Stony Valley Railroad Grade Reviews    

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Stony Valley Rail Trail

By earlavro in September, 2013

Loved it. We did a counter-clockwise loop which started on Gold Mine Road, passed through the once-upon-a-time village of Rausch Gap, and finished by coming back on the rail trail. Beautiful surroundings.

Though there was a little more excitement then we needed
when we decided to go see the nearby Boxcar Rocks. Watch out for the PA Game Commission Conservation Officers. On 21 September 2013, I was walking back
with two other hikers from the Boxcar Rocks and we were detained for questioning by a PA DCNR Conservation Officer. The officer blocked the road with his PA state owned vehicle, stepped out of his vehicle blocking our route around the vehicle. When I started to go around him he gave me the impression it would be in my best interest not to. He then preceded to question us on what cars we were driving, whether we were doing anything we should not be doing, whether we had seen anybody else, and what the other people were doing in the area. When he was satisfied, the DCNR officer got back in his vehicle and drove off in search of other people to detain for questioning. I am 58 years old and this is the first time I have been illegally detained for questioning by anyone. I will not be going back to Pennsylvania for any hiking for a long time. Which seeing as I am 58 years old will not be much of a loss for the state of Pennsylvania.

Beware, you have been warned!

great peaceful ride

By rsarnol5544 in August, 2013

I did this ride a few years back from goldmine east to the reservoir and the ride was smooth with great scenery and the view at the reservoir is amazing. I then made the trek west toward dauphin out to Rausch Creek which was a little rougher but not too bad but on my way back to the car I made a detour down to the ruins at Coldspring. I'd like to try the entire trail next time but I also wonder how you can get down to Coldspring without taking the rail bed. I passed tons of cars driving down to coldspring but I have no idea how they got there. If anyone has any advice please let me know, last time I took car out there I was greeted by military personnel. 0__0

better than ever/ for those who don't like crowds

By EricBrenner in July, 2013

Trail surface is absolutely fine for a hybrid these days--big improvements seem to have made recently; did it in a heavy rain yesterday and only problem was mosquito attacks when any kind of a break was contemplated. To turn this into a loop back to Harrisburg makes for a terrific and diverse (and long) day, actually made much easier if not on a mt. bike. But always better than doubling back over 20+ miles.

Deep woods tranquility -- but consider a mountain bike!

By 18wheeler in July, 2013

This is a beautiful wooded rail bed cutting through Appalachian back country. A great opportunity to observe wildlife. However, be prepared -- we learned this is not your 'normal' Rails-To-Trails experience, in that there is very little signage at the trail head, no mile markers, and infrequent trail maintenance.

Traveling west from the trail head, the first mile and a half features packed gravel, good drainage, and width to accommodate three cyclists comfortably. However, this deteriorates to a narrower track, heavier and sometimes loose gravel with stony patches and plenty of branches down on the trail to dodge.

The trail is on Pennsylvania game lands, with hunters in evidence, please be sure to wear bright clothing.

We observed three large long-eared owls (not great horned), deer, and plenty of small game.

We traveled roughly 10 miles in and returned, and met no other cyclists or hikers on a mild summer weekday -- only a lone hunter with bird dogs at the trail head.

osborn2ride

By laretha in May, 2012

I did this trail on Saturday of Memorial Day week end, it was in the med to high 70s and it was sunny on my trip form West to East and partly cloudy on my trip back. There are two things you will not need, Sunglasses and Sun Screen as you run though a thick Forest the entire trip but you will need bug spray. this is a very nice trail that just dose not get much use as I only ran into about ten bikers and about the same amount of hikers on my 42 mile round trip. This is a very remote trail and there is no food, no water or rest rooms from end to end. In the entire length there is only one cross road. I did it on a very old Mt Bike with a Town and Country Tire but you could do it on a Hybrid., I would not do it on a Road Bike. I am not sure that this is a family friendly trail. If I did do a family trip I would do it from the East Trail head and down to Rausch Gap. I will close by saying I had a great ride and would do this again.

Stony Valley Railroad Grade June 19, 2011

By Abdue in June, 2011


Spent the morning riding from End to End - and back. Quiet - guess fathers day kept the crowd down.

