Photo: Panhandle Trail by Ben Hockman https://www.flickr.com/photos/hockman/
The summer heat has finally passed and fall is officially here. Cooler temperatures and changing leaves means it’s prime time to take advantage of the best Western Pennsylvania bike rides. To showcase all of the great riding near Pittsburgh we are highlighting rides for beginners and experienced riders each month.
The Panhandle Trail.
Type of Ride: Trail
Hills – NO!
Distance: 10 – 60 miles
Start / Finish: Panhandle Trail Entrance Collier Township, PA
Stretching from Collier Township, PA to Colliers, WV, the Panhandle trail is often overshadowed by its bigger sisters, the Great Allegheny Passage and Montour Trail. However, the 29 mile Panhandle trail offers a crushed limestone surface and a fresh experience for riders looking to change up the scenery on a beautiful fall day.
To begin our easy ride this month, park at the eastern most trailhead in Colliers Township. Ride as little or as far you like, but our recommendation is to head 16.5 miles west of Collier Township to Burgettstown. If you are looking for a stop to grab a bite we recommend checking out the Walden Trail Side Restaurant. In total this round-trip ride is 33 miles. If that seems like a bit much for you, consider parking at a different trail head in McDonald, Midway, or Burgettstown PA. What’s the best part about car-free trails like the Panhandle? You can choose your own adventure. With the leaves changing from green to full shades of autumn, The Panhandle trail is a must-see this October.
Have fun and let us know what you thought of the trail on our message board.
Type of Ride: Road
Slippery Rock Loop.
Distance: 29 Miles
Hills – Yeah! 2,800 ft.
Start / Finish: Gateway Park Slippery Rock, PA.
Just outside of the city limits sit miles of glorious country roads just waiting for you to ride. There are literally thousands of different ways to connect an amazing bike ride in this part of the state linking together rural communities.
Located about an hour north of the city just off of I-79 sits Slippery Rock. This is one of Western PA’s great college towns with a spectacular brew pub. This location makes it ideal to venture out onto lightly traveled roads with your road bike ride north of the ‘burgh.
The Slippery Rock Loop will take you on a 28.8 mile ride between Slippery Rock, Moraine St. Park and the surrounding area. Rolling hills are the abound on this ride with 2,800 feet of climbing. At about a third of the way into the ride you will find the old Stone House an 1820’s stagecoach stop and tavern. On the ride you will enjoy some of the best farm roads that Western PA offers. And don’t forget to check out North Country Brewing for a post ride snack.
Caution: There are 2 sections of roadway (Rt. 308 and Rt. 8) on the ride that to use caution with heavier traffic. Both have a shoulder that is OK to ride in but cars are tend to be traveling at high speed. These sections are ~ 2 and 1.5 miles long respectively.
Not into Slippery Rock? Try one of these:
- Out North! Hartwood Acers 20 Miles | 1,502ft climbing
- The Riverview Park Loop. 20 Miles | 1,402ft climbing
- Loop around Settlers Cabin 28 Miles | 1,622ft climbing