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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Northumberland County Forest

For a change, we decided to drive a little further out to the amazing Northumberland County Forest.  It was about an hour drive from Whitby, and well worth it.
Start of the Northumblerland Humbler

I had been out here once before for a 30km race I did called the Northumberland Humbler, and I had always meant to return.  Finally made it back.

What a blast!  The singletrack in here is so much fun.  Lots of fast, flowy trails.

Trail Maps

Link to a high res version here.

Stuff we did:

Red Loop - this was a really fun flowy section near the parking lot, a good loop to do a the end to get the juices flowing before you go to the car

Green Loop... kind of - it's less of a loop and more of  bunch of trails.  We started by going to the far south, climbing the really challenging "Hog's Back" climb, then going to the north sections to play around a bit.  Lots of great trails.  Did I mention singletrack?

Dragonfly and Elderberry - Dragonfly was my favourite part - really great singletrack, totally designed for mountain biking.  Lots of banking, flowy stuff, some challenging climbs, just awesome.  Elderberry was much rougher - lots of sticks and leaves on the ground, still fun but more wild.  Lots of poison ivy - we wore long socks, I wouldn't go up that far without them!  In fact I'd stay out of this forest period, it was everywhere, bring socks.

Motorized Singletrack - south of Dunbar, east of Beagle is a chunk of singletrack that dirt bikes can use.  It's really hilly, which wouldn't be so bad but the dirt bikes beat the hell out of the trails... it's all very loose.  It's cool they have an area to go, but I'd generally avoid it while mountain biking.  Oh and they're terrifying when they fly up, even though you hear them coming the speed is something else.

We managed all of that in 2 1/2 hours, despite my buddy being restricted to single speed after a rear derailleur got funky on him - so it's not the hugest property, but definitely enough to keep a person busy for a solid day.

They knocked it out of the park on a few fronts:
  • Fast flowy trails
  • Awesome marking on-trail and maps everywhere
  • Pretty minor sand, considering where we were (compare to Ganaraska for example!)
  • Single-direction trails - so much less stopping, and there's less people in there to begin with
  • Separate area for motorized vehicles (other than having to cross those trails - you could avoid them entirely)
And most of all everyone was super friendly - it was amazing, even when we first pulled in a guy came up and asked us if it was our first time there and started giving us advice about which trails to check out!  That doesn't happen closer to the city, very nice.

Well done, Northumberland, thanks for the great day!