11/4/14 (All day)
11/4/14 (All day)
The Franklin Falls Dam federal flood control llands are located on both sides of the Pemigewasset River between Bristol and Franklin, NH. The property consists of more than 2,500 wooded acres and spans five towns. It is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The mountain bike trail system is centered near the Franklin Falls Dam administrative offices on highway 127, three miles south of I-93 off exit 22. The system currently consists of approximately 10 miles of multi-use trail, built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers.
Much of the terrain is very “un-New England like” with very few rocks. As a result Franklin Falls is known for its flowing, buff single track. It is great venue for group rides with mixed skill levels. Experts can enjoy high speed tree-slaloming, while novices can enjoy the trails at a more relaxed pace without getting in over their heads in difficulty level. Even your roadie friends can have fun here! Some of the fastest flow can be found on trails that include Moose Gully, Pine Snake, Bee, Lost Wall Rusty Bucket, and Stump. Trails on the slightly tighter side include Rogue, Caddywhompus, and Cellar Hole. The newest trail, Sniper is a nice combination of flow and undulating terrain. For advanced riders looking for a more technical challenge, Salmon Brook Trail offers steeper pitches, tight switchbacks, narrow benches, bridges, and rock gardens. It rides best when entering at its intersection with the Rusty Bucket Trail.
The signature trail at Franklin Falls is Mighty Chicken. It is sure to put a smile on your face. Mighty Chicken is a gravity trail, built in a natural half-pipe created by the walls of Chicken Ravine. The trail surfs up and down the ravine walls then finishes out over a series of drops and berms. It continues to be tuned to increase the yeehaw! index.
The trail system is open year round, and is a great choice for early spring riding when other trail systems are closed for mud season. Sandy sub-soil keeps the area extremely well drained so mud is virtually non-existent.
The story of the current Franklin Falls trail system dates to the fall of 2006. At that time the trail inventory was small and consisted of Piney Point, a short nature trail; the Heritage Trail, running north-south through the park; and few double-track connectors. Mountain bike use was minimal due to the limited mileage available. Mike Geldermann worked in the area and occasionally looped through the trails during lunch hour bike rides. Wanting a better lunch hour ride venue, Mike contacted the US Army Corps of Engineers office at the park, and discussed expanding the single-track trail system with Ranger Jennifer Rockett. The USACE rangers were very receptive to providing more opportunities for public recreation, and were willing to work with an organization to make it happen. At the time Mike and his lunch hour riding buddies, Scott Pelletier, and Mike Blouin, were basically just a few “schmoes with bikes”, not exactly the type of organization that the US Army Corps of Engineers was looking to partner with. They needed to become part of a credible organization. The solution was easy…..Join NEMBA! Suddenly the “schmoes with bikes” were instantly transformed into representatives of one of the largest trail advocacy groups in New England, backed by years of trail building experience. NEMBA already had partnerships with USACE, so much of the ground work was already laid. Mike knew WM NEMBA President Rob Adair through previous mountain biking adventures in the White Mountains. He contacted Rob for some advice and direction. Rob’s contribution was invaluable. He drafted a “Memo of Understanding” between NEMBA and USACE to partner on trail development at Franklin Falls, and enlisted the help of Philip Keyes to make it official. The USACE-NEMBA partnership was made official in January 2007 with the signing of the Memo.
Meanwhile, about the same time and on a parallel path, local riders Grant Drew and Barry Greenhalgh, were working to help resurrect the remnants of the Central NH NEMBA chapter. Grant had independently contacted Ranger Jennifer Rockett to inquire about trail development at Franklin Falls. Jen put Mike and Grant in touch. Shortly thereafter Matt Bowser and Kevin Orlowski joined the fray, and the nucleus to begin development of the Franklin Falls Trail system was formed. As a side note, when Grant was a child, many the town folk recognized that he was bound for greatness, but no one ever dreamed, except maybe his mom, that he might be president someday.
Armed with all the knowledge a shiny new copy of the IMBA trail building book could offer, they set about flagging future trails. The first new trail, Whaleback, was cut in early spring of ’07. Bee Trail soon followed. The first official Franklin Falls NEMBA trail day was held in June of 2007. Nearly 30 individuals, including members from the Central, Southern, and White Mountain Chapters, several local residents, and staff from the US Army Corps of Engineers joined forces to rake out and bench in some of the newly marked trails. Peter Desantis brought valuable trail building knowledge and the SNH NEMBA tool trailer. By days end four new trails had been added, and momentum for further development was established..
As of this writing the trail count has grown to 17. CNH NEMBA appreciates the ongoing support of Rangers Jen Rockett and Natalie McCormack, and continues to work with them to further enhance and sustain the trail system.
