Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Biking the Lehigh Gorge Rail-Trail



The 26-mile Lehigh Gorge Rail-Trail is a popular rail trail that winds along the Lehigh River between White Haven and Jim Thorpe, PA. A good portion of the trail brings you through the Lehigh Gorge State Park and is notable for its gorgeous mountain and river scenery as well as the numerous tumbling waterfalls. The trail is covered with a fine crushed gravel, making for easy riding.



Originally developed as a railroad corridor after an extension of the Lehigh Canal was first built under the great push of Main Line of Public Works to connect the Delaware Valley to Pittsburgh.



We spent about three hours on a 15-mile downhill biking daytrip, thanks to a shuttle by Pocono Biking to Rockport. We rode along the slight downhill grade of an abandoned railroad bed and followed the river. 



Along the trail are several picnic tables and benches for when you need to take a break or enjoy a picnic. 



As we pedaled by, we passed by some ruined locks of the former Lehigh Canal.



Dating to 1837, the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company and its subsidiary Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad (LH&S RR) worked to tame the rough terrains of the gorge, initially for a northward extension of the Lehigh Canal. 



Eventually the company created a railroad graded through passing the twists of the gorge after floods in the later-1840s wiped out the northward extension of the much older (lower) Lehigh Canal, extending down to the industries of Allentown and Philadelphia. 



Parts of the trail are rights of ways of the competing Lehigh Valley Railroad (LVRR), incorporated in the 1870s to bust the monopoly the LH&S had over transit between the Delaware Valley and Wilkes-Barre.



Know before you go: Leave yourself some time, either before or after your ride, to check out Jim Thorpe. There are some quaint boutiques and antiques stores in town. A Earth Day Festival was taking place the day we were there.



Getting there: Pocono Biking offers bike rentals and a shuttle, so you can pedal down hill and not back up (which is about my speed, to be honest...). They offer 15-mile and 25-mile shuttles. Pocono Biking is located at 7 Hazard Sq.Jim Thorpe, PA 18229.



However, the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail can be accessed at three major points:


White Haven: 201 Main St, White Haven, PA 18661
Rockport: Route 4014, Rockport, PA 18255

Glen Onoko: Follow US 209 south to Jim Thorpe, then take PA 903 north across the river. At the stop sign, continue straight-leaving PA 903 which bears to the right. Turn left at the entrance to the park



Hours: For shuttle times, please check out Pocono Biking's website. The trail is otherwise open during daylight hours.



Website: Pocono Biking -- https://poconobiking.com/
Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor -- https://delawareandlehigh.org




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