The Pennsylvania State Highpoint was a nice place but it did not have the epic adventure I was looking for. The nearby Ohiopyle, on the other hand, was chock full of demanding and wild single track mountain biking! Thank goodness!
I'm in love with Ohiopyle's mountain biking trails!
Day: 8
Miles: 1300?

Its funny to say it, but I completely stumbled upon Ohiopyle. That's like saying, "I just kind of stumbled upon Yosemite". Ohiopyle is well known to probably everybody in Pennsylvania, if not the entire Northeast. Mountain biking is just one of many things it is known for. The river rafting is intense as is the hiking. The Great Allegheny Passage runs through the area as well. Blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and not too much development, Ohiopyle is the premiere adventure town of Western Pennsylvania. I could hardly control myself in such a grand area.

Although I could probably spend my entire month off here, I elected to spend a day on the single tracks. I did the classic mountain bike loops- 

View Mountain Biking Ohiopyle in a larger map

Famous Youghiogheny River Falls

Where to begin?? A map of the area shows a treasure trove of adventures. I could hardly figure out what I wanted to do! I was coming in from the east so I started on the highly recommended McCune Trail. This is a shorter loop with lots of technical challenges and hills. There aren't as many of the hairpin turns but tons of loose rock, steep drops and rock-hopping obstacles. Mountain bikers are as famous as rock climbers for sandbagging trails, but I would say this was a solid intermediate-difficult trail. I did it in about an hour. The parking area is marked on the map above.
Nice view on the McCune Trail
Great Pennsylvania Singletrack...

The McCune Trail lived up to its newly established reputation. I was hungry for more! So I drove down in to Ohiopyle and did the Sugarloaf-Baughman Loop. This took me all afternoon and involved a substantial amount of elevation gain and loss. The town sits at about 1,000-1,100ft of altitude and the trail eventually makes its way to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain at 2,640'. Quite a trail!

In town, I talked with some locals and found out that the Sugarloaf Trail is the best route up while the Baughman Trail is usually taken to return. Starting at the Great Allegheny Passage Trail and Middle Yough Take-out, I began my arduous climb...
Sugarloaf Trail, Pennsylvania
The trail is not the steepest climb but in some places it feels like a 45-degree angle. It is double-wide and very rocky/slippery in some areas. To a novice mountain biker, this trail will be very challenging. To those who have some decent experience, it is a pretty standard intermediate trail (blue-square, if you will). The trail heads up above town and crosses SR 2012 while paralleling Meadow Run Creek. There was a section about halfway up where a confusing side trail lead me to nowhere but I was able to find my way back.

The trail continues gaining elevation at a considerable rate until crossing Grover Rd and Silbaugh Rd. A sign notes the turnoff for the Baughman Trail which is the best way down. This would actually be a better turn around than going all the way to the summit as the trail is rather dull and uninteresting from here. Of course, I always have to make it to a summit so I slogged on.

Sugarloaf Knob is the highpoint on the trail but the trail becomes somewhat of a "bikewhack" as you get closer to the top. There are no views at the top but I was happy to start my race down.
Down the Baughman Trail!!
The bike down was best once I got back to the Silbaugh/Grover Rd crossings and got on the Baughman Trail. This one was technical, challenging and rough (but in a nice way). I won't lie- there were sections I simply couldn't hack. This would be an excellent trail for a more experienced mountain biker. It reminded me that mountain biking is just as much of a skill-dependent sport as rock climbing!

The Baughman View was excellent-
The Allegheny Gap from Baughman Trail
 What a trail... back in town, I rested by very sore muscles.

I wish I could spend a month here just biking, rafting, hiking and chilling. Ohiopyle is just the perfect little town. I was sorry to leave!

Read. Plan. Get Out There!