Mountain bikers are falling for Raystown Lake’s skills par

Riders sharpen their skills at the 2-acre Mountain Bike Skills Park at Raystown Lake.

It’s a blustery day in central Pennsylvania; cold enough that the sky is occasionally spitting what sure looks like snow. But Mitch Moore, an athletic-appearing fellow in his 30s, isn’t about to let the chill air spoil his ride. He’s come here to the Raystown Lake area from Lewistown, Pa., about a 90-minute drive, to try out the Mountain Bike Skills Park, which debuted July 1.

“It’ll definitely help improve my skills,” said Moore when asked about the park. “I’m more of a trail guy than this kind of stuff here, but I came to try it — it’s something different to ride. I’ll hit up the trails after I’m finished here.”

Riders sharpen their skills at the 2-acre Mountain Bike Skills Park at Raystown Lake.

The trails Moore are referring to are the Allegrippis Trails, 36 miles of multi-use stacked-loop trails that opened in 2009 and immediately began drawing mountain bikers from the Mid-Atlantic, Canada, and beyond. (The trails are about a three-hour drive from Washington, D.C.) They’ve been ranked by Men’s Journal magazine as some of the best for mountain biking in the country, which doesn’t surprise Brent Rader.

A passionate member of the local mountain biking community, Rader calls the Allegrippis Trails “a good time. There are trails at different skill levels, so you can build up. It’s an amazing system, atypical for the region. Because they’re machine-cut trails, they’re rolling — most of the trails in the state are rocky and really technical. So it’s really fun to be able to come out here and go fast.”

The 2-acre skills park, which is free to use and sits on public land next door to the largest lake in the Keystone State, helps riders get good enough to “go fast” on the trails. Fun features like berms (corners with banked outer edges) and a “whale tale” (a little bump following a large bump with a jump over it) test abilities in a safe setting. Out on the trails riders who take a tumble could be 10 remote miles from help; the skills park is across from the visitors center and a handy supply of band aids, if need be.

But right now, wiping out seems the furthest thing from Moore’s mind. “I like the flow of the skills park,” he said. “I like the berms, in particular.” As he prepares to ride off down the intermediate track, Moore yelled back over his shoulder, “It’s a good time, for sure.”

Insider tip: The annual Dirt Rag Dirt Fest, with mountain biking demo and expo areas, skills clinics, group rides, live music, beer tasting, and camping will return to Raystown Lake, May 18– 21.


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This year, Huntingdon, Pa., which is a 20-minute drive from the Raystown Mountain Bike Skills Park, turns 250 years old and will mark the occasion with a variety of festive events.

“On Friday, June 9, our town will come together for a traditional hometown parade,” noted Tammy Stuber, one of the organizing committee members. “The next day, Mayor Dee Dee Brown will lead a dedication ceremony at our town monument called the “Standing Stone,” once used in as a meeting place marker for Native Americans. Upon conclusion of the ceremony, the town will open up for a street fair festival including food and craft vendors, historic demonstrations, kids’ activities, and entertainment for all ages.”

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