The PEC Public Lands Ride seeks to showcase state parks and forests across the greater central region of the state. Throughout the month of September, cyclists are encouraged to ride as many of the suggested virtual routes as possible and share their experiences on social media. The month culminates in an in-person group ride on September 30. You can find more details about the event here.
The 2023 edition of the Public Lands Ride (PLR) will be in Black Moshannon State Park and Moshannon State Forest on Saturday, September 30 with food, fun, and lots of friendly faces.
The PLR is a non-competitive gravel cycling event that celebrates and showcases the wealth of public parks and forests across the Commonwealth. This year’s group ride will offer three different distance options — 25, 42, and 65 miles — all of which include a mix of surfaces (mostly gravel, with a little bit of pavement and grassy snowmobile trail).There will be aid stations offering refreshments and post-ride hangs at the Black Moshannon beach complete with a cookout and beer from Boal City Brewing.
In conjunction with the ride, local outdoor gear manufacturer Nittany Mountain Works is hosting an open house for riders and the public at their solar-powered sewing workshop in Philipsburg, PA the evening before the ride (September 29). Doors will be open from 5:00-8:00 p.m., with workshop tours at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Snacks will be provided and visitors are welcome to BYOB.
On Saturday morning, Alabaster Coffee will be serving drinks from their mobile coffee cart and homemade bagels to fill riders’ stomachs. All riders will take off together at 9:00 a.m. The 25-mile course features one relatively steep climb early on, but the remainder is fairly mellow and rolling. The longer courses follow the same route as the short course in the beginning, then continue on as the short course heads back to the beach. On the 42 and 65 mile courses, expect longer climbs and some additional ‘chunky stuff’ on some snowmobile trails. All the courses feature beautiful scenery, creeks, rhododendrons, and well-maintained gravel roads.
Back at the beach, food and beverage will await hungry riders as they return from their various adventures of the day. The park’s lake and trails offer other activities for post-ride, or for friends and family of riders who aren’t doing the ride themselves.
Where to Stay
Camping is available for the weekend at the communal group camping area at the park (available as an option when you register for the ride), or you can rent your own campsite via the park’s online reservation system.
Black Moshannon State Park offers a multitude of camping options, from tent and RV sites to rustic cabins to modern cabins and deluxe cottages. The campground has electric hookups and modern bathrooms with hot showers. The modern cabins have their own bathrooms, while the rustic cabins and cottages have a shared bathroom and showers. There is also an organized group tenting area available for rent featuring a pavilion and its own bathroom (flush toilets but no showers).
There are also a number of hotels in Philipsburg, Clearfield and State College, as well as Airbnbs in the area.
Black Moshannon State Park has numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. The “double-fingered,” 250-acre lake is interesting to explore by canoe, kayak or paddleboard as it is rife with aquatic flora. There’s a beach at the park for swimming as well. There are plenty of hiking options ranging from quick two-mile loops to the 42-mile Allegheny Front Trail (AFT), which circumnavigates the park and lake in a big loop and is a popular backpacking destination. Side trails allow for shorter loops for day hikes using sections of the AFT.
The closest town is Philipsburg, about 9 miles west on Rt. 504. It has some food and drink options as well as a grocery store and all basic amenities. The larger town of State College is about a half hour away to the southeast and Clearfield is about the same distance to the northwest.