"Bike Overnight" Leaving from Pittsburgh?

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simon.huntley
Participant
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I’d like to get out on a one night bike trip leaving from Pittsburgh some time in April. Any suggestions on a route?

I’d be looking for 30-50 miles each day and hoping to do a different route on the way out and a different route on the way back for scenery changes.

I will be camping, so I’ll need to find a campground at the end.

I know I could just go out one of the trails, but that sounds a bit boring.. any other suggestions?


Marko82
Participant
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A ride out to Racoon State Park would seem to fit your parameters. I know some on here have done this more than (my) once, so I’ll let them suggest the routes.


bikeygirl
Participant
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I’ve done overnight bike-camping trips to the GAP. I’ve usually camped at the Dravo Cemetery / Boy Scouts Camp site. There are plenty of places to camp along the trail, although if you’re trying to do a different route back, it might not appeal as much. Still, for a quick-no fuss bike + camp trip IS fun!


bikeygirl
Participant
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ALSO, you could do the Panhandle trail. I’ve done that one all the way to Weirton, WV and back


Steven
Participant
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You could do a loop using the Montour Trail. Bike out to Coraopolis, take the Montour to Clairton (there’s a spot in the middle with campsites), then connect to the GAP to return to Pittsburgh. It’s a mix from pastoral to industrial, half on asphalt and half on limestone, and roughly 83 miles.


simon.huntley
Participant
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Thanks for the suggestions. We are aiming at the weekend of April 26th if anyone wants to join us!


steevo
Participant
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I would head out toward the secret airport trail on the montour trail.
End up in Clinton and parallel 30 to Raccoon Creek. Then head home
through HIllman State Park (bavington aka) to the panhandle trail.
You will drop down dignificantly from hillman to the panhandle trail.
Doing the other way involves a huge climb up to 22.

Both would start out the same noblestown rd to carnegie and
separate from there.


kaaden
Member
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I would like to do something similar myself this summer; I love camping but I’ve never done it on my own before. As a twentysomething year old female, do I need to be worried about any safety issues related to staying in a campground alone? It’s other people I’m worried about, not the animals! I have years of experience camping with others; I know how to take care of myself. I’ve also ridden distances of 20-30 miles per day, so I’m not too worried about that either.


Swalfoort
Participant
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Kaaden;

Although camping alone is not my preference, I’ve done my share of it. And I have another friend to PREFERS to camp alone. I think it is safe, in most locations, but it pays to be cautious. (My friend and I are both women, btw.)

I generally try not to advertise that I am alone. Depending on location and weight concerns, I might use my two person tent instead of my solo.

If I am sitting around a campfire or picnic table, I might put an extra mug or stool nearby, to make it appear that there might be another person (or two) just out of sight.

None of this really makes me any safer, if someone really wants to annoy me or mess with me, they will. But it discourages the casual observer.

To deal with that, I rely on a whistle that I keep near me in the tent. I can raise a ruckus in a hurry that way.

I’ve only used it once, when someone in a car was getting a little too friendly at my campsite. Neighboring tents were not pleased at the midnight alarm, but the guys in the car were so drunk they would have woken most of the campsite anyway.

And, I’ve met some great people while solo camping.


Vannevar
Participant
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It would be great to have a roster of overnight bike camping trips from Pittsburgh. Just today I saw this site: http://www.pedalinn.com/bike-camping-guide which is both a brick-and-mortar and a web-business that lists overnight bike camp trips in the SFO area.

So I’d think a first, quick-and-dirty list of Pgh overnights would be based on the local bike-trail campgrounds I know of: Montour MP11.5 Boggs (caveat: no water on site), Montour MP25, GAP MP123 Dravo, GAP MP110 Cedar Creek Park, GAP MP99 Roundbottom campground, GAP MP88 Connellsville. Plus the Raccoon State Park transition that Steevo described.


Marko82
Participant
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@V, you could add camping to the bike wiki


Vannevar
Participant
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I will do that, capital idea!


Andrew
Participant
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I was actually thinking about camping in Hays Woods. I know it’s not far at all but I was thinking it would be a nice way to test out my new tent. Anybody ever do that? Was thinking about showing up later in the day that way all the motocross traffic will clear out.


Benzo
Participant
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I’ve seen that the entrance off beck’s run road has been closed (like 10+ trees have been felled in the path, with signs saying ‘no motor vehicles’. This is likely been done to deter the motocross riders possibly due to the bald eagles nest nearby and hikers using the trails?

Really, there is not an easy go around on a bike, you’ll need to find another way in.


jonawebb
Participant
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Andrew wrote:I was actually thinking about camping in Hays Woods.

