NOTE: As of February 2014, The East Broad Top Railroad hasn’t operated for a few years, but the Rockville Trolley continues regular operation.
General Notes: This route offers 160 miles of the great motorcycle roads in Franklin, Fulton and Huntington Counties. The roads on this route were selected based on their abundance of curves and ever changing, but always gorgeous scenery – so the fun factor on this one is high.
The base-camp for this ride in Chambersburg, county seat of Franklin county – a town with a rich civil war history as it played a significant role in the Shenandoah and Cumberland Valley theater of operation – finding itself occupied three times by Confederate Forces! In the center of town, at the diamond which is now referred to as Memorial Square, General Robert E. Lee made the fateful decision to move east resulting in the Battle of Gettysburg. Due to its proximity to I81 and its economic base – there are plenty of places to stay and to eat in Chambersburg.
From Chambersburg, head West on US30 for 13 miles to PA75 and turn right (North); Follow PA75 North for 5.9 miles to 3.8 miles to Cowans Gap Road and turn Left; Follow Cowans Gap Rd to the end (approx 3 miles) and turn right onto Allens Valley Rd; Follow Allens Valley Rd – 6 miles to stop sign – turn left – follow to US522 – turn right; Follow US522 North for 13 miles to Orbesonia to PA994 – turn left; Follow PA994 all the way to the end (approx 30 miles) to PA26 – turn left; Follow US26 (South) for 9 miles and pick-up PA913 (go straight) @ Saxton; Follow PA913 for 18 miles to PA655 – veer right; Follow PA 655 for 24 miles to US522 and turn left; Follow US522 for 12 miles to US30 and turn right (East); Follow US30 for 3.5 miles to Mountain House Bar & Grill; US 30 East back to Chambersburg
Detailed Ride Notes:
Cowans Gap Rd– This is where the ride really starts. I just love to attack this road! It’s only 3+ miles but its full of curves and climbing – its one of my favorites! I tried to capture the essence of this road (as well as most of the others on this route too) with a few “action shots”.
Cowans Gap Rd
More Cowans Gap Rd
Allens Valley Rd– A very nice ride, full of gentle curves and hills as you ride through lush forest land – very nice.
Allens Valley Rd
Burnt Cabins– Between Allens Valley Road and US522 you will encounter Burnt Cabins – so named because homes of early squatters (1750’s) were burned to the ground by order of the provincial government, after Indians complained against white encroachment on their land – in violation of their agreement. Stop by and visit the Burnt Cabins Grist Mill, Camp Grounds & General Store while you are there – here is your chance to get some REAL grist mill products!
East Broad Top Railroad – In Orbesonia, just after turning onto PA994 you will see the The EBT Railroad complex. The EBT railroad stables a large collection of some of the oldest narrow gauge steam locomotives in the country! They also operate two one-of-a-kind gas motorcars and maintain a collection of original track cars. They offer regularly scheduled excusions that last a few hours. If you like – you can have a picnic at the end of the line in their park area and pick-up the train back to the station. If you can spare the time you really should consider taking a break and hoping on the EBT – who can resist the magnificent splendor of a living, breathing steam engine? Plan ahead – check the website for schedules.
EBT Steam Engines At Work !
PA994 – This road throws a lot of things at you. It offers (in order) many gentle curves, mountain climbing switchbacks, gentle rolling hills, more curves, forest riding and lastly – some awesome sweeper action (currently dampened by some bridge work) at Raystown Lake.
PA994 Entering A ’15mph’ Switchback
Beautiful Barn on PA994
Sweeper Action on PA994
PA913 – Very similar to PA994, only shorter.
PA655– A very nice ride, lots of gentle curves – many sections have a nice rhythm of one curve after the other – nothing too tight or overly challenging…unless taken aggressively.
Mountain House Bar & Grill – Situated at the top of the Tuscarora Mountain on the Lincoln Highway (US30), the Mountain House Bar & Grill is haven for area motorcycle enthusiasts. The food is good, the atmosphere is ‘rustic’ and the panoramic view of the valley below is spectacular.
View From The Mountain House Bar & Grill Parking Lot
You can also pass the time away on the deck – watching all the riders take the corner at the top of the mountain. From here – its just a 15 minute ride back to Chambersburg.
I hope you get the opportunity to take this tour – as routed or in sections. Enjoy !!!!
Blog author Brad Morgan of Carlisle owns / operates a SERVPRO business in the Harrisburg metropolitan area. The link to his business website is the only compensation he receives for producing/maintaining this blog: