Things to Do , Hiking & Biking , Running & Cycling , Sports & Outdoors
Popular NEPA Bike Rides
Posted: September 13, 2019
A vast network of mountain biking trails, long pastoral stretches of rural road, hundreds of miles of gravel-surfaced rail trails, and bike-friendly urban streets have positioned Northeastern Pennsylvania as one of the country’s fastest growing cycling destinations. Whether for sport or leisure, NEPA is gearing up and getting out on their bikes. Follow along here as our DiscoverNEPA Cycling Team brings you tips, tricks, motivational stories and shows you the region’s best places to ride.
Explore NEPA With These Incredible Rides
Load up the bikes and explore.
Framed by rolling hills, scenic valleys, lakes and rivers, Northeastern Pennsylvania boasts some of the most diverse and accessible bike riding in the region. Road cyclists, mountain bikers, and gravel riders alike have endless options for riding. It’s great exercise, and there’s simply no easier way to truly explore NEPA.
Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist, or just getting back on the old bike, we’ve got a few great rides for you. Take on berms, embankments, rocks and roots on some of the region’s top mountain bike trails. See the sights of cities, rural landscapes and glowing sunsets on road routes that can go on forever. Or, hop on one of NEPA’s repurposed rail trails for some of the safest gravel riding around. With such an abundance of great terrain, safe roads and well-maintained riding trails, Northeastern Pennsylvania is a true cycling paradise.
Grab your bike and get out there. We put together a short list of awesome rides that are sure to excite and inspire new and seasoned riders alike.
Moosic Mountain Blueberry Trail
The Blueberry Trail on Moosic Mountain’s Dick and Nancy Eales Preserve is a great entry point to mountain biking in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Though rocky and root-y at times, the trail has great ‘flow’ from turn to turn, keeping riders on their toes (er—pedals!). The trail is rated for beginners, and new riders can take their time working through various sections of the trail. No expert rock drops here —just fun corners and terrain.
Aptly named, the Blueberry Trail is home to large swaths of wild blueberry bushes, ripe for the picking in late summer—a perfect mid-ride snack if you happen to forget your energy bars in the car. Near the top of the trail is one of the best panoramic views of the northern Lackawanna Valley. From here you can see for miles up and down the valley. It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset or to snap a few pics.
Access to the Moosic Mountain trail system is easy, and plenty of parking exists right at the trailhead. Trail signage is sometimes lacking, so make sure to bring along a GPS or cellphone with the route.
Lackawanna State Park and the Meadowsweet Preserve
The Countryside Conservancy’s Meadowsweet Preserve is located at the southern end of Lackawanna State Park. This is a great way to experience NEPA’s biggest, most popular trail system. The trails offer quite a bit of flow, but they do feature technical rock gardens, drops, and berms. There’s just enough to excite even veteran mountain bikers.
This route offers the whole package—climbing, hairpin descents, stream crossings, and flowy meadows. Trail access is simple, with this route starting right from the parking lot at the Meadowsweet Preserve. Always be on the lookout for other trail users like runners and hikers, and respect the trails if they are wet.
Glendale / Spring Brook / Elmhurst
This 27-mile loop is one of the more popular routes from the Scranton area. Leaving Courthouse Square, the route heads south, picking up Rt. 502 in Springbrook Township. Smooth pavement and wide shoulders make for a comfy, safe ride. Route 502 also offers the biggest climb of the day. It maxes out at only a 9% grade, but most riders take around 30 minutes to summit.
Once at the top, the majority of the climbing is out of the way and riders enjoy rolling landscapes past horse farms, lakes, and fields. These roads are all well-maintained, making the riding feel fast. The final segment of the route is a curvy, fast descent on Elmhurst Blvd. This portion of the ride is a decades-long favorite among local cyclists.
Waverly / Nicholson
The Tunkhannock Viaduct in Nicholson is one of the most unique structures in all of Northeastern Pennsylvania. This half-mile-long railway bridge towers 300 feet in the air, and when it was constructed in 1915, it was the largest concrete structure in the world. This route takes riders directly underneath the viaduct — an impressive overture for a ride already filled with scenery.
Starting at the Waverly Community Center the route charts north through pastoral farmland and wide-open fields. As the road descends toward Tunkhannock Creek, the viaduct looms in the skyline. The elevation along the creek is minimal. In fact, save for the climb back toward Waverly, the whole route is relatively tame. This is NEPA rural riding at its finest, and riders can adapt this route to their liking by linking any of the numerous paved roads together.
Luzerne Levee Trail
This paved Luzerne County trail is fun, fast, and scenic. The whole 13-mile trail (6.5 miles one-way) can be accessed from either end, or you can park your car at any of the ‘off ramps’ scattered along the route. The Susquehanna River is visible from most sections of the trail, and riders can take advantage of several rest stops along the route. Most rest stops have informational plaques with historical and educational data and offer benches with nice views.
Riders hoping for more mileage can connect the Luzerne County Levee Trail with Susquehanna Warrior Trail to the south or the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail to the north.
Old Gravity Gravel
Gravel rides are a growing favorite among cyclists, and NEPA is lucky to have a big network of dirt and gravel roads. One of the best aspects of gravel riding is exploration—you can ride anywhere you want, even when the pavement ends. Still, it’s good to have a planned route when you go out, so you can target the more exciting and scenic roads.
A vestige of a centuries-old transportation solution, Old Gravity Road was originally graded for its original use as a gravity railroad bed. The railroad bed was constructed at such an angle that the train could travel down the gradient without an engine, significantly reducing fuel costs. Although the tracks are now long-gone, the dirt road which covers it still maintains the same gradients of 1% & 3%.
Located just outside of Lake Ariel, Old Gravity Road is a great entry-point for this 25-mile gravel ride. Varying types of dirt and gravel roads exist along the route, with only a few miles of pavement connecting them. Park in Lake Ariel and spend a few hours piecing together dirt roads to create your own gravel adventure!