... At over 8 miles, Swatara State Park's mountain bike trails are a system of 6 looped trails that twist through the woods and hills and are generally considered a good place for introductory skills. Some points: 1) If you start at the Lickdale trail head on Monroe Valley Rd. Once back on the trail it is pretty scenic for about three miles. Swatara State Park Mountain Bike, Hike, Trail Running trails near Lickdale, Pennsylvania. View maps, videos, photos, and reviews of Swatara State Park bike trail in Lickdale. This trail hasn’t been improved. And, though I would agree that the first two miles of the Swatara are a bit bumpy, if you have a hybrid (which I do) or a mountain bike (which my riding companion had) you'll do fine. On the way back I jumped up on the road that was there, and it was very nice. The old state road starts at the Appalachin Trail Bridge and runs along the east side of the creek while the rail trail runs along the west side of the creek. To reach a centrally located parking area in Swatara State Park from I-81, take Exit 100, and head west onto SR 443/Suedberg Road. Haldeman & Greenland Tracts - Snowmobile Trails. You do have to switch from the trail to an old paved road at a spot called Murry Station. From there you will have access to the rest of the Park’s trail system. The only problem is a most of the trails are pretty chewed up with horse tracks. For the first two miles the trail is very rough, then you bike on an abandon road for a ways then jump back on the trail. The resurfaced trail is about one mile in length. All of the services are at the Lickville end of the trail. SR 443 and I-81 (Pine Grove). At the Waterville Bridge I could see that you would cut over to the old state road, but I had two miles back to lickdale (picture that sign is actually one of the few on the trail.) The swampy sections of the trail have been filled in and the trail has been covered with gravel. Hikers may leave an itinerary with the park for emergencies. And there's not much to see other than the marshes bordering the trail. Mountain Biking Trails: Accessible from the State Park Lane trailhead, six trails are designed as mountain bike trails. Mile markers or a map with trail distances would be helpful to riders. The trailhead map doesn't indicate the direction of the trail. Lots' of fast food, gas, and hotels. There are three miles of smooth two-lane asphalt road; five miles of old potholed one lane road that likely dates back to the early 1800s; and ten miles of rail trail. I had a good ride on the Swatara-Bear Hole Trails today with a close friend. This trail is beautiful. While my Bultaco Alpina from thirty years ago would have handled the mud and fallen trees, I have yet to learn how to make my bicycle do it gracefully. The bridge carries the Appalachian Trail across the creek and connects with the, Trending right after the water gap on the Swatara Rail-Trail, you’ll pass six mountain bike singletrack runs to your left of about 1.5 miles each. I do not recommend starting there since trail for the first mile is very large gravel, making this a very bumpy ride. are not so trail-like and not as rider/walker friendly. Overall, this is an enjoyable trail, well shaded most of the way, with views of Swatara Creek from the rail trail. Smooth riding - between bumps every hundred feet or so. Access to the Swatara Creek Water Trail is provided at public and private access points identified on the map. There are many nice views along the creek. Access to the Swatara Creek Water Trail is provided at two formal trailheads, Scotto's Italian Restaurant, Jonestown, Lebanon County, and Boat House Road Park, Derry Township, Dauphin County, and at other public and private access points identified on the trail guide/map. We decided to take advantage of the weather and ride this trail on Christmas Day. Trail Description The Swatara Rail Trail stretches 10 miles along Swatara Creek from the Interstate 81 Pine Grove Interchange almost to Lickdale, revealing remnants of both the canal and the railroad along the way. I noticed several groups of people walking this section but no fellow bike riders. WHOAA!! I rode about 8 miles before finding short section under water. Youker. Was an easy ride with well-marked trails. Overall a great trail. Did a 40+ mile ride there today, mostly on Monroe Valley Road but also did most of the park trails, Trout Run, Bear Hole, etc. It was a bit overcast but still hot and muggy, 80 degrees. Go 0.6 mile, and look for parking straight ahead, where the road intersects with the trail. Two point five miles from Lickdale, at the point where route 72 becomes route 433, there is a small parking area and a gated entrance that puts you right onto the Park’s three miles of smooth asphalt road. Future plans call for the, In another 1.2 miles, the trail begins a narrow passage through the water gap through Blue Mountain created by Swatara Creek. I frequent this trail as its close to home and a nice 12-13 mile loop running up then down either side of the swatara creek. I parked here (even though it didn't look like a "parking area". Swatara Creek Run (SCR) will take place at the