Swatara State Park Ride

 17 votes
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Featured Ride

7.4 Miles 11.9 Kilometers



769' 234 m


-768' -234 m


643' 196 m


468' 143 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (8°)

All Clear

13 days agoUpdate

Hitting all the highlights (but not all of the connectors) at Swatara

Frank Maguire


Although its not a very developed park, PA State Park rules are enforced. No drinking and no dogs off leash.
The first "planned for mountain bikes" trail system in PA State Parks, Swatara is great ride to introduce someone to the joys of singletrack. Well designed contour trails with log and root obstacles, the network is a text book stacked loop system so you can bite off as much or as little as you want.

Need to Know

The trailhead can be a little hard to find, its off State Park rd, just after you pass the sign for the Appalachian Trail.


The ride twists and turns through fairly mature hardwood forest, with several creek crossings. Be prepared for numerous log hop opportunities as they make up the major technical challenge of the trail system and seem to pop up when you least expect it. For the most part, the trail surface itself is packed dirt, making it a less intimidating introduction to singletrack riding then most PA trails.

This route is described counter clock-wise and on the exterior of the system, but clockwise works as well, and might even be a little better. The ride here covers A, A1, A2, B, C and D loops, but if you wanted to ride more, you could easily take one of the connector trails and reverse direction on any given loop for a different experience.

History & Background

The park itself was originally intended to become a Dam in the 1960's. The state took possession of the land, but never developed it. It was declared a State Park, but remained undeveloped until the early 2000's. SAMBA got involved in the very early stages of the park planning process and were able to create this gem of network over the course of the last decade. So if you find yourself north of Harrisburg with your bike, definitely stop and ride!


Rate Featured Ride


4.4 from 17 votes

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Apr 24, 2017
Paula Churchill
Dogwood may apple, trout lily, spring beauties, violets!
Apr 15, 2017
Jim Kerchner
Apr 11, 2017
Gear Head
Great trail system, flows well in either direction. 8.2mi — 1h 20m
Mar 3, 2017
Eric Hyduke
Trails were frozen and in great shape. 15mi
Nov 12, 2016
Rusty Upright
Oct 9, 2016
Todd Berdanier
Sep 18, 2016
Ron Jameson
Jul 8, 2016
Nik Orlando
7.4mi — 2h 15m

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Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 16 votes


  4.4 from 16 votes
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in Pennsylvania


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All Clear 13 days ago
Dry - Rode on 4/15/2017
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Wear orange in hunting season. You'll be parked next to hunters. There are pit toilets at the Turtle trailhead, a mile or two on the road before you turn down to the trailhead. Great trails - a lot like Nox with more rollers. Nov 8, 2015

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