VA to PA route help- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    VA to PA route help

    Hey all,

    My PA girl and I have 12 days in the end of June/begining of July that we'll be riding from someplace in Virginia toward north central PA (as close to Williamsport/Jersey Shore as we can get). We're going bikepacking.net style.

    My maps run out at the VA/MD line heading north. Any suggestions on routes from south centralish PA area to the north centralish area? Of course we want single track, but some roads- rural paved or gravel are fine, just no Interstates/11-15. Linking gravel from good single track to good single track may be a good option. We have no experience or preconcieved notions about riding in PA so we're looking for all the ideas you've got.

    ~Shaun
    Last edited by FeloniousDunk; 05-14-2009 at 08:00 AM.

  2. #2

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    Let me add one more thing.

    Any "must rides" in that region of the state that if nothing else maps out, we can atleast ride roads to a couple good riding destinations?

    Thanks. Looking forward to the trip!

  3. #3
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    Wish I could help here, but Ive been looking for some area bikepacking destinations as well. When you get this sorted out a trip log would be great!

  4. #4
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    At my blog you can get some idea of that area of PA. I just rode from Wilkes-Barre (30 or so miles east of Williamsport) to Raystown Lake (South of Huntingdon on a map). Amish country roads are amazing to ride on. Signs warning drivers of horse and buggies and wide shoulders to make this easy. Just south of Lewisburg, PA is a very fun biker campground called Steel Steeds Campround that tries to be friendly to anyone on two wheels. More likely than not though you might want to hit Rockrock and Raystown Lake which puts you well west of that place.

    PA bike routes J and G go in the right direction for you to follow but they will not be on dirt for any long amount of time. I took 45 West out of Lewisburg to Mifflinburg (great Amish bike shop here). Went south down 104 from there and turned west (22 and 522) again in Middleburg. With the exception of Lewistown that was all nice fairly quiet roads through mostly farm lands. A town every 10 miles or so with great cheap ice cream at a gas station in McClure. I'd watch out for the hills in this area because if you don't go northeast through many of these areas you're going to be fighting with all the hills instead of going between them.

    I have a map from http://www.thealleghenies.com/biking.aspx that shows a few rail trails, the only one of real interest might be the abandoned turnpike one near Breezewood, PA. I'm not the greatest expert on mountain biking through the central PA region, but I am sure someone can make you a nice list of places to hit. I would think it's unlikely you could make a mostly dirt route through the region.

    I'll keep trying to think up good ideas for you.

  5. #5
    Prez NMBA
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    it would really depend on where you enter PA, if we had an idea on that I think it would help out in figuring out your route up.

  6. #6
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    Link up Gambrill and Frederick Watershed and then into Michaux SF in PA, cross the Cumberland Valley into the Tuscarora SF, up across the ridges of Perry County into Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests and then east towards Williamsport?

    Rough idea. Lots of climbing. Lots of State Forests.
    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmba guy
    it would really depend on where you enter PA, if we had an idea on that I think it would help out in figuring out your route up.
    That's a good question. There are a couple options coming from VA and WV, so it's conceivable that we could come across anywhere between Ohiopyle and US-81. We're flexible on that inorder to reach the best options in PA. I'll be pouring over the maps this weekend and hopefully have more specifics.

    I'll appreciate any ideas.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lugboot
    Link up Gambrill and Frederick Watershed and then into Michaux SF in PA, cross the Cumberland Valley into the Tuscarora SF, up across the ridges of Perry County into Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests and then east towards Williamsport?

    Rough idea. Lots of climbing. Lots of State Forests.
    Any place I can find all those places on one map? Thanks for the ideas. I'll look into it.

    Rough ideas is where it starts, climbing's fine (everything is uphill here in western NC), you guys have a lot of State Forests .

  9. #9

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    Chriffer, nice trip. Raystown to Roth Rock might be a nice link. Thanks for the idea. One of my buddies helped build the new stuff at Raystown.

    Keep the ideas coming.

  10. #10
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    Chriffer/Chris--I'm Brett, the guy that cleaned you up after that unfortunate spill on the turn into the campground at Raystown. How are you doing? I recognized the bike on your blog.

    Felonius Dunk--no, there is not a single map that links that stuff in any coherent detail, especially if you're looking for trails or anything. A PA road map will show the state forests in green so you can idea of the dots to connect, though. For more detailed maps, you can get some of the PATC (Potomac Appalachian Trail Conference) maps for the MD/PA border area and the AT in Michaux. Also their Tuscarora trail maps for that section. Then further north, hit up NMBA (Nittany Mtn BIke Association) for info in Rothrock and Bald Eagle. Bald Eagle SF also has a good trail map for the area around RB Winter State Park.

    State Parks to camp at along the way or just camp in the state forests...Caledonia SP, Pine Grove SP, Colonel Denning SP, Fowlers Hollow SP, Greenwood Furnace SP, Penn Roosevelt SP, Poe Paddy SP, RB Winter SP...

    Dammit, I'm laying out a route that I want to do now.
    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lugboot
    Dammit, I'm laying out a route that I want to do now.
    That's the spirit! Let me know how the mapping goes.

    I'm going to dig through my map boxes this weekend to see if I have a PA road map.

    Is it okay to camp, stealthily or otherwise in PA State Parks and/or State Forests?

    ~Shaun

  12. #12
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    lugboot's right..... lot a lot a lot of climbing that route. but beautiful country. perry co. will see you climbing a least three mountains plus maybe a ridge or two. not a lot of places to stock up on food, etc.

    "stealthily" in the parks?...probably not....for a fee, sure. in the state forest...probably. DCNR wants folks to get a free permit, so they know where people are camping i guess, but i don't know if people really do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zzero
    lugboot's right..... lot a lot a lot of climbing that route. but beautiful country. perry co. will see you climbing a least three mountains plus maybe a ridge or two. not a lot of places to stock up on food, etc.

    "stealthily" in the parks?...probably not....for a fee, sure. in the state forest...probably. DCNR wants folks to get a free permit, so they know where people are camping i guess, but i don't know if people really do.
    On the major climbs, what kind of elevation change we talking? We have a lot of continuous 3000'+ climbs around here and I've learned I don't want to be doing too many of those. Grade wise, are we talking hike-a-bike or granny gear?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FeloniousDunk
    On the major climbs, what kind of elevation change we talking? We have a lot of continuous 3000'+ climbs around here and I've learned I don't want to be doing too many of those. Grade wise, are we talking hike-a-bike or granny gear?
    no 3000' climbs. depends on route. trails...yeah you could be doing some hike-a-bike. forestry roads....i guess granny if you're loaded down. MapMyRide.com might be handy.

  15. #15
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    i thought your name looked familiar. i lived in western nc for a while. is the iron mountain trail in damascus, va on the itinerary? or are you heading up eastern va?

    the trails in harrisonburg va are pretty good too if your taking the eastern route and there is some stuff outside winchester va.

    also...don't expect any of the climbs in pa to be like what you would encounter in pisgah, brevard, wilson creek etc..... some might be as steep and maybe more technical....but there are no 60-90 minute sustained granny gear climbs like curtis creek to heartbreak ridge....to give you an idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Aswell
    the 5th poster, ganginwoods, is correct

  16. #16

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    Hey Kevin, thanks for the first hand info. That's what I needed to hear. I wouldn't want to end up with a CCR to Heartbreak everyday on a loaded bike!

    Iron Mountain in southern VA is definitly on the long route list. I've actually got some good info on a route up through VA from Damascus, BUT we won't have time to do all that plus PA so what I'm working on now is to plot a route up through PA then link the two and figure out what section of it to do. My preference is to start in northern VA or WV someplace and ride all the way to the in-laws in Jersey Shore PA, near Williamsport. But if I can't get a route plotted through that much of PA, I'll start further south in VA and ride till we're done and have someone pick us up.

    I'm looking forward to it, a lot!

  17. #17
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    If you can find your way to the southern end of Rothrock State Forest at say Greenwood furnace state park, you can make it all the way to at least lewisburg on state forest gravel roads and some trails, we can definitely help ya out there. I also have a buddy that is doing a similar type trip from state college through Jersey shore (PA, not NJ) which is not far from williamsport so that leg should be no problem. as far as "stealth camping" its a no-no in state parks but in the state forest your good to go. The free permits are for the reservable campsites in the forest but you are allowed to camp anywhere in the forest, just not right along roads or right on trails. There should be plenty of surface water spots, just bring a filter.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmba guy
    If you can find your way to the southern end of Rothrock State Forest at say Greenwood furnace state park, you can make it all the way to at least lewisburg on state forest gravel roads and some trails, we can definitely help ya out there. I also have a buddy that is doing a similar type trip from state college through Jersey shore (PA, not NJ) which is not far from williamsport so that leg should be no problem. as far as "stealth camping" its a no-no in state parks but in the state forest your good to go. The free permits are for the reservable campsites in the forest but you are allowed to camp anywhere in the forest, just not right along roads or right on trails. There should be plenty of surface water spots, just bring a filter.

