6-7-13mtn-biking2By Eva Potter

In recent years, Ellicottville has developed a solid reputation as a mountain biking mecca, with a generous selection of medium to difficult trails that wind through majestic forests, state parks, local ski areas, with most on surrounding state lands.

Ellicottville’s trail network has been designated as “epic” by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) — a compliment not to be taken lightly from such a venerable critic. And National Geographic magazine has named Ellicottville as one of “America’s 100 Best Adventure Towns.” It’s no wonder visitors travel from a wide radius to enjoy the great outdoors in the Enchanted Mountains.

Trail-Building Pioneers

The Western New York Mountain Biking Association (WNYMBA) and its many volunteers has played a critical role in the development the area’s biking trails since the late 1990s, when  there were no real mountain biking trails in the area. With DEC approval, WNYMBA was granted permission to build professionally designed, self-sustaining trails on public lands.

WNYMBA trails maps are available at Holiday Valley and Ellicottville Bike & Bean in the village. Proceeds benefit the organization’s trail building projects.

Holiday Valley

Holiday Valley Resort offers close to 5 miles of challenging riding. There is no lift service and no charge to ride the trails. Just bring your bike and have at it! From the Training Center, head to the top of Cindy’s. From there you have some a variety of choices — winding, rocky, rooty, singletrack or wider, easier cross-country ski trails — you decide the difficulty level.

At the top of Eagle and Tannenbaum, you can access logging roads that lead to 35-plus miles of trails on state-owned forestlands, built and maintained by WNYMBA. Just stay off the golf course and Sky High Adventure Park area. You can rent mountain bikes at the Inn at Holiday Valley. Call (716) 699-2345.

McCarty Hill/Little Rock City State Forest

Most of the Ellicottville’s singletrack trails require a minimum intermediate skill level, with most requiring a high degree of skill. Expert riders love the challenging trails of Little Rock City State Forest just outside of Ellicottville, situated on more than 6,000 acres in the Towns of Mansfield, Little Valley, Ellicottville and Great Valley, which shares boundaries with Holiday Valley and HoliMont. The well-maintained trails are color coded with markers.

Golden Hill

This state forest, located in the Towns of Humphrey and Franklinville, offers two great trails recommended for experienced riders, but most are considered less difficult than the trails at Little Rock City. The red loop is great for riders just getting comfortable, while the blue loop is a solid intermediate ride.

Allegany State Park

Mountain biking has been popular here for decades with the start of the Raccoon Rally race in the late 1980s. In the mid-1990s, the trails of the Art Roscoe Cross-Country Trail System were opened to mountain bikers. The Art Roscoe area offers eight loop trails ranging from 1.5–9.7 miles in length. Many are wider but still offer moderate climbs and step descents. On the Quaker side of the park, you’ll find lots of great technical riding. With the recent approval of the park’s master plan, WNYMBA is in the process of planning and building more singletrack trails within the park.

Allegheny National Forest

Allegheny National Forest loves mountain bikers and allow them on all state forest roads, old logging roads, ATV trails, and most hiking and cross-country ski trails. Take a ride on the 7.4-mile Indian Pipe Trail, running from the Marilla Reservoir along Route 346 to the Allegany State Park entrance gate and enjoy the scenic ride through a 4,000-acre hardwood forest.

Fun Challenge or Serious Competition

The trails may be a little wet this weekend, but soon they’ll be dry again. So pump up those fat tires, wear a helmet, bring a map and friend, and get ready for the ride of your life!

Heartrateup.com Events:
Dirty Duathlon — June 9 at Holiday Valley
Raccoon Rally — June 29-30 at Allegany State Park
6 Hours of Power — July 14 at Holiday Valley

Local Events:
Fall Festival Mt. Bike Race — Oct.  13 at Holiday Valley
Wednesday Night Series — June 26 (five weeks) at Holiday Valley. Weekly cash payouts. Call (716) 699-2345.
Ellicottville Bike & Bean Shop Monday Night Rides — Free rides leave at 6 p.m. sharp from the shop at 30 Washington St. Monday evenings during the summer. (www.ellicottvillebikeshop.com)

For more information on trails and conditions, including maps, visit www.wnymba.org.