For those of us who don’t want to pedal Blue Knob State Park's 1,500’ climb, the shuttled “10-Mile Downhill” Ride is a popular ride at our annual picnics. Although it is mostly downhill, this is not a beginner ride due to several technical sections and some fast downhills. It is mostly rideable by intermediates, but many of us still have trouble with some of the technical sections concentrated between the Pavia Overlook and reconnection to the Three Springs Trail. But those are fun sections to play on and short to walk through, when necessary.
This ride requires multiple vehicles to form a pre- and post-ride shuttle with vehicles parked at Mowrey Hollow or the pool area at the bottom of the mountain and others at the ski lodge parking area atop Pennsylvania’s second highest point.
Parking at the far end of the ski lodge after your first shuttle leg, the ride starts on the lower side of the road at a cable gate blocking the driveway to a small demolished building pad. This point is the interconnection between the State Park managed trails to the right and the Resort managed trails to the left. Before starting you full ride, take some time to ride left to the top of the ski lifts and enjoy the view.
This starting point is not well marked. The trail passes through on open grassy field, right of the building pad, and continues to the woods line where there is a small abrupt drop. The short section extending through the woods to Three Springs Trail is rocky.
The route turns right on double track. Don’t gain too much speed that you miss the quick turn onto Lookout Loop. Lookout is a gradually downhill single track with a few projecting rocks and close trees to be alert for. You pass through one four-way intersection before reaching the Pavia overlook. Take a moment to enjoy the view. Leaving the overlook begins a flat to slightly uphill stretch before hitting the uphill rock garden. It’s a short walk to the top if you don’t make it. A garden of flat rocks at the top leads you to the Y intersection where you will take the right for the Connector back to Three Springs. This starts with a series of large boulders stepping down the hill and continues with clusters of smaller rock challenges before dropping abruptly onto the gravel surfaced Three Springs Trail.
Three Springs is a steeper downhill doubletrack where you can pick up a lot of speed. Be alert for ruts and fallen branches. The trail makes a sharp right off the gravel road onto a flatter grassy doubletrack with impressive views of Queen on your left. Watch for another sharp right onto Mountain View Connector.
Mountain View Connector is a gradual downhill singletrack skirting the hillside. This trail is nicknamed “Clickety Clack” for the sounds that the rocks make as ride and is mislabeled as Rock N Ridge on the official Park map. This is a fun boney trail that features some impressive rock work on the “Hat Rim” turn. This trail ends at a crossing of a paved entrance road to Group Camp #1. Be alert for traffic.
Crossing the road diagonally, the trail merges into doubletrack Sawmill Trail, which continues a slight downhill to Forest Road. The mapped/described route continues straight across Forest Road becoming Chappells Fields Trail in the counter-clockwise direction. Although not mapped, this location provides an opportunity to modify route choices. Turning left just before the road on Chappells Fields Trail (clockwise) will take you on a shorter route to intersect with Crist Ridge, described further below (Alt 1). Or you can turn right on Forest Road, following it Uphill to pick up the more technical Lost Turkey Trail on the left, just beyond the Ski Access Road Y (Alt 2). Staying on the mapped route takes you on the gentle dirt surfaced doubletrack of Chappells Fields down to the park campground. Just before entering the campground, take the singletrack Campground Bypass to the right.
The Campground Bypass starts as a short stub connecting over to the Lost Turkey Trail, where Alt 2 reconnects. It turns left with Lost Turkey until Lost Turkey splits off to the right. Don’t make that turn. The Bypass continues to loop around the lower side of the campground curving to the left before reconnecting with Chappells Fields. Take that to the right for a grassy doubletrack that drops out onto Forest Road. Cross Forest and continue on Chappells for 0.15 mile, watching Crist Ridge dropping to the right. This is where Alt 1 rejoins the route if you took the shortcut.
Following Crist Ridge, the next two miles are a fast and furious ride down the mountain with occasional rocks to be alert for. After one mile you will cross Forest Road then after the second mile cross it again. The first crossing is not visible much in advance, so be prepared to stop to avoid dropping out into traffic. The bottom of the trail offers several switchbacks, the first of which is steeply banked.
Go straight across the road to get on Rock N Ridge Trail. Stay left the first intersection and ride until you drop onto doubletrack. Make a sharp left and cross a bridge into Mowry Hollow, where your other vehicles are parked.
Local Trail AssociationLaurel Highlands On & Off Road Bicycling Association (www.lhorba.org)
Trails in Route
More Stats for LHORBA BKSP Intermediate - 10 Mile Downhill mountain bike route
Altitude change-1,452 ft
Altitude min1,591 ft
Altitude start3,113 ft
Altitude end1,660 ft
Distance climb1 mile
Distance down7 miles
Distance flat2,631 ft
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- Freeze/thaw Cycle
- Prevalent Mud
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Recent Trail Reports Along Route
Jul 19, 2020 @ 4:04amJul 19, 2020
Jul 19, 2020 @ 4:04amJul 19, 2020
Jun 11, 2019 @ 2:51pmJun 11, 2019
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