Riding near Manheim, PA- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Riding near Manheim, PA

    We're looking at possibly moving to Manheim, PA (near Lancaster and Harrisburg). Can I pick some of my like-minded MTBers brains about the area?

    This would be for my wife's job. We would need to be within 15 miles or so of Manheim. Any areas to check out/avoid? What's the riding like there?

    Can I get within riding distance of good trails in that radius?

    I am a paralegal and recent MBA grad, so I will have to live near something for me too, and I understand that Manheim is tiny. Living between there and slightly larger cities would be ideal so neither of us is stuck with a super long commute.

    I have zero familiarity with PA, so any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

    We were looking at Canonsburg (other side of the state) a few months ago, and I got some great advice there. We decided not to head there after more careful research.

    Wife and I both ride, and prefer XC type riding, if that helps.

    Thank you in advance fellow MTBers... if we wind up there I will provide beers aplenty as thanks for the tips.

  2. #2
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    Holy geez I just looked at housing there... insanely cheap!

    What's the catch? Property taxes super high?

  3. #3
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    I live in Landiville a few minutes from Manheim and my parents live in East Petersburg, which is even closer. I assume you are talking about Manheim Borough, a small town on Rt. 72 north of Lancaster. There is also Manheim Township which is a larger area adjacent to Lancaster City. They are not far apart anyway. I don't know where you are coming from to say whether the riding is good or bad, but there is a pretty good number of places to go within an hour drive. The closest place to Manheim is about ten minutes north off Rt. 72. It's called Governor Dick and there are a few decent trails there. It's not real big, but it's close. I was there yesterday. Further north is Swatara state park. Mount Gretna, French Creek SP, Blue Marsh Lake, Lake Redman and Rocky Ridge in York County to the west. I was at Rocky Ridge today for the Trek demo truck and had a great time. The area is not mountain bike mecca, but there is decent riding if you know where to go. There is a lot more riding if you are willing to drive a little farther north, south, or west.
    Regarding areas to look for housing, Manheim is not far from Rt. 30, 283, or 72 from the north, so there is a fairly large area within easy commuting distance.

  4. #4
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    If you have any other specific questions, let me know. I have to raise my post count so I can put a question on the Ellsworth page.

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    Thanks! That is great help.

    Right now we live just North of Phoenix, AZ, which kind of is a riding mecca. lol But I literally have over 70 miles or phenomenal single track that starts 6 feet from my garage door.

    So I will miss that greatly. What I won't miss is being 2,000 miles from family and the 120+ degree days of summer. I just want to make sure I am close to decent enough riding. I don't mind a 10 minute drive to good trails. Ride off the porch is that much better. But I am far from a world class rider, so I don't demand world class trails. Granted, I greatly appreciate them when available though.

    I am not sure exactly which Manheim, we were just told Manheim, PA near Lancaster.

    Everything I have looked at looks fantastic. Small town, decent work prospects for me, close to the AT (which my wife and I are section hikers of)... One more question though, and the PA folks may laugh at me for this.... is there riding year round (mostly) in PA that far South? I know there will be "snow days", etc... but is there snow cover that shuts the trails down for multiple months at a time?

    (Trying to help you get your post up, completely unselfish on my part. )

  6. #6
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    You just ride in the snow...that's why God made fat bikes.

    But seriously it's not usually that bad in this area. We get snow, but it's not typically on the ground for weeks at a time. Definitely invest in some cold riding gear though.

    Sent from my VS910 4G using Tapatalk 2

  7. #7
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    I obtained a snow blower two years ago. I think I used it once or twice the year before last and never got it out of the shed this year. We had one sleddable snow this year, but it has been a very mild winter. The trails will not be closed for snow. The reason trails are often closed over the winter is due to soggy soil conditions. One of my favorite local places, Lake Redman, is often closed by the park rangers in the winter or after extended rain due to damp trails. Rocky Ridge, which is a little closer, is almost always open. Other places don't formally close, but ask people to self regulate their activities. I have become more conscientious of muddy trails to try to safeguard our trail access. It seems the horses can tear it up whenever they want though.

  8. #8
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    HA, Sounds familiar. It hardly ever rains here. In fact, it rained on December 18, March 18, and it drizzled a little bit this past Friday. Those are the three times it rained in the last 4 months.

    MTBers stayed off the trails those days. Only to go back the following days to fight the pock holes from the horses.

  9. #9
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    I think you're talking about the town of Manheim. Manheim Central school district. Its a nice area. I'm not sure what is worse the dry heat where you're coming from or 90 and humid summers here. It will be different thats for sure.

