About 4.3 miles from the Monroe Valley Road trailhead, you’ll pass a pedestrian bridge for the 0.4-mile Sand Siding Trail. Each trail loop is about 1.5 miles in length and twist through the woods and up and down hills. It is more a logging trail quality than a road now, it has pavement, but an equal amount of gravel, and then those large stones mentioned below. It's a rehabbed crushed gravel surface of an old state route. We have you covered. Swatara State Park Targeted for Trail Installation, Other Improvements
Swatara Sojourn. First the trail isn't marked and we went the wrong way about 3/4 of a mile into a KOA campground. The state acquired the land and built the trail. For more information on Swatara and Pennsylvania’s other 119 state parks, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (select “Find a Park”). Along the way there are several other paved trails for cycling and you may choose to meander at will. The bridge carries the Appalachian Trail across the creek and connects with the Bear Hole Trail that runs 5 miles through the state park on the other side of the creek. It's about 2.5 miles from the northern trail head and 100 m up to the left on a visible trail, but easy to miss. This is a beautiful trail with minimal traffic on a warm autumn Sunday. This section is only a few miles long.From I-78 take 501 and then take a left where it dead ends on the main street of Pine Grove. Upon reentering the state park I stopped at the waterville bridge and checked the map. This portion is rather flat, but there are some up and down hills. Sad. if you do decide to start there, drive toward the back of the Hotel and, before getting clear to the back, notice the buildings to your right. Great tandem ride from Lickdale to Pine Grove and back. Here, you’ll pass the 1890 vintage Waterville Bridge, a 221-foot steel bridge that was relocated here after it was retired in the village of Waterville, more than 100 miles from here. Either way has some fairly significant hills. After another 2-3 miles, you'll come to what appears to be a little-used road--unmarked and going either right or left. I do not recommend riding the Swatara Rail Trail east past the Swopes Valley Trailhead. Even though you are out in the woods you are blocked in on one side by highway and the other by the water. Scenery includes the Swatara waterway, some open fields, beautiful foliage and "Old State Road" -- a section of forgotten highway that Mother Nature is doing her best to reclaim. Trail is beautiful but would be very scary if I shared with a horse. The State plans to turn it into a non-motorized trail. I wanted to eliminate the 2 miles of loose hard riding. We had a good ride and will ride it again. While my Bultaco Alpina from thirty years ago would have handled the mud and fallen trees, I have yet to learn how to make my bicycle do it gracefully. My first trail since coming back to PA late this summer. It was right by the Swatara State Park DCNR sign. Swatara Creek Run (SCR) will take place at the Swatara State Park about 40 minutes north east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As an update to an earlier review, there is a port-a-john available at the Trout Run trail head, which seems to be the most spacious & least used parking area. However, it is possible to find your way. Financed through state capital budget funds, the $4.67 million project undertaken by Kinsley Construction of York County is expected to be completed by mid-July. Youker. I think I saw a hiker, but not real sure... "There have been a few changes since February of 2005 when I last reported on the trail. View maps, videos, photos, and reviews of Swatara State Park bike trail in Lickdale. Operating under several subsequent owners, the rail branch closed in segments from 1965 to 1981. The new bridge is beautiful and allows those who want to shorten the ride an easy way to do so. The southern end had a lot of ballast and was probably a little rough for our bikes. The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities, and customizable maps.. A trip north on I-81 gave me another chance to explore the Swatara Rail Trail. Park visitors are advised construction work may affect access to certain areas. At this point I was going to suggest that the Pennsylvania State Park System get out of the trail building business. Heading north toward Swatara State Park, you’ll pass a small trail parking lot and reach another trailhead on Monroe Valley Road in 0.8 mile. I was disappointed to find that the trail is maintained differently past this point. Much of the trail is crushed limestone and asphalt, although segments at either end are dirt and grass and may be more conducive to mountain bikes than road and hybrid bikes. News for Immediate Release
