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Ellicottville/McCarty Hill/Rock City/Holiday Valley

Over the past 15 years, Ellicottville has gone from a large state forests with no singletrack trails to one of the best cycling destinations in the east. Mountain biking had always been popular at Holiday Valley since the early 90s, with the fall fest race starting at the beginning of that decade. But the riding there was just on dirt roads and downhill ski trails. While scenic, it was not very challenging (except for the vertical!) and didn't extend into the 6,000 acres of adjacent state forest.

In 1997, WNYMBA called up the Region 9 State Forester and asked if we could build some singletrack in the state forest and was promptly told “no”. Back in the 90's trail cyclists were seen as irresponsible outlaws who had no place in the forest. WNYMBA knew better and set out to prove that cycling could work in the state forests.

Our first step was to bring the IMBA trail crew to Western NY. 1997 was the inaugural year of the IMBA TCC, with Mike and Jan Riter kicking off this highly successful program. The TCC came to WNYMBA's Raccoon Rally that year to spread IMBA's message. Despite the fact that running the rally was the most taxing effort the club undertook each year, with us wanting to do nothing other than veg out by the end of the weekend, we scheduled a meeting with the State Foresters on the post-Rally Monday. That was a good idea!

The TCC presented the science and techniques behind sustainable trail construction to the DEC on a walk through some existing trails in the forest (the white trail, then closed to bicycles). The DEC was willing to listen us, if not yet actually build trails.

After some well attended attended trail maintenance events, and then later some “trial runs” at tucked-away state forests (Golden Hill and Nine Mile Creek), the DEC finally decided to give us a chance to prove ourselves in the forests behind Holiday Valley. The first trail, now known as Big Merlin, was constructed in 1999 and proved very popular, and after a few learning-curve fixes, showed that bicycling could be supported sustainably on state forest trails.

Following the success of Big Merlin, WNYMBA submitted more proposals each year for new trails. Each new trail route had to be vetted by the state forest prior to construction and inspected once constructed and subsequently used. Through this process, the trail system grew, eventually adding popular routes such as Mutton Hollow Trail, Porcupine, Yukon's Lunch, and Rim.

After demonstrating our commitment to sustainable trail construction and maintenance, the DEC opened the white trail for bicycles, one of the few locations in the state where this is allowed.

The TCC visited the state forests a total of four times in 1997, 1998, 2000, and with the IMBA epic weekend of 2002 when the Pale Ales were constructed. Recent additions include the spectacular Eagle Trail, and Rocky's Run.



Latest News

All About Voting for the Holiday Valley Bell Built Flow Trail

First, the 5-cent summary of what this is all about.

  • Bell Helmets is giving away $33K to build a new trail.
  • WNYMBA submitted a killer application and now we are one of four east coast finalists!
  • If we win, Holiday Valley will kick in some funds to make this 2-mile trail even better.  The trail will always be open to the public to ride for free.
  • WNYMBA put together a video to describe the project and why everyone should vote for us!
  • The trail is a 2-mile downhill flow trail from Spruce Lake to the ski lodge.  It will be full of berms, rollers, switchbacks and other fun stuff, that takes machines and money to build.
  • The winner is determined by popular vote alone!


Here's how the voting works:

Bell is doing the voting in three stages.  First goes the West Coast (in progress of this writing), then the central states.

Finally, there is voting for the East Coast on May 5 - May 18 !  This is when you must vote.

You vote by going to bellhelmets.com/bellbuilt

You vote by e-mail address.  It's simple.  Here are the steps at the above website:


  • Select "Holiday Valley Trail"
  • Enter your email address
  • Enter the blurry verification code they use to keep out robots
  • Go to your inbox and open the confirmation email
  • Click the confirmation link


Note, if you don't get the confirmation link e-mail, check your spam or trash.  I voted for Santa Cruz Soquel Demonstration Forest Flow Trail (You Should to!  They will vote for us!) and found the confirmation e-mail in my spam.

In other words, enter your e-mail, then go to your e-mail and click the link.  Simple as pie.
You gotta do this.  More importantly, you have to have everyone you know and everyone they know do the same thing.  Please vote!  Last year, the vote was very close!

More Ellicottville Advocacy News

Latest Conditions Reported by WNYMBA

Jon Sundquist 04/04/14
It's going to be a while before trails are ready to ride.
Ellicottville Conditions
Garick 11/05/13
Rockier trails rode quite well monday night and should be great tomorrow.  We rode Holimont to white,mid pale ale,Rim,billygoat,south pale ale and encountered some wet spots but not much mud.  There will likely be more mud holes on the Rain-big merlin loop.  Quite a bit of new deadfall on the ground after the last wind event in addition to the heavy leaf cover.
Ellicottville Conditions



More Ellicottville maps available at Map Central

Latest Conditions Posts from the Trail Conditions Forum

    • Re: Ellicottville Conditions
    • I haven`t tried going up yet. Is Mutton Hollow Road still snowcovered or has it melted enough to ride up? Looking forward to this season very much.
    • Last post by skidder
    • Apr 10, 2014
    • Re: Ellicottville Conditions
    • I rode those loops Nov '13 right before deer season started. A couple inches of snow had fallen that week before I rode. Anything south facing was bone dry and perfect. Any North facing trails still held the snow. With no leaves on the trees and a couple sunny breezy days, will dry out those south facing trails pretty good.
    • Last post by Painfulldischarge
    • Apr 08, 2014

More Topics »


Vote For the HV Flow Trail!

Bell Built Voting Starts in... 16 Days

Voting Starts: 05.05.2014 00:00 See What's it About

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