Evidence of many trees down (removed) over the past couple of months - Winds from fierce storms this spring.

A couple areas of wash-outs have been repaired.

This trail is a Game Lands Maintenance Road and receives minimal maintenance. Normally they use stone - sometimes large - and no compaction. The smooth surface expected on most Rail-Trails isn't going to be found.

Miles from anywhere - NO CELL PHONE Service.

Take a few minutes to check out the 'food plots', stream, and 'diversion wells'. The drainage from abandoned coal mines is treated in part by the diversion well. This allows acid sensitive trout to survive.

Nice Trail, Bring Your Mountain Bike

By arneson4 in June, 2011

This is a picturesque trail with excellent scenery... but I would not ride it with my hybrid, only my mountain bike. Much of the trail would be hybrid-friendly, but there are enough rough patches to make it a mountain bike-only path in my estimation.

I ride in early June 2011, starting at the parking area on the west of Goldmine Road and then riding four miles west (about half a mile past the Rausch Gap Bridge). Last year (2010), I rode the section to the east of Goldmine Road, also a nice ride -- and, if memory serves, more hybrid-friendly.

I look forward to riding the entire length of the trail this year!

Very wooded trail, bumpy at times

By grandmabiker in September, 2010

The eastern trailhead is easy to find from the south, but is 3, not 4 miles in on Goldmine Rd according to my odometer. Lots of parking is available on the left side if you drive in past the State Gamelands sign. We rode east to the reservoir and back to the trailhead first, which was beautifully wooded, had a stream visible from the trail at times, and a relatively smooth surface. Riding west from the trailhead had more variation in the surface. It started out bumpy with larger gravel around areas where drainage pipes had been installed and then altenated from nice fine grit with a smooth ride to areas with larger stone which were rather bumpy. We got to see some deer, and enjoyed walking through the woods, finding some neat fungi. Will probably do the short stretch to the reservoir again, but don't know if we'll be back for longer rides westward because of the rough surfaces, plus we have many more R2T to check out!

Not for Street Tires!

By omega2324 in July, 2009

I started on the east end of the trail off of Gold Mine Road. The ride is a little rough with slight errosion and a few minor wash outs. The trail path in many areas does not feel like a rail to trail conversion but rather a rough vehicle access road to the State Game Lands. If you have a full suspention mountain bike it is a nice ride. I rode about 2.1 miles up to the Rausch Gap were there was once a mining railroad village. Little remains but nearby there is a cemetary with three grave markers. Lot's of wildlife can be seen on this realatively straight trail. I rode ten miles in and back and did not come across any other humans.

Gamelands Tour will affect trail Oct. 19, 2008.

By Abdue in September, 2008

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., State Game Land 211, which encompasses more than 44,000 acres in a three-county area. The tour will start at the Ellendale gate in Middle Paxton Township, Dauphin County, just northeast of Dauphin Borough. The 19-mile trip will be made along an abandoned railroad bed, and will end at Goldmine Road, southwest of Tower City, Schuylkill County. Game Commission personnel will be on hand to explain various points of interest, including wildlife habitat improvement projects.

Beautiful view of the reservoir - August 7, 2008

By jal052646 in August, 2008

Be sure to explore the portion of the trail east of Gold Mine Road. It's about 3 miles in length, the trail is in good shape, and the scenery is even better than on the main Stony Valley Trail. You can see the awesome, Lebanon County Reservoir on your right as you bike east. Be sure to go down the graveled path to the water's edge to get a glimpse of the small Blue Gills that swim close to shore.

Concerning the Roush Gap bridge, it is now well graded with gravel ramps going up to the bridge so that you can bike over it and down the other side very nicely.

By Jim on August 9, 2008

temp bridge installed

By gordon19 in July, 2008

A temporary bridge has been installed over the bridge at Rousch Gap, which had been damaged. The full length can be used.

bridge out, June 12, 2008, by Gordon Oliver

By gordon19 in June, 2008

The Bridge on the eastern end of the trail at Rousch Gap is closed, the floods have undermined the east base of the arch bridge. The bridge is 4.3 miles west of Gold Mine Rd. I haven't searched for a crossing yet, when I find a way I will post it

beautiful ride

By kbreed11 in October, 2007

trail was in much better shape than we expected from the other reviews that we read. Once leaves turn a little I can picture this being one of the most picturesque places for a fall ride

1 July 07 - Nice Ride - Rough

By Abdue in October, 2007

"Trail is rough. Since it's part of the Game-Lands, I don't think the maintenance is designed to make it a 'bike path'. It's a bone shaker. Nice ride anyway. Good weather, nice shade and long."

