The trail doesn't require technical expertise and it's fairly safe. Most of the trail is easy except for the elevation changes. Not recommended for very young children due to the length and steepness.
Be sure to follow the trail signs for the direction of travel which changes monthly. Bikes are to travel clockwise in December 2020. Hikers are directed to travel these trails in the opposite direction.
Mountain Laurel Loop is the first of several mountain bike trails planned for Raven Rock State Park. It's a singletrack trail that crosses several wooden bridges, and the entire loop is about 6.5 miles long. The loop passes through forests that include both evergreen and deciduous trees, so it's shady during the spring, summer, and early fall. It's a great trail for beginning mountain bikers who are in good physical shape. The trail is not technically difficult, but the elevation changes and length make it a little more challenging than a trail rated as easy.
Mountain Laurel Loop trail is open to hikers and bikers who are required to travel in opposite directions around the loop. There's a short access trail before the loop begins which allows two-way traffic, and a sign at the beginning of the actual loop shows which direction to walk or ride depending on the day of the week.
The highest elevation is at the beginning of the trail, so no matter which direction you travel, you'll start by riding downhill and finish on an uphill stretch. However, one section of the trail is much steeper than the other so the riding experience is different depending on the direction of travel. When you ride in a clockwise direction, the first third of the trail is mostly downhill with several fairly steep sections. The remaining two thirds of the trail ascend gradually, with a mix of uphill and level sections. When you ride in a counterclockwise direction, the first part of the trail descends gradually allowing you to coast through the first four miles with very little effort. However, the last few miles are almost all uphill which makes that part of the trail strenuous, despite the fact that it's not technically difficult.
Parking for the trail is located in a grassy field away from the main parking area for Raven Rock State Park. To find the trailhead, turn right onto Moccasin Branch Road before you pass through the main entrance to the state park. Drive about 0.25 miles and look for the sign to the mountain bike trailhead. Two portable toilets are located near the beginning of the trail.
Shared By: Laura Candler