Top 10 Places to Visit in Pennsylvania by Bike

Top 10 Places to Visit in Pennsylvania by Bike

Alexandra Ruticova

 1. Philadelphia

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This is the bikers wonder land! Why is Philadelphia became one of the most bike-friendly big cities in the country? Wait and see!

The city’s easy-to-navigate grid layout, mostly flat terrain and 435 miles of bike lanes make it much easier on those opting for pedal power. You have to ride from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill and back with biking lanes on Spruce and Pine Streets. The scenic mile of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has space for cyclists looking to take a ride past the city’s world-renowned museums and attractions.

But you can also explore miles and miles of waterfront trails, riding the gorgeous 26-mile Schuylkill River Trail along the waterfront.

With two rivers and one of the country’s largest urban parks, you will enjoy scenic views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and waterfront attractions on the Delaware River Trail.

And that’s not even close everything you can do here.

The outdoor enthusiasts can explore hundreds of miles of trails through parks like Fairmount Park. Try the most popular Forbidden Drive; no kind of bike is forbidden, though mountain bikes are strongly encouraged. Other popular trails include the Pennypack Trail along Pennypack Creek, the relaxing Cobbs Creek Trail and the many trails through Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.

If you feel for a bit more adrenaline, you can watch Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, a 12-mile circuit race through the city that begins and ends at the 17-degree-grade Manayunk Wall. But to feel more competitive, compete yourself in the 30-mile amateur race.

And, yet, another tip: starting with April 2015, the city’s has it’s first bike-sharing program, it with 60 stations and hundreds of bikes located across the city. The price is affordable starting at just $4.

Guys, that’s not doubt, Philadelphia is the Number 1 big city for bicycle commuting in the nation!

2. Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh is crisscrossed with bike trails galore, both urban and scenic. So grab your bike and hit the trails!

If you are a history enthusiast,  here you have over 24 miles of Pittsburgh history. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a combination of the best biking trails throughout the city, connecting neighborhoods, sights, sounds, and cultures. North Shore Trail, Lawrenceville Trail, Millvale Trail, Eliza Furnace Trail, South Side Trail – they’re all part of this awesome network of paved wonderland, well-maintained by some hometown organizations.

Eliza Furnace Trail is the oldest leg of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and the most unique. It winds right in between Second Avenue and Parkway East, and it passes right under the Allegheny County Jail – that’s why is called “The Jail Trail”.

The South Side Riverfront Trail is beautiful in the summer. It starts at 9th Street Station Square and ends 5 miles later at Riverfront Park, 18th Street South Side. In your way, you can lounge on the lawn or have a refresh at Over the Bar on Carson Street!

Another scenic and well-maintained trail you can ride is South Side to Steel Valley. It passes right by Sandcastle and Kennywood, where you can see the Pittsburgh-famous bald eagles.

For those in search of adventure we recommend Great Allegheny Passage. This trail is an epic climb that crosses the Eastern Continental Divide and the ultimate workout/outdoor mix and a must for any bicycle enthusiast!

Apparently, not many people know about the thrilling Riverview Park in the Perry North that has killer mountain bike trails – about 8 miles. But you’re the not one of them! Ride on!

For a rural athmospheare, choose Montour Trail, the 46-mile trail built on history, full of dark tunnels and wooden bridges, perfect for both kids and adults.

Listen to us, if you’re a cyclist and haven’t been to Frick Park, something is very curious. The place is loaded with mountain biking loops and trails of various difficulties. They say you can bike for more than half an hour without running into the same patch of trail! Cool, isn’t it!

Now we will close with a relaxing stroll where you can embrace wilderness and escape concrete jungle, so we will go on Panhandle Trail, the 29-mile path that starts in Carnegie and ends near Weirton, West Virginia.

PPPS…. Don’t miss North Park, the playground for every type of biking!

3. Gettysburg

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A decisive and bloody Civil War battle took place here, in Gettysburg in 1863, consequently the town is home to a treasure trove of military history.

Take the change of being closer to the history with a two-hour bicycle tour that covers seven miles of the historic Civil War battlefield. A professional Gettysburg park guide will provide the tour on high quality Trek mountain bikes. Go on on your ride and visit also the Eisenhower National Historic Site with the home and farm of Dwight D. Eisenhower, America's 34th president.

During Eisenhower's presidency, the site served as a meeting spot for world leaders. Now, people come from all over the world to see the 40,000 artifacts contained in Eisenhower's former home.

4. Jim Thorpe

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Nestled in the breathtaking Lehigh Gorge, this Victorian town is teeming with history, romance and family fun.

Here you’ll enjoy the walkable downtown’s accommodations, shops, restaurants, pubs, wine-tasting and live entertainment, as well as all the outdoor adventure you'd expect in the Pocono Mountains.

Jim Thorpe is perfect for a weekend jaunt or an extended stay vacation - located just 1.5 hours from Philadelphia, 2 hours from New York City and less than 3 hours from Baltimore.

