A fantastic sampler of the newly improved trails in Bald Eagle State Forest, this tasty ride is based upon the public portions of the race course used for "The Raven" Enduro Mountain Bike Race on September 15, 2013.
This year's Raven featured five timed sections -- four fast and very technical downhills that thread through the trees, with one bruiser of a climb at the end.
The ride featured here is entirely on the public section of Bald Eagle Mountain. The beginning has been modified to eliminate road sections. The latter portion of the race is also omitted from this ride since this portion took place on private land leased to Seven Mountains Conservation Corp. These trails are closed to the general public, but open to SMCC members. See here to join: sevenmountainsconservationc…
Park at the Dual-Sport Parking area off Sand Mountain Road, above the Scout Camp.
This is your first taste of flowy singletrack winding through the woods.
DETAILS: Go through the gate at the rear of the lot and you'll be on a brief section of the Dual-Sport Trail. Soon you'll arrive at an intersection where the Dual-Sport Trail climbs up the hill and Link Trail
heads into the woods. Go STRAIGHT
on Link Trail
, diving into the woods for some nice singletrack >LEFT
up Ground Oak Trail (gravel) >RIGHT
onto Sand Mountain Road (gravel).
Here you get to ride the newly improved Horsepath Trail with singletrack through the woods. This features a brand new re-route with sustainable trail improvements courtesy of PA DCNR and SMCC members.
DETAILS: From Sand Mountain Road, turn RIGHT
onto Horsepath Trail (looking for a couple large rocks a little ways in from the trailhead). After a short distance, keep your eyes peeled for the new LEFT
turn into the woods. When you get to the deer fence LEFT
and hug the fence up, then down the grade over some intermittent roots and rocks. LEFT
onto Faust Valley Trail
(two track gravel) >Right
onto Sand Mountain Rd (gravel).
Now you'll ride two of the nicest singletrack sections of Bald Eagle Mountain. The first is Old Peat Bog Loop zigzagging through all sorts of fun featuresincluding a section over cushy pine needles which meanders through the evergreens. The second is the southern part of the newly improved Summit Trail
. This will take you through some breathtaking rhododendron "tunnels" where the shrubs grow up and over the trail. The climb back to Sand Mountain Road was previously a fall line trail with extreme erosion. This is now significantly improved. PA DCNR with SMCC volunteers have cut new switchbacks and armored rocky sections to create a sustainable trail that permits a much improved climb back to the top.
DETAILS: Take a hard 270 RIGHT
onto Old Peat Bog Loop (Upper). This trailhead is VERY EASY TO MISS. Look for a small triangular sign at the trailhead. (If you see vertical brown signposts for Summit Trail
, you went too far on Sand Mountain Rd). Enjoy the ride, then, after the downhill section next to the deer fence >LEFT
onto Horse Path Trail (which will take you down the grade and over a small bridge) >LEFT
onto Old Peat Bog Loop (Lower) (this two lane dirt road appears to be an old timber road) >LEFT
onto Summit Trail
(through the rhododendrons and back up the mountain) >RIGHT
onto Sand Mountain Road.
Now for some good ol' fashioned singletrack ridge riding! After a short jaunt on Sand Mountain Road, you'll get to experience Wildcat Trail
, running along the ridgewhich is enjoyable in either direction, incidentally. Then you'll drop down the steeps of the north side of Bald Eagle Mountain, on Summit Trail
. It can get a little "technical" (a Pennsylvania euphemism for "rocky"), but the tough sections are in patches and entirely rideable for the experienced. More novice riders can easily walk these little bits. Then Decker Path
(which connects to SMCC trails, open only to members) and Ground Oak Trail will lead you back down the mountain leading you to the parking lot.
DETAILS: From Sand Mountain Rd, keep an eye out for a LEFT
onto Buck Spring Trail > then a QUICK LEFT
onto Wildcat Trail
onto Summit Trail
, dropping down >LEFT
onto Old Sand Mountain Road >STRAIGHT
onto Decker Path
> then, at a four-way intersection (leading to private SMCC property) go LEFT
onto Ground Oak Trail, crossing over Sand Mountain Road >STRAIGHT
down Ground Oak Trail >RIGHT
onto Dual-Sport Trail, then back to the parking lot.
Congratulations, you survived (60% of) The Raven, 2013.
Seven Mountains Conservation Corp, founded in 2009, is committed to sustainable trails. The Ravenhosted annually by SMCC in cooperation with PA DCNRfeatures a series of newly improved trails in the Bald Eagle State Forest system. The latter portion of the course (not shown here), is run on private SMCC land.
The Raven likes victims. If your legs or lungs give out while trying to tackle the entire course, blame Ryan Eisenhowerthe madman who conjured up The Raven.
Special thanks goes to PA DCNR and, in particular, Forester David Felix for support of both the race and the numerous sustainable trail improvements. Matt Spigelmeyer, President of SMCC, did a superb job facilitating trail work between PA DCNR and a crew of energetic SMCC volunteers.
SMCC members enjoy year-around access to trails for biking, trail running, motorcycling, and equestrians. There's even a skill-building motorcycle trials course. To join, see here: sevenmountainsconservationc…