After a good ride, apres bike food and spirits can be found just 2 miles south of Franklin Falls in the city of Franklin at the intersection of Routes 127 and 3. Ciao Pasta is a big favorite, serving great Italian food in a relaxed atmosphere. Also near the same intersection, for faster food try Al’s Village Pizza, a restaurant and bar, serving subs and you guessed it…pizza. West across the Route 3 bridge and one mile north on Route 11 is another choice with traditional pub fare, the Wind Fire Tavern. All serve cold beverages suitable for rinsing the dirt out of your teeth.
Central NH NEMBA considers Franklin Falls its home base, but also maintains Ahern Park in Laconia, and led by Jesse McGowan is developing a new trail system, Page Hill, in the town of Hill, NH. The Page Hill trail system development is a partnership with Lakes Region Conservation Trust. Read more about Franklin Falls Dam, Franklin
Winslow & Ray Roads, Dunbarton NH
The "Hop-Ev" recreation area is over 8,000 acres and offers advanced intermediate to expert terrain with nearly 20 miles of trails. Hopkinton-Everett is one of many State properties managed by the New Hampshire Trails Bureau. Reminder: Be prepared for other trail users, this is a multi-use trsil system and is open to ATV's, trailbikes, hikers, and equestrians, too.
I'd put forty minutes into the January ride, leaving from the OHRV (Off-highway Recreational Vehicle) parking area via the Sugar Hill Loop. The temp read low forties and the corn snow gave that steamy, humid, "everything is melting" feel to the woods. Even after a couple warm and rainy winter days, the trails this clear afternoon made an easy ride. Credit that to the snowmobile and ATV traffic that had packed things nicely for this lone, odd mountain biker in the woods.
I'd been on my backside twice already, one of those times very nearly in the middle of an ice-bottomed puddle. Sure, it was warm for January, but getting soaked still would have cut short the 10 mile loop I'd planned to retrace from my book, Mountain Bike America: New Hampshire and Maine . I wanted to revisit a ride that was good in winter, and in my experience, that meant finding packed snow. For exactly that reason, New Hampshire's Hopkinton-Everett Multi-use Trail System (Hop-Ev) proved a great choice.
Less than 15 minutes outside Concord , NH and the interchange of Interstates 89 and 93 sits this gem of a riding spot. The property is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is sometimes called Hop-Ev Reservoir, though it isn't a drinking water reservoir. It's a dry reservoir, managed by the Army Corps for controlling flooding in the Merrimack River Valley. Via a partnership agreement, the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails manages the 30 or so miles of multi-use roads, double-track and prime singletrack on the property.
Eastern Fat Tire Association (EFTA) President Denis Laliberte has more history with Hop-Ev than perhaps anyone. He's one of the founding fathers of the network and knows it as the true success story it is.
"This property was a dumping ground (in the mid-eighties)," Laliberte remembers. "It was a junkyard. Party spot. Total chaos without trails, just a lot of dead ends, driveways and old logging roads."
An unmanaged mess is the way the State and the Army Corps remember it as well. Laliberte's dirt bike club, the Merrimack Valley Trail Riders (MVTR), worked with the State to lay out trails for yearly events. The energy of a responsible partner in MVTR combined with the Army Corps' need to manage use on the property and the State's desire to site an OHRV network in the southern part of New Hampshire. This perfect storm of needs and partnerships created the trail network mountain bikers enjoy today as well.
"The system remains much the same as what MVTR laid out in the beginning," agrees Laliberte. "With EFTA, we ran the Second Start (mountain-bike) Enduro on those trails for 13 years."
While Hop-Ev remains predominately an OHRV riding area —and MVTR remains its most active trail partner— NEMBA's Central New Hampshire chapter is also riding and doing work there. Writing as a NEMBA member who both motors and pedals, it's easy to see why. New England mountain bikers and dirt bikers like the same stuff-tight technical singletrack. That's what Hop-Ev offers in spades. It also offers miles of smooth gravel road suitable for sharing with beginner or less skilled riding partners in the warm months. Riders can advance from there to the ATV trails as skill and fitness increase, then tackle the dirt bike trails for the most challenge. In winter, roads like Choate Brook and Bassett Mill double as a great introduction to snow and ice riding for experienced mountain bikers who don't yet know what hills, corners, traction and braking feel like on the white stuff.
The thing I hate most for winter rides are long descents and obstacles likes rocks poking up in the middle of the trail. Hop-Ev doesn't worry me in this regard. The landscape offers lots of short, steep climbs, but no long ones. The trails, while root-strewn in places, aren't nearly as rocky as traditional New England singletrack, leaving lots of clear, quick descents into smooth, bermed turns. Using the ATV grooves in the snow makes it sinfully easy to rail a sketchy turn and hit the next uphill with momentum. Hop-Ev is a middle ring pedal-fest summer or winter.