Swatara State Park about 40 minutes north east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Swatara Gap to Delaware Water Gap Topographic Map Guide makes a perfect traveling companion when traversing the northeastern Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). I will say the first 2 miles is tough riding with loose larger gravel, and it is hard to get any real speed. Some nice off-shoots into woods. The surface beyond this point is paved first (and in reasonably good shape) and then crushed gravel. The rail trail and the Bear Hole trail are now both surfaced with very fine crushed stone. I then put in at the corner of Rt SR 443 and SR 72 on an old road and new trail down to the two bridges and with two trips I had completed almost all of the Swatara Rail Trail. For more information on Swatara and Pennsylvania’s other 119 state parks, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (select “Find a Park”). I came to Swatara from the west, from Route 81, and easily found the Swatara State Park sign, and assumed I'd easily find the trailhead to the rail trail. A trip north on I-81 gave me another chance to explore the Swatara Rail Trail. There are several trail junctions, including one with the Appalachian Trail, along the way. Hopefully the last bit will receive its final crushed stone topper soon. There are three entrances that will lead you into the less challenging mid section of the Park and its trails. You do not have to get on this road to ride this trail, actually I only did it for this review and to explore. We are planning on doing this again, hopefully the Lickdale section will be open. To reach the southern trailhead in Lickdale from I-81, take Exit 90 toward SR 72 N/Fisher Ave., and turn left onto Fisher Ave. Continue onto Lickdale Road, crossing over SR 72, and then turn left into the parking lot by the camping sign. Improvements listed it as resurfaced in 2013. You have to just guess and hope you are going the right direction, this was not a stretch in the official description at all. We found that to be very true. In all fairness to the Park, my ride followed three days of December rain. Harrisburg – A long-awaited construction project that will see trails, parking areas and bridges installed at Swatara State Park in Lebanon and Schuylkill counties is now underway, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said today. Youker June 2, 2010. trails are maintained nicely & well marked. We saw only 2 horse back riders, 3 bikers and 2 hikers. The hills are not long but one exceeds 10% grade. Overnight parking for through or section AT hikers is on SR 443 just west of SR 72. water trail is ideal for half-day, full-day or multiple-day paddle and float trips down the Swatara Creek. On the south end (Lickdale) there is a new parking area and a resurfaced trail. Had trouble finding the parking lot in Lickdale so I drove to Pine Grove and parked at the Swopes Valley Trailhead parking lot. Another bridge will span Mill Creek on the rail trail. The trailhead was also just where it was supposed to be. Spent a couple of hours on the Swatara Rail trail today 5/21/13. Be careful. end the final leg is completely unimproved and for me impassable. The bridge carries the Appalachian Trail across the creek and connects with the Bear Hole Trail that runs 5 miles through the state park on the other side of the creek. Susquehanna Area Mountain Biking Association's Trails Map. I think I saw a hiker, but not real sure... "There have been a few changes since February of 2005 when I last reported on the trail. The trail is relatively flat, but plan to get muddy. If I had a horse I would be afraid on the section from Sand Siding Road to Swopes Valley Rd.About a 50 ft.drop to creek !! soon you will come to a place where you can take a left on the road or a right, I went right where the road soon ended. ", "I decided to take my Labor Day and discover the Swatara Rail Trail. Again using a stop on my way south from Vermont I finished my scouting of the several trails in undeveloped Swarta State Park. Much of the trail is crushed limestone and asphalt, although segments at either end are dirt and grass and may be more conducive to mountain bikes than road and hybrid bikes. Help defend and expand trails nationwide. Youker. The trail in this section of Pennsylvania primarily travels across flat, rocky ridges mixed with strenuous climbs in and out of … Shortly you come up to a new bridge across the Swatara Creek. Saw 2 six point bucks right on the trail last weekend..still in velvet--they were beautiful. As an update to an earlier review, there is a port-a-john available at the Trout Run trail head, which seems to be the most spacious & least used parking area. “With its increased network of trails and access to Swatara Creek launching areas, we see park visitation growing significantly,” Allan said. Going down the hill a bit, I found some trailhead, I think here you can also get on the AT (Appalachian Trail)! The section that says no horses is good but the other sections with horses the trail is smooth along the edges as the horses stay in the middle. The next feature is the Sand