    Guys, Thanks for all the help so far. It's coming together, slowly though. PA doesn't appear to be like VA which has a lot of long north/south linear trails. Parts of The Wilderness 100 and Stoopid 50 may link up something good in that neck of the woods though. Getting to there isn't as clear.

    The info on camping and water is good to know. When I get further along, I'll ask about nearby bikeshops and resupply stops.

    NMBA GUY, my final destination actually is Jersey Shore. It would be awesome to get a good route to near the Jersey Shore end of the Pine Creek Rail-to-Trail. My inlaws (final stop) is right near there. If your friend has the State College to there figured out, I'd love to hear it, and best yet, would be to get a gps track of it.

    Still planning.

  19. #19
    Prez NMBA
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    i may see him tomorrow so ill try and get details for ya. seems like he has that leg really well planned out

  20. #20

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    Hey all,

    I have to admit, I'm not having much luck with my route finding in PA. Many of the trails I'm finding aren't bike legal. Too bad too, because that Mid State Trail looks beautiful!

    But I can't find if the Tuscarora Trail is bike legal? Anyone have some info on it. I'm thinking I'll get on it in Winchester VA and head north.

  21. #21
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    I'm coming in late in this thread.

    I suppose you have found the DCNR State Forest maps online? If not......

    http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Forestry...sts/index.aspx

    Some info on the Tusc...

    http://trails.mtbr.com/cat/united-st...1_4585crx.aspx
    Last edited by Ryno; 05-28-2009 at 04:10 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by FeloniousDunk
    Hey all,

    I have to admit, I'm not having much luck with my route finding in PA. Many of the trails I'm finding aren't bike legal. Too bad too, because that Mid State Trail looks beautiful!

    But I can't find if the Tuscarora Trail is bike legal? Anyone have some info on it. I'm thinking I'll get on it in Winchester VA and head north.
    The Tuscarora is not travelled enough to be an issue. That said, it's a rocky mofo, and ridge top in some sections, meaning you'll have to drop elevation to find water.

    Yeah, shame about the MidState, but what can you say? the KTA has long been a powerhouse in the state.
    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  23. #23
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    i agree with lugboot. although rideable in sections, you'd be hating life if you tried to use it long term. and i'm someone who loves rocky stuff. i think lugboot will vouch for that also.

  24. #24
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    some beta:
    for general route finding, pick up the PA "Tourism & Transportaion Map" if you can...I think it's a freebie from the highway restops just as you come into the state, try to request a copy thru www.dot.state.pa.us Fine print says that "Complimentary copies of this map will be supplied upon request." Shows all of the state parks, forests, gamelands, along with major 'hiking' trails like the Mid State, Tusc, Link Trail. Good lay of the land reference.

    From where you're coming, research the Great Eastern Trail, Chris Scott of SMT has been doing some work on this, it's a route being laid out to mimic the AT, but for everybody. http://www.chrisscottistan.blogspot.com/ has some trip reports on it, mostly from Harrisonburg-south. VA portions are roughed in from what I understand, northern section sorta using the Tusc Trail up to the C&O Canal rail trail off the top of my head. From there, I'd look at the corridors that the Tusc & Mid State Trails follow. Call PA DCNR and get the state forest maps for Tusc, Bald Eagle, Rothrock, Black Mo....they'll send you up to 6 maps at a time, for free. These maps will show you other designated trails beyond the established hiking networks. Lugboot has a good idea about the Gambril to Michaux link, but for where you're headnig, I'd stay on the west side of 81, coming up thru Michaux would be a bit of a detour if you're on a limited time frame.

    Just did a tour up thru the Tuscarrora last wknd, good times....
    http://tomi-mcmillar.blogspot.com/

  25. #25
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    'bout time you chimed in.
    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  26. #26
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    A good Bald Eagle State Forest map for singletrack and dirt roads:

    https://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/ma...ll_bikemap.jpg

  27. #27
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    PA State Forest Camping

    One comment on camping in State Forests, the fine print of the rules states that if you are primitive 'backpack' style camping, you don't need a permit to camp for a single night. I assume this means that you are not using a developed campsite, of which there are a handful scattered in the Rothrock.

    I've done it many times, and never had an issue.

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