I got about half my January attempt to retrace the route from my book done. As mentioned, I followed the Sugar Hill Loop out, but 200 yards from its end at Bassett Mill Road I got stopped cold, literally. Choate Brook stood in my way and it flowed fast, deep and wide from the snowmelt and rain. There is no bridge and water submerged all the big rocks. Many trails at Hop-Ev are designated one-way for rider safety, but I was the only one using Sugar Hill it seemed, so I could have doubled back and found a cut that joined the rest of my loop. Or, I might have had to ride all the way back to the parking lot, the wrong way on the trail I just came out on. I got about 15 feet into doing that, then felt the shame settle in. I turned around and charged the stream. If I fell, I'd be frozen for the 15 minute ride back to the car. If I cleaned Choate Brook, just my feet would be frozen. The water filled my shoes and my legs responded with a jolt. I got to the far bank upright, railed a corner and wiped out on some ice. On my ass for the third time that day.
I jogged the bike up to Bassett Mill Road and found the packed snow and ice surface exceptional. There were no soft spots for the wheels to drop into and even the small climb after turning onto Choate Brook Road offered great traction. Two ATV riders approached from the opposite direction as I huffed and puffed my post-Christmas largeness up the hill. They weren't Satan's spawn, as some people like to stereotype. It was the middle-aged guy and his wife who I'd seen heading out from the parking lot. We exchanged thumbs-up. This is the typical interaction on a multi-use network, where riders are sharing their rights to public land. EFTA's Laliberte notes after more than a decade of running the Second Start Enduro for mountain bikers and charity, "We had hunters, dog walkers, dirt bike riders, ATVs and mountain bike racers out there all at once. That intensity of use was the exception, yet still, conflicts were few and far between. There's room for everybody. It comes down to awareness of and respect for one another. In the end, we all just want to ride."
I agree, and Hop-Ev is the place to do it, come snow or summer sun.
Take Interstate 89 north from it's junction with Interstate 93 in Concord , NH . Take Exit 2 and turn left onto Route 13 south. Turn left at the junction with Route 77 (blinking light). After about 1 mile, turn right at the country store onto Winslow Road . Follow Winslow .6 miles and turn right at the sign for OHRV parking.
Hop-Ev closed to MTBs and OHRVs: End of continuous snow-cover until May 23rd.
By Robert Fitzhenry
Author of MTB America: New Hampshire and Maine
To buy “MTB America: New Hampshire and Maine" check www.amazon.com, the LLBean Freeport store, or local bike and book shops in New Hampshire and Maine.
Experiencing Highland Mountain (SingleTracks #110, July 2010)
Highland Mountain Bike Park was put on the map when mountain bikers Mark Hayes and Will Gaudette took their dreams of building a lift access mountain bike park to the lakes region in Northfield, NH. The dream, born from idle chatter during group rides, became a reality when the park was opened for the public in 2006. Since then, riders have come from all over the world to experience trails built by riders for riders. Highland has become known for its "one passion"- being the world's first lift access mountain bike park dedicated to mountain biking only-nothing else.
For those interested in a first time mountain biking experience, Highland offers the Find Your Ride Package. A tour of the mountain with a Highland coach that includes Trek's top-of-the-line Scratch rental bike, helmet, protective gear for the day, a Park Ready Pro tips session, and one guided top to bottom run for only $99. For riders seeking professional mountain bike coaching, Highland offers a full range of camps and instructional programs taught by certified professionals and celebrity mountain bikers with years of riding and competition experience. Available formats include:
• Beginner, Kids, Race, Freeride, Slopestyle and Women Camps
• Ayr Academy — Week long camps for youth and adults
• Private & Semi-Private Lessons
New for 2010 is the Highland Training Center, a 9100 square foot indoor facility complete with a foam pit, indoor ramps, and jumps. The training center will add another reality for the development of riders by providing additional options for those wanting to learn the art of jumping or advanced aerial tricks with a foam pit landing.
Highland provides mountain biking for all gravity enthusiasts and offers trails for invigorated cross-country riders. Meadows Ends, Cat Scratch Fever, and Fancy Feast are all beginner trails that were built with berms and flowing features that are sure to put a smile on any rider’s face when completed. For a more traditional New England mountain bike trail, venture over to the intermediate trails, Eastern Hemlock and Shillelagh, for some root-laden twists, rock sections, and small drop aways. If that's not your thing, then gear up for some sick berms, jumps, and smooth drops on the trails, Happy Hour, NE Style, the slalom course, and Hellion. Not enough? Advanced trails, Maiden Voyage and Threshold, will keep you riding gnarly rock sections, road gaps, and wooden features that will test your skills and courage. At Highland, we build trails for every rider and ability. Don't forget that we have coaches, camps, and a skills center to help you progress through our trails and features with newly learned techniques and style!
