Midweek Escape to the Redbank Valley Trail

I had Wednesday off from work, so I headed up to ride the Redbank Valley Trail. I decided to park at the northern end of the Armstrong Trail in East Brady, PA and ride the 5 miles down the Allegheny River to where it meets the Redbank Creek and where the Redbank Valley Trail begins.

A nice place to stop and listen.

Blue skies one way...

Remains of the old railroad bridge.

...grey skies the other way.

Old Phillipston train turntable

Waterfall on the Armstrong Trail

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by."

After a short 5-mile ride down the Armstrong Trail I swung a left and headed up the Redbank Valley Trail. 

Overcast on the Redbank 

The Redbank Valley Trail is improved with crushed limestone from Mile 0 at the Allegheny River to Mile 6 at Lawsonham. This section of the trail was a little bumpy but overall in great condition, this portion of finished trail is fairly new. Even in 2015 only the first 3 or so miles had crushed limestone. I can imagine that this section will get smoother over the next few months, and I wouldn't be surprised if this section is improved with crushed limestone by the end of this 2016. 

After Lawsonham the trail becomes considerably more rough; the trail here is a sort of a compacted dirt and ballast road. This section used to be a lot worse but at some point last year, miles 6 - 11.4 were rolled/flattened. This was a big improvement to the surface, as I actually had forgotten this section of trail wasn't completely finished. Most of this trail is very remote - I wouldn't recommend exploring this part of the trail with anything less than a 35c tire. A mountain bike or hybrid would more preferable. Still, you'll need to pay close attention to where your wheels are going and be on the lookout for large/sharp rocks.  

Unfinished trail surface between miles 6 - 11.4

To the left is the undeveloped Sligo Branch of the trail, currently overgrown and mostly loose ballast. I've only explored maybe 1 mile of this 9-mile trail, but went completed I think it's going to be something really special.

Just one of many of Redbank's astonishing panoramas.

Long Point Tunnel

At mile 11.4 the trail once again becomes smooth crushed limestone all the way to New Bethlehem and beyond.

Mile 11.4

St. Charles brick factory

Climax Tunnel (CLOSED)

DO NOT ENTER

Coke ovens near New Bethlehem

As I said, the much of this trail is pretty far-removed from civilization. There are only a few places where you have to cross a road, and even fewer places that there is evidence of human habitation. I've heard reports of bears on this trail, and I this feeling the entire ride that I might encounter one. As it turns out, I didn't see a bear on the trail but i did see the trail on a bear!

New Bethlehem was my 25th mile, so I turned around here at this painted bear. The sky became was becoming very overcast on my way back to East Brady, so I tried to hurry back before it rained.

It did start raining a few miles from my car, but I only got moderately wet. Since it was so close, I decided to take a short drive up to the Brady's Bend overlook. 

Brady's Bend, PA