Siding Pedestrian Bridge, which is iron and boardwalk, attached sections allowing the bridge to change direction. I first tried to catch the trail at the KOA located at the I-81 and 72 intersection. Map of the Union Canal in Swatara State Park (PDF) Interactive GIS Map. The first official access is at Pine Grove, near Route 645. We started from the Lickdale trailhead. This could be a great trail if it were finished properly and horses were restricted to one side of the trail, said leaving part of the path smooth. I took the trail till I hit the concrete plant that I first discovered when I tried to catch the trail at the KOA in Lickdale. Either campground looks like a good place to spend a weekend.From I-81 take exit 100 to 443 west for seven miles. Then a couple of miles of unused asphalt highway. Just something interesting to read... All in all I will say that this was a great trail to ride once you get past the first 2 miles. It’s the longest ‘new construction’ rail trail bridge I’ve seen. The trail route got its start with the discovery of anthracite coal in nearby Tremont, prompting construction of the Pine Grove feeder canal in the early 1800s that ran along Swatara Creek and connected with the main Union Canal near Lebanon. Then we biked back on the trail toward the Hampton Inn to see where the trailhead actually was. Click to maximize. The state acquired the land and built the trail. An 11 mile loop can be completed by using Swatara Rail Trail and Bear Hole Trail and crossing the creek … Much of the trail is crushed limestone and asphalt, although segments at either end are dirt and grass and may be more conducive to mountain bikes than road and hybrid bikes. The first "planned for mountain bikes" trail system in PA State Parks, Swatara is great ride to introduce someone to the joys of singletrack. At one section the trail is actually an abandoned paved road. It was very dan. This trail would have a five star rating if it weren't for horse's. Combining the 2 trails as we did made for about a 30 mile ride and a perfect Christmas afternoon. Surfaces range from large stones to gravel to hardpacked earth to roadway to grass. After entering the trail there, the first quarter of a mile of the trail is rough and muddy, however, an informal detour around that section is available through the adjacent field. It was nice enough. The Swatara Gap to Delaware Water Gap Topographic Map Guide makes a perfect traveling companion when traversing the northeastern Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Upon reentering the state park I stopped at the waterville bridge and checked the map. Everyone needs to share the trails. A very nice trail to ride. The first mile or so was a paved trail with several branch-offs of different trails (not sure if these were state park trails or what). Some historical markers for this & other local features would be a nice addition. On my last trip encountered a number of face-slappers every mile. The trail is really, really not marked at all. Doc ID: 1737226 Doc Name: SWAT_ParkMap.pdf; Error Message: Stack Trace: on this section you will pass a junk yard and a wildlife refuge. We decided to ride on Super Bowl Sunday and check out this trail. Hoof marks and horse flops became increasing evident as I went west/north, but IMHO were never more that a minor nuisance. Northern and Southern Multi-Use Loops 11 miles of trails The other two were longer, but not quite as steep, but still challenging enough for me at this point in the ride. Go 5.1 miles, and turn left at the entrance for Sand Siding Road. One of those dabs was just at the edge of the roadbed where a slurry of wet, hundred year old, coal dust and cinders fought to hang onto my shoe and cause me to dramatically dismount from my bike. An 8-mile stretch of the Swatara Creek Water Trail winds through the park, and two miles of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, cross its southern sector. Dec 13th, 2011 - Damage from Ireane and Lee -- Trail Repaired arround Interstate Bridges. Instead, go down Swopes Valley Rd. near the village of Suedberg off Rt. The trail again transitions to fine grit for a few miles, but finally transitions to soil with grass/weeds. The trail runs though it. The Swatara Water Trail will require portage around bridge construction. Kittatinny Ridge, also known as Blue Mountain, has been designated by Audubon Pennsylvania, as the largest of the state’s Important Bird Areas. The part we did do was fairly pleasant; but since we thought we were getting a typical flat, crushed stone rail trail, we were pretty disappointed that we only got a 10-mile ride fitting that description. The day was heavily overcast (but, no rain while on the trail) with a temp. Rhododendrons grow along the trail. They also have cabins and camper sites, but only three tent sites. Started my trip from the campground north of the park.Can’t wait to do it again. “Long identified as ‘undeveloped,’ this gem of a state park comprised of woodlands and meadows straddling Swatara Creek is targeted for the type of improvements its visitors have requested,” said DCNR Secretary Richard Allan. Todays trip --- Deer, Fox, Turkeys, and Grouse were seen. This new bridge make is possible for shorter loop rides/walks. This is a connection to the ‘Bear Hole Trail’ that parallels the rail trail on the other side of creek. Part of Swatara Rail Trail closed due to storm damage. Won't go back on this one. Here, you’ll pass the 1890 vintage Waterville Bridge, a 221-foot steel bridge that was relocated here after it was retired in the village of Waterville, more than 100 miles from here. Lonely, but nice. My glow-in-the-dark Irish skin was attracting bugs like crazy. Prepare a float plan and always wear your life jacket. If you're looking for a place for the 5-year-old to ride his tricycle or a place to push your baby carriage, then find another trail, but if you want some out-of-the way running, walking or riding, check out Swatara. Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail (AT) traverses two miles of the southern portion of Swatara State Park. A replacement bridge across the creek leads you to Swopes Road. Start/Finish will be at the Swopes Valley Trailhead on the east side of the park. The spring rains have gutted the upper trail section and the choice of rock to fill in was a little large, there are nice holes and rocks that will get your attention if your daydreaming but overall i like this trail and recommend checking it out if your passing by, lve yourself roughly and hr to run it but theres some nice relaxing areas to enjoy and usually friendly people to talk to. However, when I have a question about the park, I just call the office and ask them rather than assume what's going on. Made a pit stop at the memorial marker about a mile from the trail head (picture). There are not any signs and you have to have done your homework. Stay alert - they don't (can't) stop. I only went half way on the trail, because of light issues I was worried about it getting dark on the way back, or darker I should say. Up the hill you will find an abandoned section of highway that the kids will find creepy to be on. You will need a car with reasonable ground clearance to comfortably take this dirt road route. This gravel should be removed and replaced with fine grit. Anyone who refers to this structure as just an "abandoned cabin" truly doesn't get it. Bear Hole Trail was formerly known as Old State Road, but, despite what Apple Maps might say, the road has been closed for over 20 years. Finally, using the state park map, I located a portion of the trail that seemed to run along the road (Route 72 I believe). Here, you’ll pass the 1890 vintage Waterville Bridge, a 221-foot steel bridge that was relocated here after it was retired in the village of Waterville, more than 100 miles from here. if you do decide to start there, drive toward the back of the Hotel and, before getting clear to the back, notice the buildings to your right. The state acquired the land and built the trail. The endpoint is located 0.8 mile farther south along the trail. Overall the trail is wonderful, with great access, parking lots, and many different trails branching off of it. The trail is fool of holes thanks to the horses. Four new trailheads, or parking areas, also are planned, affording easy access to the trails and launch areas for canoeing and kayaking. I then drove down to the State Park Lane trail head and biked down past the two bridges and to the new Lickdale Trail head. The trail has some beautiful scenery and there was ice on the creek. Unfortunately the gravel is rather course and in some of the previous mud holes the fill is ballast sized stones. Overall, the trail is enjoyable, but it could use the noted improvements. I must have smooshed 10 mosquitoes -- while going 12-15 miles per hour! Swatara Rail Trail starts as crushed stone and grass until it crosses Monroe Valley Road, where it turns to gravel (1-2" size) for about half a mile. We'll return and ride the loop trails off of the Swatara Trail. Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more! To reach the northern endpoint in Pine Grove from I-81, take Exit 100, and head west onto SR 443/Suedberg Road. Two old cast iron bridges cross Swatara Creek to provide access to Old State Road from the rail trail.Ten miles of rail trail, located on the bank opposite Old State Road and next to Routes 72 and 443, was the site of the Lebanon and Tremont Branch of the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road that replaced the canal. I was disappointed to find that the trail is maintained differently past this point. The trail surfaces vary greatly. The Bear Hole Trail is a section of abandoned dirt road that in recent years deteriorated to the point of being impassable. The scenery will bring us back but the state of PA should/must do better to make this trail safer and to facilitate maximum enjoyment and not just survival. SR 72 (Lickdale) to Anspach Dr. nr. News for Immediate Release About 4.3 miles from the Monroe Valley Road trailhead, you’ll pass a pedestrian bridge for the 0.4-mile Sand Siding Trail. But the rest of the trails are just as good as before.But there is good news. 2) If you start at the southern trail head of the Bear Hole Trail in order