January 10, 2020

Contrary to popular belief, not every trail in Central PA is difficult and rocky. But, moderate trails for hiking, running, and riding within public lands of Central Pennsylvania can be hard to find. We, like you, spend spring, summer, and fall toiling through rhododendron tunnels, stumbling over rocks, and pushing our bicycles uphill on climbs just too tough to pedal - and we love it - but sometimes we need an easier experience. This winter, take a break from the gnarly single track, grab some friends and family, and explore a new-to-you location in Bald Eagle State Forest!

Sand Mountain Trailhead Parking, Bald Eagle State Forest, PA

Get There

Located less than two miles east of Route 322 via the gravel surfaced Sand Mountain Road in the Seven Mountains region of Central Pennsylvania, the Sand Mountain Dual Sport Trail System should be your new go-to adventure destination on those snow-free winter days! Have a look at your Bald Eagle Lizard Map, and locate Sand Mountain Trailhead Parking Area near Route 322 between Milroy and Potters Mills. Now take note of the plethora of trails leading east from this parking area. This trail system features fairly level trails with a cinder and gravel base, which is great for non-motorized gravel and mountain bikes! Trail runners will also love this very runnable trail system! Hikers too, can enjoy a winter stroll in this section of Bald Eagle State Forest.

Sand Mountain Dual Sport Trail System, Bald Eagle State Forest, Pennsylvania

No Snow, No Problem

This trail system includes both double track and single track gravel trails, which are excellent for all levels of forest explorer. Do beware, trails blazed with orange diamonds (as shown in the picture above) are open to snowmobiles during appropriate conditions! If you visit during times of snow, stay alert for snowmobiles, but when the trails are clear, there is no concern regarding this traffic.

Sand Mountain Dual Sport Trail System, Bald Eagle State Forest, Pennsylvania

 A Unique Dual Sport Trail System

When you visit this area, you will see purple diamonds and purple blazes along the trails as well. This blaze color indicates trails are open to dual sport motorcycles.

"Dual sport what?" you ask.

Dual sport motorcycles are motor bikes which are licensed to drive on PA roadways, yet are also capable off-road riding as well. Bald Eagle State Forest is home to the only dual sport trails out of all of PA DCNR forest lands. It is a gem for motorcyclists, and it is open for use from Memorial Day Weekend through the last full weekend in September. So, you should not encounter motorcycles on these trails during winter months. Learn more about dual sport riding and regulations here: Bald Eagle State Forest Dual Sport Trails 

Non-motorized shared use trail, Bald Eagle State Forest, PA

Nearby Single Track Trails

There are also plenty of single track trails to discover in this part of the forest for those looking to get away from the gravel. Red blazes and brown triangular signs indicate trails open to non-motorized, shared-use activities.

"What is that?" you ask.

Simply put, these trails are open to non motorized, hiking, running, and riding (bikes and horses). The Mid State Trail, which leads hearty hikers and backpackers from Maryland to New York, is the sole hiking only trail in this area. Mid State Trail is blazed with orange paint, as it follows the tallest ridge line directly south of this dual sport trail system. Dogs are allowed in PA State Forests, but they must be kept under strict verbal control and/or kept on a leash. Keep your dogs close and under tight control for both their safety, the safety of forest creatures, and the safety of other humans in the forest.  

Trail Signs, Bald Eagle State Forest, Pennsylvania

Trail Conditions and Intersections

One last highlight of this trail system: great trail conditions and signage. Although this forest is rather remote, and includes numerous trail intersections, most of these trails are well maintained and helpful signs can be found at almost all intersections. Don't leave your Bald Eagle Lizard Map at home though; with so many options out here, you can use your Lizard Map to create your own adventure at every turn! Credit for these great signs and trails goes to DCNR Bald Eagle State Forest, local trail race groups, such as Transylvania Epic, and hiking groups such as Mid State Trail Association.  

Dual Sport Trail System, Bald Eagle State Forest, Pennsylvania

Visit This Special Trail System

The Sand Mountain Dual Sport Trail System is truly a gem smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania. This system is an excellent example of an area used and maintained by multiple forest users groups for the good of all. As noted in the fine print of all Purple Lizard Maps, "remember that your actions affect all of us. Be smart, be safe, and leave no trace." The weather in Seven Mountains is always different than the surrounding valleys, and trail conditions and regulations can vary from season to season, so be sure to contact Bald Eagle State Forest for current updates before you visit. Until then, take a look at your Bald Eagle Lizard Map and plan your upcoming adventure in Bald Eagle State Forest!


Also in Lizard Adventure Blog

Last One to the Top Wins: Musings of a Slow, Asthmatic Hiker
Last One to the Top Wins: Musings of a Slow, Asthmatic Hiker

July 26, 2021

The novelty and adrenaline of running my first major race unfolded before me and I suddenly realized that, in many ways, I was getting a lot more out of this than they were.

Continue Reading

A Monongahela National Forest West Virginia Dream Hike
A Monongahela National Forest West Virginia Dream Hike

July 02, 2021

The adventure began at the Congdon Run Trailhead in the Otter Creek Wilderness at FS 303 with a friendly shuttle and equipped with the Purple Lizard Maps the shuttler recommended for navigation. The day was overcast, but no rain, as the duo plodded along the trail with Steve relating many memories of hiking with the youth group long ago. Otter Creek at this point wandered among green grasses in a tranquil manner, and the first river crossing could be negotiated with crocs. A connoisseur of maps, Steve diligently studied the Otter Creek version of the map, remarking on some of the whimsical quotes scattered within the map such as “Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” Winnie the Pooh.

Continue Reading

Mom’s Camping 101
Mom’s Camping 101

June 25, 2021

If you are starting from scratch and need gear, don’t fall for the myth that you need a ton of specialized gear to have a great time enjoying the outdoors. Most of what you need is already in your home. Think about what you need to keep your children happy at home and ask yourself if they will need it when you camp. No need to pack up your entire kitchen, or break the bank on specialized equipment.

Continue Reading