swatara trail map
December 22, 2020
The state of PA put down large limestone on the trail. Great tandem ride from Lickdale to Pine Grove and back. My rating of this trail would be higher if it was not for that first mile! Swatara State Park. Swatara Water Trail Map & Guide Do you want to combine water, good food, recreation, open space, history, culture, scenic beauty, and geology into one day trip? The Bear Hole Trail is a section of abandoned dirt road that in recent years deteriorated to the point of being impassable. Will definitely come back and explore the other improved trails in and around this area! Since there was a threating rain cloud overhead, I turned around before I got to the end of the trail. The spring rains have gutted the upper trail section and the choice of rock to fill in was a little large, there are nice holes and rocks that will get your attention if your daydreaming but overall i like this trail and recommend checking it out if your passing by, lve yourself roughly and hr to run it but theres some nice relaxing areas to enjoy and usually friendly people to talk to. We had read that the bike folks do not like the horse riders. Today the Swatara Water Trail offers 60-miles of outdoor recreation including canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. The trail again transitions to fine grit for a few miles, but finally transitions to soil with grass/weeds. Mountain bike trails, the Appalachian Trail, and Waterville Bridge will remain open, as will sections of the rail trail. Our wrists were so sore. Designated launches in the northern and southern ends of the park provide access to the creek for boaters. Most of Swatara State Park is located along Interstate 81 between Second and Blue mountains. Just get on it and go as far as you can. you will have to get on the road for about 300 feet and then make the first right, which will take you by a delapidated building where you will turn left to continue on the trail. I had researched the trail, and read the reviews, so I was a little leery about what I would find. Now this part was very nice, more like other rail trails I've ridden in the past. The first official access is at Pine Grove, near Route 645. Closings may be required along Old State Road/Bear Hole Trail, Rail Trail, the Lickdale Spur, and the boat launch near Swopes Valley Road. I was disappointed to find that the trail is maintained differently past this point. From the campground, the trail is currently not clearly marked and wanders through the grounds of a cement plant and provides unmarked opportunities to stray off of the trail. It was all chewed up, very bumpy and not so much fun dodging the horse petunias on the trail and bridges! Facebook Twitter Share. The park map has it open to biking and horses. Four point four miles from Lickdale, you can turn onto State Park Lane and drive about one mile to a gate that also accesses the Park’s three miles of smooth asphalt road. Camp Swatara, 2905 Camp Swatara Road, Bethel, PA 19507, USA 717-933-8510 firstname.lastname@example.org 717-933-8510 email@example.com this trail is passible for most if you take you time. This is the part of the Park’s trail system that can provide some challenges. Bring bug spray and use it. These trails are no longer offically maintained by SAMBA. Visually this trail is a treat, from a scrap yard, to bird preserve to an few small examples of old growth forest. At one point the trail switches from the old rail bed to the old paved highway. I rode my bike on the Swatara Rail Trail as part of visiting Swatara State Park in August 2014. Trail Description The Swatara Rail Trail stretches 10 miles along Swatara Creek from the Interstate 81 Pine Grove Interchange almost to Lickdale, revealing remnants of both the canal and the railroad along the way. The road runs past the remains of five canal locks and the site of a supporting dam that was destroyed by the Flood of 1862. Here, you’ll pass the 1890 vintage Waterville Bridge, a 221-foot steel bridge that was relocated here after it was retired in the village of Waterville, more than 100 miles from here. Trail is beautiful but would be very scary if I shared with a horse. “Planned facility and infrastructure improvements will support and enhance day-use recreation that already includes canoeing, fishing, hiking, picnicking and bicycling.” The other end of the trail, located at the Lickdale Campground by the traffic light in Lickdale (I-81 exit 90) provides challenges as well. Shortly you come up to a new bridge across the Swatara Creek. Todays trip --- Deer, Fox, Turkeys, and Grouse were seen. For the first two miles the trail is very rough, then you bike on an abandon road for a ways then jump back on the trail. Don't let that little bit of roughness discourage you, as you can skip it and join the trail at the Waterville bridge by coming in on Old State Road on the other side of the creek. We did this on a Friday so maybe that is the reason for the lack of people--this trail is beautiful and if you take the time to look you can see nature at its best. This new section will need to be explored. Please check with the trail owner before you go. Every time I try to give this trail another chance the trail is littered with so much manure I want to gag. Unfortunately the gravel is rather course and in some of the previous mud holes the fill is ballast sized stones. A historical marker nearby shows the spot of Fort Swatara, a stockaded blockhouse built in 1755 to guard settlements against attacks through the Swatara Gap during the French and Indian War. The trails in this area