Local Flavours: The Complete Guide to Riding in North Conway, New Hampshire

Aug 3, 2020
by Brice Shirbach  

Local Flavours

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO RIDING IN
NORTH CONWAY, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Words, photos, & video by Brice Shirbach

Presented by Mt Washington Valley / State of NH / Ride NoCo

Note from the Author: This is a complete guide to riding your bicycle in North Conway, NH. It's not an attempt to circumvent current restrictions or guidelines when it comes to travel within the United States. We're currently in the midst of a still global pandemic, so while you may or may not be able to plan a trip here next week, the good news is that everything we've presented with this Local Flavours will still be relevant whenever it is appropriate to spend some time abroad. In the meantime enjoy the views, take some inspiration from what they've been cooking up, and please stay safe out there. These trails and rad people will definitely be ready for you when the time comes.


I am not normally one to engage in hyperbole. It's like when your friends are taking you for a ride on their local trails for the first time and you're on a grunt of a climb when they tell you that you're only 5 minutes from the top. 15 minutes later you're cursing them between breaths as the top of the climb is nowhere in sight. Okay, that might not technically be hyperbolic, but it's quite annoying and to the point, a bit misleading. More often than not, a rider's excitement toward a particular section of trail, or entire region, can lead them to make some statements that might prove to be a bit misleading about their experience or the expectations of the folks they're speaking with. It's important for me to establish that with you, because what I am about to say is not hyperbolic, and I'm as surprised as anyone to hear it come from my mouth. I think that North Conway, New Hampshire is home to the best trails on the east coast.

I should add a few notes to that statement as well. First, I hate the "east coast" qualifier there. I'm still processing my week in town and I may ultimately conclude that it has my favorite trails in all of the Lower 48. I did wreck on Kandagnar as we tried to squeeze one more ride out of my first full day in town, and it came at the cost of a sprained wrist and shoulder. Don't worry, the tree I nuked was just fine. The point being that my riding was limited to that day and that day only. However, my eyes worked just fine and what I saw while staying strictly behind the lens was enough for me to recognize that this stuff is right there with the goods in the PNW at the very least. Second, I recognize that the statement I made is entirely subjective, and it comes with me recognizing that the kinds of trails and riding that I prefer might not be everyone's cup of tea. But I like it steep, loamy, raw and rowdy, and North Conway has more of that than any other place I can think of outside of BC. Finally, making that kind of a claim isn't meant to create any kind of consternation about all of the other amazing places we have to ride bikes, or spark a vitriolic debate about the merits of your trails versus another. Just the opposite. I'm a firm believer in the power of inspiration, and think that surprises like North Conway are serving up a feast of inspirational terrain and riders. Sound good? Are we all cool? Good, because damn, this place is the truth.


Brice Shirbach // Local Flavours
Age: 38
Location: Wilmington, DE, USA
Supporters: Pivot Cycles, Maxxis Tires, Pearl Izumi, 9point8, Julbo, Shimano, Stan's No Tubes, Deity Components, Dialed Health, Loam Coffee
Instagram: @bricycles
Favorite Trail in North Conway: Charlie Don't Surf
Preferred Terrain: Steep 'n loamy.


Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
New Hampshire's White Mountains are perhaps the most heralded range east of the Rockies.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
A group of two-wheeled children of the forest...

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
...under the gaze of a winged child of the forest.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
North Conway is truly paradise for those who are looking to call a mountain town home.

Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Mount Washington might not be the highest peak east of the Mississippi, but it's definitely the most legendary.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
While it's the steep and technical terrain that sets this place apart from the rest, there are many trails dedicated to riders of all ages.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
The White Mountains are best experienced with friends both old and new.

A Bit About the Region

Long before European settlers landed on these shores and eventually named this carrot shaped territory New Hampshire, the Pequawket, Abenaki, and Wabanaki Confederacy indigenous people called what is now the Mount Washington Valley home. Flanked to the west by the Presidential Mountain Range which includes Mount Washington, and to the east by Maine, North Conway is home to 2,300 people according to the last census taken a decade ago. The Saco River, its name derived from the Abenaki meaning "land where the river comes out", flows from nearby Crawford Notch, through town and eventually into Maine before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean via the Saco Bay.

