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Swatara State Park Ride

 4.4 (27)
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Map Key

8.0 Miles 12.8 Kilometers



618' 188 m


-616' -188 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (8°)

635' 194 m


470' 143 m


Shared By Frank Maguire



Getting forecast...

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

Frank Maguire

Dogs Unknown

Features eMTB allowed

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!


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Your Check-Ins


Nov 16, 2018
Luis Velez
Sep 30, 2018
Stephen Rohrbach
awesome 8.6mi
Jun 14, 2018
Keith Thompson
Mar 4, 2018
Jeff Miller
Oct 24, 2017
Jared F
Oct 7, 2017
Tricia Kehs
Sep 4, 2017
Jared F
Sep 1, 2017
Troy Schell
Great ride...keep to the sides of the ruts to avoid trail damage 8.5mi

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Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 27 votes


  4.4 from 27 votes
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in Pennsylvania


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12,040 Since May 2, 2013
Intermediate Intermediate


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
Flowy with a little elevation change and few moderate climbs great entry level mountain bike area to get your fitness up. One technical skill you will develop is going over log features so be prepared for it you run into one every 2 or 3 minutes. If your looking for more of a challenge I'd recommend going somewhere else. Anyone can have fun here with the flow though. Oct 28, 2017
Chris Babbitt
Cincinnati OH
Chris Babbitt   Cincinnati OH
Very nice trail system with connecting loops that make it easy to navigate and adjust ride length. Mild climbs with equal flow back down. I was concerned with the log crossings but they are no big deal. There is not that many of them and they are required to be under a certain dimension in order to stay. Any moderate rider can make it over all of them without dismounting. Some of them are in the ground and create nice jumps. There is a nearby military base and I freaked out a bit when I heard machine guns post ride at the trailhead. Jun 20, 2018

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