Long before mountain biking at Hardy Road became popular, local off-road riders only had the Flume Trail network, right across the River from the Hungry Trout to work with. When I first heard of the trail network's existence it was explained to me that the Willkommen Hof's owner Burt Yost maintained the trails with his advocacy group known as the Wilmington Mountain Peddlers. In recent years, the network has been getting non-stop upgrades thanks to the DEC hiring the ADK's Professional Trail Crew, as well as the hard-working volunteers from the Barkeater Trails Alliance. In the last five years, the trail network at the flume has been expanded to include more logical connections between trails, more terrain suitable for intermediate level riders, and a long climb up to Marble Mountain.
There are two ways to access the Flume network. The most obvious way is the trailhead on Rt. 86. At this trailhead, riders will find an informational kiosk with a map and access to the greatest variety of terrain. Not to mention, the trailhead is right across the street from one of the best swimming spots in the Adirondacks. In the summer this trailhead can be quite crowded. An alternative access spot is from the Kid's Campus parking area (Bear Den Lot) at Whiteface. From here riders can take the "Lower Connector" trail to the more moderate terrain in the network, or the "Upper Connector" to the more difficult terrain. From the Bear Den Lot, it's easy to connect into the Whiteface Bike Park's trail network, but riders should buy a trail pass before doing so.
Experienced riders will be right at home on all of the Flume Network's trails. There are challenging and technical trails that will keep even the most talented riders interested. By far the most difficult is the Rock Garden Trail. At .5 miles it may be short, but the puzzle of rock features and steep climbs make it feel much longer. Recently, a visiting rider described the Ridge Trail to me as "just hard enough." He was delighted at how "challenging but ridable" the trail was from end to end. The Adirondack Mountain Club's (ADK) Professional Trail Crew has been hard at work on this trail this season to smooth out exceptionally rough spots. Don't overlook the trail up to Marble Mountain, which is a steep climb that will test any rider's fitness. The ride down from the top is well worth the effort.
There are plenty of options for less aggressive riders at the Flume Trail Network. Trails like, Bluff, Delta, and River have been constructed over very moderate terrain, and maintain a smooth tread character under a rider's tires. My personal favorite is the twists and turns of the Cedar Trail. Winding over rolling terrain riders feel like they are flying through the woods. It's short, so do some laps. The Erratic Trail's bridge work should not be missed. This addition to the network by the ADK's Professional Trail Crew includes hundreds of feet of bridging and is quite an impressive site.
Regardless of experience there is something for just about everyone at The Flume. Thanks to the hard work of so many different people and groups over the years we have a great resource for riding in the area. If you arrive in the summer and the parking lot off Rt. 86 is a madhouse head up to the Bear Den Lot at Whiteface for a much more peaceful experience. In order to have the best possible experience, it would be a great idea to purchase a map published by the Barkeater Trails Alliance at one of Lake Placid's Bike Shops.