Located west of Gettysburg, home of the bloodiest battle fought on U.S. soil (July 1-3, 1863), Michaux State Forest (pronounced Mee-shoh) consists of more than 85,500 acres throughout Adam, Cumberland and Franklin counties.
I discovered this area back in 2011 when Klim launched its then-new Explorer adventure jacket and pants, Adventure motorcycle apparel I still use to this day that has well over 100K miles on it.
Some of the gravel fire roads, such as Rattlesnake Road, which is nearest the Maryland border, climbs to 4500 feet above sea level, providing gorgeous overlooks of the counties below. You can easily piece together 100 miles of riding for a day. And for the more adventurous rider, 35 miles of ATV trails run throughout the forests that will more than challenge skillset–especially on a larger adventure tourer such as the iconic R 1200 GS.
Named after the 18th Century French botanist Andre Michaux, and home to the first forestry school Mont Alto, Michaux Forest has campsites throughout, which are a first-come, first-serve basis. The deeper, and steeper, you get, the more secluded the riding becomes. There was never an issue with finding camp sites throughout Michaux State Forest, which features a mixture of various oak, maple, black birch, hickory, pine, tuliptree and blackgum trees.
Two highlights during the rides are Long Pine Reservoir and Laurel Lake. Just keep an eye out for hikers; 37 miles of the Appalachian trail snakes through Michaux State Forest. For additional information, here’s a Michaux State Forest map
Bald Eagle State Forest
The ADV riding in and around Bald Eagle State Forest has been a favorite of mine for nearly a decade.
When scouting for its east coast rally location, Touratech-USA also realized the off-road riding opportunities at Bald Eagle State Forest. This area will once again be part of the Touratech Rally East, which occurs for the third-straight year this August 17-20.
Named for the famous Native American, Chief Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle State Forest is spread across nearly 194,000 acres in Snyder, Union, Centre, Mifflin and Clinton counties west of State College, home of Penn State University.
Much of the land from the Susquehanna Valley to the southeast of the Allegheny Mountains was owned by Revolutionary War soldiers who were given land grants. These grants were later purchased by the major logging and lumbering companies in the late 1880s and 1890s, which helped create the foundation of the unpaved roads throughout the area.
About 340 miles of roads exist throughout Bald Eagle State Forest, with a bulk of them unpaved and reaching as high as 2,300 feet above sea level. There are loads of dual-sport motorcycle trails, and some require expert-level ability due to sharp rocks and giant mudholes. Three that impress over and over are the trails running through the Seven Mountains Region, over Shade Mountain, and near Poe Paddy State Park.
For additional information, here’s a Bald Eagle State Park map