“An updated version of the 2002 IMBA Ellicottville Epic ride.”
— Jon Sundquist on Apr 24, 2013
RestrictionsStarting in 2014, the loop will be modified as NYSDEC (the land manager) has elected to use parallel trails for the portion where this Epic uses the North Country Trail. It is best to stay off this trail in early spring or after heavy rains.
OverviewThis loop uses several of the trails within the extensive Ellicottville trail system located primarily within the McCarty Hill and Rock City state forests. This loop is primarily singletrack built and maintained by WNYMBA. There is about 3,000 feet of climbing on this loop, providing challenging climbs following by flowy descents. Many, but not all, sections feature a rocky tread - not enough to interrupt the flow but enough to add challenge.
There are some great views from the ski areas near the start and finish of the ride, and at the south end of the loop are large sections of bedrock breaking off from a plateau creating a "rock city".
Need To KnowAlthough only about 29 miles, this loop will tax the most fit with the significant climbing and rocky trail surface.
DescriptionBecause this loop uses several trail segments, it is best to purchase a map ahead of time. WNYMBA's maps are available at Ellciottville Bike Shop in downtown Ellicottville. The trails are moderately well marked but require some attention to follow.
The ride starts at the Holimont Ski Area. The start location is currently being developed into a new chalet development, but the trail up the mountain should still be in place. Park at Holimont on Ridge Rd (on your left about a mile west of downtown by Rt. 242). Head towards the hills past the yellow gate and take a hard right on the two track up the mountain. Once it levels off, you'll find a singletrack heading off to the right. Take that to where it crosses Mutton Hollow Rd. bringing you onto KC trail. The KC trail dumps you out on an old logging trail which you'll take uphill until you hit singletrack again.
This singletrack currently brings you to the North Country Trail, a section that has always been shared use. However, starting in late 2014, you'll follow a new parallel trail. These trails (both the current and the planned parallel trail) head south through challenging rock gardens. You cross the CCC road and after a short singletrack descent, head right for a 100 yards or so on an old logging road until you hit the first of the "pale ale trails". Go right on South Pale Ale, cross the road and do Middle Pale Ale, with its challenging rock sections.
When it exits onto Hungry Hollow Rd, head uphill to the saddle and then left on Rock City Road (all road sections on this ride are dirt forestry roads). Once you reenter state land, hang a right onto the popular Rim Trail - nearly two miles of level (unusual for this loop!) flowy trail. Once you cross Eckert Rd. you are now on its extension - Bent Rim Trail, as you might guess by its name, is rocky.
Once Bent Rim spits you out onto Salamanca Forest Rd. head right briefly until you find a road on your left. Take that road until it ends, becoming singletrack. This is Four Rocks Trail, a scenic and challenging trail that brings you to Little Rock City.
Although you can't ride on the path through the main large rocks, you probably want to stop at the cul de sac and look over the top of the ledges of these rocks. Quite the site. When you've had your fill, head up the road briefly until you take a right onto what is currently the North Country Trail (marked as the Finger Lakes Trail). Cyclists will retain access to this section, so enjoy it as it dives between two large rocks and then heads left on a nice flowy (but sometimes technical) surfing of the contour.
After a couple of miles you veer onto the Tornado Bypass constructed to bypass a swath of forest leveled by a tornado in 2009. This bypass takes you to South Pale Ale for some great flowy contour surfing. When you hit the road, ride a short road section downhill to the first left then back up to do South Pale Ale again, the other way. This, plus the retreating up the log road to the left at its end is the only section of trail you repeat.
Next, you'll take a right on ridiculously fun Rocky's Run which takes you all the way to the long fun section called Buzzards Breath and Mutton Hollow Trail. This segues into Yukon's Lunch and finally to Porcupine. Porcupine takes you across Mutton Hollow Road and up to Big Merlin (a right at the junction). Take Big Merlin all the way around the spur, eventually taking in Dead Dog Loop, Sidewinder, and Rain trail. You'll be realizing that you've been on singletrack for the past few hours. Resist the urge to do Mesa and Eagle. These are two of the best trails, but you'll have to come back later for them!
Eventually you'll come out to the top of Holiday Valley ski area with some great views. Follow along the top of the ski area until you hit the snow making ponds. Almost done, so take a swim! Then head down the way you came up.
History & BackgroundWNYMBA has been developing this trails over the past 15 years and has become a regional destination for riding.
OTHER RIDES NEAR HERE
GEAR YOU NEED
YOU AND THIS RIDE
Your Check-Ins:Add a New Check-In | View All »
Share This Page
Improve This Page