If you like mountain biking, then Dirt Rag Dirt Fest is a great place to spend a summer weekend in May. Started in 1991 by the owners of Dirt Rag Magazine, the first Dirt Fest was a mild one with just a few dozen bikers at a camp in Pittsburgh.
Now, the festival is not just about getting down and dirty in the wooded terrain of the Allegrippis Trails on Raystown Lake in Hesston, Pennsylvania. You can also learn from some of the best mountain bikers in the country at skill clinics, dress up for a themed group ride, and ride a boat shuttle all while enjoying craft beer and live music all weekend long.
And, of course, there are plenty of demo bikes, shoes, helmets, packs, and other MTB paraphernalia. Then again, you can also join in on the fun by jumping on your bike and heading out on some of the 36 miles of trails at the Dirt Fest.
If you'd like to bring your family to the fest, don’t worry, there is plenty of kid stuff to do as well. In past years there have been scavenger hunts with prizes, a tire changing contest, teen rides, a bike parade, and more. Adults have always enjoyed the happy hour with many flavors of craft beer and other goodies. Pack up the RV and head to Hesston for some dirt and fun together.
In previous years, there have been several ticket options for Dirt Rag Dirt Fest PA. You can also choose an event pass with onsite camping and a parking pass, which pretty much covers all your needs for the weekend, including some gear options. Beer and other refreshments you may want to partake in are a separate cost. Camping does not include RVs, so you will have to make accommodations elsewhere if you are in your rig.
Two hours from Harrisburg to the east and 2.5 hours from Pittsburgh to the west, you will find the Dirt Rag Dirt Fest at Raystown Lake near the middle of Pennsylvania. The festival will be easy to find off Highway 26, also labeled Raystown Road. Some of the roads leading into the area can be difficult to maneuver in a large RV or rig. It is best to take it slow and enjoy the picturesque view of the Pennsylvania mountains on the way.
Parking can be found off Bakers Hollow Lot on Bakers Hollow Road and at several lots on Seven Points Road, which is off Bakers Hollow Road. If your rig is on the larger end, you may need to talk to the campground or Dirt Rag Dirt Fest planners for more information on vehicle size restrictions.
Shuttle service is available to those who are registered ticket holders from the nearby campgrounds to the festival. The shuttles run every hour for the duration of the Dirt Fest but can sometimes be delayed. You can also call a taxi or use a ride service app.
The Susquehannock Campground at the Dirt Rag Dirt Fest does not allow RVs, so you will have to find a nearby campground if you want to camp in your RV. There are quite a few eligible campgrounds in the area that welcome even the biggest rigs.
Under a five to 25-minute drive away, you can find several other campgrounds with over 100 campsites in total. Some of the amenities you may find include electric and water hookups, modern flush toilets with hot showers, and RV dump sites. Many also have recreational opportunities, such as fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, and biking. Parking pads at these campgrounds range from 25 to 60 feet in length.
While most people will probably be getting around the Dirt Fest on a mountain bike, many are also getting around on foot, which is just as effective since it is not that large of an area. The shuttle service from the campground to the event is a nice advantage for those camping on site or nearby. Wheelchairs and strollers are allowed, but no motorized equipment or vehicles such as ATVs or OHVs are allowed on the grounds.
Pennsylvania in May can be warm or even hot so you will want to pack shorts and t-shirts mostly. However, you never know when things may change, so pack some long-sleeved shirts, jeans, and a jacket as well. Most often, the mornings and evenings are chilly and the afternoons are hot, so dressing in layers that you can remove and put back on is recommended.
Backpacks are the most popular form of bags at the Dirt Rag Dirt Fest, whether you are a biker or just an observer. Pack some water, snacks, and extra clothes and shoes in case you get dirty, which often happens at the Dirt Fest. Bring a camera as well so you can take some pics and videos to share with friends on your social media pages. If you are participating, include your favorite safety and bike repair gear in your RV packing list. While demo bikes will be available for some use, organizers suggest bringing your own gear as well.
Sunblock and bug spray are definite musts while you are in the deep woods of Pennsylvania. Pack a first aid kit for minor emergencies and injuries but make sure you wear protective gear like helmets, pads, and good sturdy biking shoes. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes and skin from the sun as well.
Cooking at your campsite in the spring can be a joy most welcome as you say goodbye to winter. If you would rather cook inside your rig, generators are allowed in many places to power up your stove, or you can bring a camp stove to use. Pick up some burgers and hot dogs from one of the grocers in Hesston and you can BBQ at one of the many grills in the picnic areas around the park as well.
You’ll be less than 10 miles from a plethora of food joints to choose from in Hesston. If you want a sit-down restaurant, you can find several pizza places, bar and grills, a café, steakhouses, a deli, and some Italian and Mexican places as well. If it’s fast food you’re craving, there are a few of those in Hesston too.
Dirt Rag Dirt Fest of Pennsylvania will have lots of vendors promoting their MTB goods, and you can even test drive some of the newest bikes coming out. Some of the vendors that have been featured in previous years include Pivot Cycles, Stans and Maxxis Tires, Cane Creek, Fat Head’s Brewery, SCOTT, Jamis Bikes, Green Mountain Cyclery, Dirt Components, Osprey, and many more.
You may not even notice the security at the Dirt Fest, but they are there if you need them. Many of the security staff are off-duty police officers who volunteer their time at the fest. However, if you need some help and do not see anyone nearby, you can grab a staff member or call 911.
The weather in Pennsylvania in May can be difficult to predict, but it is typically in the high 70s and low 80s for the high, although 90s have been seen as well. The low temps are usually in the 60s, but the 50s are not unheard of here in the east. Remember to check the weather forecast before packing or heading over to the festival.
There is a first aid station by the entrance to the trails for minor injuries and illnesses such as heat exhaustion or dehydration. If you need more advanced medical treatment, the local hospital is about 13 miles away in Huntingdon. However, if you have an emergency, do not hesitate to call 911.