In addition to lift access trails, the bike park also has dirt jump parks, a pump track, and a slopestyle course. The Sherwood Forest jump park has dirt jumps for the developing jumper, and then they can progress to the next level with our dirt jump park. The Highland pump track offers our riders additional skill training for learning to ride by pumping the bike instead of pedaling. At the final stage of progression, is the KillieCrankie Slopestyle course for riders to test themselves on a world-class course designed for our largest annual event, the Claymore Challenge. So, whatever type of mountain bike riding you're into, we have it here at Highland Mountain Bike Park.
With the diversity of Highland terrain, we have mastered the most important element of trail building-flow. The trail crew is a meticulous and detail-oriented bunch, who carefully plan out and design every aspect of a run from top to bottom to ensure its fluidity. They are, after all, riders themselves with a passion for perfection. Our full-time trail crew has spent thousand of hours building trails and features and continue to polish out trails and develop new adventures. This attention to detail has resulted in the most important factor in riding, having fun.
Highland Mountain Bike Park provides all the equipment you'll need for a day's adventure on the hill. For those interested in a downhill bike experience or a mid-travel all mountain ride, Highland has a full fleet of Trek bikes available upon reservation. Full-face helmets and body armor are ready for rental to keep you covered on the trails. In addition to rentals, we have a full service mountain bike shop with seasoned experts that can keep your bike running smoothly and are committed to getting you out on the trails as quickly as possible.
Not sure you are ready to ride Highland Mountain Bike Park? For spectating thrills, Highland hosts a myriad of family friendly gravity cycling competitions and events. The 2010 events calendar includes the following:
• Claymore Challenge (World Freeride Tour Event)
• Gravity East #6 (New England Regional Mountain bike downhill racing)
• Brodown Showdown Jump Jam,
• GS3 Dual Slalom Series
• Sender Bash (Amateur Video Contest)
Whether you prefer the view from the slope side, the deck, or simply to enjoy the show in the comfort of the lodge, these events are not to be missed.
The upper main lodge houses the ticket counter and Highland Camps Center along with amenities such as café and bar equipped with wireless internet, several flat screen televisions, and comfortable seating. Nestled away beneath the deck, but not to be overlooked, stands ready one of the best first responder patrols in the industry. Lockers are available in the lower lodge along with a full-service bike and retail shop. Overall, Highland's easy going friendly staff is committed to providing you with the most enjoyable gravity cycling experience possible!
Remember, whether you're a seasoned professional, first timer, or something in between, or simply curious about the park, Highland is waiting to give you a fun-filled day of gravity cycling excitement! Highland Mountain Bike Park is conveniently located near Tilton, New Hampshire, just off route 93. Experience Highland first hand and share in the passion that is Highland Mountain Bike Park, for more information go to www.highlandmountain.com! Read more about Highland Mountain Bike Park, Northfield
When Conditions Allow. Contact the ride's leader for more information. Read more about Central NH NEMBA Group Ride
10/5/14 10:00am to 4:00pm
Come join the Southern New Hampshire chapter of NEMBA for the fun, while helping to save the trails in Bear Brook State Park! There will be a one-mile kids/family loop,a 6-mile beginner loop, a 10-13 mile intermediate loop, and a 20-25 mile advanced loop. Ride fast or just cruise, the trails are arrowed so everyone knows where to go and you don’t have to worry about getting lost!
All the money raised by the Boogie goes directly to the park to rebuild and maintain the trails.
Riders can follow marked courses on their own at any time or take part in a led ride.
Led rides: We'll have a beginner ride of about 6 miles, an intermediate about 12 miles, and an advanced about 25 miles. All rides leave at 10 AM.
-There won't be any led family rides.
Cost: $10.00 for NEMBA members, $25.00 for non-members and FREE for anyone
who joins NEMBA at the event - Kids 15 and Under Ride free with a registered parent or Guardian
Bear Brook State Park, located in Allenstown NH, offers over 30 miles of mountain biking trails from mellow woods roads to challenging single track. In addition, the park offers camping (May – October) and a beach/swimming area. Come explore the park while helping a good cause. It’s a great way to spend the day and it’s a great place to ride!
Bear Brook has a wonderful campground, so come and make a weekend out of it! For reservations call 877-647-2757. For more info on camping.
157 Deerfield Road, Allenstown, NH 03275 (look for Snowmobile Parking Lot)
Bear Brook State Park