By Kellen M. Quigley
With Memorial Day Weekend now past, it’s practically summer here in Ellicottville, which means any outdoor activities you want to take part in are available.
From golf to nature hikes to pool time and more, read on for some great ideas on what do in the Enchanted Mountains this June.
Holiday Valley’s warm-weather amenities are in full swing this time of year. Get your golf game on at their 18-hole Double Black Diamond golf course. The nearby practice facility with driving range, putting green and short game area on Route 219 across from Holiday Valley will have you sinking those birdie putts in no time.
The resort’s three-pool complex is now open weekends only and will open daily from June 18 through Labor Day. Splash into a kiddie pool, a lap pool and an activity pool, featuring a diving board and slide, play a variety of poolside games or sip a drink from the Cabana Bar.
For those thrill seekers, get your adrenaline rush at Sky High Adventure Park, which includes the Aerial Park, the Climbing Forest and the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster.
The Aerial Park, the largest of its kind in New York State, combines a series of platforms and bridges built in a four-acre section of the woods near the resort’s Tannenbaum Lodge.
With 13 courses of varying levels of difficulty including 142 platforms, 174 elements and 43 zip lines — as well as a platform 68 feet in the air and a zip line measuring 350 feet, you can become Tarzan or Jane for the afternoon.
Those ages five and up can enjoy the Climbing Forest, which is like a 3D version of a rock wall, and only one of three in the country. There are 10 trees outfitted with color-coded climbing holds and the difficulty ranges from very easy to very challenging. Once a climber reaches the top of the tree at up to 45 feet, they just let go and the belay system slowly lowers them to the ground.
There is also a kids’ area with two trees where the youngest climbers can climb about 6 feet up and climb back down.
The newer Gem Mining feature will return this year and open in mid-June. Younger children can try panning for treasures at the new Mr. Happy Gem Mine, located at the base of the Climbing Forest.
The Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster and Climbing Forest also opened for the season. The coaster is a thrilling ride that zigs, zags and spirals down the mountain where you control the speed. The Climbing Forest features a series of nine trees outfitted with climbing holds that create a 3-D climbing wall.
Sky High is currently open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and will be open daily starting June 15. Visit holidayvalley.com for more information.
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for more opportunities to explore the great outdoors, look no further than the greater Ellicottville area.
Take to the woods on Holiday Valley’s Mountain Biking Trails. The five-mile “race loop” starts at the Holiday Valley Training Center and goes up gradually to the top of Cindy’s and then around the ski slopes of the resort before finishing back at the training center.
Head to nearby Allegany State Park offers miles of trails through all kinds of terrain, as well as a paved bike path around Red House Lake.
The park also offers camping at hundreds of campsites, cabins and full-service cottages, as well as gift shops, a restaurant and two boathouses, where you can rent kayaks, SUPs, canoes, paddle boats, bikes and even pedal carts.
Another great way to explore New York’s largest state park is the 61st annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage, May 31 to June 2. The Pilgrimage includes numerous nature-inspired workshops and programs for all ages, and there is definitely something for everyone. Make your own schedule designed around your personal interests, with programs running from 90 minutes long to a half day. Visit www.alleganynaturepilgrimage.com for more info.
Another hidden gem is Griffis Sculpture Park, the largest outdoor sculpture park in the country, which will host free outdoor activities every Saturday at noon starting this month. For more information, visit www.griffispark.org.
Ready to get muddy? Saturday, June 15 is the seventh annual Holiday Valley Mudslide, a guaranteed mucky time! Head over, under and through 11 obstacles, but nothing terrifying, which means no fire, barbed wire or the possibility of electric shock, and end with the famous mudslide down the bottom of the Yodeler slope. For more info and to sign up, visit www.holidayvalley.com.
June 22 and 23 is Paddlefest at Holiday Valley’s Spruce Lake. Enjoy kayak and SUP demos, kids races, SUP yoga demos, Orvis fly fishing casting demos, live music, a barbecue and more from 2 to 7 p.m. each day.
For more information on everything Ellicottville, visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.