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.
After a short 5-mile ride down the Armstrong Trail I swung a left and headed up the Redbank Valley Trail.
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.
At mile 11.4 the trail once again becomes smooth crushed limestone all the way to New Bethlehem and beyond.
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.