North Conway is well known for several outdoor and recreational pursuits, most notably skiing during the Winter months with 4 different resorts a stone's throw from downtown, and of course the legendary backcountry of Mount Washington is also nearby. In fact, Olympic and World Cup DH skier Leann Smith hails from the area and still calls it home. Mountaineering and rock climbing have long been recognized as world class, particularly at Cathedral Ledge, one of North Conway's most notable landmarks.

While outlet shopping has certainly provided a boost in recent years, the heart of North Conway is still full of artisan sensibilities, with loads of mom and pop shops, micro coffee roasters, and classic New England inns and outdoors shops lining the northern portion of the White Mountain Highway, which effectively serves as North Conway's "Main Street". If you were to grab a seat on the patio of Frontside Roasters during peak tourist season, you'd likely enjoy some people watching if that's your sort of thing. Of course, you'd also take note of the growing number of full suspension mountain bikes attached to cars with license plates from up and down the northeast. Those people are here for the same exact thing that we are: the unbelievably brilliant trails that are scattered throughout North Conway and the mountains that surround it.

Getting to North Conway

The thing about traveling to this part of the country is that it won't take you long to notice the lack of interstate highways available to motorists. The densest collection of the interstate system in New Hampshire can be found in the southern portion of the Granite State near its capital, Concord, and points south. Anywhere north of Lake Winnipesauke will be serviced by state and county roads, which means speeds often range from 25 mph to 55 mph on the same two-lane road depending on the community you're driving through. New Hampshire's low population density and beautiful landscape make for decidedly scenic driving nonetheless. Portland, Maine is the closest population center, located 62 miles to the southeast with a :90 minute drive time to North Conway. Other cities and respective drive times include: Boston, MA (2:40), Montreal, QC (3:45), Providence, RI (3:30), and New York, NY (5:30).

The nearest major international airport can be found in Boston, at Boston Logan International Airport, although the Portland International Jetport is about an hour closer, albeit much smaller and with generally higher fares.

While there are notable scenic train tours in the area, including the Conway Scenic Railroad and the Mount Washington Cog Railway, there is no actual passenger service to or from North Conway. There is bus service which brings you to the Eastern Slope Resort in the heart of downtown serviced by Concord Coach Lines. Please check their website for COVID-19 related updates.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
A riding respite on Cathedral Ledge is a must-do.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
All smiles at Marshall Conservation Area.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Moody mountains provide a great backdrop for the final berm at the top of Hurricane trail.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
North Conway legend and former World Cup and Olympic downhill skier, Leann Smith also flies down mountains on two wheels.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
There are slabs and views here that would make people from BC feel right at home.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Austin Orth, owner and founder of Frontside Roasters, brewing up some roost on Charlie Don't Surf.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
The new flow trails on Cranmore might be beginner friendly, but they're also fun for more advanced riders.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Pete Ostroski is one of the 5 fastest enduro racers in America, and there's a good reason he is still happy to call NOCO home.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Mike Leblanc is responsible for developing the next generation of American ski talent during the winter months, and keeps busy when the snow melts by building some of the area's best trails.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Flow and fun for days down Shumway trail.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
The Ostroski family is about that bike life.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH


The Best Trails to Ride in North Conway

It's all so good here that I don't know where to start. As heavy as many of the lines can be in North Conway, the truth is that there are trails here for virtually every type of rider, from beginners to pros and park rats to backcountry gurus. I mentioned earlier that there are plenty of lift served options that are reasonably close, including Cranmore Resort which will is entering its first year as a lift-served option as well as Highland and Attitash, but for the sake of this list we're going to stick to trails and network within North Conway proper, as there's more than enough in town to keep the grins going for a week or more.

Hurricane Mountain
Think Squamish but with less crowds. It has incredible dirt, loads of extended fall line options, gaps, slabs, and high speeds. Hurricane Mountain is actually connected to Cranmore Mountain Resort via a ridge, which is where most of this trails drop down from. The White Mountain Bicycle Coalition is working with land owners there and expect to begin working on a new connector trail by the start of August.
Key trail - Kandagnar: What a trail. It's brilliant from start to finish. Early on the pitch is enough to keep the speeds high and the fingers off of the brakes while the constant bumps, lumps and corners keep things loose before the terrain dives down and the first of many chutes and gaps take over. Definitely recommended for advanced riders and up.
Key trail - Charlie Don't Surf: This might be one of my favorite trails...ever. It starts at the top of Cranmore Mountain and features unbelievably good dirt, loads of natural hits, and takes you through a variety of zones of the mountain. The fall line section through the fern meadow towards the bottom is breathtakingly good. Keep your eyes peeled for some Barred Owls in these woods!
Key trail - Hurricane: Formerly known as Smoothie, it's a super fun and playful downhill with machine built sections at the top before the trail transitions into a more natural state about midway down. The line of sight is awesome throughout, and the Easter eggs are plentiful for more advanced riders.