    There is a lot of riding around, you just have to drive to get to it. Northeast is a lot, michaux a little west. You can even take a road trip south and go down to fair hill (md) and white clay creek (delaware). The nice thing is the turnpike and other highways are close. Good Luck.

    Housing is cheap compared to what you are used to since you are far enough away from philly and harrisburg.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisman View Post
    I think you're talking about the town of Manheim. Manheim Central school district. Its a nice area. I'm not sure what is worse the dry heat where you're coming from or 90 and humid summers here. It will be different thats for sure.

    There is a lot of riding around, you just have to drive to get to it. Northeast is a lot, michaux a little west. You can even take a road trip south and go down to fair hill (md) and white clay creek (delaware). The nice thing is the turnpike and other highways are close. Good Luck.

    Housing is cheap compared to what you are used to since you are far enough away from philly and harrisburg.
    Yeah, we moved here from Gainesville, FL... so I know what 95 degrees and 90% humidity feels like too. Whether that's the case, or it's 120 degrees like it is here, I am not riding because it's too hot either way. That's why I have lights.

    Is there anywhere you would suggest living within 20-30 minutes or so of the town of Manheim that would involve being close to riding? I don't mind putting my bike on the car and driving, but I hated having a 30 minute drive to the trails.

  11. #11
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    I live in mountville and I'm about 30 mins away (back roads) to Mt. Gretna, and about 15 mins (highway) to Rocky Ridge. Which works out to about 20 mins away from Manheim. Landisville, Mt. Joy, Mountville, Lititz, Mt Gretna, all close to Manheim. There is stuff outside of those towns that are close that would be considered a Lancaster address, but it can be deceiving because you can be closer to those towns that the city of Lancaster.

    If you move north of Manhiem you are closer to Gretna, Swatara, but farther away from the trails in york. I would us Rt. 30 as a cutoff line, stay north of it and you'll be closer to the trails, everything mentioned here is north of it except a few of them (french creek, lake redman). Head west on Rt. 30 and it takes you to the trails in york (rocky ridge, lake redman).

    If you're a roadie also there are a ton of back roads with hardly any traffic and nice scenery (farm country).

  12. #12
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    Great advice! Thanks. The Rt. 30 tip will be taken to heart.

    I have a CrossCheck, but it's in light-singletrack and commuting mode right now as I got tired of dealing with traffic. Might throw the slicks back on up there if we move there though. Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Check out Camp Mack. It's in the brickerville area.
    Spinnin' & Grinnin'

  14. #14
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    Yeah, Camp Mac is the 'Real Trail' in Lancaster County. But Manheim is 15 minutes from Lancaster, and in Lancaster I am 45 minutes away form 'The Wiss' in Philly and 'Fair Hill' in Elkton Md. (down the street from the Univ. of Delaware)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisman View Post
    I live in mountville and I'm about 30 mins away (back roads) to Mt. Gretna, and about 15 mins (highway) to Rocky Ridge. Which works out to about 20 mins away from Manheim. Landisville, Mt. Joy, Mountville, Lititz, Mt Gretna, all close to Manheim. There is stuff outside of those towns that are close that would be considered a Lancaster address, but it can be deceiving because you can be closer to those towns that the city of Lancaster.

    If you move north of Manhiem you are closer to Gretna, Swatara, but farther away from the trails in york. I would us Rt. 30 as a cutoff line, stay north of it and you'll be closer to the trails, everything mentioned here is north of it except a few of them (french creek, lake redman). Head west on Rt. 30 and it takes you to the trails in york (rocky ridge, lake redman).

    If you're a roadie also there are a ton of back roads with hardly any traffic and nice scenery (farm country).
    I just rode my road bike to Mountville last night for my nephew's baseball game(Boro Park field) from my house in Red Lion(a little over 18 miles).

    Any routes you recommend for road bike north of 30 in that area? If I come across(from York side) on 462?

  16. #16
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    Mt Gretna, PA --- Cool little viliage in the hills.

    About 10 miles from Manheim.

    MTB routes in the woods. Bike 'Path' to Lebanon and Elizabethtown.

  17. #17
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    The best thing about Manheim is JoBoys BrewPub best BBQ I've ever had. (Hopitude is pretty good too)

    Manheim is a good place and centrally located. If you like road biking, this area has endless back roads to ride, with north of Manheim having less traffic than toward Lanc city.

    Mtn biking you have several places within a 30 minute drive, as mentioned above, Mt. Gretna and Camp Mack are my pleasure and pain places. Within 1-1.5 hour drive you have about a dozen choices. Oh, and lots of people to ride with around these parts too, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a group to ride with if that's how you roll.

