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Old 05-17-07, 07:12 PM   #1
MichiganMike
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Bike Trails in Lehigh Valley PA

I have to go to Bethlehem PA next week for the whole week. Anyone familiar with the various bike paths and trails in that area, and can offer a recommendation? I'll be hauling my trusty hybrid. There seems to be quite a few trails around there. I don't mind driving a little to get to a nice one. Where I stay might be dictated by the better bike trails, although I'll be actually working in Bethlehem.

I am going to leave Sunday and, weather permitting, might ride some of that Erie Canal thing or whatever it's called that runs south from Cleveland.

Any info on the Lehigh Valley would be great though.

Thanks
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Old 05-17-07, 07:43 PM   #2
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My favorite ride is a little north of there.

The Lehigh Gorge trail that goes between Jim Thorpe and White Haven.

Crushed gravel 23+ miles end to end, the only cars you see between the two ends are ranger trucks and cars at the central trail head at Rockport, and the one road that crosses the trail a few miles from White Haven.

The trail runs along the Lehigh River, and if they are running on the specific day the sounds of and sights of the white water rafters are fun. Small waterfalls beside the rail trail (especially around the mid point) are also quite nice.

Depending on how long a ride you want, the best scenery is at the middle, from 5 miles south of the Rockport trailhead to 5 miles above...

Runs VERY slightly up hill form Jim Thorpe to White Haven...

This time of year is my third favorite. Favorites being Late June to early July for the wild Rhododendrons and in the autumn for fall foliage.

Wildlife is pretty abundant at times, including rabbits, squirrels deer, birds and insects including butterflies. About 4 miles from the Jim Thorpe side is a sign to look out for black bears. I have looked, but not seen any. I have also read other reports that mention snakes.

If you are into history, there are a few historical markers along the trail as well... talking about people and industry in the area, including mention of John Audobon's trip through the area.

There is a store at the White Haven side, and the one time I rode the full trail I stopped and got some chocolate covered peanuts and fruit juice to energize myself for he return trip.

There is even the option if you want to see the whole trail and not ride 45-50 miles to do it... You can start at White Haven, ride the easy direction and get a shuttle to bring you back to white haven... I have never done that, but there are at least a couple of companies I have seen offer that service... although as I recall it is a little bit pricey.

If you want to do around 10 miles plus or minus, I would suggest starting at the Rockport trailhead.

The only facilities on the trail are toilets (high tech outhouse type) at the Rockport and Jim Thorpe entry points. There is a pepsi machine and drinking water at the Rockport site.

If you want to walk around a nice quaint town with some nice eclectic eateries, Jim Thorpe is wonderful for that as well!

EDIT: If the shuttle sounds good, you ned to arrange it in advance.

EDIT 2: If you ride slow (10 mph or so) and want company, let me know when you'll be there, and I'll see if I can make it too.
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Old 05-17-07, 07:45 PM   #3
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Thanks. I looked at that one, and have thought about staying at Lehighton which I believe is close to Jim Thorpe. There's a Hampton Inn there, and it looks like 30-40 minutes down to Bethlehem. I am a newbie to this area. Only been there a couple of times for a day or so each so I didn't bring a bike.
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Old 05-17-07, 07:51 PM   #4
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Yeah, if you stay at that Hotel, you will only be about a 10 minute drive to the trail.

I don't know he other trails in the area, but that one is definitely worth riding.
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Old 05-19-07, 06:06 AM   #5
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Here's a site where you might find some info:
http://www.traillink.com/TL_Active_P...ch/default.asp

BTW--love Pa., lots of good mtb trails and rail-trails!
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Old 05-19-07, 06:43 AM   #6
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Don't know if this will help or not Mike www.discoverytrail.org
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Old 05-19-07, 06:45 AM   #7
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I should have looked at it before I sent it. Maybe it will help later.
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Old 05-19-07, 08:06 PM   #8
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Thanks Everyone. Weather permitting I have planned some rides on the way to Lehighton (Bethlehem) and once I get there.

I am going to leave tomorrow morning, and if it's nice ride some of the Ohio and Erie Canal Trail which is just south of Cleveland.

I'll spend Sunday night in Western PA, then drive a few miles to Franklin PA and ride the Allegheny River & Samuel Justus Trails on Monday.

After that, I'll drive on to Lehighton, and I'll ride the Lehigh Gorge Trail that Little Darwin recommends, probably after work on Tuesday.

I hope the weather holds. I am excited. They all sound like they'll be great rides.
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Old 05-20-07, 04:45 PM   #9
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Lehigh Gorge is a beautiful trail - just a tad soft for a road bike, but worth the extra push that it takes. If you are into road rides, there is untold beauty in Lehigh, Berks, and Lancaster counties. Back winding, hilly roads that will reward you with vista after vista of well-kept farms and woodlands.

All you really need do is get out and ride. You cannot go wrong.

Have a great trip - perhaps we'll pass each other along the way.

Caruso
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Old 05-20-07, 05:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiganMike
Thanks Everyone. Weather permitting I have planned some rides on the way to Lehighton (Bethlehem) and once I get there.

I am going to leave tomorrow morning, and if it's nice ride some of the Ohio and Erie Canal Trail which is just south of Cleveland..
Sounds like a wonderful trip.

My daughter and I rode part of the Ohio & Erie a few years ago. We started at Lock 39 and rode south. It's a great place to ride. We were there on a weekend and it wasn't too crowded.
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Old 05-20-07, 06:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
My daughter and I rode part of the Ohio & Erie a few years ago. We started at Lock 39 and rode south. It's a great place to ride. We were there on a weekend and it wasn't too crowded.
I got on in Independence and went south. Very neat thing was the sign that told you to stay on the trail, you were going through Bald Eagle Nesting Grounds. And, there they were. Worth the ride right there. Went and checked out the the next set of trails tonight when I got to my hotel. They look really nice. PA is such a beautiful state.
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