Not a rail trail

By cdebrunn in August, 2006

This was a challenging and fun trail. It was very beautiful. It is no longer a rail trail however. It looks like the trail is being maintained by people who are not riders consequently the smooth gravel has been patched and convered with modified stone which is very rough and big rocks which can be dangerous.

This is not a typical rail trail by any means. Don't even think about riding it on a road bike.

Mountain Biking without hills

By in July, 2006

"If you have a mountain bike and want something in between smooth road and rough terrain this is it. Without question this is the roughest rail trail there is. Nice scenery, only problem is your too busy looking down to avoid trees and rocks.

If you're used to typical smooth rail trails pass on this."

Nice ride in the Middle of No Where

By Alex in August, 2005

"I road this trial 8-7-05 from High Bridge to the Daulphin trail head and back. It was my first time on the trail, I parked in the parking lot on the west side of Goldmine roadm plenty of space left. I got on the trail around 12:30 and started on my way. On this half of the trail there are not many people around but once I got towards Daulphin I was passing someone every 10 min.

The only signs of human disturbance on this trail is the trail and the bridges. I heard there is a ghost town off of the trail but I did not venture out.

This was a great was to spend a sunday afternoon. Just make sure to pack a light lunch and take lots of water, you will not cross a road for 20 miles.

I clocked my round trip at 44.7 miles and was ready for the end, took 2:45 hours of ride time also I had a PPJ sandwitch for lunch and zone bars for the trail, and Gatorade in my Camelbak.

Overall great ride nice wide trail. But, if you are not in good shape start on the Lebanon end, it is a slight downhill to Daulphin, where you can have someone pick you up."

When you want to get away

By in October, 2004

"I started at the far west end near Dauphin. Once you ride in a few miles you're pretty much by yourself. At the beginning it's quite rough and bouncy. The rocks can be rather big for a ""finished"" trail. I bled air pressure off to 45 on my hybrid for my 2nd ride on this trail.

Although very enjoyable, I find it rather monotonous after awhile; you're riding through a tunnel of trees the whole time. It beats the hell out of battling cars, though. Leave your sunglasses in the car as it's too dark to use them because of the tree cover.

It's hard to find a more beautiful ride in PA in mid-October."

Spiritual Rejuvenation

By in July, 2004

"This is a great trail complete with solitude and a touch of spookiness. There are lots of remnants of abandoned coal towns. As soon as I entered the trail, I was enveloped by the forest. And there's great trout fishing at Cold Spring. "

Bicycle review

By in August, 2003

"Stony Valley was a nice ride. The day after a moderate rain there were puddles, but you can easily go around them. Also there were some rocks about 1-2 inches high, so keep your eyes open ahead as I almost did a head plant while looking at the creek and did not see a rock. Also, take bug repellant, as many bugs enjoy the trail too.

This trail should definitely be done again and again. "

Great trail

By in May, 2002

Great wild trail. Lots of deer and other wild life.

Fun Ride

By in March, 2002

"I rode this trail on March 9, 2002, from Stoney Creek to ""the ruins."" The trail was in very good shape. There were lots of deer and squirrels. It was a little discncerting when the army from Fort Indiantown Gap began having tank practice within close hearing of the trail. The takeout there was a problem for our car due to poor condition of the road. We had a very nice time."

Stoney Creek [Positive Review]

By in June, 2001

" If you're a rail/trail rider you'll like Stoney Creek. I usually go from Lebanon toward Dauphin. I would recommend this. My only negative comment would be that there are a few short segments of the trail that are deeply rutted, and there is a short section (close to the Dauphin end...) that is composed of obnoxiously large pebbles. However, it is completely shaded and wild life sitings are frequent. (I saw two black bears the last time I was there...) Nice long trail, gentle grade, good experience...give it a try."