I am always leery of trails that don’t show ‘biking’ as an activity, just ‘mountain biking’. I have a trail near me that I detest that is maintained by atv people. It has rocks and mud puddles. So I read the few reviews about the trail and was skeptical, because no one said much about biking. But the photos made me hopeful.
The reviews made me realize what I saw as I passed a parking area and obvious trail crossing on Spring House Road just outside Dryden. This was the western/northern part of the trail that is not shown on Traillink, or even on Google bike map. To my east was a river of grass without any indication of roadbed, other than the tunnel of vegetation on both sides. To my west, it looked to be reasonable trek, with 2 visible wheel paths. I started to the west. You can travel the few miles to Freeville along this path.
This is like the unloved stepchild portion of the trail. The grass is mown. The tree limbs are cleared. There are even benches. But you keep asking yourself, ‘why couldn’t they just put down some stone here and make this a reasonable trail?’ The western/northern end alternates between grass, roadbed and the occasional muddy spot. I own a hybrid bike and still found this trail reasonable, but only because I started out early in the day, with the most energy. Slogging through grass saps your strength pretty rapidly.
Heading back to Spring House Road, I asked myself if I could tolerate the grass that lay to the east. I figured I had it in me, and that it would be no more than a mile to connect up to the mapped portion of this trail. That river of grass is probably a half mile (grass always seems longer!) till you indeed link up with the mapped portion. Initially, the trail is wide and obvious, but as you enter Dryden, you suddenly feel like you are in someone’s side yard. On my return trip, I noted that, if approaching from the south, you would have no idea this northern portion exists because of that side yard you find yourself in.
Nonetheless, I kept going …to find MORE grass along the mapped portion, for the first quarter mile. THEN it got decent.
The southern 3.75 miles of this trail are idyllic. The trail bed itself is reasonable for any bike and the scenery is varied and enjoyable. Numerous beaver dams are within feet of the trail. You’ve got lakes and streams and fields and forests. It has to be some of the most enjoyment I have had per mile.
So, highly recommended southern end…and a reminder that there is a western/northern end, if you are up for a challenge.