I’m one of those people who just love going back to the college where I graduated (in my case – Juniata College). Maybe it’s because that’s where I met the love of my life. Maybe it’s because I never really wanted to grow up past and enter the “real” world. Maybe both of these are true!
In recent years, a brand new reason to return to the area has been created – The Allegrippis Trail System! If you visit that link, you’ll see the description of “33 miles of buttery smooth singletrack bliss.” That description is spot on! A number of trails snake their way around in many different configurations. They’re set up so you can make a ride as long or short as you need/want it to be.
These trails were designed in such a way that everyone can enjoy them – from the beginner to the seasoned rider. The trails are color-coded so you know the difficulty rating of each one:
- Green = Easy
- Blue = Medium
- Black = Difficult
Now, I’ve been riding for a lot of years and like technical riding, so the Black/Difficult rating really isn’t that difficult at all. The rating probably refers to trails with climbs (since there are very few true technical sections). It seems that, no matter which way you go, it almost always seems like you’re going downhill. A few climbs do keep it interesting, but it’s mostly a collection of smooth and fast trails.
If you like a lot of technical riding, you won’t find a lot of it here. There are a few spots to keep it interesting; however, the majority of these trails are smooth and hard-packed. That makes for a lot of fun – and, yes, you may even find yourself yelling “Wheeeeeeee!” (or some other manly yell….it just sort of slips out).
One of the trails even gives you caution signs to tell you about the upcoming “bike bumps.” OK – that’s not their real name – my group of riding buddies calls them hoop-de-hoops (which isn’t a real name either). Essentially, they are quick little hills that you can EASILY get air on them. You’re going so fast that it’s also easy to “endo.” So, heed those signs!
Don’t believe me that the trails are fast and fun? Take a look at this video I found that shows you just how fast and fun the trails are. If you can get pass the silliness at the beginning of the video, you’ll see a first-hand look at the fun trails. Note to self: I really need to get me one of those GoPro cameras!!!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the folks at the Raystown Mountain Biking Association (RMBA) who maintain these trails. It’s so easy to forget that there are people who keep the trails in tip top shape. Make sure you visit the Club Page link and consider joining up. For $20/year – even if you visit once a year – it’s worth it. (OK – embarrassing admission here – I haven’t yet joined, so I’d better pony up and practice what I preach!)
Although you can do all of the trails in one day, I suggest making a weekend out of it. Even if you do ride them all in one day, you can always go back and re-ride those trails that you just want to hit again. There are plenty of places around the area to rent. My buddies and I always rent the Seven Points Lodge for the weekend.
It’s not first-class accommodations, but the place is fairly inexpensive and you get a kitchen stocked with both cookware and plates/glasses/utensils. There are two bedrooms (with a total of 6 single beds) and two bathrooms. I believe there may be one or two pull-out sofas in the Family Room area, too – and plenty of people can throw sleeping bags on the floor. It’s a great place to crash at the end of the day. We typically have breakfast there – take our lunches with us – and then make ourselves a hot dinner at the end of the day.
Bring your own charcoal, and you can grill out on their built-in grill. That way, you won’t need to clean up the pots/pans. I should note that the water has a bit of sulfur in it – so I highly recommend bringing bottled drinking water. Sure, you smell a bit like rotten eggs when you’re done showering (but it beats the alternative of not showering at all).
The trails are open year-round. If we’re lucky enough to continue having winters with little snow, these make for year-round fun. Note, however, that hunting is allowed in the area – so, during hunting seasons, either wear orange, ride only on Sundays or avoid the area altogether. I thought that hunting was not allowed until I took my son up to ride with me on my last trip to Juniata – only to run into a few hunters early in the ride. Wisely thinking that my wife wouldn’t like me to bring my son home shot (it was small game season), I cut our ride short.
Although it would be hard to get lost because the trails are well marked, and there are a number of large maps at different areas on the trails themselves, I recommend your very own trail map. There are trail maps available to purchase, but the folks at RMBA provide a printable map that you may be able to use without purchasing one. (Click here for a Trail Map)
If you’re looking for a fun weekend mountain-biking get-away, you’ll find that the Allegrippis Trail System is a great choice. Great views and fun trails!