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Old 06-14-09, 07:44 AM   #1
CaptCranky
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trail riding in Letchworth State Park (NY)?

A friend and I are looking for a place to meet and do some moderate trail riding. He's in Ohio, and I'm eastern NY, so Letchworth looks like a good destination. Several web sites mention trails there open to mountain bikes, but I haven't found any reviews.

Has anyone ridden the trails in Letchworth? If so, how'd they be for a couple of adventurous, formerly fit and skilled but now rusty old guys? We're particularly interested in the Finger Lakes Trail, the one trail neither of us has ever hiked.

Our trail experience in the park dates to the '70s-'90s, and we didn't bike there. I'd appreciate any reviews of trail rides and more recent information.

Al
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Old 06-19-09, 04:36 AM   #2
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I live just 4 miles from the South entrance and do a lot of road cycling in the park but I also do a little MTBing on the Genesee Greenway which follows the old canal and Pensylvania RR route. The trail intersects the park near the southern end.

A friend of mine used to rent bikes and guide tours in the park and he would be more than happy to show you the best place to access the North end of the trail where the best riding is. Trail #1 follows the gorge most of the 17 miles of the park and is fairly technical.

When are you planning on being in the area? Feel free to PM.

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Old 06-20-09, 07:32 PM   #3
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Here's a few pics of the park.


Genesee Greenway rail trail. You can see a remnent of the Genesee Valley Canal to the left. The canal was completed in 1863 and operated from 1836 to 1878 until the RR took over. It connected the Erie canal to The Allegheny River at Olean NY.








Lower Falls


Middle Falls




Upper Falls with Norfolk Southern bridge




View of Middle Falls from Inspiration Point


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Old 08-21-09, 05:02 PM   #4
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Quick update:
After postponing our trip repeatedly due to rain, my friend and I went to Letchworth Aug. 7-10. On Saturday the 8th, we did about 8 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail, starting from the north end near the dam. The trail was wonderful, dry and rather technical. I lost count of my carries after about a dozen, which probably places me firmly in the "inept" category of MTB riders. Our running joke was "pay no attention to that drop-off on your right." The drop-off at times seemed 60' or more into a streambed, and then of course there was the gorge itself.

We eventually bailed, pushed our bikes out to River Road on a non-riding trail (how virtuous of us!) and rode the roads back to the start. In keeping with this summer's overall theme, we got soaked Sarurday night, during a morning ride Sunday, and Sunday night.

Anyway, highly recommended for the fitter folks. Dry conditions are a must.
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Old 08-24-09, 04:41 PM   #5
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So, where did you stay?
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Old 08-30-09, 03:26 PM   #6
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I wish I had seen this thread earlier. I'm 45 and not a mountain biker, but took a trip to the FLT through Letchworth this summer also. I was alone on a hot day, I've read about being able to take a trail out to the road and all that. I got about 5 miles into it carrying my bike quite a few times through the ravines, ditches, over the logs, etc, etc...I never saw a way out to the road, I never saw another person. I was half way through my water and knew that it's like 20 miles one way, so I turned around and bailed out.
On the other hand, I have to go back now, I can do the 20 miles even with many carries, I just need more water and maybe a ride at the other end.

The greenway trail on the other hand is smooth, fast, flat, and alot of fun. More fitting for an old fat kid like myself.
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Old 09-01-09, 08:39 PM   #7
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We stayed in the campground at Letchworth - in tents so we could fully experience the torrential downpours.

You probably could have pressed on a little farther and found a route out, Twisteroo. We crossed several trails and went under some power lines before we chose our escape route.

After the rain on Saturday we checked out the greenway and the flatter sections of the FLT near the south end of the park. Next trip, we plan to do more of the technical FLT one day, and the flatter, faster stuff the next.
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