Old school mountain biking deep in a Pennsylvania backwater.

Statistics

164

m

164

m

4

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

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. 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?