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Swatara State Park Ride

Intermediate
 4.6 (43) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

8.0

Miles

12.8

KM

95%

Singletrack

635' 194 m

High

470' 143 m

Low

618' 188 m

Up

616' 188 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

13%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Although its not a very developed park, PA State Park rules are enforced. No drinking and no dogs off leash.

Overview

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.

Description

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!

Contacts

Shared By:

Frank Maguire

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 43 votes

#301

Overall
  4.6 from 43 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Pennsylvania

#301

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17,287 Since May 2, 2013
Intermediate

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Photos

Solid armored creek crossing, one of the many nice features that SAMBA placed in the trail.
May 2, 2013 near Tower City, PA
Stay to the right and take the wild ride!
May 3, 2013 near Tower City, PA
This bench is at the intersection of B and C. I continued down B, but be on your game as there are a couple of quick log hops that will take you out if you aren't careful!
May 2, 2013 near Tower City, PA
Trailhead kiosk includes the dos and don'ts as well as how to get involved.
May 2, 2013 near Tower City, PA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Sep 18, 2020
Quenten Jones
Went trail running here. Awesome traile! 4mi — 0h 42m
Aug 2, 2020
Jared F
4.1mi
Aug 10, 2019
Thane Leupold
Jul 10, 2019
Pierce Sweeny
1h 00m
Jun 7, 2019
Jacob Wise
Perfect intermediate trail. Has a really great mix of obstacles while also still having some flow. It has roots, streams, a drop or two, and LOGS.
Mar 26, 2019
Jarrod Tallman
Nov 16, 2018
Luis Velez
Sep 30, 2018
Stephen Rohrbach
awesome 8.6mi