Biking Heats up Winter

The Whiteface Region has been a famed sports destination since the 1980 Winter Olympics brought the world to our doorstep. And while downhill skiing holds a special place in the hearts of our residents, the area has seen a surge in visitors due to the additions of dozens of miles of off-road biking trails.

Some of the trails are located on state Forest Preserve land, while others are on private land that has been opened to the public. While there is much to offer in the summer mountain biking season, the Whiteface Region keeps the action going even when the ground is frozen and covered in the white stuff.

So just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your mountain or fat bike should be locked in a shed. Instead, enjoy winter bike riding on the Whiteface Region’s numerous bike trails.

Hardy Road (Beaver Brook Tract)

The Hardy Road trails are officially located on the Beaver Brook Tract (that’s what the state calls it) within the Wilmington Wild Forest, but since the access point is on Hardy Road, locals have taken to calling this set of 10 miles of trail after the road the trailhead is on.

With a mix of easy, moderate, and hard trails, fat bikers will find something for everyone in the group. And with seemingly limitless loop possibilities, these trails will keep you happy for days on end.

From the parking area on Hardy Road, trails go into the woods on both sides of the street. While this may seem like a bicyclist's haven, keep in mind that it is a through street and there may be traffic. Luckily, the trailhead parking area is large and offers plenty of room to get ready while staying away from the road.

Both trail setups have a mix of easy to hard trails, though the system on the east side of the road (where the parking area is) has a little more in terms of mileage. On the east side of the road, you can dip your toes into winter riding with a quick and easy trip on the Lost Farm Loop, or go all-in on the much longer and more difficult All-In trail.

On the west side, families will love the Make Believe trail, while more experienced riders should try their luck on the Good Luck trail, which is a big loop at the end of the Double Time Trail.

Three Sisters Preserve

The Three Sisters Preserve offers the newest addition to the Whiteface Region’s mountain and fat biking trails, and is located just about a mile down the road from the Beaver Brook parking area on Hardy Road.

Purchased and preserved by the Lake Placid Land Conservancy (LPLC) in 2017, the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) quickly built a 1.2-mile trail that is perfect for fat biking. With a gentle uphill and a rewarding return downhill, locals have been doing laps on the Three Sisters Trail (or the Quaker Mountain Trail) since it opened in the summer of 2019.

The LPLC says the Three Sisters Preserve is located in a rare type of sandy pine forest.

“It boasts a mixed forest (of) beech, maple, and red and white pine that supports a variety of wildlife including deer, turkey, grey and red fox, raptors and forest songbirds, and fisher,” the LPLC says. “The purchased land was combined with adjacent land that was generously donated by Wilmington resident Scott Avery to create the preserve. In addition to the Open Space Institute grant and land donation from Avery, LPLC also received a $25,000 donation from an anonymous donor who wished to support LPLC’s efforts to conserve lowland forest habitat and enhance recreational opportunities in the Wilmington area.”

Henry’s Woods

Henry’s Woods is another private preserve, opened to the public by the Uihlein Foundation, just outside of the village of Lake Placid.

The bulk of the users here in winter will be cross-country skiers and snowshoers, but fat bikers can also be found. With a mix of easy and more difficult trails, Henry’s Woods is frequented by locals as a before- and after-work destination.

Adjacent to the Heaven Hill trails, this area offers a great mix of winter riding without a long drive!

Rules of the road (trail)

Winter biking in the Whiteface Region offers something for everyone, and as many of the trails are located on public land and built and maintained by volunteers, it’s important to follow the rules of the road. 

Some of the trails are located on state Forest Preserve lands, while others are on Lake Placid Land Conservancy land. Since so many people put so many hours into developing the trails, be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles, only ride on open trails, watch out for other trail users and wildlife, and avoid trails when conditions are muddy or soft.

Since there are so many trails to enjoy in and around the Whiteface region, you’ll want to book a room and stay for a few days! And be sure to enjoy a hot meal and cold beverage before going home with your head full of winter wonderland memories.

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This week in ADK news:

Hit the links this winter

Bring your skis to Tupper Lake!

Wilderness skiing in Hamilton County

Saranac Lake forest bathing

Action-packed winter events

Bready goodness in the Lake Champlain Region

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