Rothrock / Raystown camping recs- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Rothrock / Raystown camping recs

    Some friends and I are looking to spend a few days in central PA next weekend. None of us have ridden there. It needs to be within about 2 hrs of Indiana, PA. But not too far north because some of us are coming from the south.

    Our current plan is to check out Raystown and Rothrock, and will be camping. We will have two full days and then one 1/2 day to ride.

    From what I am gathering, Raystown is good for one day, Rothrock for several. I am also getting that Raystown in pretty flowy and not a ton of elevation, and might be the best bet for the 3rd, shorter day when our past-our-prime bodies may be a tired and beat up from Rothrock. Question 1: Is this a reasonable read on the situation? Or is Raystown a solid full day?

    Question 2: What are some must-do trails or rides at Rothrock? We are definitely fine with old-school challenge. Sounds like we'll get our fill of flow at Raystown.

    Question 3: Are these two solid options in the area for the weekend? Are there any better options to look at? We need something well-mapped.

    Question 4: Is the camping good at Rothrock, and if so, where do you recommend?. We have had great luck with State park campgrounds in VA, NC, and NY. How about at Raystown?

    Thanks for any input or advice, here.
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  2. #2
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    Good read, If you do the southern trails at Raystown in addition to the northern it is a good days worth of riding. Definitely look at the Coopers Gap loop in MTB Project for Rothrock. Both have fairly well marked trails and are in Trailforks. The Army Corps of Engineers has a campground at Raystown and Poe Valley State Park is a nice campground as well.
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  3. #3
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    1. You can do almost all the trails in Raystown in half a day pretty easily, depending upon your pace. If going fast is your style, I'd consider riding there first as the trails are best experienced with a healthy dose of pedaling to liven things up. Riding Raystown at a slow pace on tired legs does not sound fun.
    2. Any of the big descents are great.
    3. Yes, solid options. Likely the two best marked, mapped, and established trail networks in the area.
    4. Penn Roosevelt is well situated but if you want showers you will want to follow jpa102's suggestions.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies and confirming my thoughts on Rothrock and Raystown.

    We have been looking at Greenwood Furnace Campground. The location looks perfect, and there are showers. Any thoughts on that place?
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Thanks for the replies and confirming my thoughts on Rothrock and Raystown.

    We have been looking at Greenwood Furnace Campground. The location looks perfect, and there are showers. Any thoughts on that place?
    Never stayed but ridden by it a few times. Also well located, as you noted, and seems like a nice spot. Have a great trip.

  6. #6
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    For Raystown camping try for Seven Points Ridge or Meadow, these are both closest to trails with showers. They are a 3 mile trail ride to the most popular Raystown trails.

    Susquehannock camp is closer to the popular trails but no showers.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    We booked a spot at Greenwood Furnace. Our plan is to ride Fri and Sat in Rothrock, then break camp on Sunday morning and hit Raystown on my buddies' way back to VA.

    As far as rides/routes in Rothrock....

    Day 1
    Coopers Gap IMBA Epic Loop is one ride we really want to do. I will admit I am a little nervous about it as I have not been riding as much these past couple seasons as I used to. I am a very experienced rider, and 4 years ago I would not give this a second thought, but looking at the stats (26 mi, 3K climbing) it really comes down to what the terrain is like. If it is very technical and slow going (which I typically like), that is going to be a really hard day for me. But if it is just technical in places but overall a little faster moving, I should be OK.

    Question: so what is that terrain like as far as east coast stuff goes?

    Day 2:
    We would like the other day to have some really rocky PA technical riding.

    I was intrigued by a route I found on Trailforks and MTB project called Bald Knob & The Laurels Loop. just 13 miles, but rated as very technical.

    Trailforks: https://www.trailforks.com/route/bal...-laurels-loop/
    MTB Project: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/700...e-laurels-loop

    Another trail that looks interesting is the Tussey Mountain Trail, but I don't see many routes/loop listed that utilize it other than a very long epic.
    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/tu...ountain-trail/
    I would be open to suggestions of
    a) whether this trail is indeed a "must do" and if so
    b) what a good route under 20 miles would be do do it.

    I was thinking if we were parked at the Galbraith parking lot, we could take
    Bear Meadow Rd >>Corners Rd (we don't mind climbing roads)
    >>Dylan's Path
    >>Tussey Mt Trail
    >>cross Bear Meadow Rd to Upper Lonberger Tr
    >>Lonberger Trail back to the bottom.

