Best ridden in summer or fall when things have dried out. Avoid after rain for a few days.
This tour hits all corners of the park, but it represents a ride done in dry mid summer conditions. Some sections can be wet earlier in the season. But when conditions are right, this shows off the best of Hunters Creek Park.
There are many trails and intersections at Hunters Creek and most people can get lost easily here. It is best to grab a copy of WNYMBA's map
at your local shop prior to heading out. It has the intersections marked on the map matching the signs in the woods, and helps you stay found.
The park is particularly scenic, and was one of the first places to gain popularity among cyclists in the 1990s. Cycling was formally allowed for the first time after the 2002 master plan, but is always subject to scrutiny. Because the trails were were not designed or built by cyclists, they are not all laid out sustainably, so it is a constant effort to keep in good graces with the land manager (Erie County Parks). Because some trails are very very muddy, check conditions at the WNYMBA.org website before heading out. And if you do run into wet areas, be sure to ride straight through and don't go around and widen the trails.
The trail is very popular with hikers, so remember to yield the trail when you encounter them. Even if they have stepped aside - still slow to walking speed to help keep our access to these trails.
The portions of the trail overlooking the creek are incredible scenic, and the terrain makes for some great roller coaster rides.
Need to Know
Although locally known as Hunters Creek Park, this park is formally named Sgt. Mark Rademacher Park after the Wales, NY native Sgt. Rademacher, a US Army Ranger Team Leader who was killed in action during the US invasion of Grenada in 1983. Mark frequented the park prior to his service to our country.
Hunters Creek park is split in two by the creek. To start this ride, we will first cross over to the other side by traveling down the road and over the bridge. Once across, look for the trailhead on the left.
Enter the orange trail here and enjoy the sights from the top of the gorge until you get to intersection 31 with the yellow trail. Take this uphill staying left at intersection 32. Continue on to intersection 48 with the green trail. Take green all the way around until you reach intersection 37. Here you take a right across an overgrown trail so you can get back to intersection 48. From there continue north on the yellow trail along a narrow ridge to intersection 33 where you stay right on yellow.
Yellow ends at 35, the orange trail again. Take orange for quite a while - all the way to 45 near the north parking lot (enjoying lots of wood boardwalk along the way to bridge wet areas). Go downhill here on the purple trail which parallels a nice section of lower Hunters Creek. Eventually it starts climbing back up through a confier stand. When you hit 47, keep climbing up and up. When it starts to level off, keep straight through a wet area that has been improved with lots of corduroy work (but can still be wet except mid summer).
This breaks out onto a old wider trail that brings you up to near the pipeline. Before that, take a right at 43 and follow blue back to orange. Backtrack on orange until you get to 36. Take a right here and do the rest of green you didn't do before, crossing many small tributaries while going through a nice conifer grove. When you get to 37 again, take that shortcut across the overgrown field again, but this time go left on yellow past 48 and 32 again (but in the opposite direction) back to orange. At 32, now go north on orange taking it along a very rooty section until you get to intersection 34.
Here you hang a sharp left and drop (steeply) down through an (illegal) camp/party grove and hike across the creek. Once across, pick up the trail along the creek heading upstream. Once this starts uphill (steeply at first), go past 24, around the switchback climb, and hang a right at 23.
At this point, you'll be heading up an old washed out road, but soon you can veer right (at 27) onto singletrack and enjoy a pleasant gorge edge ride north to the pipeline. The trail climbs up to the old road again, and you would be tempted to ride across onto blue. But DON'T. That blue trail never never dries and is a complete mess. Take the parallel pipeline down to the creek, and reenter to the left on the yellow trail.
After you pass 21, you continue on one of the most popular and funnest sections in the park, locally called Mirkwood
. This ends at the old road again (22), so take a right across the poor excuse for a bridge and up to the unmarked intersection at the top, where you go right on the blue/pink trail. Stay on pink past 14 to 15, where you stay right on 15. This is another rollercoaster up and down trail that parallels the tributary back north. Just before you hit the pipeline, go left at 19, across the corduroy sections up past 28 and across the (muddy) pipeline to get to the "hermit ladies" section which is a nice flowy section.
Hermit Ladies dumps you back to the pipeline where you cross back to 28. go back down blue here but take a right at the large trail (no intersection number). This can be a bit wet, so pick you day to ride carefully. This brings you back to the old road at 17. Go left down the hill back to that same blue/pick intersection you were at a while ago. This time head the other way (east). Head out on the pink trail until it ends at Sgt. Mark's Trail at intersection 6.
Follow Sgt. Mark's Trail (marked with Sergeant chevrons) all the way back to the parking lot, crossing the old road at 4 and 3, remembering to jog to the right at 3 and then left again off the road down the hill.
History & Background
Hunters Creek has a long and contentious history with Mountain Biking. Because these trails were not designed or built by WNYMBA (they were for the most part illegally built by a local hiker), many sections of the trails are fall line or are routed through poor draining areas. Also, because the local hiker built so many trails, most people get lost in this park.
The park was closed to all users (held in reserve for a future parkland) until 2002. At the time of the park's opening, the master planning process considered significantly limiting bike access to these trails, but access was finally written into the master plan with assistance of lobbying from WNYMBA.
Compared to the rest of Western New York riding, this park (locally called Hunters Creek Park, but officially named Sgt. Mark Rademacher Park after a local soldier killed in combat) takes very long to dry out.
But once the trails are dried out, it provides some of the most fun and challenging riding in the area.