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John Bartrum Trail in PA

Old 02-01-10, 08:41 AM
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John Bartrum Trail in PA

Does anyone know anything about this trail along the Schuykill River then runs from Hamburg to somewhere close to Pottsville? I am trying to map a ride from Pottsville to Skippack, PA and am looking for an Alternative to Rt 61 from Pottsville to Hamburg? Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old 02-01-10, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by BigUgly
Does anyone know anything about this trail along the Schuykill River then runs from Hamburg to somewhere close to Pottsville? I am trying to map a ride from Pottsville to Skippack, PA and am looking for an Alternative to Rt 61 from Pottsville to Hamburg? Any suggestions? Thanks.
My wife and I live in Reading. We have been on the Bartrum Trail a number of times.
We get on outside of Hamburg, PA at the old de-silting basin. You can look at the trail on something like MapQuest. The trail still shows as the old rail line.
One mile long section has been built from Route 895 just east of Auburn, PA. There is no trail from Route 895 to Landingville. Their is about a mile of trail at Landingville that goes nowhere.

There are plans to complete the trail from Hamburg to Route 895 outside of Auburn. That requires decking an old railroad bridge that crosses the Schuylkill River just South of Auburn. The landowner on the Auburn side of the river refused to give any of his ground for the trail. He has horses and does not want public access to his property.
I have talked to people who have gone from Hamburg to Schuylkill Haven using this trail. Starting out at Hamburg. When you get to the bridge there is a large fence blocking the trail. So they cut off the trail over Auburn Fish and Game property to a paved road. Then used the paved road to work their way into Auburn. On the East side of the Schuylkill River on Route 895 you take a road that runs back behind a large PVC film and sheeting plant. Omnova. That road will take you up to Landingville then a short run on another road takes you into Schuylkill Haven. I don't know of any roads that you could use to go from Schuylkill Haven to Pottsville other than Route 61. There is Route 901 that runs from Cressona, outside of Schuylkill Haven up to Route 209 which then takes you into Pottsville. None of these roads have shoulders wide enough to safely ride on. We never see any road bikes on them. Very hilly and a lot of sharp turns.

This Bartram Trail is stone dust paved. Some sections get a little rough due to the amount of use by horses. The scenery is real nice. Almost all of the land along the trail is state game land.

The section from Hamburg down into Reading has been looked at. Trouble is that the old rail line is still in use. So the future plans call for a lot of back road sections. Just South of Hamburg you could pick up the back roads off Route 61 into what is known as 5 Locks on the old canal. Back road into Shoemakersville and down into Leesport. But then back onto Route 61.

You might want to look at the PA Bike Route maps to see if there are any that would fit into your ride plan. We have seen large numbers of bicyclers doing East to West rides on back roads in Schuylkill County. I think that Route 73 from its intersection with Route 61 would take you down into Skippack via the Oley Valley. That you would pick up near Leesport than trough Blandon and down into Oley and then down to Boyertown. Most of Route 73 has nice wide shoulders.
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Old 02-01-10, 10:50 AM
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Check out Bikely.com. It's what I'm using to plot a route from Kutztown to Mt Gretna Pa. Also Pa bike route L might help you out https://www.dot.state.pa.us/BIKE/WEB/tour_routes.htm Good luck w/ your planning!
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Old 02-01-10, 12:21 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I will check out Bikely. My total plan is to ride from State College, PA to Skippack, PA. I have a route mapped out from State College to Pottsville. The missing link is Pottsville to Leesport. Once I get to Leesport, I know enough of the area to get to Skippack without using 73. My concern is Route 61 as I didn't think it was bikable between Pottsville and Hamburg from memory. Isn't it mostly a 4 lane highway from Pottsville to Hamburg? And very high traffic wise? This is the 2nd tip I had to avoid 901 and I thank you for that as I was eyeing that road up as a potential route.
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Old 02-01-10, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BigUgly
Thanks for the tips. I will check out Bikely. My total plan is to ride from State College, PA to Skippack, PA. I have a route mapped out from State College to Pottsville. The missing link is Pottsville to Leesport. Once I get to Leesport, I know enough of the area to get to Skippack without using 73. My concern is Route 61 as I didn't think it was bikable between Pottsville and Hamburg from memory. Isn't it mostly a 4 lane highway from Pottsville to Hamburg? And very high traffic wise? This is the 2nd tip I had to avoid 901 and I thank you for that as I was eyeing that road up as a potential route.
In the past few years they have done a lot of work to Route 61. Most sections have fairly wide shoulders.

