Famous for a reason
Flowing rivers, breathtaking mountains, unique attractions, and so much more make the Whiteface Region an obviously desirable destination for travelers. And while the aforementioned elements of the region deserve every bit of the attention they receive, there is undoubtedly another reason that makes this part of the Adirondacks just so famous. The reason? The irrefutably incredible mountain biking! Wilmington, NY is regarded as the “mountain biking capital of the Adirondacks”, a title that was certainly earned. So grab your bike and let’s ride our way through some of the best mountain biking trails in the Whiteface Region so you can experience them for yourself!
The Flume Trails
There is no progress without innovation. To understand why Wilmington became the mountain biking capital of the Adirondacks, we have to begin with the original. The original, of course, is Wilmington’s Flume Trails. The Flume Trail System is made up of nearly ten miles of open trails, with all but two open to mountain biking (Flume Knob and Bear’s Den Trail).
The Flume Trails offer something for every rider with easy, moderate, and hard runs. The lower sections of the Flume Trails are smooth and flowing, but as you begin to gain elevation, the trail becomes more challenging and technical. The Flume Trail network contains the most total mileage of any trail network in the region and connects to Marble Mountain and Poor Man’s Downhill. The Flume trails were created and maintained by volunteers, and it’s always a good idea to follow the rules of the trail and respect their hard work. The Flume is open to the public and is a popular space to hike and explore, so remember to be aware of others while riding through these awesome trails.
Trail Disclaimer: As with all New York State Forest Preserve lands, the lands within the Wilmington Wild Forest are open to hunting (subject to all applicable laws and regulations). Please be aware that hunting may occur in this area during any open season.
Hardy Road has quickly become one of the most popular trails in the region, and for good reason. Hardy Road is the first trail system built in the Adirondacks that was specifically designed for mountain biking and boasts 6.6 miles of single-track trails that wrap around both sides of the scenic Beaver Brook Valley. While this trail system offers some gentler rides, it can get technical and requires an advanced skill level for certain runs.
What makes Hardy Road so unique is its ability to stay dry when other trails simply can’t. For starters, the trail is positioned nicely in the rain shadow of Whiteface Mountain. In addition, the soil here is more sandy than other trails in the area, and when faced with precipitation, it has the ability to dry more quickly than the surrounding trails. This is a favorite of riders who need to get out there and don't want to wait around for the rain to clear.
Trail Disclaimer: New York State Public Forest Preserve lands are included in this trail network. Please be advised that legal hunting and trapping activities may occur at any time of year within the Forest Preserve.
Poor Man’s Downhill
Poor Man’s Downhill, or PMD as the locals call it, is a 3-mile trail that descends over 1,200 vertical feet. Poor Man’s was originally built as a trail for snowmobiling but has become more popular with the mountain biking community. We should mention that there’s a reason it’s called "Poor Man’s." If you find yourself out of control on this ride one too many times, you’ll likely be buying yourself some new (probably expensive) bike parts. With that said, full suspension bikes are recommended for this trail, but downhill bikes aren’t necessary.
PMD offers three well-defined sections: the upper being the most technical and challenging; the middle section offers some smooth, fast, and almost pedal-free riding, while the lower section allows fast and smooth riding with only a few rocky sections. The last 1/2 mile is on private property, so remember to stay on the trail. Follow the signs and exit the woods (and grab a bite to eat) at Up a Creek restaurant, where they have graciously allowed trail users to park their cars while riding the trail. Head to PMD, find your speed, and hold on to your wallet for some gnarly downhill riding.
Trail Disclaimer: While most of PMD is on state forest preserve lands, the bottom 3/4 mile and the parking area are on private lands. Please stay on the trail, leash pets, and respect private property.
Wilmington Bike Park
In the heart of the Adirondack mountain biking capital is where you’ll find the aptly named Wilmington Bike Park. Nestled directly behind the Little Supermarket, the bike park has jumps, a skills area, and a well-built pump track. The park is free and open to the public during daylight hours.
The Wilmington Bike Park isn't just any park, it was designed by Kyle Ebbett, a former World Cup Downhill Mountain Bike Racer, dirt jump professional, and course designer for multiple pro-level mountain bike events. The park is a great place for new riders to build confidence and experienced riders to improve their skills and it is a testament to the community's love of mountain biking. Volunteers, like the Hardy Kids, have created and maintained the park to a standard you'd expect of a park with an entry fee. What's more, a quick ride down the street to Preston Festival Field gives you a clear view of Whiteface Mountain in all its glory.
The Wilmington Bike Park also holds the annual Wilmington Mountain Bike Festival. The festival brings together mountain bikers from all over to celebrate the sport they love so much at the park that was built from that very same love of the sport. No matter what your skill level, this place offers something fun just for you!
Three Sisters Trails (AKA Quaker Mountain Trail)
Finally, the Three Sisters Trail, also known as the Quaker Mountain Trail, is located in Wilmington, NY. The Three Sisters Trail is relatively new and offers the unique feature of a downhill ride designed specifically for beginners! This trail is relatively flat with minimal rocks and roots. It's a very smooth and flowy trail that offers plenty of jumps that can be avoided should you feel you’re not ready. The trail is rated easy (green), is just over a mile long, and has a descent of 315 feet. This is a great trail to build confidence, choose your path, and have downhill fun on a relatively easy ride!
Bonus: Whiteface Veterans' Memorial Highway
While the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway may not be your traditional mountain biking experience, it is, for all intents and purposes, biking on a mountain. For just $15 or a $60 season pass, you can ride your bike up Whiteface's highway. Once you make it to the parking area, you can walk to the summit and enjoy the views, head to the gift shop, or fuel up for the ride down at the 4610' Grille. The views here are definitely worth the effort but don't just take our word for it!
There's no better place to mountain bike in the Adirondacks than in the Whiteface Region. Take a day, weekend, or plan a trip and experience everything else the region has to offer. There's plenty of places to stay, eat, and things to do. Discover your new favorite trail, then discover what makes the Whiteface Region so great. Plan your trip today!