French Creek State Park is one of the top mountain bike destinations in Southeast PA. The 20 miles of forested mountain biking trails feature climbs, descents and rock gardens (LOTS of rock gardens). If you are novice to intermediate you may end up walking your bike on some of the uphills, but it is still well worth the trip. If you are having trouble with some of the more difficult sections, get a map and try plan loops that use roads to go uphill and trails to go down. Also, be aware that rain may make the rock gardens especially frustrating if you are not accustomed to technical riding. If you’re looking to test your technical riding skills, I highly suggest making the trip to French Creek.
What Makes It Great
French Creek is the classic rocky single track that mountain bikers dream about. These trails have been mountain bike friendly for a long time, so expect worn in, established well-marked trails. Even though words like rocky and technical are being thrown around, full suspension bikes are not a necessity. Locals can often be spotted riding single speed hard tails around the park. The biggest benefit of riding such popular trails is the immense number of line options through technical areas allowing you to find an easier line or follow the popular one.
This trail system is not only fun to ride but it’s very sustainable. The rocky features don’t just make it fun to ride, they also help the park drain very well. If you really must squeeze in your ride and the weather shows rain or snow, please use discretion, but know this park will be the least damaged. Traits like this make it a popular destination year round for riders.
Who is Going to Love It
Confidence is key when leaving the parking lot for the trails. French Creek is best recommended for Intermediate to Advanced riders. Know your ability, but don’t be intimidated by the description, give it a go. If you are a novice rider, find more experienced riders to ride with here that can point out lines and help with technique, and it can become a great place to grow as a rider. This is a popular outdoor destination expect to see hikers as well as other mountain bikers. In the warmer months at prime time it is not uncommon to see groups of riders all day departing for the woods. In the fall know that hunting is permitted and these areas are near the trails, so it can be a good idea to wear bright clothing or an orange vest.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are many different parking opportunities for trail access. The most popular mountain bike parking lot is at the corner of Shed Rd and RT 345. All trails are similar in feel, so use the parking lot trail map, and if it is listed as mountain bike, ride it. The most common way to start a ride is by crossing 345 and heading toward the camp ground.
No fees at this time.
In the fall know that hunting is permitted and these areas are near the trails, so it can be a good idea to wear bright clothing or an orange vest.