Two Years In The Making

Ellicottville is well known for its attractive spread of available outdoor activities – from hiking and biking, to golfing and swimming, to the more daring and adventurous attractions like Sky High Adventure Park … not to mention the multitude of events and festivals hosted throughout the summer season.  There are so many options for the outdoor enthusiast here. 
 
The local mountain biking community alone has grown in popularity over the course of the past few years, and understandably so.  With 30+ miles of trail right in our backyard and some smaller, 12-mile singletrack areas nearby, avid riders can cover plenty of ground each time they change into their riding gear.
 
Ahem … the trail system here in Ellicottville just got more exciting!
 
On National Trails Day, Saturday, June 6, the Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association (WNYMBA) held the Grand Opening of the newest Ellicottville trail, dubbed the “Black Trail”.  In the works for two years, WNYMBA was excited to proclaim it open for all hikers, cyclists, snowshoers, and skiers.
 
The new trail is located close to the village; the trailhead sits about halfway between Holiday Valley’s Spruce Lake and the top of Holiday Valley’s Tannenbaum lift.  Though nestled right against the ski area, unless you are willing to climb up through the Valley’s trail, one will need to drive to Great Valley and then take Mutton Hollow to the top of the hill to access the trailhead by car.
 
This new Black Trail was constructed as a replacement to the “White Trail” (also known as the Finger Lakes Trail or North Country Trail).  Although the White Trail was enjoyed by all human powered users since its construction over 20 years ago, hiking groups recently convinced state forest managers to convert it to single use status, shutting out other local trail users. 
 
Fortunately, the managers approved the construction of a parallel trail to be open for shared use.  Those familiar with the terrain in this area know it to be very rocky, but WNYMBA broke out the rock bars and a lot of elbow grease to move the boulders into a giant jigsaw puzzle, providing a relatively flat tread in the rockiest areas.  It is still quite a challenge, however, and local cyclists will be aspiring to make the whole 2-mile length without “dabbing”.
 
Get your gear and head up to the top of Mutton Hollow Road and check out Ellicottville’s newest trail!  If you’re feeling extra tough, be sure to sign up for 6 Hours of Power – one of the region’s most demanding and white-knuckled mountain bike races of the year.  Slated for Sunday, July 12 at Holiday Valley Resort, the course covers a 10-mile lap with over 1200’ of elevation changes and consists of over 75% single track.   (Don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for passing on local ski resort fire roads and short gravel road recovery sections.)  Soloists and tag-teams are invited to see how they stack up against the rest of the field in the winners’ circle.  Full details (including course description and registration) can be found at www.heartrateup.com.
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