to avoid #1, be aware that there are only 10 parking spots. Even after doing a header over the handle bars while breaking for a rabbit and a bridge that looked out (but was not) the teen still managed to have fun. One minute you feel lost in the woods with a river on one side and a cliff on the other; the next minute you are sailing though a field where the trail is only as wide as your tire. Overall the Swatara Rail Trail is pretty nice. These single track natural surface trails are a maximum 24 inches wide with log obstacles and stream crossings. Last year's construction vastly improved this trail and adds the option of a 10 mile loop using the Bear Hole trail across the creek as a return route. Traveling north you come to a short section of new trail that eliminates the need to ride on the highway. State acquisition of lands that were to become Swatara State Park began in 1971 and was completed in 1987. SO glad the construction is over and we can have full access to the park again. But on the other hand this is what makes this trail so interesting. I do not recommend riding the Swatara Rail Trail east past the Swopes Valley Trailhead. I will start by saying I did this with a gravel bike. I will ride this trail again but Lebanon Valley is a lot better. This new section will need to be explored. I chose to stay on the path on the way out, and it was a very nice ride. you will follow the creek for a while and soon you will come to a part where there is a steep slope in the trial, if you go up the other side you come to a dead end where there use to be a bridge. The rail trail from Suedberg to Pine Grove Interchange is not improved. Please check with the trail owner before you go. Restrooms. Mostly used to flat rail to trail. Horseback riding is allowed from the Sand Siding Trail east to Pine Grove. After another 2-3 miles, you'll come to what appears to be a little-used road--unmarked and going either right or left. Visually this trail is a treat, from a scrap yard, to bird preserve to an few small examples of old growth forest. Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101. Heading north toward Swatara State Park, you’ll pass a small trail parking lot and reach another trailhead on Monroe Valley Road in 0.8 mile. So here, I got on the trail. I rode my bike on the Swatara Rail Trail as part of visiting Swatara State Park in August 2014. The improvements include a loop trail, creek access for boaters, spaces for horse/boat trailers. Financed through state capital budget funds, the $4.67 million project undertaken by Kinsley Construction of York County is expected to be completed by mid-July. Swatara park is building new trails and doing a lot of very nice things but they should address this trail before building anymore. However, the use of the trail by horses has the trail surface so filled with hoof-holes that our ride was a bone-jarring jostling adventure. (about 15-20 parking spots), you will have to deal with the thumb sized crushed stone surface over the first 1.5 miles (and then again at the finish, of course). After you travel a mile on the trail and cross Monroe Valley Road, the real challenge begins. Nice size and not many people there on this Saturday morning. There are several cool bridges and I loved the mix of trail types -- including some abandoned roads. There are remains of a Union Canal lock along the Bear Hole trail. Just get on it and go as far as you can. On my trip last fall I found the trail difficult to follow due to multiple paved roads and no signs. The other end of the trail, located at the Lickdale Campground by the traffic light in Lickdale (I-81 exit 90) provides challenges as well. Overall, the ride was nice, not really a typical rail trail, but you have to remember, this trail is relatively new, and still a work in progress. We have done this trail several times in the past year, and it just keeps getting better! Swatara State Park. Users must know their capabilities, their travel route, and their approximate float times. Rode Bear Hole trail down to the Waterville bridge which joins it to the Swatara rail trail. As such, it has some hills to deal with. The trail grade is relatively flat, with variable surfaces: dirt, gravel, and pavement, requiring wide tires. Swatara Rail Trail extends from Lickdale Interchange (Exit 90) of I-81 to the Pine Grove Interchange (Exit 100) of I-81. I put in a total of 10 miles today all on that dang road, and the reviews are right. A historical marker nearby shows the spot of Fort Swatara, a stockaded blockhouse built in 1755 to guard settlements against attacks through the Swatara Gap during the French and Indian War. About 4.3 miles from the Monroe Valley Road trailhead, you’ll pass a pedestrian bridge for the 0.4-mile Sand Siding Trail. A challenging ride due to the trial even steeper and more numerous be my place! Though it did n't look like a good many piles of horse poop Lickdale (... Bushes, good for cross-country skiing: the Swatara State Park about 40 minutes north east the! 'Old State road may have been on this Saturday morning time I 'll take a few,. 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