photograph by Jamie West McGiver
Careening down dirt trails on two wheels—usually after a quad-busting, lung-searing uphill slog—has become one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in the Adirondacks. Luckily, the addition of new mountain-biking trails in the park has been keeping pace with demand. Two recently built networks offer terrain for everyone from novices to hotshots.
Rock ’n’ Roll
In October the town of Long Lake cut the ribbon to officially open two kilometers of mountain-bike and shared-use trails at Mount Sabattis Recreation Area, phase one of its plan to add recreation opportunities in the middle of the business district.
So far there are two loop trails and a scenic side trail completed: “Let It Loose” is an easy half-mile traverse through woods and meadow, a good starter trail for those just learning to ride off-road. “Black and Blue” is an intermediate loop trail that winds up and down S-curves for three-quarters of a mile, with an optional side-trip on “Waiting on a Friend,” a short spur that ends at a pond. The trails were constructed by Wevertown-based Wilderness Property Management, run by veteran trail-builder Steve Ovitt.
Classic-rock fans may have caught on to the theme of the trail names, which come from songs by the Rolling Stones.(Frontman Mick Jagger visited Long Lake in the 1980s.)
Future phases of the project will add expert trails and a skill-building area with a small pump track.
From the intersection of Routes 28N and 30 in the town of Long Lake, follow Route 30 for about 0.3 mile, then turn left at Pavilion Way. Parking is available in the lot near the pavilion. Find more information about the Mt. Sabattis trails at www.mylonglake.com.
The Wheel Deal
Intermediate- to expert-level riders will find plenty to love at the appropriately named Wheelerville trail system, in the town of Caroga. The first eight miles or so of trails have been completed on a 116-acre town-owned parcel, including four downhill flow trails and two uphill trails, and additional cross-country routes are planned, according to trail manager Jeremy Manning.
Manning, an avid mountain-biker, proposed the idea of a trail system when he was on the Caroga town board in 2016. He and his friends are willing to travel hours for good riding opportunities. He often heads as far as the Kingdom trails in Vermont and the Hardy Road and other systems developed by the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) in the High Peaks region. So he knew from experience that the trails would make a good tourist draw for his southern Adirondack community.
The Adirondack Foothills Trail Alliance (AFTA), which has developed mountain-biking parks in Utica and Old Forge, offered assistance with planning, fundraising and trail work. “It’s all machine built, with large jumps and large features,” Manning says. “It’s a good-size mountain.”
A mountain-bike festival is planned for late spring or early summer. Check the Wheelerville Trails page on Facebook or Instagram for details.
From the hamlet of Caroga Lake head north on Routes 10/29A past the Nick Stoner Inn and golf course. Trailhead parking is on the right. Find additional information and trail maps for the Wheelerville Bike Trails at www.townofcaroga.com/bike.
Watch this Space
The Adirondack mountain-biking scene is still growing. In February, the town of Webb received a $250,000 grant to expand trails at McCauley Mountain Recreation Center, in Old Forge. And the Essex County Board of Supervisors announced plans for a new bike trail system on county-owned property in Keene.