This past weekend, some friends and I headed up to the Jim Thorpe area to do the Lehigh Gorge Bike Train. We stayed at an Airbnb in nearby Lehighton, PA and woke up early Saturday morning to catch the 9:30 train.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway offers scenic trips that start in Jim Thorpe and follow the Lehigh River through Glen Onoko, through Lehigh Gorge State Park in vintage coaches pulled by diesel engines. The Lehigh Gorge bike trains seem to run a couple of weekends of every month starting maybe May or June and goes until November. It’s $25 for a ticket and 25 miles of flat, leisurely riding on gravel paths.
We handed off our bikes to be loaded separately and grabbed a seat in one of the four passenger cars. The train ride is about 70-minutes and narrated. It was nice to learn a little more about the history of the area and to know what we were looking at. Riders are dropped off in White Haven where we grabbed our bikes baggage claim style. Anyone just along for the ride headed back to the station.
If you don’t have your bike, or don’t have the means of getting your bike to Jim Thorpe, you can pay extra to rent a bike from Pocono Bikes, located right at the drop off point. The starting point also has a Rite Aid and a small market in case you forget anything and the bike rental place has a snack stand and bathrooms.
As you can see from the above picture, there were a lot of riders. I think I overheard 400. One thing I would suggest is to either make sure you’re one of the last people to get on, and can be one of the first to get your bike unloaded, or pack a picnic and hang out to let some of the riders filter out. The beginning of the ride was crowded, and there were some riders who lacked basic trail etiquette which was a bit frustrating. As we rode, the trail naturally filtered out and became much more enjoyable and less crowded.
We rode at a moderate pace and took about 3 1/2 hours from the start back to the train station. The ride was mostly shaded which was welcomed on the almost 90-degree day. The last maybe 5 or 6 miles were in full sun so be sure to pack sunscreen. There are picnic tables, lookout points, and tons to see along the way so you could definitely make the trip even longer. Side note: one of the only bathrooms, aside from the one at the start is about halfway, in the Whitewater Rafting Adventure parking lot.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was riding alongside the train tracks; it was great when we got to see the train pass us by. We stopped in an awesome old train tunnel at Glen Onoko, and I was regretting not packing my swimsuit for a dip in the river. Glen Onoko is about two miles back to Jim Thorpe with even more beautiful views.
There’s also a really neat old train tunnel when you get to Glen Onoko that I recommend checking out!
I would love to do this ride again in the fall when the leaves are changing. Jim Thorpe is such a neat little town with a bunch of shops and restaurants with plenty more to explore.