Forget about your bike for a minute, because here you have to change it for Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. Relax and ride comfortably in the vintage coaches built as early as 1917 pulled by diesel engines.  The narrated round-trip follows the majestic Lehigh River over bridges, through Glen Onoko, and into the Lehigh Gorge State Park.  High-rising cliffs, mountain scenery, and wildlife surround the train along the forested route to Old Penn Haven.

Now you can go back to your bike and take a ride on D&L Trailhead where biking and hiking are available for every level. Or go in Lehigh Gorge State Park for an active mountain bike ride. 

5. Harrisburg

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The capital of our Commonwealth, Harrisburg is situated along the banks of the Susquehanna River.

If you are here, you must get the breathtaking view from one of locals favorite spots, Hawk Rock. Immerse yourself in a forest of vibrant rust-colored leaves canopied above your head. Ride your bike along the area’s premiere bike path while stopping for photos of the golden views.

Don’t miss The Capital Area Greenbelt that features over 20 miles of paths perfect for hiking, biking, or walking. Enjoy these beautiful trails as they wind past streams, gardens, and picnic areas.

If you are tired of pedaling, just take a bike taxi. We’re not joking, they have it here.

6. Bethlehem

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Bethlehem started off as a tiny Moravian mission village in 1741 and has many well-preserved historical attractions where visitors can learn about its industrial past.

After you go to the Moravian Museum, go ride off road, an easy entry to nature both in and surrounding the city. You cand choose from riding along the paths bordering the Lehigh River and Monocacy Creek, or on the awesome trails in the surrounding mountains.

Off-road adventures are immediately accessible from Bethlehem and can be combined with bike trips around the city. Make a relaxing refuel at lively local restaurants, coffeehouses and bars.

Ready to go? Then, ride the beginner-friendly Delaware and Lehigh trail, affectionately known as “the towpath,” which connects Bethlehem with the Lehigh Valley’s other major cities, Allentown and Easton. This trail is beautiful and full of history.

For the more skilled off-road cyclists, Walking Purchase Park features 10 miles of exhilarating singletrack. Built and maintained by the Valley Mountain Bikers, this is an advanced-rider trail network with challenging hills and extremely rocky terrain. 

7. Erie

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Nestled on the southern shore of Lake Erie, the town of Erie is an ideal getaway destination for all ages.

Plan your next trip to Erie, and explore the beaches, shopping, unique food and historical landmarks. Presque Isle State Park was ranked the #1 fresh water beach in North America!

Grab your bike and hit Karl Boyes Trail, a 13.5-mile circuit of Presque Isle State Park. It’s relatively flat as terrain and it has beautiful views go on Presque Isle State. 

Seaway Trail, National Scenic Byway instead offers breathtaking views of Lake Erie and Presque Isle State Park.

8. Nockamixon State Park

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The Nockamixon State Park is an ideal back-to-nature getaway in the rolling hills of scenic Buck’s County, close enough to Philadelphia for a day trip, but far enough away for a vacation. What’s in for you here? Lots of stuff! Hiking, swimming, windsurfing, horseback riding and, of course, biking.

The popular paved trail - 2 miles - winds through the Day Use. The trail has many curves.

The eastern end of the trail begins at the Marina, which offers parking and great views of the lake. The western end of the trail features a waterfall and the Old Mill Pond. A spur off the main trail passes by the swimming pool and playground.

For mountain biking, there is a 10-mile trail system on the east side of Haycock Cove with railheads located off of Tower and South Park roads. You have also parking available at the Tower Road and the Haycock Boat Launch, if you decide to come here by car. Take some caution, because the trail can be hazardous and slippery and some slopes are steep with rough surfaces, so the trail is for riders equipped for off-road riding.

9. Delaware Water Gap

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The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area covers an enormous 67,000 acres of forests, rivers, waterfalls, valleys, and historic sites.

Cycling is a popular form of recreation in the park. Ride on the McDade Recreational Trail, a packed gravel path, parallels the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side of the park for 32 miles. This trail is perfect for mountain and hybrid bikes (closed to biking between White Pines and Pittman Orchard trailheads). Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the McDade Recreational Trail, which is great.

For those who enjoy road biking, we have Old Mine Road that parallels the Delaware River on the New Jersey side for 34 miles in the park. Constructed in the mid-1600s, Old Mine Road connected the Hudson River and Philadelphia to the Pahaquarry, making it one of the oldest commercial roads in the country and a popular driving and biking route. The route passes lots of historic objectives and villages, still maintaining the flavor of the last centuries.

10. Bushkill Falls

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We are in front of The Niagara of Pennsylvania!

High in the uplands of the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, streams of crystal pure water bubble up through rifts in primeval rock. These are the headwaters of Bushkill Creek, a great marsh alive with the call of wild birds.

What to do here? Are you kidding?! You can be a Gold Miner for a Day. Join it with you family and you all will have fun pretending to be a "gold miner". Or, if you want something fun for two, consider taking a nice ride around Twin Lakes in a two-person paddle boat. Then, follow their motto: Come hungry, leave happy, and go to see what’s cooking in Fudge Kitchen. They say it satisfies even the hungriest appetites.

Bye-bye, Pennsylvania! Did you enjoyed our trip for today? Where would you go, if you had to choose between those places? Be social, let’s be biking friends!