West Side
Whitehorse Ledge and Cathedral Ledge are the primary zones on the West Side, and this area is home to some absolutely stunning rides and views. Access to many of the trails is via Cathedral Ledge Rd, which you can take to the top for some stunning views of the Mount Washington Valley before dropping in, or cut off midway up for various singletrack connectors.
Key trail - Bryce Path: This isn't a long trail, but it is one of the gnarliest descents you'll find in all of New England. It starts on slab before taking a steep and deep dive into the woods, and is relentlessly technical and jarring. High risk, very high reward.
Key trail - Half Day: I could wax poetic about the dirt on most of the trails between those found on the West Side and those found on or around Cranmore, but Half Day in particular is something special if you have an affinity for brown pow. It's an au naturel playground, with barely a straightforward camber to be found, and more roost than I can describe without the use of joyous expletives. Take some time to take in the view from Cathedral Ledge before you drop in.

Marshall Creek Preservation Area
This is definitely the family friendly zone in North Conway. While there are certainly a few moments to get creative and make some shapes, the trails here are much more purpose built and feature a very friendly gradient for new riders. The trails are well marked and there's plenty of signage as well, so you can easily combine any number of trails for any number of routes depending on your energy level and time.
Key trail - Shumway: This is a main draw for the Marshall trails, and for good reason: it's a machine built rollercoaster. There are a few optional features, some high speeds and nice corners to keep you smiling throughout the mile long descent.
Key trail - Muzzy's: Muzzy's is super short and super sweet, and could be an ideal trail if you're looking for a trail you can rinse and repeat on as you build up confidence to carry more speed in and out of corners, and look to take your tires off of the ground with greater frequency. It has a similar feel as Shumway, but maybe with a few more optional side hits.

Mount Surprise
This section isn't well represented on Trailforks, so until they do get more trails online, your best bet is to reach out to WMBC for assistance in navigating the trails. That said, there is some impressive hike-a-bike terrain that really elevates the level of offerings from North Conway to world class status. This is the type of terrain that will help you understand the impetus for modern long travel enduro bikes. Parking for access to these trails is currently a work in progress, so for now locals ask that you park at Cranmore and pedal over, or just start your adventure from town. Look for future trail developments in this zone in the coming years.

Cranmore Mountain Resort
Chris Lewando was contracted by the resort to build three beginner friendly options as the mountain embarks on its first year of offering lift served riding for North Conway. While the trails weren't officially named while I was in town, I did have a chance to sample some of the goods, and the work Chris has done deserves a round of applause. While definitely beginner friendly, the trails have more than enough easter eggs available for more advanced riders looking to make some shapes and have fun on the way down, and each trail is actually quite different from one another, a harder task than it would seem to be on paper. Hopefully this is just the beginning, because Cranmore has the terrain to support the kind of bike park that would compete with the Killingtons and Highlands of the world.


Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Steeps, loam, and slabs from this point on.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
The Ostroski family pushes up one of Cranmore's new flow offerings for a sneak preview with lead designer and builder, Chris Lewando.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
One way to get up.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Between two ferns on some NOCO loam and tech.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Muzzy's is the newest descent down the Marshall Conservation network of trails.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Mount Washington looming somewhere behind the clouds as Pete Ostroski looms somewhere above Cranmore Resort.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
The pitch coupled with the extended vertical relief found in North Conway is very rare for legal trails outside of the PNW.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Chris Mckay: mild mannered tax accountant by day, WMBC President and wild man on the trails by night.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Alyssa Deane leads Chris Mckay and Mike Leblanc down Hurricane's berm-laden start.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Poppa and Peter Ostroski getting some quality time in together on Cranmore's new lift-served flow trail.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH


Weather:

Did you know that the "world's worst weather" is a rather dubious superlative currently held by the granite monster that holds eternal watch over North Conway and the surrounding area, otherwise known as Mount Washington? The top of the 6,288.2 foot summit aside, Spring, Summer, and Autumn are actually quite nice in North Conway. Low lying trails around town typically begin to open up to mountain bikes in mid-March, with the higher elevation trails opening about a month or so later. Average high temperatures range from the mid-40's(F) in March to as high as 81(F) in July. The season typically runs until the snow starts to fly by the end of November. At times the Presidential Range will often stop storms in their tracks while other times causing them to stall out over the Mount Washington Valley, so if you're planning a Summertime trip, be prepared for anything in the mountains.