Between those points, the Park provides a total of eighteen miles of three distinctly different types of riding surfaces. This was fun because it had some abandoned road hills mixed styles of surfaces. A more reasonable way to enter the Pine Grove end of the rail trail is located just across from the Swedburg Church of God, 2.2 miles from the Pine Grove exit (Exit 100) of I-81 or, if traveling in the opposite direction, 9.5 miles from Lickdale. The trail route got its start with the discovery of anthracite coal in nearby Tremont, prompting construction of the Pine Grove feeder canal in the early 1800s that ran along Swatara Creek and connected with the main Union Canal near Lebanon. Visually this trail is a treat, from a scrap yard, to bird preserve to an few small examples of old growth forest. Very Large Stones, like stand up on the pedals to get over them type. At the roundabout loop near the Lickdale terminus there are many raspberry bushes, good for an afternoon stop in July. I cannot stress enough that this is not a smooth road at all, but it also has some incline to it. I witnessed a biker almost being kicked by a horse. Here the trail goes through a cut and becomes very muddy and spiced with the occasional fallen tree. Swatara State Park Mountain Bike, Hike, Trail Running trails near Lickdale, Pennsylvania. It is a great shaded trail in the heat of summer with several spots to stop and view the stream. I frequent this trail as its close to home and a nice 12-13 mile loop running up then down either side of the swatara creek. water trail is ideal for half-day, full-day or multiple-day paddle and float trips down the Swatara Creek. I enjoyed my ride but was disappointed with the surface of the trail. This new bridge make is possible for shorter loop rides/walks. After riding trail A I returned to the rail trail and rode south to the Lickdale trailhead. Future plans call for the Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail to meet up with the Swatara Rail-Trail in Lickdale. Four point four miles from Lickdale, you can turn onto State Park Lane and drive about one mile to a gate that also accesses the Park’s three miles of smooth asphalt road. I managed to step off the bike into the mud a number of times. It would be a super ride if it weren't for the horses putting big gouges in it. The trail passes along the edge of the state park with a line of farm communities to the left. Along with numerous ATV/ORV on the trail. Who knows what you will find next. Lots' of fast food, gas, and hotels. The Sand Siding Trailhead, a little further North on the trail, has a nice parking lot. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ucmprd1/groups/public/documents/news/DCNR_009829.pdf
And there's not much to see other than the marshes bordering the trail. The road ends in a parking area. Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail (AT) traverses two miles of the southern portion of Swatara State Park. But this is the only part of the trail that is gravel. At the Waterville Bridge I could see that you would cut over to the old state road, but I had two miles back to lickdale (picture that sign is actually one of the few on the trail.) Hikers may leave an itinerary with the park for emergencies. ... At over 8 miles, Swatara State Park's mountain bike trails are a system of 6 looped trails that twist through the woods and hills and are generally considered a good place for introductory skills. A few minutes later you on a nice gravel four foot wide trail. Bear Hole Trail was formerly known as Old State Road, but, despite what Apple Maps might say, the road has been closed for over 20 years. Saw 2 six point bucks right on the trail last weekend..still in velvet--they were beautiful. We had read that the bike folks do not like the horse riders. Last year's construction vastly improved this trail and adds the option of a 10 mile loop using the Bear Hole trail across the creek as a return route. The Mountain Biking Trails at Swatara State Park can be reached from the State Park Lane Trailhead. Designated launches in the northern and southern ends of the park provide access to the creek for boaters. The section that says no horses is good but the other sections with horses the trail is smooth along the edges as the horses stay in the middle. Did the whole 10 miles... great ride!! An 8-mile stretch of the Swatara Creek Water Trail winds through the park, and two miles of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, cross its southern sector. ", "I decided to take my Labor Day and discover the Swatara Rail Trail. Return the way you came. We also jumped over the creek at the new bridge and rode the Bear Hole trail. It’s the longest ‘new construction’ rail trail bridge I’ve seen. But if you're looking for a variety of trail surfaces and some hills and shade, you might enjoy this trail. We saw only 2 horse back riders, 3 bikers and 2 hikers. Once you pass this section, you continue onto crushed stone followed by an old, unused but paved road, back to crushed stone and finally to dirt and grass at the northern end. I would not recommend biking in the opposite direction, however, because the hills are even steeper and more numerous. The improvements include a loop trail, creek access for boaters, spaces for horse/boat trailers. According to reps from PA's DCNR, this trail may eventually connect to the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail, and thus afford riders a trail all the way from Elizabethtown to Pine Grove. The entrance for this was a little tricky. The trail is really, really not marked at all. 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