    Is that gnarly trail next to the waterfall still there? We used to call it Jeane's Run. What an awesome downhill it was, twisty at the top, then really technical and steep, followed by the fast run out at the bottom
    Bike fleet: Scalpel/Habit SE/Synapse Hi Mod/SWorks Tarmac/TJ CX/Trek Speed Concept 9 series/Ridley Noah

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    Jean's Run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW! Yes! Love that area, it is so much better than Glen Onoko stream and falls but so well hidden...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Jean's Run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW! Yes! Love that area, it is so much better than Glen Onoko stream and falls but so well hidden...
    I need to get up there again soon, it's been too long. Too much time on the road and tt bikes these days has made me soft lol
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    Ya no matter what is said on this board, JT is the real deal...
    ...too much stuff now a days is built to a standard and it's follow the leader!

    I don't go for the "it's not on the map"... then your map is wrong and today's standards are great, but not all is judged by today's standards Koolaid? Huh! I like Mt Dew!

    I think JT is the future with huge tracts of land all connected to each other and places to ride on every mt top you can see at JT. Heck there spending a million bucks on a bridge to connect it all and JT has a 165 mile R/T running right through the middle of it! Not saying R/T riding is a great thing, but connecting is...

    I'll take JT every time, downtown, eats, and hundreds of miles of trails! Oh ya! So what if ya gotta ride a R/T to get to another S/T trail, isn't Gravel Grinding big now? I don't feel at all bad if JT never makes the big time again, things are different now and I like being on trails with few others.

    Raystown doesn't have a pub or bike shop as close to the trails as JT, does it? Just follow the marker trails... If your qualifying destinations as "these items" then? Hum? How about Stewart? I guess Darkhorse is close, and George "will" give ya a beer so OK Stew is a desti... Don't get me wrong people love RT, and the Stew, but JT...in a different way.

    Standing on Pisgah and looking at Flagstaff and knowing I can be on top of that mountain in a half hour, just makes the deal!

    Jean's Run lives, might not be all trimmed out, and you might have to push a bit, but then again I haven't seen too many actually climb it when it was all pretty, that's real mt biking! If your going by history books I fell sorry for you... Look around! Gettysburg is a tourist attraction now and no shots have been heard in hundreds of many years! Most of those rides still exist!

    JT is dead...
    ...long live JT!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    I don't feel at all bad if JT never makes the big time again . . . I like being on trails with few others.
    I think you got your wish.

    Either inadvertently or deliberately (I'm not sure which), I think that this has come to represent JT's philosophy towards flatlander tourist mountain bikers too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Ya no matter what is said on this board, JT is the real deal...
    ...too much stuff now a days is built to a standard and it's follow the leader!

    I don't go for the "it's not on the map"... then your map is wrong and today's standards are great, but not all is judged by today's standards Koolaid? Huh! I like Mt Dew!

    I think JT is the future with huge tracts of land all connected to each other and places to ride on every mt top you can see at JT. Heck there spending a million bucks on a bridge to connect it all and JT has a 165 mile R/T running right through the middle of it! Not saying R/T riding is a great thing, but connecting is...

    I'll take JT every time, downtown, eats, and hundreds of miles of trails! Oh ya! So what if ya gotta ride a R/T to get to another S/T trail, isn't Gravel Grinding big now? I don't feel at all bad if JT never makes the big time again, things are different now and I like being on trails with few others.

    Raystown doesn't have a pub or bike shop as close to the trails as JT, does it? Just follow the marker trails... If your qualifying destinations as "these items" then? Hum? How about Stewart? I guess Darkhorse is close, and George "will" give ya a beer so OK Stew is a desti... Don't get me wrong people love RT, and the Stew, but JT...in a different way.

    Standing on Pisgah and looking at Flagstaff and knowing I can be on top of that mountain in a half hour, just makes the deal!

    Jean's Run lives, might not be all trimmed out, and you might have to push a bit, but then again I haven't seen too many actually climb it when it was all pretty, that's real mt biking! If your going by history books I fell sorry for you... Look around! Gettysburg is a tourist attraction now and no shots have been heard in hundreds of many years! Most of those rides still exist!

