After a great weekend of biking through the PA Grand Canyon, shopping and lunch on Pittsburgh’s South Shore, staying at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, and Beethoven’s 9th symphony which was followed by fireworks, we finished up our Pittsburgh trip with the Arts Festival and a Pirates game. I then decided to squeeze one more item into the itinerary. I heard someone say there was a trail system in PA that was better than the Kingdom Trails. Would I agree? Read on to find out.
So I got up at 4:30am on Monday morning and headed down to the Allegrippis Trails. It turns out my parents house is only about an hour away so this will become a regular trip on my visits. After eating breakfast I hit the trails at 6:30am. Right away I knew I was in for a treat since even the beginner trails were a blast. All these trails were machine made and it shows. They were perfectly smooth with a near constant barrage of beautifully formed whoops and turns. The rain the previous day had made many of the turns a little slick but it was still super fast. I was averaging over 12mph on rolling twisty terrain (for comparison I consider an average of 8mph around here pretty fast). I then made my way out to a difficult rated trail called Ray’s revenge. This trail was also super smooth and full of whoops but the higher difficulty rating meant that it was faster with bigger whoops and more elevation change. I then made my way down Sidewinder (a fun trail but not as good as KT’s Sidewinder). Then I took the intermediate rated trail Osprey. This trail had one of the few sharp banked turns I encountered. The first was on Sidewinder which I took slow because it was all gravel. This one looked better so I decided to carve it. I leaned in and almost immediately I lost grip and went down. Sliding out a turn usually isn’t a big deal since I’m not that far off the ground or going too fast but with this packed gravelly trail it was like falling on a cheese grater. I only slid a few feet but it was enough to chew me up pretty good. I happened to be taking helmet cam footage so I immediately turned it off while I writhed in pain and picked the gravel out of my leg. After a minute or so I got up and continued on. I stopped at the bench at Hydro Loop and rinsed my leg off. Then I realized that I was alone out here. So I took it easy from there on. I did the Hydro Loop, then Eagle Trail, Sleek Dog and back up Doe trail to the parking lot. I was hoping to do the other loops on the other side of the parking area but I had already done over 20 miles and was a bit tired and running out of time (I still had to drive 9 hours back to MA).
OK, now for the comparison to KT. These trails are fantastic. They are smoother, faster, and (I didn’t think it was possible) have better flow than KT. And it doesn’t let up. Every bit of them is super fun. They mostly follow the contour lines so they feel like they are downhill both ways (except for the long climb up Eagle and Sleek Dog). This allows you to do a loop and turn around and do the same loop backwards and it would be equally fun. The whoops are a blast and most are pretty much perfectly shaped. These trails are a model of trail building.
Now for the downsides. The first thing I will say is that because the trails don’t have a dominant direction I could see some issues on a busy day. Then there is the issue of only being 25 miles. I did my 20 mile loop in two hours. I guess that is bound to happen with fast trails. But like I said you could do the same loop in opposite direction so I guess that isn’t really an issue. The last issue was a lack of scenery. The woods were just boring PA woods with a few very obstructed views of the lake where KT has beautiful vistas everywhere and classic New England woods full of pines and moss.
So my final verdict is close but I’d have to give the edge to KT. Besides having over twice as many miles and a better scene, KT just feels more epic. But these trails are consistently fun and very different so it’s a tough call. Would I drive 8 hours just to ride there? Maybe. 3 hours? Definitely. Since my parents house is only an hour away it’s a no brainer. If these trails were within 30 minutes from my house I would ride them a few times a week. Bottom line, the Allegrippis Trails are a must do.
Now we just have to get IMBA to make a trail network like this in New England! Heck I'd be happy with a 3 mile loop like this.