If you do camp there, stay well away from the eagle’s nest — Federal law, not to mention it would suck to disturb the nesting pair. Better yet, just stay away for now.


Benzo
Participant
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Who actually own’s the hay’s woods property?


edmonds59
Participant
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jonawebb
Participant
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++++


Benzo
Participant
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.


J Z
Participant
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edmonds59 wrote:

That cat’s a bad…

shut your mouth.


Marko82
Participant
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Benzo wrote:Who actually own’s the hay’s woods property?

Most of it is owned by a Beaver County developer named Betters(sp?). He bought it with the speculation of putting a horse race track & casino up there but the state DEP said no to his idea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hays_(Pittsburgh)

Also:


Andrew
Participant
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“If you do camp there, stay well away from the eagle’s nest — Federal law, not to mention it would suck to disturb the nesting pair. Better yet, just stay away for now.”

It’s 635 acres. I am sure all the guys riding dirt bikes and quads are disrupting the eagles much more then a 2 man tent would. Actually raccoon creek park seems much more appealing to me for camping.

About hays woods…Is it considered a city park? It has pretty much zero signage. Or is it just a giant section of undeveloped land?


Marko82
Participant
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^I live about a half mile from the Agnew St. entrance. The area is posted with ‘no trespassing’ signs and is in fact private property – but enforcement is near zero. Twice in the past ten years or so I have been hiking along the main dirt road as one of their private security trucks went by – I waved, he waved – we both kept going. So I think they mostly just want to keep vehicles from using the property, and to keep kids from torching stolen cars back in there (which there are many). Also, be advised that many people hunt on the property, but that’s mostly in the fall during the various dear seasons.

As to camping, I have occasionally seen a tent back in there so you wouldn’t be the first to do it, but it’s not too common either. I think it would be safe, but I’d stay away from the main trails as much as possible unless you like talking to dog walkers and kids on motorbikes. The whole area is larger than Frick park, so there is plenty of woods to explore.


Benzo
Participant
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They even added hiking trails in hays woods to google maps. I have no idea how stuff like that gets added and approved.


jonawebb
Participant
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@b (unless you’re speaking rhetorically) anyone can edit the map, and submit changes for peer review.


emma
Member
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Top for the weekend!

Q and I are looking to do maybe a 40-50ish mile (each way) overnight. I’m not opposed to driving an hour or so out of town, which means we could go somewhere a bit farther out. Maybe somewhere like Ryerson Station State Park, or Laurel Hill State Park?

I am looking for some hills (not necessarily crushers, though we are both good climbers) so I’m more interested in roads than trails.

We did an overnight to Raccoon Creek in May so I’d like to try somewhere new.

thanks!


emma
Member
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Maybe Loyalhanna Lake? Saltsburg Road goes most of the way there … is it terrible? Remotely enjoyable? Delightful?


paulheckbert
Participant
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The book “Road Biking Western Pennsylvania” by Jim Homerosky describes some nice routes. One of them starts at Ohiopyle, climbs over Laurel Ridge, and goes through Laurel Hill State Park (where you could camp) then returns via Confluence, allowing between gentle GAP trail back to Ohiopyle or the hilly road route. Without buying the book you can get some info about it here, it appears: http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=BGN106-031

If you didn’t want to drive as far as Ohiopyle to start, you could drive to Donegal, say, and start biking from there. Route 653 over Laurel Ridge has less traffic than Route 31 or County Line Rd, I think, so I recommend 653.


emma
Member
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Awesome suggestion! There are a bunch of copies at the library too!


Drewbacca
Participant
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If you want to drive a bit, like 90 min. there are a bunch of new PA bike routes on roads which were discussed in a recent thread.

http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/pa-bike-route-bats-fish-mushrooms/#post-296194

Ebensburg, through Loretto (past the Schwab Estate http://francis.edu/mount-assisi-gardens-schwab-estate/ ) and into Altoona (past the Horsehoe Curve http://www.railroadcity.com/visit/world-famous-horseshoe-curve/ ) is a nice ride and then back up the hill past the historic Lemonhouse (http://www.nps.gov/alpo/index.htm) and take old 22 back to Ebensburg.

Riding out to and around BlueKnob is fun too. If you end up in this end of the woods, you can find ride suggestions from LHORBA.


emma
Member
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You guys! That book is really pretty great! Q got it from the library yesterday and there are a whole bunch of rides that look super fun. I think we’re just doing two separate longer rides this weekend but I’ll keep yinz posted on good overnights when we do that.

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