A bird’s-eye-view is just a couple miles from the start of the trail.
At first, it’s all about the soaring view, with miles of rolling hills and endless sky. But as you descend, the trees grow taller and leaner, exposing the lively forest bed. If you’re looking for a couple of hours of casual, all downhill, bike riding in the Pocono Mountains—this trip is for you. Take it from me. I recently did it with a few of my favorite people.
The Ride — “It’s all downhill!”
Black Diamond Trail to White Haven
This 10-mile bike ride begins at the Black Diamond Trailhead, which is off route 437 and in Pennsylvania State Game Lands 119. The Black Diamond Trail is situated on the plateau of the Lehigh Valley Gorge and passes quite a few scenic areas—mountaintop views, bogs, and ponds. It crosses over railroad tracks on Middleburg Road, heads back into the forest, and ends in the town of White Haven.
Caution: Do not miss the needed turn off Middleburg Road to get back on the trail. This occurs around mile marker 132. If you find yourself on the pavement for too long, and no trail mile marker in sight, you’ve probably gone too far.
Moose Pond as seen from the trail.
Mile Markers – “Are we there yet?”
Using the mile markers is one sure way of knowing you’re on the right track, but do keep in mind. This specific 10-mile route is just a small section of the much larger trail system, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D & L Trail). The D & L spans a total of 165-miles, from the Northeast Appalachian Mountains to the Philadelphian suburbs.
The Black Diamond Trail is part of a much larger trail system, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D & L Trail).
With the exception of crossing over the train tracks on Middleburg Road, the trail is a gravel path through the forest. The path does get a little sticky and bumpy at the end. Just take your time, and you’ll be fine.
Bikes & Gear – “Does this bike look good on me?”
With a couple of bike outfitters in White Haven, renting a bike is quite convenient. Our group used a variety of bikes from basic models to sophisticated mountain bikes. A standard hybrid bike or mountain bike is sufficient for this trail. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is a single speed bike. Shifting gears comes in handy when the downhill becomes more or less prominent on the trail.
Don’t forget! You will need a helmet, drink, and snack. There are also plenty of photo opportunities, if you fancy that sort of thing.
A standard, multiple speed bike is sufficient for the trail.
Transportation & Parking
Both trailheads, White Haven North and Black Diamond, are easily accessible by car. The Black Diamond Trailhead has a decent size parking lot. However, parking in the town of White Haven is tricky due to the layout of the town (it’s on a hill) and the parking meters (two hour limit). We followed the advice of a local business owner and parked in a lot adjacent to the shopping plaza on Main Street. Yes, our cars were still there when we came back!
You do not need to pay for a shuttle service for this ride; however, it can make you’re trip a little easier. There are affordable options in White Haven, which is the endpoint of this route. Most shuttle services offer bike rentals, making it a one-stop shop. We used Pocono Bike Rental for this trip.
Alternative shuttle options: do a down and back trip, if you’re up for the challenge, set up your own shuttle with a car at each trailhead, or have a friend pick you up in White Haven.
Pocono Bike Renal, a local shuttle service and bike outfitter, is located in White Haven PA.
Tips for the Ride— “Can’t Rush This!”
· Don’t miss the beautiful Moose Pond
· Keep an eye out for the mountain views
· Bring bug spray and sunscreen
· Wear bright colors, orange during hunting season
· Study the trail map & bring one with you
· Don’t miss the needed turn off Middleburg Road
· Take breaks when you need them
· Inspect your bike for any issues prior to going
· Grab a bite to eat in White Haven & see the sites
For trail maps and more information, visit Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
Article by: Katie Filicky
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Photo Credit: Alex Garcia and Katie Filicky