Your problem from Pottsville and South is that Route 61 is really the only direct route through the mountains. If you look to the West of Route 61 you see Route 183 and then further West is Route 501. Neither of these would be acceptable. Some sections have shoulders while others have the traffic lane almost against the guard. Traffic speeds right up there with Route 61.
If you look to the East of Route 61 you see nothing over the second mountain until you are out above Allentown. With the first mountain you would have to use the narrow rough road up over Hawk Mountain.

Other than Route 61 there is no direct connection to Hamburg. Using small roads would run you all over lower Schuylkill and Northern Berks counties. The real old road from Reading to Pottstville now exists only in somewhat isolated sections. The Bartram Trail would save you the long hard pull up and over Deer Lake Hill and then the wild ride down to Molino where 895 intersects with 61.

I once lived in Auburn,PA did a lot of fishing in the river around Hamburg. I think you are stuck with having to deal with sections of Route 61 as to where it would have to be used and where you could use sections of the old original road. You might try something like MapQuest and the aerial views to look at close roads you could use while still staying close to Route 61.

The Schuylkill River Greenway Assoc. calculated that it would cost about $20 million to connect Reading and Hamburg with a trail with road riding. Schuylkill County is really dragging their feet on finishing the trail from Schuylkill Haven down through Auburn.
As I pointed out. Some riders do Schuylkill Haven to Hamburg on bikes and must cross over private property owned by the Auburn Fish and Game Club. I have not heard of anyone being arrested for crossing the private property. I think they are using Bear Creek Road to get into Auburn from the Bartram Trail. Then across the river at Auburn on 895 and then up the river to Landingville and into Schuylkill Haven by old roads along the river.
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Old 02-01-10, 06:04 PM
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I have ridden the Bartram Trail several times to get from Hamburg, PA up to Lake Wynonah, PA. The trail is a great way to connect Auburn to Hamburg, and there are actually a few ways you can connect depending on the type of bike you are riding. Since the bridge near Auburn is not done yet, your best bet to get to the trail would be to use the Reading and Northern Railroad bridge and crossing through the private property as previously mentioned before: https://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3449695

You can actually get from Auburn to the Trail by using the access road to the state game lands. Bear Creek road turns into the access road and takes you down to a parking lot along the trail, but the road is pretty rocky and a bit more rough than the trail surface so it could be tough on a road bike: https://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3449699

If you want to get back to the mile or so long stretch of trail from the game lands road you can cross the river at River Road, the signs say the road is closed but the bridge is still there and the right of way is still there too: https://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3449702

If you want to get from Hamburg over to Kutztown you can hook up with the Livestrong challenge century route that will take you all the way to Skippack: https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...phia/651105237

To get from Hamburg over to Kutztown I think there is a pedestrian bridge just north of the State Street bridge that you can use to cross the river again, the State Street bridge is closed for construction so this ped bridge may be the best option: https://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3449712

From there you could find some nice back roads to get you over to Virginville then cut south of Kutztown and head over to Lyons and Bowers, the riding in the valley south of Kutztown is fantastic.
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Old 02-01-10, 07:07 PM
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t-rev,

Thank you for filling in the blanks.
I did not know if the old River Road bridge was still there. I knew they closed it off after I moved out of Auburn.
When they were building the trail I used Bear Creek road and up over the mountain and down into the parking lot you mention. The downhill side of the road had been graded and then badly washed out. A real treat with the Honda Accord. I did not know if they had fixed it yet.
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Old 02-01-10, 10:01 PM
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When you finally figure out how you're going to go, let me know. I might be able to meet up w/ you and ride a bit w/ you or grab a quick lunch/ break. If I find any ways that'll help you out, I'll pass them along
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Old 02-02-10, 08:36 AM
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Thanks everyone for the tips. I will definitely check everything out. RobE30 I am planning this trip the weekend of June 18th. I am hoping to accomplish it in 2 days(Friday and Saturday). I will most likely be going through the Hamburg area on Saturday. I will let you know.
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