Biking Pennsylvania: Happy Rails to Trails

Pennsylvania offers an endless cycle of back roads, trails and incredible scenery

During its industrial heyday, Pennsylvania had more miles of railroad track beds that once transported shipments of steel, coal and passengers now carry families, groups and couples on bicycles. The state's Rails-to-Trails program has made it possible for riders of all levels to enjoy a truly unique perspective. As you ride along the gentle railroad grades, you'll find plenty of places to pause for a little refreshment and relaxation.

If you prefer blacktop to pine and rock, the state is perfectly geared for road bikers as well. With so many quiet back roads winding through the countryside, it's not difficult to enjoy days in the saddle taking in the sights and sounds of a Pennsylvania far from highways and traffic. In the east, riders will soon be cruising the smooth asphalt surface of the 11.5 mile Schuylkill River Trail, which will soon stretch 25 miles from Philadelphia to Valley Forge, passing directly by the Philadelphia Art Museum, Boathouse Row and Conshohocken on its way to Valley Forge Historic National Park.

For type-A personalities who aren't satisfied with just exercise, fresh air and scenery, Pennsylvania challenges you with competitive events and if competition isn't your speed, maybe a ride along the river is more to your liking. Along the Youghiogheny River Trail in Confluence, Somerset County, the bikes often outnumber the cars. Confluence serves as the trailhead for a trip of 75.5 miles that makes its way to McKeesport. This trail is also a key part of the Great Allegheny Passage, which is 152-mile trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, and includes a 52-mile trail from Pittsburgh International Airport. But looking at the bigger picture, the trail is part of a 400-mile, motor-free corridor between Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. The Passage will incorporate the Allegheny Highlands Trails of Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Steel Valley Trail, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and the Mountour Trail. Much of the trail follows the abandoned right-of-way originally used by the Western Maryland Railway.


share this article

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use our website, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies (and milk!) from Learn more about cookie data in our Privacy Policy