  18. #18
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    So, looking at some stuff on Trimble... I know this can't be correct... it looks like many 11 mile tracks have 3,500+ feet of elevation gain?!?!?! Is that even possible? I ride in big mountains here in AZ and CO and big elevation gain for me is like 1,600-2,000 feet in 11 miles.

    Are these files skewed, or am I about to get good at climbing? lol Honestly I love climbing, so I am kind of hoping that this is the case...

    JoBoys BrewPup looks amazing. Without a doubt I will be checking that out when we visit to see the place.

    Examples or the rides I found:
    Mt. Gretna fire tower maze | Mountain Biking in Pennsylvania

    camp mack | Mountain Biking in Pennsylvania

    mt gretna | Mountain Biking in Pennsylvania

    Pumping Station to Mount Gretna | Mountain Biking in Pennsylvania

    Just looking at the topo maps, I don't see how this is possible?!?!?!

  19. #19
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    Most of my rides have about the same elevation gain as you are used to with my gps saying 1,500'-2,000' on my avg 12-17 mi rides.

    Pumping station is essentially Camp Mack, with pumping station rd. and 322 being the main parking area. There is an old rugged trail called the HorseShoe Trail that connects Camp Mack and Mt. Gretna if you want to ride both in one epic ride!

  20. #20
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    Nice!

    Well it looks super promising. My wife is one of two candidates for this position there, so I guess no we play the waiting game.

    Thanks for all the information. If we come out there we should get a group together and post ride brews are on me...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pointerDixie214 View Post
    Nice!

    Well it looks super promising. My wife is one of two candidates for this position there, so I guess no we play the waiting game.

    Thanks for all the information. If we come out there we should get a group together and post ride brews are on me...
    Good luck to your wife!!

  22. #22
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    Thanks! And thanks for all the tips and such... if this works out it will be a major curve ball in our plans, but we are both always up for an adventure.

  23. #23
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    I live in Denver PA, about 20-25 minutes Northeast of Manheim, and within a half hour from many of the excellent local trails... (French Creek, Mt. Penn, Camp Mack, Blue Marsh and Gretna) I am 4 Miles from the PA Turnpike and Rte. 222, and live one town from the Antique Capital of the US (if you are into that type of thing) and of course there is the Green Dragon Farmers Market...
    Housing and taxes are also affordable and we have a great school system
    A few small Breweries within a couple miles too such as Stoudt's in Adamstown and Union Barrel Works in Reamstown...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by double_b View Post
    I just rode my road bike to Mountville last night for my nephew's baseball game(Boro Park field) from my house in Red Lion(a little over 18 miles).

    Any routes you recommend for road bike north of 30 in that area? If I come across(from York side) on 462?
    I don't have any routes really. Actually I don't have a road bike yet. I have a motorcycle and like just explore the back roads and see where it takes me. When I get a road bike, i probably will do the same.

  25. #25
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    If you get up this way, we can show you around the camp mack/brickerville area. just let moonraker or i know. it is a pretty close knit group and great riding. Lititz, manheim, east pete, are all good places to look for housing. It is not expensive.


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  26. #26
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    That's awesome. I love my riding group here and I will miss them greatly. Will be nice to have another group if we make it out there.

    Are there any lady riders you know out there?

  27. #27
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    Oh yeah... today was the second day over 100 this year already here. Supposed to be there for the next 5 days too.

    Gonna be a loooong hot summer. I know it's humid there, but I can't do 120+ again. Let's hope this thing works out.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by pointerDixie214 View Post
    Oh yeah... today was the second day over 100 this year already here. Supposed to be there for the next 5 days too.

    Gonna be a loooong hot summer. I know it's humid there, but I can't do 120+ again. Let's hope this thing works out.
    I moved here from Phoenix too. I try to explain the heat thing...and people here don't get it! I'll take the 1 week of 90+ and humid here over the 5 months of 100+ there any day!

    Sent from my VS910 4G using Tapatalk 2

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by borborpa View Post
    I moved here from Phoenix too. I try to explain the heat thing...and people here don't get it! I'll take the 1 week of 90+ and humid here over the 5 months of 100+ there any day!

    Sent from my VS910 4G using Tapatalk 2
    I hear that. I also get humidity, as we moved here from one of the hottest, most humid states in the country... Florida. So I have seen it over 100 and humid, and over 120 and dry.

    They both suck. But looking at the weather up there, I am pretty excited that summer doesn't exceed half the length of the year. lol Here it's literally over 100 every single day starting early May, and doesn't get up to less than 100 until late October. We were still having days in the 100s last November even every now and then.

