In case you haven’t heard, the forests around Wilmington and Whiteface Mountain have become a destination for mountain bikers of all skill levels in recent years. New trails are added every year, and the ever-expanding networks get better and more interesting with each passing summer.
Right now there are more than 25 miles of mountain biking trails in the Wilmington Wild Forest. That’s about about 9 miles in the Hardy Road section, 15 miles in the Flume area, and about 3 miles for Poorman’s Downhill.
Last week I took a tour of one of the newest routes with my mountain-biking-enthusiast friend Dan. Here’s the inside scoop.
Just off of Springfield Road in Wilmington is Quaker Mountain Road. Follow that for about a mile and you’ll find a small parking area on the left, and the beginning of an awesome new flow trail. Start at the little pile of rocks, called a cairn, and dip into the woods for a route that gently twists and turns its way between trees and boulders. Beginners will find that it never gets too steep, while more daring riders while have access to plenty of features if they choose.
If you’re new to mountain biking, you might be worried about accidentally hitting a jump and losing control, especially on a downhill route. This is where the genius of the Whiteface Region’s trail builders shines the brightest. With accessibility in mind, these paths were designed so people who want to avoid jumps can simply ride straight past them. Anyone looking to jump, simply veer a little to the left or right and they’re off. As someone who has only dabbled in mountain biking, knowing this makes me feel a lot better about exploring these trails.
The other two stand-outs for me were how clean the trail was — I was hard pressed to even find fallen leaves on the path — and how smooth the bends looked. I could easily imagine myself easing a bike around one of those berms and gliding into a straightaway with little effort. It’s like the trail takes you for a ride instead of you riding the trail.
Mountain bikers can start at the top of the Quaker Mountain trail and drop about 340 feet over 1.25 miles to end at the parking area on Hardy Road, where several other paths intersect. You might want to plan to have two cars for this, one parked at the top of Quaker Mountain and one at the end of these paths. One of the paths is the new Ante Up, the alternate climbing trail for All In, a steep route that’s scenic at the top. Another is a little unnamed path that gently descends through a stand of tall, straight red pines to an overlook that encompasses Beaver Brook and Whiteface Mountain.
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