Cycling in Cumberland Valley
Cumberland Valley's scenic hiking and biking trails and charming downtowns welcome cyclists to explore all the Valley has to offer. Whether you've been biking for years or just starting out, there are tons of places to hit the road. See why this area was voted the 5th best place for walking and biking by Money Magazine.
A great place for beginners is the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail. This scenic, 11-mile, trail follows an abandoned railroad track from Newville to Shippensburg. The flat surface will allow you to get used to your bike. This designated National Recreation Trail is great for wildlife and history enthusiasts as well. Interpretive signage details the agricultural and Civil War significance of the area, while the farmland allows for gazing at rolling hills and wildlife.
Located in downtown Carlisle, the 2-mile tranquil LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail runs alongside LeTort Spring Run through a mixture of deciduous trees and lowland marshes. This easy crushed-stone path allows you to get out of the bustling downtown without having to drive far.
Another great spot to test out your skills is the 2-mile Cumberland County Biker/Hiker Trail. This trail winds through Pine Grove Furnace State Park past the lakeside beaches of Fuller and Laurel Lake. The trail follows the route of the South Mountain Railroad that operated in the late 1860s and transported materials to the Iron Furnace at Pine Grove. Bike rentals are available at Laurel Lake's seasonal concession stand. The trail can be accessed from Laurel and Fuller Lakes.
Picturesque biking trails can also be found at The Valley's other two state parks, Colonel Denning and Kings Gap, along with Michaux and Tuscarora State Forests. Click the links to view maps that include multi-use trails and joint use roads for mountain biking in these locations.
For a scenic combination of rural beauty and quaint downtowns try the loop that leads from Carlisle to Boiling Springs and Mount Holly Springs. This 38.9 mile loop includes mostly rolling backroads but also takes you through the picturesque towns of Boiling Springs and Mt. Holly.
If you're looking for a more urban setting, try biking around Carlisle. This bike-friendly downtown offers special lanes and signage for cyclists. Enjoy a day shopping and dining while exploring this historic town on your bike. Stop in the Cumberland County Historical Society for an in-depth look at the stories of Cumberland County. Then explore these historical locations like Dickinson College, the Old Prison, the Old Courthouse, the Molly Pitcher statue and more by bike. Download the Carlisle Bicycle & Pedestrian to get started.
After biking around downtown, visit the Army Heritage Trail at the nearby US Army Heritage & Education Center. This one-mile loop, perfect for a leisurely bike ride, features full-scale military exhibits including a section of the Antietam battlefield, a Civil War winter encampment, a WWI trench system, an interpretation of the Vietnam helicopter air assault at Ia Drang and more.
Another fun urban ride starts on the West Shore and leads you over the bridge to City Island and then continues down Front Street in Harrisburg. Views along this route include Harrisburg skylines and the sparkling Susquehanna River. Susquehanna Outfitters, located on City Island, offers bike rentals for those who don't have their own.
Cumberland Valley is home to a variety of other biking routes that lead you through the communities of Boiling Springs, Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, New Cumberland, Lemoyne, Harrisburg, Newville and Shippensburg. View all the different routes winding through these bike-friendly towns, picturesque back roads, rolling hills and more. Pick your favorite or try them all to find your new route, each includes the distance, elevation, cue sheets and maps.
Below are a few suggested safety tips to keep you and others safe while biking.
- Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet
- Adjust your bicycle to fit
- Check your equipment before every ride
- Wear bright colors to be visible
- Go with the flow of traffic
- Obey all traffic laws and yield to traffic when appropriate
- Look before turning
- Stay alert at all times
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