This ride heads through a 600-acre, year-round day use area with no parking fee. The 10-mile loop shown here consists of mostly singletracks. The riding can be slow-moving with lots of rocks of all sizes, rollers, roots, and a few pretty challenging sections.
The park is popular with local mountain bikers, you may also encounter (illegal) dirt bikes, hikers, and deer are also common. Bug spray is a must against all sorts of annoying flying insects and make sure to spray your legs with tick repellent (I use a 20% cedar oil mix) and check yourself after the ride. There is no drinking water so bring your own.
This is a super fun loop around Ames Nowell State Park that intermediate to advanced riders on full suspension bikes will enjoy more than beginners and hardtails. Most of the park singletracks have roots, many rock gardens, and natural rollers which makes the area more suited for comfortable intermediate riders. There are also short sections here and there that are expert only but easy to walk around. Only the wider forest roads are practical for beginners but the gravel roads under the power lines are rather unpleasant to use.
The ride starts from the main parking lot, utilizing most of the singletracks and very little of the forest roads. It includes five Strava segments (Witch Trail, Toby’s Ridge, Send it Back, Dino Spine, and Drop 'n Roll). The 10-miler will keep the average rider working hard for about two hours with only the short forest road sections to rest without being assaulted by bugs but there are multiple opportunities to shorten the loop as well such as skipping the northern area which starts from the westernmost tip of Cleveland Pond.
Areas close to the pond can get wet, especially in the spring; it is a good idea to skip these places in the wet season. The trails going around the northern part of the pond then down back to the parking lot on the east side (not used in this loop) are very pretty but get flooded due to beaver activity and should be avoided year round, especially the northern tip of the pond.
From the main entrance of the park, head down to the pond dam, cross it, and the trails start behind the big boulder on your left, take the first trail on the left to start the loop.
Both the NEMBA map
and DCR trail map
use intersection numbers instead of trail names, so these trails have been named according to the intersections they connect.