    JT is dead...
    ...long live JT!
    Sure, there is still mountain biking in JT but the question is, could there be a Brevard type location in Pennsylvania? JT was once that place and no mater how much hidden mountain biking there is now, it is not Brevard -even though the riding may actually be better!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Sure, there is still mountain biking in JT but the question is, could there be a Brevard type location in Pennsylvania? JT was once that place and no mater how much hidden mountain biking there is now, it is not Brevard -even though the riding may actually be better!
    I think a better potential candidate than JT would be out somewhere within Rothrock forest; whether State College as a center or not. Just a personal opinion though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    I think a better potential candidate than JT would be out somewhere within Rothrock forest; whether State College as a center or not. Just a personal opinion though.
    Not a bad idea. 👍

    PA should have a true mtb scene-dominated town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayncedar View Post
    Not a bad idea. 👍

    PA should have a true mtb scene-dominated town.
    I can tell you the locals out at Raystown were very eager to tell me how much they hates they mtn bikers there. I spent sometime at the hospital there and most of them want it to go back to how it used to be before the trails were developed there.
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    So from someone who lived in Thorpe in it's hey day, It was a MTB destination, early on in the MTBing rise to where it is today. Before IMBA's flow trails, before the interwebs, there were a few old school locals who put in some of the best single track you could fathom. But this wasn't marked single track, heck you had to buy a book and navigate these trails....maybe a rock was painted at the intersection of the power line and Deer Path II...maybe.

    Anyway, a lot of things happened, and it is my opinion that it grew in popularity too quickly. Folks in PA don't like fast change, and I think that's what happened mostly. MTB weekend grew to rival fall foliage at times, the lake camp ground became crowded, some folks were giving shuttles to the broad during hunting season....all of these things contributed to the fall or let's say the fall of the outside MTB destination.

    For those of us that grew up and or lived there, riding never stopped. The trails never became less awesome. They just became less traveled. No more tubes in trees, goo packs on the Singletrack, or other adult items we would clean up on the game lands trails after a big weekend. No more stories of out of town folks coming up the first day of buck to shred the deer paths and run into pissed off hunters. The morale is for those of us that still know our way around and like rustic PA singletrack Thorpe and the surrounding areas (Nesqy, Tamaqua, Summithill, Hauto, Mary D, Locast Lake, Delano, etc etc) It never stopped being a destination. However State College, is probably the current MTB capital of PA, and rightfully so. They took what was great in Jt, legacy singletrack (Rothrocks, Coopers Gap, and Tussey) and added flow with Raystown, and mapped it all, promoted it, and welcome folks to come check it out. However the MTB community has grown up some as well, conscious minded MTBers respect hunting seasons, and there are even trails closed during the weeks of deer season. A good move on our end to reach out with an olive branch for past errors.

    Some day I'm confident the GC and MTBers will come to a common ground and hopefully we will once again gain access to all of the great legacy Single track in PA...if that should happen, this keystone state would match up or surpass some of the other MTB destinations in this country easily.

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    Hey NEPMTBA are you saying you climbed Jeans Run?

    If you are and you did, well then bravo, because if it's the same washed out dry creek bed right off the glen stream crossing down to the pipe crossing the lower stream between JT and Nesqy, that's a Herculean effort and bravo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtrider76 View Post
    I can tell you the locals out at Raystown were very eager to tell me how much they hates they mtn bikers there. I spent sometime at the hospital there and most of them want it to go back to how it used to be before the trails were developed there.
    I don't doubt that. People NIMBY like that everywhere about everything. But the cupcakes gotta suck it up and deal. Everything a civilization needs/wants has to go somewhere and so someone somewhere will have to live next to landfills, airports, and even God-forbid, parks with mtb trails. 🤤

    My small neighborhood is wedged in between my town's largest cemetery, busiest park, youth athletic fields, a municipal services complex, and a big shopping center with a Walmart. People from other neighborhoods are constantly on my street for midget football, a funeral, and a Walmart run all at the same time. I don't really want them there either but oh well. It is what it is.

