Meandering through the mountains that once were the heart of the coal extraction industry, Lehigh River dug in the rock quite a deep canyon. On one of its sides is the rail track and on the other side is a dirt road made out of very fine gravel that is maybe one of the best long biking tracks on the East Coast.
Outfitter in the town of Jim Thorpe, a charming place named after a famous Native American athlete from the beginning of the 20th century, are busy shuttling people with the train and lots of buses to various places along the valley from where they descend the river or its sides, on rafts, kayaks or on bikes.
Passing by rhododendron bushes that encircle the mountain the bike trail passes bridges over springs and waterfalls siding closely the rafts packed river.
There are a number of shuttles leaving Jim Thorpe in the morning and going to White Haven, about 1 hour bus ride and 25 miles down on the bike track back to town, a distance that easily can be covered in about 3-4 hours with breaks. If somebody feels a little more challenged there is an earlier shuttle, not every day thou, that brings you another 11 miles higher to Glenn Summit for a 36 miles bike ride back to town.
On the lower part of the trail the Lehigh Valley Gorge Scenic Train is riding up and down with the engineer waiving to the bikers and if you look attentively on the sunny rocks of the rail tracks you may be “lucky” to bump into a rattle snake. And if this is not enough, signs signaling black bears may keep you away from the woods.
Back in town, if you still can walk and if your butt was not completely numbed by the bike saddle, you are treated with great ice cream and local cherry wines.