New Gravel Loop Offers 400+ Miles to Explore

 

Two cyclists ride over a bridge over the Loyalsock Creek
Loyalsock Creek, Sullivan County, PA. Photo by Cain Chamberlin.

 

 

With our quiet backroads and pristine trails, the Endless Mountains have long been gravel riding’s best-kept secret. Now, a new route is putting the region on the map for adventure cyclists.

The Endless Mountains Gravel Bikepacking Loop (EMGBL) encompasses over 400 miles of existing dirt roads and trails to create one epic ride. The route travels through Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties and boasts about 32,000 feet of elevation change. After all, with a name like the Endless Mountains, you know you’re in for some challenging climbs and stunning scenery.

 

A group of cyclists ride down a road in the Loyalsock State Forest
Loyalsock State Forest, Sullivan County, PA.

 

Bikepacking is similar to long-distance backpacking, where cyclists load up their bikes with gear and embark on a multi-day trip. Bikepacking trails have grown popular in the western United States, but loops like the EMGBL are bringing Pennsylvania in the spotlight.

“We have all this great riding here,” said Donna Iannone, an avid local cyclist who came up with the idea for the EMGBL. A resident of Sullivan County, she has cycled all over the world. “We want people to know about it.”

The loop launched in the summer of 2022 and has already gained attention from cyclists throughout the United States and Canada. Not only is it an incredible ride, but it’s also convenient and accessible for East Coast cyclists. In fact, the EMGBL is within a few hours’ drive of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, and other major metro areas.

 

Sights & Stops

 

Cyclists take a break at the Loyalsock Canyon Vista
Loyalsock Canyon Vista, Forksville, PA.

 

There’s no shortage of things to see and do along the way.

“For this ride, we tried to incorporate some of the highlights that we have,” explained Iannone. “I think riding through Worlds End is absolutely gorgeous on Route 154. Plus, up on the mountains and backroads, we have some great vistas.”

Cyclists have the chance to visit some of the area’s top outdoor destinations. Five state parks—Mount Pisgah, Ricketts Glen, Salt Springs, Vosburg Neck, and Worlds End—are located along or near the designated route. The EMGBL also follows part of the popular D&H Rail-Trail, which was named Pennsylvania’s 2021 Trail of the Year.

Beyond the rugged off-road adventures, the EMGBL is also a great way to discover local communities.

“I really want people to go to our historic downtowns,” said Cain Chamberlin, executive director of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region and one of the organizers of the EMGBL. “I think there are so many hidden gems that people who are coming to this area haven’t experienced before.”

 

Two cyclists ride on the D&H Rail-Trail in autumn
D&H Rail-Trail, Susquehanna County, PA.

 

In town, cyclists can kick back and relax at local shops, restaurants, wineries, and breweries. Meanwhile, museums and historic sites capture the area’s rich past. Don’t miss iconic landmarks like the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct in Nicholson or the Starrucca Viaduct near Lanesboro, just to name a few.

A growing bike-friendly business program ensures that cyclists have the support they need for the journey. For example, Dandy Mini Marts offers bike racks and repair stations at their locations in North Towanda, Mehoopany, and Mildred.

At the end of the day, cyclists can rest and recharge at the many hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds along the route. These convenient accommodations make it easy to pedal from town to town.

 

Plan Your Ride

 

The EMGBL logo featuring a cyclist and an outline of the route

 

Get off the beaten path and discover all that the Endless Mountains has to offer on the EMGBL. An interactive map is available online. It includes points of interest, bike-friendly businesses, and other helpful resources.

Downloadable maps are also available on Strava and Ride with GPS.

Looking for a shorter ride? A connector route divides the EMGBL into eastern and western halves, which are just right for a long weekend trip.

Last but not least, stay safe and make sure to follow Pennsylvania bicycle laws. The interactive map shows rural areas where cell phone reception is low, so an emergency alert device or a satellite GPS locator is recommended. Always wear a helmet and bright colors, and stay alert, even on roads that appear to be quiet.

 

The EMGBL is made possible by the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency; Endless Mountains Heritage Region; Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau; Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission; and a dedicated committee of local cyclists, government officials, and outdoor enthusiasts.

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