This past weekend I rode the York County Heritage Trail from New Freedom, Pa., just over the state line, directly up to the town of York, maybe 40 miles round trip. I'd rented a nice mountain bike for the trek from my friend Penny Troutner at Light Street Cycles and it proved a good workout — but with a hybrid the flat cruise would be a breeze for most recreational cyclists.
With the weather looking clear and dry over Thanksgiving weekend, this is a plug for bicycling the North Central Railroad (NCR) and York County Heritage Trails (YCH) in the next few days. Not to burn off any calories, just for fun.
I'd biked the lower half of the NCR trail previously, starting outside Cockeysville, but had never traveled above the Mason-Dixon line. I actually enjoyed the ride a lot more in Pennsylvania — lots of farms, babbling brooks, old trees, country houses and places to stop.
The NCR Trail, which I do really like, too, seems denser than the York County portion of the trail, which officially changes names at the state line. I found more small surprises — and some big (see above photo) — along the York County route.
Together, the North Central Railroad and York County Heritage Trail combine for a 41-mile stretch of rural terrain, much of it following the Gunpowder Falls River. From the Ashland entrance outside Cockeysville, it's a 20-mile trip to the Mason-Dixon Line, from there it's another 21 miles to York.
Last weekend, with a friend, we basically rode straight up from New Freedom to York and then back. Next time, I'd like to take a look around the small Pa. towns of Glen Rock and Hanover Junction and maybe — instead of just snacking on protein bars — grab coffee and some lunch in York before turning back.