Off-Road Trails: Mines and Meadows
Getting out and riding is a weekly goal at Off-Road.com, and getting the chance to blaze down the trail on a new machine is a great way to see many of the nationís new private ride destinations. In the past year we have had the great opportunity to ride many places that have great landscapes and scenery, but it was a recent trip into Wampum, Pennsylvania, where we were treated to some unique underground riding. You read that correct, we rode underground in an old mine.
The place known as Mines and Meadows ride park includes miles and miles of great riding while having an old mine as a feature attraction. Located in the western region of Pennsylvania, Mines and Meadows off-road park has unique trails as well as educational opportunities for those looking to become better riders. The total length of the trail system is around 70 miles, and with 600 acres to explore the riding can go all day long. The trail system allows riders of all skill levels a safe environment to ride their machine.
We were given the opportunity to ride the location thanks to Kawasaki, which was introducing its newest new 2012 Kawasaki Brute Force 300. It was nice to hit the trails on a new, comfortable ride that had plenty of power to haul us around the property. Most of the trails at Mines and Meadows had gotten plenty of wet weather before we arrived, and with plenty of mud coating the hill climbs and long downhill sections it was challenging but fun riding.
Eventually we came to the mouth of the famous mine of Mines and Meadows. This limestone mine opening is possibly the creepiest thing I have ever seen, and we were about to drive into it! Limestone mining had begun in the late 1890s using small dinky cars to carry the stone out. These limestone mines have been out of commission for years now (since the Ď50s) but through much negotiation and proper legal paperwork you can drive around in them at Mines and Meadows. The ceilings are 14 feet from the floor and huge limestone pillars separate the sections you ride through. Thatís not to mention it is 55 degrees year round inside, which adds additional chill to the creep factor.
You have to be with a guide through the mines, but thatís because you can get turned around in the darkness should your ATV quit or lights go out! The last thing I want is to be stranded in one of those places! But wait, I did get stranded so Iím speaking from experience here. Wandering around deep inside I found the deeper section of one of the many water holes inside the mine, and I sucked some water into the CVT belt drive on my machine. Rider error and I got stuck because of it, and I watched as the others drove out not knowing I had been stranded and it got really creepy. It was dead silent and as dark as you could ever imagine for sure. I pushed the Brute up out of the water and felt around until I located the drain plug on the CVT cover to get the water out. After just a few minutes this machine was ready for action again and I was ready to be out of that mine!
After escaping the mine we headed out to ride the rolling hills and get a little history lesson on the property. The foundation remains of a once prominent house called the Medusa Estate that sits just off the trails, and if you look closely you can see the old swimming pool and steps leading up to the front and side of what was the huge 40-room mansion. This home unfortunately burned to the ground in 1974 leaving only this slab foundation. Hearing the history of the land from our guide and all of the information on the location made our trip that much more interesting.
There are also ATV riding courses at Mines and Meadows to provide riders with a better understand the fundamentals of their ATV. Anyone in fire rescue or law enforcement would benefit from the course, as they do have training courses pertaining to these specific fields. These folks have thought of many ways to help our industry, and I hope to return to Mines and Meadows in the coming years to see their progress first hand.
For more information on the location, visit the website for the trail system at http://minesandmeadows.com/index.htm.
For more on our review of the 2012 Kawasaki Brute Force 300, click here.