If this year reinforced anything, it is that perseverance and adaptability are a must in the age of a global pandemic. On top of the trials and challenges 2020 brought our world, our family decided to move across the country. Thankfully, we moved to a place with plenty of opportunity to ride, hike, and paddle a lot of our uncertainty and anxiety away (Central Pennsylvania).
Our family and friends found sanity from the pandemic on our bikes, from buttery singletrack to family-friendly Rail Trails to snowy forest roads. Here are some of our favorite sanity-inducing locales this year...
Spring through summer, the Allegrippis Trails singletrack above Raystown Lake are pure joy. Fast and flowy with fun climbs and fantastic descents. Honestly, I can’t get the smile off my face when I’m on those trails. We start our ride from the parking lot on 7 Points Road and follow a series of green and blue (easy to moderate difficulty) loops ( Buck to Doe to Fawn; or extend it by adding the super-fun Switch Trail to Sleek Dog to Eagle to Osprey). With over 40 miles of purpose-built trails, Allegrippis is a great trail system for beginners and advanced riders looking for a little sanity once the snow melts and trails dry out. Find out more on the Raystown Lizard Map
On an unseasonably warm fall day, we took advantage of a break in the weather to get some good times in on two wheels in Rothrock State Forest. Loading our bikes up with cold snacks (and standard snacks), we set out from the Galbraith Gap Lot near Tussey Mountain. We pedaled Galbraith Gap trail to Longberger Path and up the rocky, rugged and always-challenging Tussey Mountain Trail. We soon had a much-needed break at the Beer Tap (no taps were harmed in the making of this photograph).
As the light slowly dimmed, we started feeling the need to crack some of our own and decided to drop down Camp Trail to Dylan’s Path and rode out by way of Corner Road to Bear Meadows Road.
After the rocky climb and traverse atop Tussey Mountain Trail, the smooth route back to the trailhead was quite welcome.
Of course, if that wonderfully technical, rocky singletrack is your thing, you can always plan to have enough time to spin it around and extend the ride to the full 36-mile Rothrock Trail Mix IMBA Epic. Epic might just be the perfect word to describe it. The Tussey Mountain Trail is also a great hike with incredible views along the ridge. Find out more on the Rothrock Lizard Map
Of all the trails we explored this year, the Pine Creek Rail Trail topped our list of favorites, by far. Few travelers, great trail conditions and unrivaled views, this trail gave our family a safe and fun bike path to explore. While we hope 2021 brings an opportunity to bikepack the entire 62 miles from Jersey Shore to Wellsboro Junction - camping within designated zones along the way - this year allowed for several scouting trips, including sections near Waterville, Cammal and others.
Our kids loved the creek-side breaks and the colorful fall foliage. Foodie tip: Pair your mileage with takeout restaurant destinations (i.e., lunch at Waterville Tavern, and ice cream touring stops like Cedar Run General Store). Find out more on the Pine Creek Lizard Map - Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania
Winter is my favorite time of year to fat bike and the North Run Trail off Rattlesnake Pike/Route 504 on Moshannon State Forest is on my top 10 “easy escape” rides list. Living just down the road from Moshannon, we make it a point to explore our backyard as much as possible...especially in winter.
The easy-to-access North Run Trail (to the north) creates a fun and fast loop with Rattlesnake Trail. Looking for more miles? We add them in two ways, 1. Add an out-and-back along Ridge Trail from Rattlesnake Trail or 2. Make it a loop by going south on North Run Trail to North Run Road. Then, take Smays Run Trail to reconnect to Ridge Trail and back to North Run Trail (use caution when crossing the highway both to Ridge Trail and on North Run Trail). Find out more on the Moshannon-Quehanna Lizard Map
This year was unprecedented, there’s no denying that fact. But maybe that just means we have new perspectives and lots of fuel to feed our adventure and recreation planning in 2021. Stay safe and have fun out there!
by Ryan Michelle Scavo, Outdoorswoman & Adventure Mama. Instagram: @Ryoutside
copyright Purple Lizard Maps 2020 (almost 2021!).
I held my breath with each up and down, stopping every so often to let out some tears. The creek was rushing and beautiful this morning. The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and the temperature was perfect. Approaching the finish, I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. Before the last climb, I took one more glance at the water and smelled the pine that surrounded me. I will always belong out here. The forest took care of me this week, I will forever be thankful.