Sylvan Pennsylvania

Biking in the Fall

Autumn is the ideal time for exploring Pennsylvania's forests on a mountain bike—the air is crisp and cool, the trails are dry, hard-packed and fast, and leaves of brilliant red, deep orange, and shimmering yellow dance overhead as you pedal down the trail.

The Michaux State Forest, in the south-central part of the state, is home to a great system of trails, making it an increasingly popular destination for mountain bikers. Miles of moderate trails interspersed with hardcore technical single-track wind through stands of hardwoods and conifers along the ridges and valleys of South Mountain.

A bit to the west of Michaux lie the Laurel Highlands, dominated by two mountain ridges, the Laurel and the Chestnut. The area's hills, valleys, and deep forests offer virtually unlimited possibilities for rugged, scenic mountain biking. One easy ride, called the North Woods Ramble, offers some excellent views of the mountains of western Pennsylvania, whose trees will be at their most gorgeous and brilliant during the middle two weeks of October.

One of the most popular areas for mountain biking in Pennsylvania is near a town named after Jim Thorpe, a man widely considered to be one of the 20th century's greatest athletes. The name, and the spectaular countryside, make this area a natural draw for active adventurers. The Lehigh River Gorge State Park, north of Jim Thorpe, is criss-crossed by trails on the smooth, rolling hills of the Poconos. Paths on Broad Mountain, one of the prominent features of the area, pass through mixed-hardwood forests—mostly oak with some maple and gray birch. And bikers in this area won't want to miss the overlooks that offer incredible views of the Lehigh River Gorge.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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