Kennerdell Short Loop

A short old school mountain bike rip in a Pennsylvania backwater.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
9.7 km
Ascent
164 m
Descent
164 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
411 m
High Point
473 m
Gradient
Kennerdell Short Loop Map

The Kennerdell Tract of the Clear Creek State Forest is an isolated patch of protected woodlands laced by a network of historic singletrack trails. Don't expect to find mountain bike-optimized trails in what is essentially a random forest in a northwestern PA backwater. Instead, this is old-school singletrack riding, with no concessions at all made to bicycle use.

Description

The trails start off marshy and rutted out, with the routine equestrian traffic readily apparent. Even on dry days, prepare to get muddy as you splash through deep mud holes with no drainage whatsoever. After a little pedaling, the trail drops quickly into the first steep, rocky, off-camber descent, then rockets straight up the next hill. Now you'll get a sense of what you're in for: unexpected tech, off-camber corners, and some tricky bike handling.

Just like mountain biking used to be.

Arguably the gem of the entire trail system is the stretch of singletrack along the bluffs on the Window and Rock Oak trails. Due to their better location high on a bluff, the trails drain better and are much drier, are narrower and less eroded, and traverse through a stunning swath of forest. The bluffs that you're riding on top of range in height from 20 feet to well over 50 feet. Through the trees, you'll even be able to glimpse the Allegheny river far below you. This stretch of singletrack is worth the price of admission alone.

Take another look at the river far below you. If you decide to tackle the long version of the loop, you'll have to descend all the way down to the river, and then climb all the way back up to roughly your current elevation. Since departing the parking lot, there haven't been any extended climbs or descents... but if you drop down to the river, there definitely will be!

If you choose not to drop down to the river, this short loop option that stays high in the Kennerdell Tract is a perfectly-rewarding cross country loop. If you want more miles, why not do it twice?

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Technical
  • Singletrack
  • In the forest
  • Roots
  • Rock Gardens

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