Bike Advice:

There is something for everyone in these here parts. Venerable freeride playground Highland Mountain Bike Park is just an hour or so to the south, and one of the east coast's rowdiest race venues in Attitash Mountain Resort is just 15 minutes to the west of town. Both are very much downhill bike appropriate. However, you could easily spend a week in town and not feel particularly compelled to leave the natural playground that surrounds North Conway.

North Conway has trails that could certainly be enjoyed on a dedicated XC bike, particularly in the Marshal Conservation network of trails, but if there's one bike you're going to want to have to maximize your time in town, it'll be that raked out, long travel enduro rig. Even on shuttle missions, you're going to need to do a bit of pedaling as you traverse ridges or punch up climbs before topping out. Of course it's the steep, high speed, very rough, and very rowdy descents that you're here for and it's exactly the kind of terrain most long travel trail bikes were built for.


Local Clubs and Advocates:

The White Mountain Bicycle Coalition (a.k.a. Ride NoCo) have been and continue to work their tails off exploring new zones, building new trails, resurrecting old ones, and establishing relationships with various land managers to make this magic happen. This isn't a big town in terms of population, so there's not an especially large pool of people to pull from as far as membership goes which can obviously lead to limited resources. Still, that hasn't stopped these guys from doing something special here, and even if you don't call this place home there's nothing wrong with becoming a member yourself to show them some support.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
North Conway is a mountain town paradise in the heart of the Mount Washington Valley.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Happy times reign supreme in these parts.

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Brice’s Travel Provided by Cruise America

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH

Photos from Local Flavours North Conway NH
Check out my full gallery of images here.

Accommodations and Food:

Tourism is a very big part of North Conway's economy, so you can bet that there are a plethora of lodging and restaurant options in town per capita. Lodging ranges from spacious, high end options, to family friendly themed hotels, to quaint B&B's, all the way to rustic camping in the National Forest. I stayed at the Eastern Slope Resort, which put me within a short walking distance of Frontside Coffee Roasters and other local favorites, and a short pedal away from some of the best trails in the region. I had plenty of space for my bikes, all of my gear, plus the kitchenette came in quite handy for hot coffee in the morning, and a cold cider at night. You can find a complete listing of available lodging options in town here.

NOCO's food scene was stronger than expected considering the rural and remote-ish setting. There's a strong sense of artisan sensibilities, particularly in downtown with places like Frontside Coffee Roasters, who provide small batch coffee roasted in town, as well as delicious sandwiches and baked goods, leading the charge. Of course being a coastal New England state means that seafood is a win, and you can keep your diet as clean as you like with vegan and gluten-free options as well.

Breakfast:
Grab a coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Frontside Coffee Roasters before your all day adventure.
Priscilla's Country Kitchen has you covered for a classic New England breakfast.
Bagels Plus has you covered, you know, with bagels and such.

Lunch:
Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery is an area staple.
Wicked Fresh Craft Burgers is an "indie" take on American fast food where you can build your own burgers and dogs using locally sourced ingredients.

Dinner:
The Flatbread Company cooks up earth-oven fired pizzas with locally sourced, organic ingredients.
I love me some Thai food, and Bangkok Cafe serves it up nicely, plus they're big supporters of the mountain bike community.
American staples plus sushi? You got it at Delaney's Hole in the Wall, a local favorite for drinks and dinner.

Local Bike Shops:

Protune & Mtn Cultre is the go-to for professional grade service, applicable riding gear, and is just a few minutes north of town in Jackson, NH.
Bob and Terry's is the local authorized Trek dealer in town.
Stan and Dan's is a well known ski and boot fitter, and also have a solid road and mountain bike sales selection.

Other tips:

1. Hike Mount Washington: Yes, the Cog Railway is a huge tourist attraction here, but if you're up for it, the hike is well worth the extra time and energy. Views into Vermont, Maine, and Canada are abundant, and spending time in the alpine east of the Mississippi is pretty special.
2. Embrace Your Inner Monkey: In addition to world class trails throughout its property, Cranmore Resort is also home to its Aerial and Mountain Adventure Parks. Swing from the trees in our Aerial Adventure Park, zoom down the Mountain Coaster, arch high into the sky on the Giant Swing and zip on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line year round plus so much more!
3. Take a dip in Echo Lake: Situated at the base of Cathedral Ledge, Echo Lake State Park offers up plenty for the family, including swimming, hiking, rock climbing, and fishing.


North Conway mountain biking trails

Regions in Article
North Conway


85 Comments

  • 63 8
 It’s all a lie. Don’t come here. Stay away. The riding is absolutely terrible.
  • 21 5
 Haha, classic and original comment!
  • 10 11
 @chrisclifford: Thanks man I tried really hard, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
  • 5 3
 Too many rocks. Too many routes. Climb is too big. Descent is too long. There are too many trails to keep track of. Just a terrible place to ride.
  • 8 18
flag Shinkers (Aug 3, 2020 at 7:21) (Below Threshold)
 If it's anything like my local scene, there's already enough people at the trailhead without a 'local flavours' article like this. Sure it's awesome to showcase great trails and the people who worked on them but it's always a bummer to see your favorite trail being advertised all over Facebook or IG as a some cool little secret trail to get away from the crowds.
  • 23 0
 @Shinkers: for the record, this isn't me running and gunning guerilla style. This is done because the community wants it done. Thanks for reading!
  • 4 0
 @bonkmasterflex: land sharks! You forgot to mention land sharks. They are everywhere. They love out of staters!!!....then there’s quick sand.
  • 43 11
 You forgot to show parking lots full of massholes, bumper to bumper tourist traffic getting through town, and the endless expanse of generic outlet malls. The riding is good though.
  • 10 7
 Masshole here!
  • 2 3
 wtf how come it censored me and not you?
  • 26 13
 @Kashima: Thanks for self-identifying. Stay down there in Joey land. The Pats might be on, you might miss them. Or the Sox. Go to Dunks and get an extrah lahge and just chill out in your 3 deckah. Dont gas up your blacked out Yukon and drive up 93.
  • 21 7
 Be greatful for the ma*sholes...if it weren't for them, NH's tourism economy would be non-existent.
  • 1 2
 You have to know the secret backroads to avoid all the traffic. I have lived in NH my whole life, except 3 months in TX, and while I hike and ski up in the North Conway area all the time in the Fall and Winter I have yet to ride my bike up there. I will need to change that soon.
  • 15 2
 I grew up just south of there in Peterborough. I still miss my hometown trails (that apparently the locals keep off TF) and I've never lived in a place with bad ones. Natural New England jank is still some of the most fun kinda trail to ride. Great pics!
You can get to a lot of places flying in/out of Manchester. Way better than Logan.
  • 2 0
 I live in the metropolis of P'boro. Were you riding Casalis back in the day? Cranberry meadow pond?
  • 1 0
 @JonathanPBoro: Sure was! Casalis was my go-to in HS. Fav of all-time is still Temple to Sharon via Wapack and then return via Casalis. Cranberry Meadow trail was built after I left for college in '99. I heard Cubby Scott connecting Tarbell to Windy Row and McDowell is no more. That was a classic and my first ever MTB ride. We sometimes road the trails out at Sargent Camp, too. I heard there's a crew in Greenfield building good stuff?
  • 2 0
 @laksboy: I've been riding Casalis and Sargent camp for ten years now, and the Greenfield Trail Association is alive and well, making green tunnels. Dropping into Sharon from ledge to ledge, through the blueberries, so good!
  • 12 1
 Dude NoCo is just too packed these days. There is good stuff just over the notch in Gorham now and you get the place to yourself. Great article though. Mike used to build trails down here in RI at Lincoln Woods. Sure do miss him.
  • 10 0
 Moat Mountain Restaurant and Brewery deserves a mention here. Great beer and its a smokehouse.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I have no idea how they missed that lol
  • 6 1
 Great write up! Had the pleasure of visiting for a weekend recently. The ample remote camping, fun fly-fishing, and good scenery helps out too.

I'd say until Victory Hill in Vermont is revived, NoCo really is the crown jewel of New England trails (if you like rough, punishing pounding downhills with massive rocks and roots).

Hurricane, Kandagnar, and Sendero were my favorites.

Coming from the land of slippery rocks and roots, the insane grip offered by the granite in NH is pretty darn fun!
  • 5 0
 Such an amazing area, with incredible trails. I visited years ago after finding The red tail trail listed as an IMBA epic, and now go as often as possible. Also has Attitash resort nearby. Good food, coffee and beer in town. Sad I cant visit till the border opens.
As usual great article @briceshirbach, your Whitefish article last year was responsible for a 2 month US trip through almost 20 states, finishing in incredible Whitefish.
Also check @projectnortheast youtube for more good NoCo vids.
  • 5 0
 That's incredibly kind of you and I'm so stoked to read that you utilized the Whitefish guide! I can't overstate the brilliance of North Conway's riding. I think that once we're all cleared to travel again, this should be at the top of most people's to-do list. Cheers!
  • 12 8
 So stoked to see this area come in to it's true potential as a destination of world class gnarly trails! #beastcoast If people want a closer look at some of the trails, head over to my Youtube channel. Lots of new stuff being worked on as well, can't wait to see the builders handiwork! Nice Write up Brice and banger pics!
  • 4 0
 Made it up a few weeks ago for a long weekend. The trails on Hurricane Mt are an absolute blast. I’m already planning a return trip. We were lucky enough to meet Mike LeBlanc as he and we were dropping in for our first run. Great guy, and he gave us the lowdown on what trails to hit and what to avoid. Kandagnar to Senduro might just be the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike. And the new section on Charlie Don’t Surf in insanely fun. Kudo to Ride NoCo and everyone involved in the trails up there!
  • 4 0
 I'm NH born and bred. Lived here my whole life. NoCo has come so far and the riding is the best around as long as you don't mind throngs of tourists. It's definitely worth it in my opinion. If you're b planning an extended trip here to ride, do yourself a favor and make time for Highland Bike Park, you'll be glad you did.
  • 6 0
 LeBlanc has built some epic stuff in the Plymouth area as well. Nice article!
  • 2 0
 Is that the Rattlesnake stuff? So good, either way.
  • 4 0
 Mike is a really nice, cerebral dude and he builds some incredible trails. Shreds too!
  • 1 0
 Tell me more. The stuff I used to ride in the mid-90s while at Plymouth State is all gone I believe and would love to see the new stuff.
  • 1 0
 @Offrhodes: the Plymouth sean was better 10 years ago but if you haven’t ridden there since the 90s you’d still have some fun, it’s mostly old school tec but some decent DHs. The better trails aren’t on trail forks but aren’t hard to find.
  • 3 0
 He also led the development of a really sick network of trails in Diamond Hill, RI.
  • 3 0
 @Offrhodes: they've built some new flow style stuff thats all marked and mapped on the actual Fox Park land. I graduated PSU in 05 and most of the off the map stuff is still there and has been fairly well maintained over the past few years. I dont want to blow up mikes spot too much but if you explore the other side of Texas Hill, you'll have a good time.
  • 3 0
 So cool! I live in CA now but before was in New England and every weekend at North Conway. Back then climbing at cathedral ledge, whitehorse during summer and winter. This post brings back so many memories - coffee at frontside grind, flatbread pizza from across the st. Thanks!
  • 3 0
 Just got back from a trip up to NoCo 2 weeks ago. My last trip there was 2 years ago and holy s%$t, the amount of new stuff is off the charts! There is no doubt the local stoke runs high there and I know from experience that when Mike Leblanc gets motivated, amazing trails appear. Can;t wait for my next trip to NoCo.
  • 3 0
 Awesome to see the scene blowing up a bit. I spent most of my life in New Hampshire and came out West 7 years ago. Next time I'm visiting I will have to bring my bike out. Would be awesome to see the new trails and how modern bikes can handle east coast Jank. People think we have rocky trails here in Arizona but nothing compares to the endless boulder field that is New Hampshire
  • 1 0
 Also....those trails look insane! haha wish that scene was like it is now when I was first up there. I absolutely love the Desert but the whites are one of the prettiest places in the world. I can't imagine the crowds on the trails during foliage but I'm sure it would be epic
  • 3 0
 @OTB-Raspberry:
The crowds are not bad at all. Typical NH cynical over exaggerated ‘stay away’ mentality prevails up here as like everywhere in NE. Gotta love it.

