A sure sign of a good trail system is the debates that arise on what direction is best for trail flow. Rattling Creek
is no different, as each trail is fun in both directions. Riding the system in a counter-clockwise direction will give you a chance to see the general order in which the trails were built. Riding in a clockwise direction will allow you to save the Rattling Creek
and Doc Smith
trails for last.
In addition to the parking area on Lykens and Powells Valley Road, there are additional access points throughout the trail system making it possible to ride different variations of the Rattling Creek
For post-ride refueling, check out Kevin's Diner. As of 7/2019, Kevin's Diner is closed. Instead, check out Stoney Creek Inn in Dauphin, PA on the way back to Harrisburg. Great outdoor deck.
To start the Epic route on the Rattling Creek
trails, park at the trailhead on Lykens Rd just off Powells Valley Rd. Ride back across Powells Valley Rd to access Stone Cabin
trails. Start with Stone Cabin
to ride in a counter-clockwise direction. This short loop is a good introduction for what the riding is like throughout the trail system.
After the warm up ride back across the road, through the parking area and onto Hopback
trail. From here the order of trails goes like this: Left on Lykens Rd, left on Fawn Kill
, left on Shale Run
. Towards the end of Shale Run
there will be a fork; either direction works here but remember to turn left onto Grimm. From here: right on Luke's
, straight on Rim as you cross over White Oak Road. Turn right onto Wolf Pond
and you can enjoy a little break from the rocks along a section of trail that rolls well and has a more open corridor. Before you get to the road look for Matter
on your left. After crossing Wolf Pond
Road you ride another short section before jumping on the west end of Rock's Ridge
If you're inclined to stop for a good view, take a detour to see the hang glider launch at the end of Wolf Pond
Road. The views are spectacular to the west across the Pennsylvania countryside.
is the next technical part of the ride, one of the most fun. At the east end you'll have a quick left and right to continue the epic ride on the Matter
ski trail. Make the connection to Dry Run
via Preserve Line
. Compared to the rest of the ride this section is non-descript but does provide another respite from the high frequency of rocks. Dry Run
is a quick warm-up for the highlight of the route, Rattling Creek
. This is the longest stretch of trail, and perhaps, the best. When riding the epic, it's mostly downhill. The fun doesn't stop at the end when you bear left on Doc Smith
, an excellent ending to a classic East Coast long-distance ride.
The trails are a labor of love of Keith Whitcomb, a life-long resident of the area. Beginning in 1999 with his friend Mike Mace, Keith began building a loop based on the lessons of sustainable trails that were just then being espoused by IMBA, but he aimed to keep the East Coast flavor of the terrain.