Mountain Biking in Pennsylvania: Lehigh Gorge State Park
The Lehigh Gorge Trail
As fall has coming upon us, I realized that summer had come and gone without me spending enough time outdoors. One of my favorite things I like to do outside is ride my bicycle, especially on a nice quiet trail. Since the fall season is still a great time to ride, I decided to write about one of my favorite trails to ride in order to try and inspire myself to get out and do some riding before winter comes upon us.
One of my favorite trails to ride is the Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail. The trail was made from an abandoned railroad line and is mostly made of packed gravel that travels about 26 miles along the Lehigh River in Northeast Pennsylvania. The great part about this trail is it has a pretty flat grade which makes it easy to ride for all levels of riders and can offer as much of a workout as you can handle. It is also closed to traffic so you don’t need to worry about cars running down the family.
I like to start my ride at the Glen Onoko access point which is located pretty easily in the town of Jim Thorpe, PA. This is the southernmost point to access the trail. There is plenty of parking available at this location for when traffic is higher in the summertime and the trail is easy to access. The reason I usually like to start here is that overall the trail is pretty flat it does have about a 2% grade. So as I take the ride north toward the Rockport access I head slightly uphill, which helps me with a little relief for the ride back is slightly easier.
If I ride all the way to the Rockport access, it covers about 12.5 miles along the Lehigh River offering many scenic places to stop and take a look and picnic benches all along the trail. After completing the 12.5 miles back, I am usually pretty tired from a great workout and relaxed from the nice quiet few hours on the trail.
There are a few things you should be aware of before entering the trail. The trail is shared by bikers, hikers, and other users. You should always stay right except to pass others and announce it before you do. Be sure to pull off the trail when stopping and move out of the way of any emergency vehicles if needed so they can pass quickly. You should also pack lots of water and some snacks since there is nothing available while on the trail. I’d also recommend packing a small set of tools in order to make basic repairs if needed. You wouldn’t want to push your bike 12 miles back to your car.
I have seen a lot of rattlesnakes on or by the trail. If you leave them alone, they will do the same. I came across this one and stopped to watch him cross the road. I warned a passerby who decided to get too close and get this guy a little upset. Luckily for him it appears this one had a full belly and was a little slow. Just stay away from them and all will be fine.
I hope you enjoy the trail as much as I do and maybe I will see you there!