are confusing. Trail Mileages’ • Isle to McGrath, 11.5 miles • Lawler to McGregor, 8.1 miles Again using a stop on my way south from Vermont I finished my scouting of the several trails in undeveloped Swarta State Park. Very q on both routes. I cannot stress enough that this is not a smooth road at all, but it also has some incline to it. Along the way there are several other paved trails for cycling and you may choose to meander at will. From the parking lot, turn left to head 5 miles toward the southern trailhead in Lickdale, or turn right to head 5 miles toward the northern trailhead in Pine Grove. This Trail is open to vehicles the 2nd Friday and Saturday of each month. A more reasonable way to enter the Pine Grove end of the rail trail is located just across from the Swedburg Church of God, 2.2 miles from the Pine Grove exit (Exit 100) of I-81 or, if traveling in the opposite direction, 9.5 miles from Lickdale. I do not recommend riding the Swatara Rail Trail east past the Swopes Valley Trailhead. on this section you will pass a junk yard and a wildlife refuge. Some points: 1) If you start at the Lickdale trail head on Monroe Valley Rd. On the way back I jumped up on the road that was there, and it was very nice. We went right and in 3/4 of a mile ended up in a campground. The historic Waterville Bridge spans Swatara Creek and is the crossing point for the Appalachian Trail. This trail is beautiful. I didn't ride the whole trail (I skipped the part the runs along the active roadway). The bridge is placed where the river has three channels which makes for a long bridge but also one that should avoid damage from the frequent high floods. But this is the only part of the trail that is gravel. It's an attractive, fairly interesting route. Scenery includes the Swatara waterway, some open fields, beautiful foliage and "Old State Road" -- a section of forgotten highway that Mother Nature is doing her best to reclaim. You can assume you will float at about 2 to 3 miles per hour with light paddling. Section between Appalachian Trail and Innwood bridge (closed) is closed. I took the trail till I hit the concrete plant that I first discovered when I tried to catch the trail at the KOA in Lickdale. The trail is really, really not marked at all. There were several deficiencies in the trail surface at this point, which is mainly packed silt from a nearby marsh area and large pools of shallow water which I had to roll through. Below the Appalachian trail bridge it's a fairly coarse gravel for nearly two miles that I did not like. Who knows what you will find next. On the south end (Lickdale) there is a new parking area and a resurfaced trail. One of the reviewers mis-spelled the word trail into trial which is exactly what this trail is, a bad trial with no signs, bad state park map and impossible to find parking and put-in spots. It received a partial facelift last summer. Swatara Sojourn. I rode about 8 miles before finding short section under water. Did the whole 10 miles... great ride!! SR 443 and I-81 (Pine Grove), Operating under several subsequent owners, the rail branch closed in segments from 1965 to 1981. 6) This would undoubtedly be a magnificent foliage ride in the fall, but the amount of rhododendron on the Bear Hole Trail suggests that late spring would be equally impressive. Definitely worth the ride from the Waterville bridge to the Swopes Valley Trailhead. William Weismantel on October 28, 2015 Gravel Segment From Swatara Rail Trail, Jonestown, Lebanon County to Swatara Rail Trail, Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The trail grade is relatively flat, with variable surfaces (stone, gravel, and pavement) requiring wide tires. First the trail isn't marked and we went the wrong way about 3/4 of a mile into a KOA campground. This section of the AT crosses Swatara … Overall the Swatara Rail Trail is pretty nice. This is one of the worst trails I've ever done. Some other reviewers were sharply critical of the impact of horses. Overall, this is an enjoyable trail, well shaded most of the way, with views of Swatara Creek from the rail trail. We saw a lot of kayakers on the Swattie on Memorial Day. The first and last 2 miles are odd (that is, barely discernible from the surrounding area. The first mile or so was a paved trail with several branch-offs of different trails (not sure if these were state park trails or what). While this road is open to vehicles, there is little traffic. At the roundabout loop near the Lickdale terminus there are many raspberry bushes, good for an afternoon stop in July. The trail is fool of holes thanks to the horses. On the other hand, if you want to plan your route, go to the excellent park map at:www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/maps/swatara_mini.pdfOr, you can contact the Park Office at 717-865-6470 and they will send you a large copy of that same map. Swatara State Park is a singletrack mountain bike trail in Lickdale, Pennsylvania. Youker. Front tire blew out a couple of miles from the car because of the constant hammering. Both trails had continuous small bumps from horses hoofs in the soft fine crushed stone. Part of Swatara Rail Trail closed due to storm damage. There are few people on this trail. I challenged it on on my old 1982 Mesa Runner, and I will definitely be using a lighter frame with shocks on the next ride. It was nice enough. From there to the end of the trail is just scenic beauty and good riding surface, following the creek. The old state road is badly eroded asphalt with many big pot holes. 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