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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Roaring Run Apollo


Roaring run is a great place to ride. There are at least 15 miles of trail in the Roaring Run area with a ton of fantastic single track. The trails run along side the steep and rocky slopes of the Kiskiminetas River and offers a challenging as well as scenic ride. Zig Zag Trail the start of the Blue loop is one of those trails and offers miles of technical and challenging terrain.

This trail is not for the faint of heart; Roaring Run features one of the most rugged single track loop in the region only rivaled by the mountain bike trails at Moraine. The loop trail at Roaring Run does not let up. It's an unrelenting eight mile mountain bike slug fest.

When I say technical I'm not talking about five foot drops or ultra steep slopes; ! though there are a few cliffs along the trail !The best way to describe RR's technical nature, is just rugged. Tough sections of trail that require good bike handling skill coupled with strength and endurance. Lot's of interesting features to steer your bike up over and through; Roaring run is my favorite trail system in the area.

Roaring Run Apollo should not be confused with Roaring Run in Champion Pennsylvania near 7 Springs. Roaring Run in Champion is a protected watershed and designated wilderness area and is closed to Mountain Biking.

Roaring Run Park is managed and owned by the Roaring Run Watershed Association. A non profit group that oversees the park.

Getting There
Roaring Run is along the Kiski River about two miles outside of the downtown area of Apollo. If you are coming in via route 66 North, cross the bridge into Apollo make the first right onto Astronaut Way. If you are coming in the other direction make a left on the last street in town before you cross the Kiski River bridge. After a mile the road will veer left up the hill and become Cherry Lane Road, instead of going up the hill keep right and go along the river merging onto Canal street. Canal street continues for another mile and ends at the Roaring Run parking area.

The Blue Loop
Roaring run has some the most well marked trails in the area so it's easy to come out and find a great ride even if you are not familiar with the park. The most well marked and easiest to find is what's know as the blue loop, as it as well as other trails in the area are demarked with little plastic blue squares and flags.

Getting to the blue loop is easy, follow the rail trail up river for about one mile, cross the bridge over Roaring Run and turn left. The first thing you'll see is a trail off to your right. This is where the blue loop ends; continue past this and you'll find the well marked trail head straight ahead of you. Though it might be compelling to just jump on the trail off to your right and ride the loop backwards, the signs posted recommend riding the loop clockwise the way it was designed.

The ride starts off on Zig Zag trail and starts out climbing a set of switch backs.

After a few miles a climb takes you up to Red Town Road. Across the road is Cave Bear trail. This is marked expert. There is a marked bypass that takes you around this section but I recommend you check this trail out. Even if you walk your bike don't miss this section. The trail weaves between rocks, boulders and along cliffs and is quite scenic. It's a very neat kind of place.

After about 300 yards the bypass trail meets back up with you. Another quarter mile and the trail doubles back and begins a downhill taking you back down to the rail trail. Take extreme care and resist the urge to bomb this section. In places the rocky trail runs only a couple feet from a cliffs edge.

At the bottom of the downhill, take a right on the rail trail and start heading back down towards the parking area. Look for a dirt road entering the trial trail and make a right. Look for a trail on your left. From here on out, in several places the blue loop will join back up with the rail trail and then divert back into the woods.

The Trail Leading to the Loop
If you head straight up the rail trail to the blue loop you'll be passing up a great trail. There is great trail that takes you right up to the blue loop trail head. This trail runs parallel to the left of the rail trail and heads for the blue loop trail up the left of the rail trail.

To find this trail, start up the rail trail and look for a double track service road off to your left. Head up the road for about 200 yards and just as the grade begins to let off a little there will be a trail that cross over the road. Make a right onto this trail. It will take you down a very steep rocky section of trail; it's an intimidating slope, walking down this section is not a bad idea. This trail levels off about half way down and then runs along a bench between the rail trail and top of the river hill ridge.

This trail runs along the rail trail for about a mile until it enters the Roaring Run valley; at this point it turns left and follows the valley contours. It continues up the valley for about a 1/4 mile until it doubles back on itself on a steep down hill. After this it runs beside a paved chipped walking trail that runs down the valley, eventually dumping you out onto it. Continue down the chipped trail a few yards to where it intersects the rail trail. Make a left and cross the bridge over Roaring run to the blue loop.


  1. I agree! What a great trail.

  2. I frequently ride at roaring run in apollo and it never gets old. I manage to find new technical sections that I overlooked the time before.

  3. With the newer trails at Moraine, Roaring Run can't even touch Moraine when it comes to technical trails. Moraine is non-stop rock gardens and Roaring Rock is definitely tame in comparison.

  4. Thanks for the write up, I have never been to RR we always end up at Moraine.... looks like I will be heading there first chance I get

  5. In retrospect I have to agree with Moraine being well beyond the technical level of Roaring Run. Though I would never use Appollo and tame in the same sentence. At the time I wrote this I had only ridden the race loop at Moraine. After the riding the out and back from the parking lot trailhead and the new new stuff. I completely agree with you.

  6. Does RR allow hunting? Just want to know if I need to wear orange on a Saturday ride.

  7. I've encountered hunters out there, so I believe they do.

  8. You think it would be safe for riding out there this Saturday?

    Just looked up the current hunting seasons:

    1. Squirrels - Red, Gray, Black, Fox
    2. Ruffed Grouse (just looked it up, its a bird)
    3. Rabbit (Cottontail...As in Peter)
    4. Pheasant
    5. Bobwhite Quail
    6. Groundhogs
    7. Wild Turkey
    8. Deer (by ways of Archery)
    9. Bobcats
    10. Coyotes, Foxes, Opossums, Skunks, and Weasels
    11. and finally, my favorite, Falconry season!(sounds badass)

    Looks like the only thing I might get confused for out there is a deer, however, I'm quite confident at my ability to catch an arrow with my bare hands . Or, at the very least, judo chop it before it hits me.

  9. As far as the risks, I tried looking up some stats up for you but can't find what I'm looking for. From what I recall in my lifetime there has only been one hunting accident involving a non-hunter. Weigh that against there being over one million hunters in the state and the risks are extremely low, though that hasn't come without some effort. Part of the reason for the rarity is people do take precautions. Wearing some fluorescent orange is a good idea. Hunters would greatly appreciate it. I know, if I were hunting I would. During turkey season I would definitely find some orange if you couldn't avoid wearing turkey colors: black, blue, or red.

  10. Thanks for the feedback. Definitly wearing orange and maybe some bells.

    Decided to definitely ride on Saturday morning at Roaring Run. Posted the ride on PORC if anyone is ineterested in joing me, otherwise it'll be a solo trip.

  11. *only one hunting accident involving a non-hunter in Pennsylvania

  12. Rode the trails this weekend, and was not up to the challenge. I was on about five different named trails, and all should be marked as "experts only". Did I miss any intermediates; if so, I'd like to try them. BTW, why are all trails blazed blue?


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