Five2Ride: Five of the Best MTB Trails in New York

photo: kellyrides
photo: kellyrides

New York is known as the Empire State, due in large part to the state’s influence in US business, culture, and industry. But New York is also quietly building a singletrack empire, one that’s based on high quality, accessible mountain bike trails located throughout the state. As the largest northeastern US state, New York boasts multiple mountain ranges and vast wild areas begging for mountain bikers to explore.

We combed through hundreds of trails reviews on Singletracks, consulted with forum regulars, and reached out to some of the groups building trails in New York to determine which trails are tops in the state. As far as we can tell, the following MTB trails are the best of the best.

Blue Mountain

photo: bikeit420
photo: bikeit420

The Blue Mountain trails are located near Peekskill just east of the Hudson River and offer great scenery, with countless ponds and rock outcroppings dotting the park. The park features beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails, though advanced riders will probably enjoy Blue Mountain the most thanks to regular root webs and rock gardens. Some riders report the trails are difficult to follow and may not be well marked, so be sure to pick up a map.

“Best riding 1 hr outta NYC! It’s big, technical, rock, climbing everywhere and big log rolls. Been riding it for years. Out of the back parking lot blue mountain park I take lower and upper stringer to monster mxb then Ned’s left lung back up to the top. If you still have gas in the tank after that than any of the singletrack down is killer, and don’t forget yin and yang at the bottom to finish out your ride. For map go to! Have fun!” -Liberty

Ellicottville Trail System

photo: Ryan W McCarthy
photo: Ryan W McCarthy

Ellicottville is New York’s lone IMBA Epic trail system, boasting more than 31 miles of singletrack in McCarty Hill State Forest. The trail system ties into the lift-served Holiday Valley Ski Area and is maintained by the Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association. Ellicottville is known for its long steep climbs and descents, and for its technical trails pocked with rocks and roots. Trails are accessible from the town of Ellicottville, making it a good basecamp for a weekend of mountain biking. Be sure to pick up a map at the Bike and Bean shop before you hit the trails.

“Excellent trails! Eagle Trail climb will punish even seasoned bikers, but also put a huge grin on the way back. Trails are rooty, rocky, twisty, and flowy. It’s a true Epic ride.
A few trails were not rideable because of deadfall and barely visible, though. Wish I had my portable saw this time with me. Otherwise very well built and maintained trail system that everyone should put on Wish list.” -stumpyfsr

Glacier Ridge

photo: Zhendrickson
photo: Zhendrickson

The Glacier Ridge trail system is located on Long Island, the largest and longest island in the contiguous United States. Not only that, nearly 40% of the population of the state of New York lives on Long Island, making it a huge population center. Concerned Long Island Mountain Bikers (CLIMB) is the local club that maintains the trails at Glacier Ridge, and the club is on track to have built 20 miles of trails within 20 minutes of any community on Long Island. Talk about accessible trails!

CLIMB president Michael Vitti describes Glacier Ridge as a “13-mile pump track,” and its location near the center of the island makes it a popular spot among local riders and visitors alike. As the name suggests,Glacier Ridge does offer decent climbs and descents, with about 150 feet of elevation separating the high and low points in the network.

“Very well built. Super flowy. Can keep your speed up most hills. And down hills you can most of the time keep your speed with good berms. Very well packed. Rode in the semi wet winter conditions and it was still wonderful and couldn’t ask for better traction. I definitely had fun.” -Cameron Litviak

Shindagin Hollow

photo: Singletracks guest.
photo: Singletracks guest.

The Central New York Mountain Bike Association takes great pride in building and maintaining excellent singletrack in the Finger Lakes region of New York, as the trails at Shindagin Hollow clearly demonstrate. This 17-mile network offers 600 feet of elevation between the high and low points with trails ranging from technical to flowy.

“Best trail system in Central New York! Offers trails for all types of riders. Singletrack with flow sections, roots and technical terrain, hills, and obstacles.” -chefmantjtiii

Stewart State Forest

photo: RoadWarrior
photo: RoadWarrior

Also known as Stewart Airport, the massive Stewart State Forest trail network offers something for just about everyone. For the most part, the trails are  smooth and fast, with occasional natural features to keep things interesting. Mountain bikers can easily create a 20+ mile ride at Stewart State Forest without any repeats. Most climbs and descents are fairly short, but the rolling terrain means plenty of ups and downs throughout the ride.

“Great place to begin. You can do up to 20-mile loops. Very well maintained trail system. […] Tough to get lost but it is such a huge playground to have fun with. There are fire roads, paved and unpaved, and singletrack branching off of them. 3-4 main parking lots on north, east and southwest sides. This place really got me passionate about riding. Tons of friendly people that ride or run there also. Some nice views of ponds and some steep downhills that you have to search for.” -mahoney072

Honorable Mentions

Once again we had a hard time narrowing our list to just five trails, so here are a few more trails worth checking out.

Rocky Point: Another popular CLIMB-built mountain bike trail on Long Island, Rocky Point offers more than a dozen miles of flowy singletrack.

Cunningham Park: Located in New York City, Cunningham features seven miles of flowy mountain bike trails with another three miles set to be added this year. And this isn’t even the only singletrack trail located in NYC; Highbridge in Manhattan sports a pump track and a couple miles of trails as well.

Round Top (aka Roundtopia): Word on the street is this well-marked trail system features a German beer garden at the trailhead.

Your Turn: Which other trails do you consider “must-ride” in the state of New York?

Thanks to Michael Vitti of CLIMB for his assistance putting this list together.

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