    That all said, a mtb mecca style town should only develop in a place that actually wants it. PA isn't the most progressive place on that front so maybe it never happens here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayncedar View Post
    PA isn't the most progressive place on that front so maybe it never happens here.
    Or just give it another 100 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Sure, there is still mountain biking in JT but the question is, could there be a Brevard type location in Pennsylvania? JT was once that place and no mater how much hidden mountain biking there is now, it is not Brevard -even though the riding may actually be better!
    True, and this is the topic of this thread. I'm not a "flatlander" and around my home base I do explore. My local trail system is much like JT in that it is not well marked and favors someone willing to just ride and see where you end up. Having said that I have not been to JT for years because it's about 2.5 hours from my house and I'm just not going to drive that far to see if I can find any/some of the great rides that are being mentioned here. Not knowing an area I'm also concerned that while I'm exploring I might venture onto closed land/trails. Personally I think that gives mountain biking a black eye. So the question is not whether or not JT/NEPA has some great rides, clearly it does and is worthy of being a "destination", the question is will the infrastructure be there to support a "destination". I'm not likely to part with my hard earned $$ and travel unless I have a little more confidence that I'm going to be able to find some of the great riding.
    If you say gullible slowly enough it sounds like "oranges"

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    Quote Originally Posted by vack View Post
    Hey NEPMTBA are you saying you climbed Jeans Run?

    If you are and you did, well then bravo, because if it's the same washed out dry creek bed right off the glen stream crossing down to the pipe crossing the lower stream between JT and Nesqy, that's a Herculean effort and bravo.
    I was making light of how difficult that was even back in the day. Never climbed it clean, never will, but nice to hope maybe in a different life...But I have ridden across the Hacklebernie... just kidding...

    Raystown is like a modern day amusement park with lots of folks and excitement, while JT is to old school amusement park. Some rides don't work, while others creak and groan, but still has the feel of how things once were.

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    ^^+1
    Quote Originally Posted by vack View Post
    The trails never became less awesome. They just became less traveled. No more tubes in trees, goo packs on the Singletrack, or other adult items we would clean up on the game lands trails after a big weekend. No more stories of out of town folks coming up the first day of buck to shred the deer paths and run into pissed off hunters. The morale is for those of us that still know our way around and like rustic PA singletrack Thorpe and the surrounding areas (Nesqy, Tamaqua, Summithill, Hauto, Mary D, Locast Lake, Delano, etc etc) It never stopped being a destination.#PAALLDAY

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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    I think a better potential candidate than JT would be out somewhere within Rothrock forest; whether State College as a center or not. Just a personal opinion though.
    BEMBA might be the place! Bald Eagle and Mifflinville with connecting towns along rt45, rt192 maybe even Coburn the first and original mt bike town! Large enough area and has potential...

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    This is a great thread and Vack and NEPMTBA make some great points. The thing we can all agree is that PA has some of the best mountain biking in the country. I really do believe it. As I now live away from my home state and travel all over the SE to ride the trails, including heavy doses of Pisgah and Dupont, I am realizing how good the riding was (and is) in PA. Honestly, it is as good or better than many of the legendary destination places.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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    ^^ spot on vesp...
    ...as mt bikers we can all ride and share our trails.... good stuff all around fellas!

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    I travel to NY for work and always with my bike and have to say biking all over PA/NJ/NY and De stewart is my absolute favorite. It just has it all. 40-50 miles of the best mix of trails you could ask for in the NE. Well marked and just a total blast.

    if you are looking for a weekend trip out of philly it is way worth it. certainly more so than raystown which is a fun spot but very one dimensional. you can get to stewart in less than 3 hrs from philly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    This is a great thread and Vack and NEPMTBA make some great points. The thing we can all agree is that PA has some of the best mountain biking in the country. I really do believe it. As I now live away from my home state and travel all over the SE to ride the trails, including heavy doses of Pisgah and Dupont, I am realizing how good the riding was (and is) in PA. Honestly, it is as good or better than many of the legendary destination places.
    Agreed, I loved riding JT. It was a great family destination as over the course of the weekend we could find rides everyone could do. For the more experienced riders we'd start the morning on Psycho Betty, then take the families over and ride Broad Mountain. Next day hit up the Deer Path then an easy family friendly ride up the Gravity Railroad or along the river on the RT. Something for everyone and the single track was as good as any I've ridden.

    I'd love to spend a day (or two) there again.
    If you say gullible slowly enough it sounds like "oranges"

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    I loved the Dupont riding when I was there but I was thinking the same thing that man PA has riding thats just as good but this Brevard-Ashville area is happening with an after the trail crowd, and its frequently featured in MTB magazines. Thats what got me to thinking about posting this and asking why JT couldnt be like this. There has to be absolutely thousands more bikers up here yet they have a better "apres" scene

    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    This is a great thread and Vack and NEPMTBA make some great points. The thing we can all agree is that PA has some of the best mountain biking in the country. I really do believe it. As I now live away from my home state and travel all over the SE to ride the trails, including heavy doses of Pisgah and Dupont, I am realizing how good the riding was (and is) in PA. Honestly, it is as good or better than many of the legendary destination places.

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    So, I was Up at JT this Sunday....Climbing the main street in town headed up to Flagstaff, and a Couple from Lancaster, up for a day trip visit, stopped me and asked the Fateful question: "Where's the good single track?".....Fortunately, I ride up there every weekend......I gave them a couple of solid options: Twin Peaks and the American Standard, They had both of the rides available via GPS on Mountain Bike project, that made the routes easy to follow for them. So, I sent them on their way and I hope they had a great ride.

    Point is....People are still trekking up to Thorpe in search of the good stuff, and making it a "Destination". It may not have the volume of people that it once did. But, it's Still a great place and great town, with Tons of great riding. GO Enjoy it.!

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    Hello People.

    This is an interesting thread, and I'm happy to see that some level of interest in JT still exists.

    I'm a local, been riding here for 25 years. I'm 42 years old... got an early start. We've certainly seen our ups and downs in the area, and the trails have reflected that. I can tell you that we've got more singletrack than ever... and I personally (with 2 or 3 other riders) ride, cut, and maintain a good portion of it. NOT EASY when you're dealing with the mileage we're dealing with here.

    Describing what's happened to the MTB scene here would take hours, but some of you (esp NEPMTBA) have made some valid points and observations. Long story short: we're trying more now than we have in a LONG time. A friend of mine is opening a new outdoor adventure center in Lehighton - 2 miles south of JT. I'll be working with him to coordinate more efforts to promote riding and maintaining trail. He's more focused on rafting (because he's run a rafting company for 25 years), but very interested in promoting the bike industry as well. Elissa Garafolo has been a great connection, and I've made a few other fantastic connections as well in the past few years, in both the park system and local government offices. I feel like we're finally on the brink of something big. but it's amazing how much time and work are necessary. The land ownership issues are still our biggest hurdles, but we've made some good inroads there.

    Stay tuned. I'm always available to serve as a guide, so if anyone wants to see the good stuff just hit me up. Also, you can look us up on Facebook. Bright Path Cycle Club. I'm an admin and will hopefully see and approve your friend request. Things are (obviously) a bit slow right now, but as my ski season winds down I'll start ramping up the trail work. Help is always much appreciated.

    Hopefully you guys see this and it rekindles The Stoke!

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    P.S.

    D'nA bikes in Tamaqua has a good thing going as well. Rich has advocated for some nice mellow trails in the area that are good for all ability levels, and the ridges around Tamaqua have some great singletrack as well.

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    Good stuff, would love to get a tour of Jim Thorpe trails some day.

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    This is an awesome thread, just found it. My inlaws live near Palmerton, PA, and I've been exploring this area for the past 10 years or so, I also ride and race much of the east coast, so I've pretty much ridden all over PA. I've honestly only rode JT a couple times, because I kept getting lost, and a lot of the trails are pretty much indestinguishable from deer trails at this point. You guys hit it on the head, Carbon co and the surrounding area has some amazing terrain with absolutely incredible potential, but the population is largely poor, sedentary, and hostile to outsiders and to change. Coming from MD, I am always shocked at the weird looks I get around here with my back in the back of my truck. It's just so foreign to most locals. Locally, other than Blue (which is almost 100% ridden by non-locals), I resort to riding a lot of the AT spur trails, which are some of the best riding around here, actually. Allentown/South Mountain, Stroudsburg, Reading, State College, Pittsburgh, and the Michaux area have some legit MTB scenes and support from their communities, but JT and carbon county seem actively opposed to any of it.

