Bike the Switchback Trail around Mauch Chunk Lake Park

Rate this Adventure Switchback Railroad Trail

Enjoy a well kept trail to Mauch Chunk Lake and a beautiful overlook of Pennsylvania. Then be challenged by an exhilarating rocky descent back to town.

The trail entrance can be found by going up Broadway and taking Hill Road to the right at the Opera House. At the top of Hill Road will be the entrance to the trail; there is a nice little wooden sign so you don't miss it. This trail can be hiked or biked; we chose to do some mountain biking.

The beginning of the trail is for beginners. The trail is pretty well groomed and it follows next to a stream. Along the first half of the trail, you will actually have to cross one small road, but the trail on the other side is well marked and you shouldn't miss it. Then you will follow the trail through what seems to be a backyard, but that will lead you to Mauch Chunk Lake. Here you can stop for a little snack or picnic. Then you will need to ride the shoulder of another small road for a minute and then enter back onto the trail; again it is marked. Keep riding until you get to a stone wall on both sides, this is where you make the sharp right turn to head back.

Along the switchback, there is a small cliff section where you will actually have to dismount your bike and walk across the ledge that has enough space for one person at a time. It is not too difficult, just watch your footing! Past this and you will eventually come to an overlook of Jim Thorpe on the right. A little farther and you will see a Y break in front of you. Go to the left for a little and climb up a rock to get to the overlook of Pennsylvania.

Once you've had your fill of the view, go back to the Y and take the right side back. This is where the downhill mountain biking becomes a little more challenging. It is a rocky path that may test your ability. But make it down safely and you will exit on North Ave. Make a left onto North Ave and then a right onto Pine Ave. Take a left onto Center Ave and follow this well deserved steep downhill back into the center of town.

If your butt isn't hurting too much, adventure down Broadway to see one of the "Top 10 Great Streets" of 2013.

Pack List

  • Mountain Bike (if you don't have one there are plenty of rental shops downtown like this one)
  • Helmet
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Comfortable Shoes
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RT Distance 11 Miles
Activities Chillin, Fishing, Photography, Mountain Biking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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