Photo by Leslie Kehmeier.
Flowy trails punctuated with rock gardens create classic East Coast riding that rewards bike handling as much as fitness. Trails don't get more sustainable than the Rocks Ridge section — a 3/4-mile boulder field that's featured on the IMBA website under the heading "Toughen Your Trail With Rocks." Unforgiving, yes. But it's rideable if you've got the chops, and even if you have to walk a few spots you'll enjoy the mature hardwood forests and scenic stream valleys. Constant rollers offer fun descents and snappy climbs, with more total elevation change than you’d expect.
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. It’s a testament to his determination that what began with a few short sections of trail connected by miles of snowmobile trails (read: gravel double track) grew into one of the must-do rides in the region.
Location: Weiser State Forest, near Lykens, PA.
What to ride: 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. If starting from the trail head off of Lykens Rd., riding the system in a counter clockwise direction will give you a chance to see the general order in which the trails were built, as well as giving you several options to cut your ride short if necessary. Highlights and must ride trails include Wolf Pond, Rock’s Ridge, the Hop Back trails and the view from the hang glider launch.
Why to ride: Most climbs encountered are quickly rewarded with flowing downhills — just the way Keith wanted it.
Directions: From I-81, Exit onto route 209 toward Tower City. Follow until the traffic light in Lykens and turn left. Follow this road past the town park and uphill about 3 miles. Trail head will be on the right.
Food: Kevin’s Place diner is a great local joint that has always supported the trails. The farmer’s breakfast is not to be missed.