TWO WHEELIN’ IT ACROSS 6
While automobile and motorcycle are favorite ways to explore US Route 6 in northern Pennsylvania; a traditional bicycle can take travelers through spectacular scenery and places in history within the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor.
PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has designated PA Route 6 as a touring bicycle route, named Bike Route Y. Many who pedal their way across the state each year will testify to the route’s challenging hills, sweeping landscapes and charming towns.
“The trip across Route 6 will only improve in the next few years,” Terri Dennison, Executive Director of the PA Route 6 Alliance, said. Dennison is referring to the recent announcement by PennDOT that the agency will embark on a Master Bicycle Plan for Route 6. “We are excited about the potential. By making the ride safer, connecting with other bike trails and offering more access points, this plan will open up more opportunities for our small businesses and towns.”
While the plan and improvements are being developed, Dennison suggests that travelers explore some of the existing bike trails that connect to PA Route 6. In a “Do 6” tradition, she recommends the following six bike trails as a way of discovering the history and heritage of the Corridor, while getting outside to enjoy nature.
1. Ernst Bike Trail, (Crawford County): this former section of the Meadville-Linesville Railroad has a 5 mile paved trail from Park Avenue Plaza to Route 19. Traversing terrain with imprints of Ice Age glaciations, the trail follows the lush bottomlands of French Creek Valley, the state’s most biologically diverse body of water. From the creek, the trail passes through meadow and marsh, hardwood stands and hemlock thickets.
2. Corry Junction Greenway Trail (Erie County): This is one of Pennsylvania’s interstate trails, crossing the state line into New York. The 7.5-mile trail runs through the beautiful Brokenstraw Valley. Included in Corry’s rich railroad history is the invention and manufacturing of the Climax locomotive and rail cars that were used by the logging industry from 1888 until the 1920’s. The trail is hilly and rough, offering an adventure for outdoor enthusiasts year-round. Several crossings do not meet the grade of the road or have inclines where the cyclist may need to dismount.
3. Crook Farm Trail (McKean County):A 3 mile loop trail on crushed limestone with near level grade. A trail head with off-road parking is located on Bolivar Drive between Rt. 219 and Tuna Creek. The Crook Farm Historic Site is on the northern end of the trail, where visitors can enjoy a walk back in time as they tour the nineteenth-century restored farm house, barn, one-room schoolhouse, tool house, train depot and outbuildings.
4. Pine Creek Rail Trail (Tioga County):One of the premier rail-trails in the Northeast, the Pine Creek Trail in Pine Creek Gorge offers travelers a spectacular, 62-mile journey through the area commonly referred to as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Relatively flat, the trail runs from Wellsboro Junction to Jersey Shore, Pa., traversing Tioga and Tiadaghton State Forest lands. For 55 of its 62 miles it hugs Pine Creek, providing great views of dramatic rock outcrops and numerous waterfalls.
5. Delaware and Hudson Trail, (Lackawanna County):As the trail is comprised of cinder, original ballast, and hard-packed dirt, a hybrid or mountain bike is needed to comfortably ride this intermittently rugged trail. There are a few short sections with large chunks of ballast and steep inclines where walking the bike may be required. The trail parallels the Lackawanna River for several miles. Some areas of the trail are tree-lined, but some are out in the open.
6. McDade Recreational Trail (Pike County):With its northern most access at Milford Beach in Milford, the McDade Recreational Trail extends most the length of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and provides views of the river, charming streams, open farm fields, forests, and historic landscapes. The trail offers varied difficulty, from easy to strenuous. With trailheads distributed between ½ and 5 miles apart, this trail offers a section for just about any visitor. Additionally, most trailheads are along the park's free bus route that operates summer weekends.
It should be noted that mountain biking is permitted on the forest roads within the Allegheny National Forest and state forests that stretch across Route 6. For more information on these and other trails, consult the PA Route 6 website at www.paroute6.com or the Explore PA Trails at www.explorepatrails.com.
Read Past Monthly Features:
May 2016 - Veteran's Memorials
April 2016 - Artisan Trail Month on PA Route 6
February 2016-Historic Inns and Hotels on Route 6
January 2016-6 Ways to Hibernate this Winter
November 2015-Ways to Relax and Restore Along Route 6
October 2015 - Sense Spectacular
September 2015 - Scenic Overlooks and Viaducts
August 2015 - Celebrating the Birth of Gifford Pinchot Across Route 6
June 2015 - Route 6 as a Transportation Corridor
May 2015 - PA Route 6 as a National Recreational Trail
April 2015 - The Real Artisans of PA Route 6
March 2015 - Maple Month
February 2015 - Washington and Lincoln Connections