  30. #30
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    I'll be visiting your guys' neck of the woods next month to see my sister. I'd love to check out the area and maybe sneak in a day of riding. She lives in Stevens, very close to Ephrata. I know that family obligations will keep me busy but I'd love to try and get out one day to check out some local riding. Is there a local shop anywhere nearby that rents a decent mtn bike and if I can only make it out one day, where should I ride? Any info would be really appreciated!

    I don't mind climbing. And I'd love some trees. I live in Southern California so I always enjoy riding trails that are different from our sandy trails here.

  31. #31
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    speckledtrout- if you are able to make it out up there let me know what you think. I imagine your current trails and mine are similar, so this will give me a good comparison.

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    You got it Dixie! Although Sedona, in your state of Arizona is probably one of the top 2 places in the world I ridden my bike! Man, God wasn't even kidding around when he designed that playground for us, was he? Technical terrain and scenery so eye popping that it makes the heart stop. I have run off the trails there numerous times while taking it all in.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by speckledtrout View Post
    You got it Dixie! Although Sedona, in your state of Arizona is probably one of the top 2 places in the world I ridden my bike! Man, God wasn't even kidding around when he designed that playground for us, was he? Technical terrain and scenery so eye popping that it makes the heart stop. I have run off the trails there numerous times while taking it all in.
    HAHA Yeah... the hardest part about riding in Sedona is keeping your eyes on the dang trail. lol

    To say I will miss the riding here is an understatement. However, things I won't miss are the 6 months of 100+ degrees, and being 2,000 miles from family... and I can always bring my bike back.

    Thanks for the feedback if you're able to make it.

  34. #34
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    Try JB Mountain Bikes in Reading. They have a demo section on their website.
    Then take it to nearby Blue Marsh Lake for a pleasant 26 mile loop. Not hard by any means, but a little taste of east coast riding around a big lake. Hard to get lost.

    Demo Mountain and Road Bikes - Try 'em before you buy 'em! - JB MOUNTAIN BIKES, Reading, PA - The Dirtiest Bike Shop in Pennsylvania
    Last edited by sammon287; 04-24-2012 at 06:02 PM.

  35. #35
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    You could also try green mountain cyclery in ephrata.

  36. #36
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    Terrific you guys! Thanks so much!

  37. #37
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    Rats! JB Mountain bikes doesn't have any size small bikes for demo/rent. I am a fairly small female at only 5'4 and a half so I definitely need a size small frame. It's not worth it for me to fly a bike back east for this trip for only one day (2 max) of riding. If anybody has a wife/girlfriend willing to lend their bike for a day, that'd be amaaaaazing. If not, I totally understand.

    I ride a small Turner 5 Spot and a small Canfield Brothers Yelli Screamy hardtail for size reference. I'd be fine on either full suspension or hardtail. I ain't picky.

  38. #38
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    Out of curiosity, what kind of bike is the most common out there?

    I currently have a 26" hardtail, but I have the opportunity to get a 26" or a 29" full squish at a great deal... both are super comfy bikes. The 29er is much more suited to the trails out here, but curious if a 26er might be better out there.

    Are the trails tight and twisty, or more straight I guess is what I am also asking?

  39. #39
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    here is the local racing organitazitions website for this area in Central/Southeast Pa. Just look at the main pictures scroll on this page (and you'll get the idea)---

    The Mid-Atlantic Super Series

  40. #40
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    I see everything on the trails. I love my 26 FS...but I've never tried a 29er. I see a lot of both. I even see guys on rigid SS 29ers. Really...it's what you are most comfortable with.

    Sent from my VS910 4G using Tapatalk 2

  41. #41
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    OK, Just needed the push to go with the Spearfish. Gonna pick it up soon.

    Will be keeping my 26" HT too...

  42. #42
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    And, you have a TON of options for riding for day and weekend destinations w/in an hour or so of Manheim. White Clay (fast and flowy) in DE, and Fair Hill in MD only a few miles apart and both just below the PA border. Wissahickon in Philly. Marsh Creek is a little closer in Downingtown, PA.
    The Allegrippis Trail system up at Raystown Lake. Michaux......
    So, yeah... I don't think that you'll be dissappointed.

    Lancaster City is great for cultural/culinary explorations.... Philly and all it has to offer (although I personally can take Philly in small doses) is just a PA Turnpike ride away....
    A couple of hours away and you're at the beach. A couple of hours to the north and you're in the mountains...
    So, I feel that it's a pretty unique place to live and work.

    I'll also mention to check out Bunny Hop Bikes in Lancaster City. Ben will treat you right!
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