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    Hope to connect with you when the weather warms up and the trails dry out. Would love to see what's there now. Haven't ridden JT for 15+ years.
    If you say gullible slowly enough it sounds like "oranges"

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudforlunch View Post
    This is an awesome thread, just found it. My inlaws live near Palmerton, PA, and I've been exploring this area for the past 10 years or so, I also ride and race much of the east coast, so I've pretty much ridden all over PA. I've honestly only rode JT a couple times, because I kept getting lost, and a lot of the trails are pretty much indestinguishable from deer trails at this point. You guys hit it on the head, Carbon co and the surrounding area has some amazing terrain with absolutely incredible potential, but the population is largely poor, sedentary, and hostile to outsiders and to change. Coming from MD, I am always shocked at the weird looks I get around here with my back in the back of my truck. It's just so foreign to most locals. Locally, other than Blue (which is almost 100% ridden by non-locals), I resort to riding a lot of the AT spur trails, which are some of the best riding around here, actually. Allentown/South Mountain, Stroudsburg, Reading, State College, Pittsburgh, and the Michaux area have some legit MTB scenes and support from their communities, but JT and carbon county seem actively opposed to any of it.
    The shame of it is that Philly is less than 90 minutes away. Could be an epic day trip destination, with a pit stop in JT for beer/grub for a metro of 5 million plus. But nope, they don't want it apparently.

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    Do they plow the rail trail?

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    Maybe get a couple trails mapped out on mtbproject or some other electronic gps. A little traffic could keep the trimming down and open some eyes to how great the place can be. With that it builds you may get some bodies and help, before u know it ur are the east destination....

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEastUnlmtd View Post
    Do they plow the rail trail?

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    No.

    Lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwsteig View Post
    No.

    Lol.
    Thanks. I had Roaring Creek all to myself today except for one logger. Would be fun to see the Gorge empty too.

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    NEMBTA and i seem to share the same view... i can't believe the amount of b!tching people do about not making the biking more accessible in PA... you have SO MANY OPTIONS HERE ALREADY; IT IS RIDICULOUS.

    you know what people did before mtb project and strava? they took bikes in the woods, explored, and got lost sometimes. it leads to adventure; and often finding new great trails. Today you have garmins and strava heatmaps. If you can't find trails on your own without a guide you should learn to use some of that technology.

    people who want destinations should stick to spots like raystown. everything there is dumbed down and exactly what you need to just turn your brain off and ride. I don't mind that type of riding at all sometimes; but i think it is way more fun to get out into the woods, the DEEP woods, and really ride. Maybe you don't know where you are at all times (until you pull out your GPS that is).

    If JT became the "destination" so many advocate for; it would loose a lot of it's rugged character...

    PA and the surroundings already have so many desitnation spots; do we need more? To me the best riding is off the beaten track in places exactly like JT and others. Where you need to put some work in to find the goods... If your not willing to do that there are plenty of places like raystown and fairhill. hell come to the city and ride the wiss; great destination riding with no chance of getting lost...

    Nobody is bitching that the great michaux trails are not signed or the best stuff in state college is pretty hidden... Why does JT in particular need to publicize the good stuff? So more lazy people can come up and ride? Only reason i can see is if the locals feel they need more folks riding to keep the trails open or help maintain them. Sounds to me like they have a good thing going right now? Why bother catering to the lazy subset of bikers who need to be shown where to ride?

    i know my little rant above sounds harsh but mountainbiking is loosing it's sense of adventure. Putting all these places on the map and making more "destinations" is not what i feel biking in this area needs. Connect to your inner stoke; grab a GPS learn to use it and get out there... WAY out there. Living in philly; that last thing i want when i leave the city is another "desitnation" to go ride. If I can get out in an area i still need my GPS for i feel like i am definitely winning (and those narrow, rugged, less beat down trails; are usually way better).

    i didn't want to point this out but it is hardly a secret anymore.. even JT has lost it's mystery: https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#11.....93492/hot/all
    All you need to do is have this on your phone and you'll never be lost. So you got ALL the trails; what's the problem? i wish i didn't have all my time filled with rasing kiddies these days. With heatmaps and GPS on your phone; any place is totally your new backyard (i'll be back regularly again in a few years; trying my best to find the hidden spots that are no longer hidden)...

