Blue Mountain with Dulberger
13 Aug 2018
Out in the north eastern middle of somewhere Pennsylvania there’s a beer store that you can drive through with your car. It’s absolutely incredible! You literally don’t even have to get out of the driver’s seat. Unfortunately when you ask for a six pack of a local IPA and you’ll spend most of your $20 dollar bill. But if you drive just a few more miles up and over the mountain range, you’ll find a ski resort bar where you can buy that same six pack for only $8 (including tax). This same bartender can also hook you up with a lift ticket to Blue Mountain Bike Park, home to some of the most aggressive downhill you’ll find on the Mid Atlantic.
Blue Mountain Bike Park is located at a family owned and operated ski resort in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. A high-speed quad lift can carry you, your three friends, and up to 4 bikes on a secure tray system in front of you. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to shred 1,100 feet of vertical terrain, the most any mountain in PA has to offer. The mountain is home to a wide variety of trails with one common theme; ROCKS! If you’re looking for some truly raw east coast down hill, you’ve purchased a ticket to paradise. Blue Mountain is known for their big chunky Limestone and loose shingle-like Shale. Given the geographic terrain this mountain has to offer, be sure to set your tire pressure accordingly.
After looking at the trail map you’ll notice that most of the blues and greens are on the left side of the lift as you face down the mountain. If you are a relatively experienced rider looking to warm-up with some high berms and flowy turns, consider starting your day on King Tut or El Camino trails. If you’ve come to Blue Mountain to discover the sport of mountain biking you’ll probably want to begin with a stroll down The Boulevard. Regardless of which warm-up trail you choose, expect to encounter a few hundred rocks on your 1,100 foot descent back to the chair lift.
Blue Mountain hosts a series of races each summer. From enduro and downhill to a dual slalom event, the mountain can serve as an ideal east coast training facility. If enduro racing is your style, I’d highly suggest ripping some runs down the infamous Night Train. A pedally entry will give way to some fast steep chutes taking you through a section of the mountain none of the other trails really explore. Previous downhill races have used sections of Formula, Moto, OCS, and Loose Cannon as part of their courses. All four of these trails offer a unique blend of steep descents filled with loose rocks and big roots. Expect to use most if not all of your suspension on these black diamonds.
For riders, like myself, coming to Blue Mountain to conquer free ride features, I suggest ripping through the top section of Miles of Smiles and dumping into the bottom of Loose Cannon. This combination will offer some wooden features as well as natural terrain to get your adrenaline pumping.
If dirt table tops is more your steeze, then be sure to make a few runs through Ewok Village (beginner jumps) or Empire (advanced jumps) before ending your day. Unfortunately the Empire trail was closed during my most recent visit due to rebuilding. However, I can tell you from prior visits these jumps do not disappoint. It is obvious that the park crew is passionate about maintaining this particular trail, and I can’t wait to see what the new rebuild of Empire has to offer.
Food, Entertainment, and Accomodations.
If you are just at Blue for the day I am sure you’ll find yourself grubbing down at the same bar you purchased your lift ticket at the bottom of the mountain. If your schedule allows for an extended stay, consider camping out at the base of the resort. You can set up a tent on some nice plush grass within close proximity to bathrooms and showers. Camping is especially a must on race weekends when the mountain staff will allow bonfires.
Before turning in for the night I strongly suggest cruising up to the top of the mountain for some dinner at the Slopeside Pub & Grill. Not only does the outside seating offer great sunset views and a big fire pit, the chicken wings are phenomenal! During the weekend hours you may even be able to enjoy some live music while you regrub for another day of riding.
Whether you are just looking for a day trip or a full weekend getaway, Blue Mountain is certainly not a bad choice. Even after a straight week of rain I was extremely impressed with how well the trails drained and stayed intact. With 24 different trails to choose from I am sure you and your squad can find something to put your skills to test!
Skaters bring your boards! Blue Mountain has a little skatepark set up just next to the base lodge. Ask the trail crew if your can pump a few turns on the mini-ramp!
Frisbee golf players bring discs! Blue Mountain is home to three phenomenal disc golf courses. One of the courses runs from the top of the mountain all the way to the base.