|Lehigh Gorge, in all of its splendor
I'm kind of making up my own Appalachian Trail here as I wind my way down the mountain range. The AT though Pennsylvania has a nasty reputation as being difficult on the joints, rocky and not very pretty. It has been said before that the Pennsylvania portion misses out on so much that could have been amazing. Therefore, I departed my road trip from essentially following the trail to see those sights that are missed.
Lehigh Gorge State Park is one of these parts. Deep gorges are very common throughout the state of Pennsylvania but in this case, one of those "rails-to-trails" projects hit the jackpot. The gorge has been developed in to a recreational hotspot although it is large enough to conceal most of the crowds. One of the most classic adventures one can do in PA is bike the gorge!
|The railroad history of the area is extensive
I elected to bike from Jim Thorpe to White Haven and back which was actually not a very difficult ride at all. In fact, the mountain bike was unnecessary, I wished I had a hybrid.
Starting in Jim Thorpe, the trail winds about 3.1 miles down the river to where all the parking areas are, also known as Glen Onoko. Glen Onoko is where most people start or finish. There is abundant parking. It crosses the bridge and starts at a gate preventing further access by motorized vehicles. The trail parallels the train almost exactly for the first 6 miles before crossing the tracks and heading off into the main canyon on the right. If this is how far you chose to go, then you've seen the best of the trail. The canyon is at its most narrow point here.
|Very easy mountain biking
Overall, the trail is in excellent condition and except for the access points, I saw hardly another soul on the trail. The crowds really thin out when you get even a mile away from the access points. I was happy to enjoy some solitude.
|Nice waterfall near the Rockport Access
This is a very family friendly trail with lots of sights. It can be biked either at a leisurely pace or a strenuous one as there is hardly a noticeable change in elevation.
|Numerous points on the trail allow access to the river
Read. Plan. Get Out There!