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    [QUOTE=max-a-mill;13540487]NEMBTA and i seem to share the same view... i can't believe the amount of b!tching people do about not making the biking more accessible in PA... you have SO MANY OPTIONS HERE ALREADY; IT IS RIDICULOUS.

    @max-a-mill Right on, Brother. I agree with most/maybe all of this. The ďproblemĒ is that the local group that rides and maintains this trail network consists of just a few people. Literally, maybe 3 or 4 of us. With well over 100 miles of trail, itís not easy. You made a good point: more riders on the trails would absolutely help to maintain them. We obviously donít want to create an overcrowded situation around here, but thatís not likely to happen on the good stuff, which is really challenging and can be tough to even get to... as you likely already know.

    I personally enjoy guiding and showing people what we have to offer, unless that person seems unworthy of learning about our stash. If itís the right type of rider, the more riders the better. Good things are happening in town, and visitors that are appreciative and respectful are always welcome. Iíve found that the people Iíve guided who are willing to suffer for a day to ride our best trails are also great guests. They appreciate whatís here.

    Iím also on board with your spirit of adventure. Thatís what itís really about. Strava is a great tool. I live and ride here several times per week, and Iím still sometimes surprised at the situations I find myself in. Way out there, with no easy way back to the truck. I love it! Who wouldnít?

  99. #99
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    Reputation: LarryFahn's Avatar
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    Jim Thorpe was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They were known on the East Coast for having some of the gnarlies singletrack in the USA. I'd go down there every weekend in the late 90's early 2000's that I didn't have a race. They had Mountain Bike Weekend for 25-30 years? 2000 people from around the US would be there for the event that sold out in days... DAYS. 8 of 10 cars/trucks in town had racks on them, stickers repping bike companies or had bikes on them. Jim Thorpe was a bikers destination.

    Bicycling magazine had an article called "The bike capital of the East" that was written about JT. The town and outskirts were loaded with bikes.

    When Broad Mountain closed due to the game commission, they lost about 60%(?) of their trails. The more advanced trails. The trails that you needed "the book" for. The trails that made people travel to ride!

    Mountain Bike Weekend dwindled down to less than 700 that year. Dave couldn't do anything to fix it, obviously. He was in the process of selling it to someone, but it ended that year due to the lack of interest. Then the COUNTY tried to do it! But like all things in Pennsylvania, the government stepped in and F'd that up. It never happened.

    The town did nothing. The county did nothing. The state did nothing. They'll never be again what they once were.

    The thunderstorm has left Jim Thorpe and the rainbow has faded. It appeared elsewhere in the state now...

    Ttyl, Fahn
    Hubbard Bike Club

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFahn View Post
    Jim Thorpe was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They were known on the East Coast for having some of the gnarlies singletrack in the USA. I'd go down there every weekend in the late 90's early 2000's that I didn't have a race. They had Mountain Bike Weekend for 25-30 years? 2000 people from around the US would be there for the event that sold out in days... DAYS. 8 of 10 cars/trucks in town had racks on them, stickers repping bike companies or had bikes on them. Jim Thorpe was a bikers destination.

    Bicycling magazine had an article called "The bike capital of the East" that was written about JT. The town and outskirts were loaded with bikes.

    When Broad Mountain closed due to the game commission, they lost about 60%(?) of their trails. The more advanced trails. The trails that you needed "the book" for. The trails that made people travel to ride!

    Mountain Bike Weekend dwindled down to less than 700 that year. Dave couldn't do anything to fix it, obviously. He was in the process of selling it to someone, but it ended that year due to the lack of interest. Then the COUNTY tried to do it! But like all things in Pennsylvania, the government stepped in and F'd that up. It never happened.

    The town did nothing. The county did nothing. The state did nothing. They'll never be again what they once were.

    The thunderstorm has left Jim Thorpe and the rainbow has faded. It appeared elsewhere in the state now...

    Ttyl, Fahn
    The MTB scene in the 90's was amazing and PA was the hub. The things I rode on my crappy rockhopper and stump jumpers amaze me now. There was a purity to the sport that is now gone.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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