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The best New York State bike trails

It’s just you. And the wind. And the wheels (because something’s got to keep you grounded). From rocky ledges and crazy jumps to smooth terrain or — when conditions are right — some serious mud baths, the best New York State bike trails offer paths for beginners and advanced riders alike. Here’s a look at some of the most exciting ways to get out there and experience the best of New York mountain biking.

Shindagin Hollow, Ithaca

Commonly regarded as one of the top spots to live in the US if you’re a mountain biker, Ithaca has plenty to offer those who prefer two wheels. Fast, technical and twisted, with nearly 20 miles of constructed stunts and excitement (riders refer to one spot known as “Area 51”) and scenery courtesy of Finger Lakes wine country, this trail merges manmade and nature alike. And thanks to its location, you can cap off the perfect ride with a trip to one of the area’s wineries or breweries. Advanced riders/single track.


Saratoga Springs, Saratoga

Saratoga Springs offers a fun mix of manmade bridges, rock gardens and wooded paths. Riders give this trail extra points for the easy-to-read signage and well-marked trails. Advanced riders/single and double track.


Blue Mountain Nirvana, Tarrytown

Situated about 40 miles north of New York City in Westchester County, Blue Mountain Nirvana is known for lush scenery surrounding trails that offer just the right amount of challenge. From gentle carriage roads to dense woods, riders can take a trip through a wildly diverse terrain with plenty of ups and downs, all the while being soothed by awesome views of the Hudson Highlands. Beginners to advanced riders/single track.


Bear Swamp, Sempronius

Prepare for some serious legwork — you’ll get plenty on this one. With 15 miles of steep inclines, swoopy turns and technical terrain, this is definitely one of the best New York State bike trails for an intense workout. Intermediate to advanced riders/single and double track.

Mount Morris Letchworth State Park, Niagara

“The Grand Canyon of the East” has it all: cliffs, waterfalls and steep hills. Letchworth is a biker’s paradise. Not all parts are open to mountain bikers, but views of the park’s natural wonders make up for it. You might even want to take a hike. Intermediate to advanced riders/single and double track.


Green Lakes State Park, off Route 290 in Fayetteville

You can ride through 10 miles of well-maintained trails that include two glacial lakes and plenty of forest at Green Lakes State Park. This one’s ideal for families and riders just getting started. Beginners/double track.


Highland Forest off Route 80 in Fabius

With 20 miles of trails maintained by the local biking club, Highland Forest is known as the “Adirondacks of Central New York.” Take your pick of manmade obstacles, country roads, backwood trails, or mountain paths. With patchwork views of the hills of Upstate New York, these paths were built by a team of friendly mountain bike volunteers. When it’s cold out, warm up in the lodge beside a roaring fire. Intermediate riders/single track.


Great Bear, Syracuse

Clocking in at about 10 miles, Great Bear offers a nice variety of trails that include dirt and mud routes. This one has something for all abilities. With log stunts, bridges, streams, views of the Oswego River and a few abandoned structures including an old gazebo, the trail is easy for novices with enough distractions to keep it fun for more advanced riders. Beginner riders/single track.


Colgate Trails, Hamilton

Colgate University was named the most beautiful college in the United States by The Princeton Review. The seven miles of uphill, downhill and twisted terrain make for an exciting ride, with views of Colgate’s charming campus to boot —and new trails too. Advanced riders/single track.

Written by M.J. Kravec