IMBA scores with Allegrippis Trail System at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania
Location: Allegrippis Trail, Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania
Drive Time (from Dayton): Approx 7 hours
Recommended Activities: Mountain Biking (DUH), Hiking, Kayaking, Camping, Fishing
Low Down: Bottom-line, the Allegrippis Trial System is a must ride. These trails should be on any mountain bikers “Life List.” Ridng them will leave you with a grin ear to ear, mile after mile (not to mention that they are a great way to spend your birthday weekend!). Each trail, regardless of difficulty rating, is designed to provide all levels of riders with an epic adventure. The trails at Raystown Lake were down-right amazing, well built (for the most part…only a trained trail builder would notice flaws), and provided a variety of trails, terrain, scenery and much more.
The scenery is top notch, wrapping around Raystown Lake with scenic vistas, old growth forests and a fluctuation of terrain that will leave you feeling like you were teleported to Colorado. I will surely go back. On the downside, the drive from Dayton to Raystown Lake is a little more than 7 hours, hardly a weekend getaway.
Trails: With all the potential adjectives available to describe this eastern mountain biking Mecca, FUN is the one that sums it up best. The trails on the Allegrippis Trail System were built and constructed by Trail Solutions, the International Mountain Biking Association’s trail building wing, in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers (who manages the land), the Friends of Raystown Lake and other contracting firms. The loop trail system can also be enjoyed by hikers, runners, birders, cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
The multiple-route trails are in the Seven Points area of Raystown Lake, a 30-mile long lake and the largest inland lake in Pennsylvania. The trails are free to access and some have incredible lake views. Each of the 23 trails has been color-coded for it’s level of difficulty, including: green (easiest, family-friendly and closest to the parking lots), to blue (moderate) and black (most difficult). Four of the trails are rated easiest, fifteen are moderate and four are difficult. Riders on blue trails can expect the usual obstacles: roots, rocks and high speed whoops in the rhythm sections. Those on black trails will encounter much of the same, plus more drastic elevation changes covering longer distances. The “most difficult” rating is truly subjective depending on what you are used to riding. The differentiating factor between blue and black is basically more climbing and more rocks, or additional small rock gardens full of baby heads.
Camping/Lodging: One of the trailheads for the Allegrippis Trail is along Seven Points Road. Seven Points Campground has hundreds of sites with full service hookups. If you are a tent camper, make sure you get there in the daylight to best select your site. If you are visiting between Memorial and Labor Day make sure you book a tent only site. During this high season, the campgrounds are infected with motorboats and rolling aluminum ghettos (RV’s), plush with their chili pepper lights, generators and astroturf. The Outdoor Evangelist recommendation is Ridge or Valley for tent campers if you are there outside of the summer season.
Local Flavor: Be sure to head to Huntingdon and visit Rothrock Outfitters to get the skinny on trail direction and closures. The staff there was uber friendly. Ask for Evan and make sure you wander around the store. You can also rent bike, canoes and kayaks for a float trip .
While you’re in town, have a meal and one of many microbrews at Boxer’s Café, just a few doors down from Rothrock Outfitters. Boxer’s uses locally grown produce and meat and has a great selection of PA microbrews.
Closer to Home: Over the past few years the mountain biking community in the Miami Valley has grown substantially. In part because the local clubs and organizations are amazing, energetic and welcoming people who are dedicated to getting more people on bikes. Two bikes shops have opened up in the region to serve the growing interest and a new local trail system was opened in 2007, MoMBA, Five Rivers MetroParks Mountain Biking Area at Huffman Park. MoMBA continues to see new and more riders each month. Success of MoMBA is due to its excellent design, location, and maintenance. Trust me, when you get done with a ride and the sweat is burning the scrapes on your arms from raspberries and saw briar creeping in on the trail, you will surely appreciate how much time and effort MetroParks takes in manicuring MoMBA.
Some riders in Dayton may take the proximity of trail access in the Miami Valley for granted. MoMBA and the trails at John Bryan State Park may not be in the league of Brown County, IN, but they are still conveniently located and incredible assets for the region. IMHO, the local mountain biking scene needs to get off Brown County’s nuts. The two regional trails (MoMBA and JB) provide close, exciting and welcoming atmospheres to get more people out enjoying the great outdoors in an active and healthy way.
That said, riders in the south and west suburbs may find them a bit of a drive to ride regularly. Simple solution…why not build more trails, Miami Valley? Kettering, Centerville and Washington Township has a lot of public land that could be converted to additional trail systems that could add exciting amenities for residents and help strengthen our growing regional reputation as the Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest. To better serve this emerging and significant mountain biking community, additional park districts and municipalities need to get on board and provide more access to quality-designed, sustainably-constructed, contour trails.
Do the park districts in the area know there is a huge growing and dynamic mountain bike community in the region? Well, maybe if we actually had a real cycling advocacy organization they could put the issue on the table and provide a little pressure. So how about it Centerville-Washington Township Parks, MetroParks, City of Kettering? When are we breaking ground on new trails in Bill Yeck, Grant Park or Germantown MetroPark? I know some trail experts and an amazing mountain biking club ready to help make it happen.