This route is brought to you by Molly Cobbs, one of our 2022 Route Ambassadors and gravel enthusiast from Sharpsburg, MD
Photo Credits: Molly Cobbs
Pennsylvania's 85,000 acre Michaux State Forest is a gravel riding gem!
You can expect very low car traffic on this remote route.
Expect long steady climbs, flowy downhills, and beautiful two-track jeep roads. (The initial climb up Rattlesnake Run is a tough "warm-up," but the ferns and babbling brook paralleling the road are a lovely distraction!)
Have fun noting how the temperature and light changes as you pass through different forest cover types.
Once you leave the parking lot, there are no amenities on this route. Plan to be completely self-sufficient and note that cell service is unreliable on much of the route.
Do this ride if you're looking for a feeling of solitude in a beautiful state forest and don't mind a few sustained climbs.
Park at the Old Forge Picnic Grounds, just past Camp Penn.
There is a vault toilet and picnic shelter at the start/parking location. There are water fountains here too, but keep in mind that they are regularly turned off; so do NOT count on them for water availability.
This route is best for spring, summer, and fall. (Winter shade can keep ice lingering in corners and low spots.)
Michaux State Forest (and neighboring Pennsylvania State Parks) has dozens of miles of forest, logging, and administrative roads plus mountain biking trails that create endless gravel biking opportunities besides just this route.
Be mindful of hunting seasons. Some sections of this route are closed to motorized vehicles much of the year; however, segments may be open to seasonal hunting traffic. Check signs and placards at gates and kiosks.
Molly grew up in central Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and started mountain biking in high school. In college, she fell in love with endurance sports, outdoor adventure, and the American west. Ultimately, a lifestyle of adventure and endurance pursuits defined her 15+ years of living all over the west and in Alaska.
In 2018, Molly moved back east to be closer to her family and her roots. Exploring mid-Atlantic gravel has been essential to cultivating her “sense of place” on the East Coast and rekindling the adventurous spirit of her wild western days.
Her coolest adventure?
An 8-day ski traverse of Denali National Park supported by dogsled team.
Her proudest accomplishment?
Finishing the Coeur d’Alene Ironman (her first Ironman) in well under 14 hours.
Her next goal?
Finishing strong at the 2022 Gravel Race up Spruce Knob in West Virginia.
Her day job?
U.S. Forest Service - Molly has worked in Federal land management for more than 20 years.
Ice cream, puppies, naps, and funky “free!” finds on the side of the road.