Nine Mile Loop

The Nine Mile Loop is a road through state game lands. It is located near Hazleton, PA. It is on state route 93 about 8.5 miles from the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails trail-head. Look for the signs for the shooting range. The loop road trail-head is on the opposite side of the road.

I was warned ahead of time that the road is rough as a result of the large stone used for the road surface. I decided to give it a try based on the promise of spectacular views. The road is better suited to a mountain bike fitted with fat tires and I had a hybrid fitted with 700 X 40 tires. This made for slow and rough riding. I was rewarded with some nice overlooks. One in particular offered incredible views of the Lehigh Gorge and hawks flying below me. Having never been there despite it being only about a half hour from my house I very much enjoyed the outing. That being said, I will probably not return unless I get a fat bike. The loop circles around to another trail-head on route 93 about a mile from where I parked. The wide shoulders and a straight road made for an easy and safe return to my car.

If you decide you want to try this be aware that this is open to bikes only on Sundays during hunting season. Some in the area refer to it as Broad Mountain Loop. Be sure to bring your camera. Also learn from my mistake and be sure your camera has a memory card included. I had removed the memory card from my camera and forgot to replace it. These pictures are from my cell phone.

Erie Canal Heritage Trail

My adult children both live in the Rochester, NY area. When I visit, I often take my bike along and ride some of the many trails in that area. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor passes through the area and provides the longest and perhaps the nicest trail rides. The corridor runs 365 miles from Buffalo to past Schenectady, NY. If you include other connected canal trails the mileage hits 500 miles. I have ridden from Brockport to Macedon on the western most 100 mile segment called the Erie Canal Heritage Trail.

This segment is very well developed with almost the entire section paved and very well maintained. Similar to most rail trails, this trail parallels a waterway, the Erie Canal, and is thus very level. There are still some operational locks in the canal. It is fun to watch small boats pass through these locks. I have a short video of one of the locks operating on Mark's Bike Tock channel on You Tube.With many small towns and public parks along the route, there is plenty of opportunity to stop and enjoy small town ambiance.

A Google search will yield numerous web sites that will give you additional information about the trail. My most recent ride on the canal trail was March, 2021.

You can see a video of a recent ride on my YouTube Channel: Mark's Bike Tock

Weiser Forest

If you are looking for a new ride with great fall foliage consider the Roaring Creek Tract of the Weiser Forest District. Located near Aristes, PA. This is a smooth dirt road (Roaring Creek Road) that is closed to vehicles with the exception of one day per year. The main road is only about seven miles one way but there are several side trails if you are adventurous. The route passes Bush Valley Reservoir and Shamokin Reservoirs (2).  The ride is not listed in Trail Link.

You can see a video of my bike ride on the trail at Mark's Bike Tock YouTube channel.

Here is another, more recent video: Weiser

For more information see DCNR pdf.   GPS: 40.83722, -76.35457

This bridge was replaced in 2019


Wissahickon is a spur off the Schuylkill River Trail. This is part of Fairmount Park along Wissahickon Creek. The trail will make it difficult for you to believe you are still within the city limits of Philadelphia. The trail is also called Forbidden Drive since much of it was once a road that has long been closed to cars. There are more than a few pleasant surprises along the seven mile trail including the Valley Green Inn and the only covered bridge in a US city.

There have been recent news reports of yellow jackets (bees) in the area. I have never had any issues when I have visited.

Visit Friends of the Wissahickon for more information.

For a video of one of my bike rides on Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park visit Mark's Bike Tock on YouTube.

Find a Trail

Looking for a new trail to ride? I find new trails by using Trail Link or google maps. Trail link is a great database of trails across the country. The primary limitation of trail link is that its mission is to help people find trails for commuting purposes. My experience is that most of the users of the site are looking for new places for recreation. Since their focus is on commuting there are excellent trails that are not included. You may submit trails that are not listed for possible inclusion. I have done this a few times and some of my suggestions have been listed but some have not met their criteria and were not listed.

Google maps is an often overlooked resource. Most people are familiar with the traffic feature on Google maps. If you scroll down a bit further you will find a bicycle feature. This highlights bike trails and bike friendly roads. Much of the data for the bike trails originated with trail link but Google has added to this and includes many trails not listed in trail link. Unfortunately there are bike trails shown on Google that simply do not exist. I would not plan a trip based solely on a bike path shown on Google.

The better trails are named and names may be seen on Google maps if you zoom in. Once you find the name of a trail you may like to visit, do an internet search for that name. Many of the longer trails have their own web sites. Additionally, at the top of the search results click on news. This will search for news articles that mention the trail. Since there is much activity expanding and improving trails news articles are often the best source of the latest information about current status of trails. If you decide to visit a new trail you may want to return to Google maps/bike paths. Find the trail again then change the background to satellite. This will allow you to locate parking adjacent to the trail. Click on the parking and get directions right to the spot. Alternately do this on your phone and get turn by turn navigation.

Don't forget social information such as actually talking to other riders you meet on a trail. When you stop for a break try to do so where there are other riders. Strike up a conversation. This is often a source for good trail information. Of course Facebook is also a good way to get information from other riders. Look for groups dedicated to bike riding or trail users. In eastern Pennsylvania there is a rider's group called "We Like Bikes" with most of the active members from the Lehigh Valley. There is also a group of trail users for the "Pine Creek Trail".

You could also check out twitter, Instagram and other apps. A friend from We Like Bikes has a huge collection of photos on Flicker. Check out Easy Biker. Local bike shops generally know about trails in their area and it is advisable to check with one before planning a long trip centered on a particular trail. If you do travel, there are many outfitters specializing in cycling vacations. These outfitters generally offer bike rentals and shuttle services. Many also offer organized rides with one or more guides, SAG support and lodging (or camping) along the way.

Back Mountain Trail

The Back Mountain Trail is a nice local trail that starts in Luzerne, PA. Bikes are permitted but at only 5 miles it is not really a destination for cyclists. It also has break at about the half way mark that requires stairs to navigate to the next section. This is close to me so I sometime ride it and do a few laps. Future plans call for this to extend to Harveys Lake and beyond. If that comes to fruition this could become a very nice cycling trail.

The trail is owned and maintained by Anthracite Scenic Trails Association.

See a video of a ride on this trail here: Mark's Bike Tock YouTube channel
and here is a ride down the trail on a warm January day.

The Rimple Loop is another section of the Back Mountain Trail. It is a short section (too short for riding) that does not yet connect to the main portion of the trail. I hope the gap gets filled soon. Here are some pictures from the Rimple Loop: