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Video: Building & Riding a Brand New Flow Trail in New York

Sep 25, 2019
by Beny Huckaby  

Old Forge, located in the outdoor recreation paradise of the south-central Adirondack Park of New York, is developing a new trail system. The trail system covers ground from McCauley Mountain, a small single lift ski-area, down into the quaint little strip in the town of Old Forge. This video was filmed on a brand new trail named 'Dirt Safari', the last of three flow trails Jackson helped build along with myself under the direction of Eli Glesmann. With the help of many, there are beautiful flow trails being built each month.

Jackson and I laying it down into a fresh berm

The three of us were hired this summer by the Town of Webb (Old Forge) and the Adirondack Foothills Trails Alliance (AFTA) to install a comprehensive system of free flow trails into the McCauley Mountain/Maple Ridge area. Dirt Safari, the feature-packed trail shown in the video, was named after Water Safari, the town's enormous tourist destination that brings in over 200,000 people annually (Source: Rome Sentinel). It's almost a full mile of downhill chock-full of features and speedy sections.

Lead builder Eli Glesmann used his knowledge from his work at Rock Solid Contracting, a successful trail building company in Michigan, and taught us how to manicure a trail to appear as if a machine never passed through it. Many of the features on the new trails incorporate rocks for both reinforcement and drainage longevity. The use of rocks is mandatory in the heavily rock-laden Adirondack dirt. Three downhill-specific trails and a pair of two-way trails provide both a fun climb and descent. Large landings and confidence inspiring shapes along the trails provide a great platform to hone your riding skills. The trails are smooth enough for novice riders and packed with enough features to put a grin on the face of expert riders.
Courtesy of Eli Glesmann

Floating over a skipper in the pine section of Dirt Safari

In addition to the flow trails we built in the past year and a half, there are numerous classic Adirondack single track trails for the gnar connoisseurs out there. Many of the existing trails were born nearly 10 years back, when AFTA (Adirondack Foothills Trails Alliance) founding member Chuck Schweitzer began scratching trails in with just a metal rake and his persistent work ethic. Once it came time to build more trails in Old Forge, the town asked AFTA, Our local trailer building organization, to handle all the trail building operations.


All of the information you will need to find and ride the new trails can be found on Trailforks, and they are completely free to access. The area is loaded with attractions, as the town is packed with activities and opportunities to soak up the sun by the lake. When speaking with active AFTA/Cycle ADK member Matt VanSlyke who helped with the project, he said: “The whole trail system is accessible right from Main Street—you can ride it right from your hotel room.”

Mountain biking in Old Forge has a bright future, To get the full experience, plan on attending the October 5-6th Mountain Bike festival in Old Forge. There will be Giant and Growler Demos, live music, group rides, an adventure race, and smiles for miles. It's a great opportunity to meet other beast coasters and break into everything Old Forge and the Adirondacks have to offer. Personally, I can never get enough of the Adirondacks, and I am thrilled to be able to enjoy it with people who share my passion for mountain bikes. Lastly, just take a look at the scenery around Old Forge this fall (pictured below). See you there!

Courtesy of Eli Glesmann
Image Courtesy of Eli Glesmann

Words/Video: Beny Huckaby
Photos: Eli Glesmann

Regions in Article
Old Forge


41 Comments

  • 17 0
 I love seeing more singletrack built Upstate. Every time I got back to New York it seems there's another area to go ride. This is on my list for the next trip back east.
  • 1 0
 I did my first ever mtb race at McCauley Mountain, pretty cool to see. Ever ride in the Southern Tier (Binghamton)?
  • 2 0
 @plume: My first trail ride on my first MTB was in '92 at Chenango Valley State Park. Rode there about 5 years ago on a visit back to my hometown. Love the raw upstate NY singletrack.
  • 2 0
 @plume: raced at McCauley quite a bit in the late 90's!
  • 2 0
 @johnski: Also hit Chenango Valley too! Was that the place that used to have the Halloween /scary theme race in the late 90's. Al l those trails around there are so good
  • 2 0
 @johnski: That's wild! Replace '92 with 2003 and same for me! My first real mountain bike rides were there, then I connected with Chenango Point Cycles and got in on their shop rides and found all the hidden gems on those south "mountains" Smile
  • 2 0
 @plume: Nice! I still have my Chenango Point Cycles shop jersey from around '94. It fits a touch tighter than it used to. Used to do races in the summer up at Song Mountain a few miles up 81 in Tully.
  • 2 0
 @johnski: I remember racing at Song Mountain a few times- that was one of the first places you could do lift access at waaay back when and then they stopped it all for some reason Frown
  • 9 0
 These boys are starting a movement up here. They worked their asses off for that whole system. Good shit boys. Well deserved!????????
  • 9 0
 Thanks a bunch brotha!
  • 4 0
 Oh hell yeah.. Old Forge is the shit! The whitewater kayaking opportunities are endless, and now they're building bike trails.. keep it up!
  • 2 0
 This is rad, I remember visiting old forge for the water park as a young kid back in the 90s, looking forward to going back to check this out! As an upstate NY person and builder myself, I’m stoked to see all the awesome building going on in the region. In the 6 years I’ve been riding mtbs it’s crazy to see how many more places there are to ride within a day-trippable distance.

Also bonus points for Ron Gallo as well this is my trail building JAM!
  • 2 0
 It's great to see municipalities in the Adirondacks take trail building matters into their own hands despite outright aggressive tactics by the hiking organizations, who've tried to put a lock down on the whole Adirondack park, destroying any economic opportunities for these towns in the process. Great work AFTA and kudos to Old Forge for realizing the opportunity mountain biking tourism brings.
  • 2 1
 Was up there just a few weeks ago and this is just one of many new flow trails they've built the last couple years. Great things going on in old forge, would really love to see some more advanced flow and tech trails off the top of mccauley
  • 5 0
 Nice but I would not call a 4 foot wide trail single track
  • 2 0
 Just moved from Upstate NY to Colorado Springs. Absolutely no complaints about the riding here, but bummed I missed out on all the cool new building projects I've been seeing and reading about in the ADKs!
  • 2 0
 ha, I just moved from NH to southern CO. Riding here is great, but I kinda miss my old home.
  • 3 0
 Beautiful area of NY. Glad the mountain bikers there are making progress like this!
  • 1 0
 Awesome to see NY embrace mountain biking and MTB tourism over the last few year.
Would love to see some larger public flow/Jump lines being built, the people want Quebec "Pro Lines" down here
  • 3 0
 Ron Gallo soundtrack? Yes!
  • 1 0
 Yessir!
  • 1 0
 Spend every summer in Old Forge and these new trails were amazing. Old forge deserves an award for most improved for 2019! Well done guys!
  • 1 0
 I've been snow scootering (snowmobiling) in Old Forge for about 15yrs now. Only seen the place white but now I have an excuse to get up there during the "Green Season".
  • 1 0
 Can anyone chime in on how the pay is for trail builders? How much do machine operators makes? Is it a viable career? Or is it only something to do on the side?
  • 1 0
 I operate full time, pay is pretty good if you find the right place to work for!
  • 1 0
 This seems like this will compete with the Kimgdom Trails in Vermont. Might go to both this summer Yippe!!!
  • 2 0
 Yeah Eli! Nice work
  • 1 0
 I'll be there in two weeks WOO!
  • 1 0
 so much good work going on over in Old Forge! the AFTA crew is killing it
  • 1 0
 what is the music. I'm digging it. Also - trail looks fun!
  • 1 0
 Young Lady, You're Scaring Me - Ron Gallo
  • 1 0
 Love that east coast stuff. Keep up the good work NY!
  • 1 0
 Stoked to check this out next time I visit the fam in Utica.
  • 1 0
 This will be on our list to visit next year! (from Rochester area)
  • 1 0
 Make sure to hit Wilmington and Lake Placid. The Bark Eater Trail Alliance (BETA) have made some really great trails up there (Lussi, Hardy Rd., Craig's Woods, Flume, etc). That would be one epic trip.
  • 2 0
 Way to go Eli!
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Hope to see you guys in Arkansas
  • 1 0
 So sick. Clarkson Represent!!
  • 1 0
 So sick ! good work !!

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