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To McKee Street trailhead: From I-80 west, take exit 161, turn left and follow US-220 South 11 miles toward Bellefonte. Take exit 74 toward Penn State University on E Park Ave. At 2.3 miles turn right at McKee Street. At the end of McKee Street (about seven blocks) are Sunset Park (with parking and restroom facilities) on the left and McKee Street/Clinton Avenue Bike Path straight ahead. Follow the bike path downhill less than a quarter mile to the flat where the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail begins.
I rode the trail on my bike for the 1st time today. I started from the Toftrees Avenue intersection, riding west towards Montauk Circle. After leaving the Toftrees Golf Course land, the trail was mixed stone and dirt. After about a 1/2 mile the trail narrowed to one person or bike wide and after another 1/2 mile it narrowed even further from the sides and above to the point where I was almost constantly clipped by limbs on the sides and above, riding way bent over. At Montauk Circle I turned around and rode back.
About a mile after leaving the golf course, heading in to town not only did the trail widen to a good 6-8 feet it shortly became an ultra pleasant crushed stone trail that then entered the Penn State Arboretum grounds. And parts of the trail were then paved as I approached the end at Sunset View Park.
Both parts of the trail were great to experience, they were just two different experiences. Thankfully I was riding a hybrid that handled both trail types well.
Nice parking at Sunset Park off McKee St. Total trail approx 4miles good for a Mt. bike or a nice hike.
I was visiting State College for an overnight with little time to get in a hike. I found this trail which starts very close to downtown. There were side trails that I explored that took me through wooded areas with small rock bluffs that added to the beauty. I explored approximately the 2 southern most miles of the Bellefonte Central Trail and it doesn't provide great views and a lot of the trail is in close proximity to an interstate highway with the accompanying noise. That being said, it's nice to find a trail so convenient to town.
Just to clarify, the distance of this trail is 4.2 miles from McKee St to Montauk Circle, not 1.3 as listed. I was visiting from out of town and was happily surprised that it was longer than listed here. I rode the entire length and enjoyed it quite a bit.
I use this trail very often to bike commute between my house in Port Matilda and State College. I ride the whole existing length from the McKee Street/Clinton Avenue Bike Path to Montauk Circle, which includes both the improved and unimproved sections.
The improved section from the McKee Street/Clinton Avenue Bike Path to the Toftrees property just beyond the I-99 overpass is very nice, generally well-maintained, and easy riding on a smooth, even surface (I currently commute on a road-touring bike with 35c tires). This section, however is just over a mile long and not very useful for getting anywhere by itself.
The remainder of the existing trail is unimproved and mostly unmaintained. The surface is rocky and rough in many spots to the point where if it were any rougher, it would be unsuitable for my touring bike. The trail is perfectly fine for a wider-tired bike for its entire length. Through the unimproved section, there are a few muddy spots with poor drainage, and there are a few spots that get washed out pretty badly in heavy rain. The at-grade crossing of Toftrees Ave. can be a pain, especially at rush-hour. Currently (12-12-2012) there is construction going on above the trail near Toftrees, and construction vehicles have been using the trail, so it is rougher and muddier than usual.
Hopefully improvement and extension of this trail continues in the future, as even a small amount of improvement would have tremendous benefit for a large number of potential commuters.
I rode this trail last week (Sun., Aug. 3, 2008). From the entrance on Cricklewood Drive near Waddle Road, the trail has been filled with large jagged stones that make for deep, rough going on that downhill slope (not to mention having to walk back up). There's also a patch of sand further along but by keeping far to the right it's easy to negotiate. Once the trail picks up on the old railbed, it's cinders and smooth sailing. At the end of the rail trail is a T; going left takes you to Sunset Park (up a steep hill) where I did not go yet. Going right brings you to the bottom of Curtin Street, another steep hill.
"Your help is needed! Please assist with the effort to maintain our local rail-trail!
From www.arboretum.psu.edu/planning/rail.html: The United Way Day of Caring in October 2001 helped launch a successful effort to establish the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail. With funding now secured and a design nearly finalized, the 1.3 mile trail is on schedule for construction in the summer of 2004.
Those who have visited the trail recently know that the weeds have taken full advantage of the area's rainy spring and summer. The result is that the trail is virtually blocked.
With the help of United Way Day of Caring volunteers, the Centre Rails-to-Trails Association plans to reclaim the trail so that the design and construction can be completed on schedule next season.
The 2003 Day of Caring will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2003, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. To volunteer to clear the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail, contact the Day of Caring Office at (814) 238-2941, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org."
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