    Question: What would you pick of those two (Bald Knob & The Laurels Loop or Tussey Mt Trail) for the second day? Or suggest something else.

    Thanks!
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  8. #8
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    Day 1 question: You are in for a solid ride. I'd see if you can throw in the Ross trail and the full Sassafras trail if you really want do it right. Those two are both great descents.

    Day 2 question: Bald knob and Laurel loop will be sweet- that would be my recommendation but my preference is to grind up and bomb down.

  9. #9
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    When it comes to camping it actually gets easier and more enjoyable with experience. You get to learn all the things you actually need and all the things you don't actually need to take with you. You start investing in better equipment which lasts and is more comfortable. You find your own tolerance levels regarding what you are willing to do without and what you absolutely must have.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidBarker View Post
    When it comes to camping it actually gets easier and more enjoyable with experience. You get to learn all the things you actually need and all the things you don't actually need to take with you. You start investing in better equipment which lasts and is more comfortable. You find your own tolerance levels regarding what you are willing to do without and what you absolutely must have.
    Iím fine camping, been doing it all my life.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  11. #11
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    Figured I'd give a report in case anyone else is in the same boat as me. We spend this past Friday and Saturday riding Rothrock, and Sunday at Raystown Lake. Camped at Greenwood Furnace State Park Campground.

    Rothrock: We road ~20 miles each day.

    Friday we road the southern end of the park, out of the campground. We decided we did not have the IMBA Coopers Gap Epic in us, so we did a route that covered some of the same trails. We were all glad we did not do the epic, and this was all much slower going than we thought. Man, some of this stuff is ROCKY!. I really enjoyed the rockiness, I find it a fun challenge, but it is slow going and exhausting. I did notice that these trails don't seem to get much traffic, especially compared to the stuff we rode in the northern end of the park the next day. The trails along the Coopers Gap Epic did seem a little more ridden. Lower Sassafras looked to me like it gets very little use. Soft ground, too, so it was slow climbing. I liked the first part of the DH on Upper Sassafras (lots of rocks and interesting features), but that really long, steep, straight, and loose part is not my cup of tea. I've got no issues riding it, I just find it kind of boring and it quickly spends a lot of elevation I paid dearly to gain. Sass XX, Deer Tick, Beautiful, Chicken Peeter were great trails (for trails that are either climbing or rolling and not descending) I loved all the rocks. Pig Pile was fun, and the Lewiston Pike was pleasantly fast though not very demanding.

    Saturday we did a ride from the Galbraith Gap parking lot that included Tussey Mt Tr, Wildcat Gap Trail, Old Laurel Run Trail, and 3 Bridges. This end of the park clearly gets a lot more riders and a bit more trail love. Whereas we saw exactly one rider all day on the south end, this lot was full with plenty of folks on the trail.

    I LOVED Tussey Mt. Lots of great rocky riding. Wildcat Gap is super steep and loose for most of the length, with a little bit of super rocky stuff at the bottom. I liked the rocky stuff a lot, but I can take or leave the steep lose stuff. I like the challenge, and in many ways this was more challenging and interesting than Upper Sass, and I was glad to do it once, but I would probably not bother with it again. Old Laurel Run was AWESOME. Easily my favorite trail of the weekend. DH, rocky, challenging. Just awesome.

    Overall, I really liked riding Rothrock (especially the northern end), and would definitely like to return. I think I have a better idea what to do next time, and what the descriptions translate to on the ground. All I would say to anyone else considering Rothrock (at least what I rode) is you will like or hate this depending on how you feel about rock gardens. For me, this is the kind of riding I love: Old school, technical, hard.

    Raystown:
    We (and especially ME) were mostly shot by the third day. We did a pretty comprehensive loop in the northern half, which for us at that point was just a couple/few hours with a lot of stopping and BSing. I can see the wisdom of the advice to ride Raystown while you are fresh to get the most out of it. If you like smooth flowy flow trails, you will love Raystown. It was the polar opposite of what we were riding the previous two days. Some of the guys loved it. I like it in small doses, but those few hours were all I really needed to get my fill. I would probably have enjoyed it more on my now-disassembled 80mm HT than I did on my 150mm FS bike. Left to my own devices I would probably not go out of my way to ride there again, but I would definitely bring others there, as it is clearly a very popular destination.


    Camping:
    Greenwood Furnace was a perfectly nice campground, and the showers were indeed hot. We did notice that even though the place was completely full over the weekend, we were the only MTBers we saw there.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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