Mountain biking around Pittsburgh can be intimidating for beginning riders. Steep terrain, rocks, roots, and poorly marked trails can leave new riders feeling intimidated and overwhelmed. Hillman’s twisty, smooth, and relatively flat trails are much more welcoming.
Located just south of Raccoon Creek State Park, this trail system is known locally simply as Bavington. (Bavington is the closest town.) It’s really just an undeveloped park, and there are no facilities of any kind except a radio-controlled plane airport.
The park is also known as State Game Lands 432, which is important because hunting takes precedence here. During most of the fall and winter, Bavington’s trails are off-limits to bikes, except Sundays. (And there are actually three Sundays when hunting is legal. Check with the Game Commission before going.)
So why go? On the fall days when recreation takes over, you’ll have the park to yourself. It’s rare to see more than another rider or two out in the woods.
And here’s what you’ll find: 27 miles of singletrack crisscrossing the park’s 3,600 acres. Unlike most of the area’s mixed woodlands, there are acres of pine forests, which keep the underbrush to a minimum and offer some of the longest sightlines of any of the area’s trails.
The trails follow small ridgelines and have their fair share of roots but very few rocks. The climbs and descents can be steep, but never long. There are also plenty of doubletrack and dirt roads in the park, which are great for novice riders. Bonus: With the pine cover and ridgeline trails, Bavington often has dry trails after it rains.