I literally live at the base of Hurricane and I’ve never experienced an overcrowded trail. The Shear amount of trail in this area can handle the traffic.
  • 1 0
 @elsinore: haha that’s good to hear. Haha I have lots of memories of hiking the Lafayette Loop in a conga line of people (always worth it). Haha I do miss that New England cynicism. I used to ride a lot at Fomba is when I was in late highschool/ college days but the trails in the whites look like another level. Will have to get back there once covid settles down a bit. I’ve got a 5010 and a Bronson and those trails look a bit better suited to the Bronson. Stoked!!
  • 1 0
 @OTB-Raspberry: Just moved from Tucson to the NE. I was a bit skeptical of what the riding would be like prior to moving. But now I am amazed with how beautiful and epic the trails are out here. Out in Tucson, the sharp rocks will eat you up, out here in the NE, the roots combined with the rocks will eat you up. And in terms of difficulty, both locations seems to be on par with each other. One thing I do like better out here is the plentiful amount of features built up..way more jumps and drops to play on both in the bike parks and outside of the bike parks. In Tucson, they can't build those types of features because of forest service restrictions unfortunately ????.
  • 5 1
 Awesome write up & thanks for coming up! It was a pleasure to have you in town & you were a real professional to work with!
  • 3 0
 Thank you Brice!! Great job with this piece, those pics are unreal and we appreciate the flattering words. PS, you need to get back here soon. Charlie has had a few adjustments that will blow your mind!
  • 2 0
 Yeah I'll be back through in a couple of weeks!
  • 2 0
 Damn Elsinore, you're a PB Rockstar now! I really have to get up there for a tour. Family is looking good. Miss our trail days.
  • 1 0
 @neimbc:
Dude! I miss the RI scene as well. We actually went down last week and camped in Burlingame/ went to the beach. Get up here! Eric is coming up mid August.
Hope you are well!
  • 2 0
 @elsinore: Hey. I'll try to go up with him - Hope it's not on my kayak weekend in Maine. I've been riding well. All is good. Even put in a new (short) trail at DH over the winter - one Eric said he wanted to do. Kids are looking awesome.
  • 6 0
 bring back Parking Lot Smoothie!
  • 5 0
 To the real ones, it will always be Parking Lot Smoothie.
  • 3 3
 the “real ones” are a bunch of immature a*sholes!
  • 4 0
 The traffic in town is no joke in the summer. Bumper to bumper for the whole stretch. Went to get groceries in town once and it was an hour each way instead of 10 mins.
  • 3 0
 Use North South Rd or West Side Rd. Both bypass the main drag and will spit you out wherever you need to go.
  • 1 0
 There's no traffic if you know how to use the side streets.
  • 2 0
 Amazing as always; North Conway has been on the punch list for a few years from Maine and now that my son's more interested and capable on gnarly tech trails and climbing we'll have to bump it up Smile
  • 1 0
 Give yourself a couple of days, Kevin! You'll thoroughly enjoy it
  • 3 1
 Some baller photos Brice!

I always want to ride North Conway, but most hotels won't let you bring your bike inside... Any storage options you can recommend?
  • 1 0
 Try Airbnb or Vrbo. Plenty of condo options that are as cheap or cheaper than a hotel. Usually bike friendly. At the very least, they’ll have a deck to keep them on.
  • 1 0
 I've brought bikes into every place I've ever stayed up there. Just stick the small places that are set up like motor lodges. Tons of options.
  • 4 1
 Conway is definitely a sleeper destination. Proper jank, loam and steepness abound.
  • 2 0
 Thank you!!! Perfect timing on this article! I’m passing thru this weekend to Maine and now gonna stop for a day of riding!
  • 2 0
 Does anyone have information on when new trails with jumps and drops will be built? Will more trails be built off hurricane mountain road?
  • 5 0
 Ol -Dad-Dude FTW!
  • 3 0
 Yeah Mr. and Mrs. Ostroski are incredible! Life goals right there!
  • 1 0
 Few of my friends made the trip from Canada to North Conway 2 years ago, sucks I couldn't make it the riding looks freat from the photos they provided and this article ! Once I can cross the border i'll go for sure !
  • 1 0
 I meant looks great** don't know how to edit from phone :/
  • 4 0
 Mr. Ostroski Sr., you have won my heart.
  • 4 1
 Where are we drawing the line between cutties and skidding a turn, or do we not care anymore?
  • 2 0
 The line you speak of depends on how steep it is.
It’s steep in these parts.
  • 3 1
 I have ridden here and I will agree with the author. These were some of the best trails I have ever ridden.
  • 2 1
 Just made a trip last weekend to NoCo and it did not disappoint. Can't wait to get back and you definitely need a few days to really get the full experience.
  • 2 0
 Excellent work @briceshirbach! Ride NOCO has done some amazing work up there. Glad you got to experience Kandagnar.
  • 1 1
 Shuttled up hurricane mountain behind a Jeep on the bikes with a rope, three leads, and 2 good mates. On a 26 wheeled Kona Hoss hardtail SS, I sent the red tail trail. Summer: 2012
  • 3 1
 Always a good read, and awesome photos! Thanks @briceshirbach
  • 1 0
 Such a nice place, the riding, the people... Cant wait to go back there, once the border opens up ... Live free or die
  • 7 6
 Sad to not see anything about attitash
  • 8 3
 Why's that sad? I mentioned it in the story on a couple of occasions, but the density of world class trails right in town were more than enough for this piece. Thanks for reading!
  • 11 1
 @briceshirbach: Hey Brice, great article and photos. It's really neat to see my home captured so beautifully. I grew up in North Conway, and started mountain biking there as an 11-year-old in 2006. It's been wild to see it explode from a place that was only known to skiers and rock climbers, to seemingly everyone's favorite MTB destination in the northeast, all after I moved away.

To anyone who regularly mountain biked in the Mount Washington Valley prior to 2010, it's clear that Attitash sewed the seeds for what would become the NoCo MTB scene as we know it today. Kandagnar was built by folks* who frequented Attitash and even were on the Attitash trail crew from time to time. Back then, Kandagnar was really only accessible by shuttle for DH bikes, since enduro bikes wouldn't become mainstream for at least a few years. (Although I did on occasion ignore my better judgement and ride it on my XC bike.) The type of gravity-oriented ripper who enjoyed Kandagnar had to go to Attitash to get the hot laps in most of the time.

Fast-forwarding to the present, and Attitash is still expanding with fresh, steep, raw, loamy descents with the convenience of the chairlift. I don't know if they were able to open this summer, but it's certainly worth mentioning that it's normally available as an option for people who are really into raw descents like Kandagnar and want to get in the laps without burning matches pedaling up or working out the logistics of shuttling.

Adam (@transitions-are-neat) and I have both worked digging and maintaining trails at 'Tash in the past. So I thought I could expand a little on the frustration, although I of course don't speak for his experience specifically. In this kind of coverage, it's nice to see Attitash get a shoutout, particularly one that it doesn't have to share with Highland, which does not have much influence over the NoCo scene to speak of.

* @noonan7274 or @k3818919 can chime in to correct me if any of this is wrong.
  • 7 0
 @bemery: Attitash was not open during Brice's visit, and if it was I am sure he would have headed over that way. Everyone loves riding there, and Nate, Adam and crew do an amazing job!
  • 4 1
 @elsinore: I'm not too sure about that, Attitash is seeing less local support throughout the years and it is pretty disheartening. The bike shop tries to support the local trail organizations when we can for bike maintenance and even passes, but don't see much back in terms of a mention or event support.

I think @bemery said it pretty well, this is a nice article and it has a lot of information about the area, except the history here. Attitash developed a lot of the riders and helped influence the trails that we are starting to see. It is a shame that not many seem to support it.
  • 5 0
 @bemery: Totally fair! I've raced there a few times and I've always loved it. They weren't spinning lifts while I was in town, and quite honestly I really wanted to focus on non-bike park related trails. But I do have a lot of love for Attitash and appreciate the perspective!
  • 3 1
 #NewHampsireForDamnSure
  • 2 0
 Nice one..
  • 1 0
 I'm a comin' once that border opens.
  • 1 0
 Awesome! More local flavours, please!
  • 1 0
 Marshall today. . . Awesome. Wished I lived closer
  • 1 2
 Oh man, those super jerry cruise america RV’s.... Haha

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