Words cannot describe last night’s ride. I’m going to try, but I’m sure I’m going to fail miserably. The ride cam wasn’t set up, but even if it had been, I’ve not been thrilled with it lately so I don’t know how good of pictures I would’ve gotten. One final caveat – I’ve been proclaiming this website is for all drivers, but being honest, this particular ride is best suited for either sports cars or motorcycles (in small groups). The roads are narrow, the turns are generally tight, and it’s definitely a technically challenging ride – especially if you have a manual transmission.
528 is an amazing back road that runs directly across Lake Arthur and Moraine State Park. Relatively tame from its genesis at Route 19 heading into & through Evans City, things start to get really twisty once you make that left turn at the far end of town. After passing through the twistiest section of the ride, 528 then opens up into some beautiful farm land. We happened across a couple tractors and other farm equipment on the ride, so don’t race too quickly – you’d miss the scenery anyway.
You’ll cross over 488 & 422 passing through Prospect, then almost immediately cross over into Moraine. Beautiful woodlands surround Lake Arthur, which unfortunately you will only catch a relatively brief glimpse of as you pass over it on a moderately long concrete bridge. The short view is worth the travel though, as you get to see the distinctive shoreline of the lake. The lake is often be dotted with brightly colored sail- and fishing boats.
After crossing Lake Arthur, you enter into what I call the “Woodlands Tunnel” portion of the ride. This should hopefully be self-explanatory! It’s gorgeous, it’s cool even on hot days, and offers some more climbing and dropping twists to keep you on your toes.
528 ends at its intersection with Route 8, where you’ll pass by the Old Stone House before turning right onto Hallston Road and heading into West Sunbury. Some additional challenging curves and stunning sights await, followed by a little more “Woodland Tunnels” on 138. It’s just beyond my ability to describe with words.
Making the journey even more incredible was our choice to ride it about an hour prior to sunset. The golden rays of sunlight just gave everything an added gleam; an almost magical feeling at times. When riding through the tunnels of trees, the golden rays slice through the leaves and branches in long sword-like slivers. If you do happen to make this trip, you’ll definitely benefit from starting on 528 at about 6:30PM (in the summer).
Waiting to reward you for overcoming the more challenging parts of this ride are the sweet & tasty wines at Foxburg Wine Cellars and delicious food & riverside seating at The Allegheny Grille. Definitely expect a crowd, and probably a wedding too, if you go up on a nice weekend evening. It’s not unmanageable, however – we got there at about 7:30 and immediately got a table outside. One thing I’ve noticed every time I’ve visited the Allegheny Grille is the dynamic range of people who mingle there – from rough-edged bikers to high-brow connoisseurs – but I have yet to experience any tensions or disagreements as a result of this blend!
The ride home is a mix of winding wooded roads and open sweeping vistas of Pennsylvania farmland; yet my personal favorite part of the ride is the first 5-10 miles on 268 where you are riding alongside the Allegheny River. While “unfortunate” that the best part of the ride home is at the beginning, this is not to say that the remainder suffers for lack of beauty or interest – on the contrary, you will find yourself surrounded by natural beauty for nearly the entire ride.
Finishing the ride with a jaunt through North Park seems to be the only appropriate way to close out the day. If you’ve chosen to do this ride during the afternoon and still have some daylight to spare, spend the remainder of your ride exploring the roads in and around the park (Pearce Mill, North Ridge, Lakeshore, and McKinney in particular) – you won’t be disappointed.
I hope that my words have been enticing enough to draw you to this Western Pennsylvanian gem, and that you will forgive my lack of photos. I’m contemplating hijacking street view pictures from Google, but it just doesn’t seem right to use photos that aren’t ones I’ve taken while riding. Perhaps I’ll just have to do the ride all over again… 😉