Small Amount of Time...Large Amount of Fun.
The first thing that you should know about mountain biking at Michaux State Forest is that the place is big. I mean really big. It really isn't a place you should go to on your own without knowing exactly what you want to ride. Two days ago, I took a new friend, Matt, to Michaux and introduced him to what the park has to offer. He was very insistent that his friend Josh come and ride Michaux. I met Matt and Josh this afternoon in Pine Grove Furnace State Park at the Furnace Stack pavilion. This has always been my favorite place to begin a ride. Not because of the nice bathrooms or the picnic areas, or the historical iron furnace stack....but because it is at the lowest point.
|Parking at the old iron furnace stack in Pine Grove Furnace. 2009.|
No matter where I ride that day I will end up with a nice downward slope to end the ride. Because Matt had only 2 hours to ride today, we had to determine what part of the park was he definitely wanted to see and then figure out a way to hit those parts in the most efficient way. Matt decided that he definitely wanted to check out the massive rock garden on top of Benderville Road that I told him about the other day and he wanted to ride the huge rocks that run next to Woodrow Road. To do this we had to access a lot of fire road, ATV trail, and highway...which made this ride significantly different than the ride we did together on Tuesday with Tim.
Riding the Rock Garden on top of the Easy Button
We affectionately refer to the ATV trail that takes us to the top of Piney Ridge as "The Easy Button." You access it from Benderville Road. Pass the campgrounds and look for a yellow gate at a spot in the road where it makes a hard left. Keep going straight up the trail for a little over a mile. You
|Picture taken in 2010. This 2010 Stumpjumper was the last 26" and last full suspension bike I owned and the last one I will ever own.|
know you are getting close to the rock garden when you pass the Cumberland/Adams County line. Once past the county line you should begin to look for two trails on the left. You want to take the
|The second and unmarked trail is the entrance to the Rock Garden on top of the Easy Button. Note...if you reach the yellow gate on top of the Easy Button you have gone too far!|
unmarked second trail. This is the rock garden. Get ready for exactly one mile of continuous rocks. Every part of the trail can be ridden. Just choose your lines carefully and keep your momentum up!
|Dave Raymond & Tim Sindlinger on the Rock Garden 2009|
|Today's Ride 8-6-15...David Raymond coming out of the Rock Garden.|
Coming out of the Rock Garden you want to take a left and head down the back side of the Easy Button. Hold on and get ready for a mile and a half of pure downhill fun! Take the road all the way to the connector trail that leads down to state route 233.
Big Boulders, Big Fun
The second part of Michaux that Matt & Josh wanted to check out was the big boulder section on the south side of Woodrow Road. In order to get there we skipped a lot of fun single track that I would normally ride and took a lot of access trail. The Big Boulder, Big Fun section is amazing. Yes, like
|Large rocks to the right of the trail entering Big Boulders, Big Fun.|
everything else at Michaux, there is work to do before you get to the fun stuff. There is a brief section of stream crossings and slippery rocks...but once you are at the top get ready to ride. The first section of the trail is twisty and turny and full of rocks the size of my pick up truck. Most are
|David Raymond riding Big Rocks, Big Fun at Michaux--2015|
rideable, but some, without a down hill bike, are not. Use caution. After the big rock section you will enter a sea of green ferns and pines. It is amazingly beautiful.
|Mark Lentz riding through the ferns--2015|
|Matt Linnane riding through the pines--2015|
Because of our time frame we were forced to head straight to state route 233 and take the road back to the furnace stack at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. All this in less than two hours. Not a bad day in Michaux. As for the ice cream....that is in my freezer at home.
Life is a journey, not a destination.
David A. Raymond//August 6, 2015