Wednesday, May 15, 2013

West Woods Preserve

Date: May 15, 2013
Report Type: TA Report:
Trail Name: West Woods Preserve
Town: Guilford
Trail Conditions: Interesting
Observations/Information: I took a spin at Westwoods Wednesday afternoon. I started at the lot on Moose Hill Rd and worked my way over to Sam Hill Rd on the pink, purple, blue, red and white trails.

In that early period of spastic growth in the sport Westwoods was THE place to ride in southern CT, attracting riders from as far away as Boston and New York City. On weekends it crawled with mountain bikers, the squeal of cantilever brakes emanating from every direction. The trails are about as old school as it gets-many of them are straight, off camber, muddy in places, and in other places too steep and rocky for even the best riders. There's a lot of swamp and ledge, and many of the trails go straight through them. The word that comes to mind is "gnarly". You have to be willing to do some hike-a-bike. Many of the hills are badly eroded but the flat sections have held up well. Some of the trails are wide and have multiple lines through the rocks. The bridges are narrow, crooked, sometimes wobbly, and definitely meant for walking not riding. I spotted some tracks on the yellow trail and they looked appropriately old school- a narrow tread with a simple block pattern. The ghost of some early mountain biker who bit it at Westwoods?

Some sections of the park have a thick leaf canopy and can be dank and buggy even on sunny days, while others have been denuded by the hemlock blight allowing the sun to shine right through.

There are some pretty good trails here and it's possible to get a good ride in if you know which trails, and which sections of them, to ride. The best place to park is probably the Sam Hill Rd lot (although Dunk Rock Rd is more popular). I spotted a lot of tracks, mainly in the southeastern section near Sam Hill Rd. The gnomes have built a nice playground on the rocks near here. Trails were clear of blockages.

If you're new to the sport and want to know what it was like in the early days, you can get a good idea by riding at Westwoods.
Trail Ambassador Name: Glenn Vernes

Trail Ambassador E-mail: glennvernesatgeemaildotcom
How did you use the trail? MT Biking
Trails Ridden: pink, purple, green, yellow, red, white, blue
Time of day: Afternoon
Time/Duration (hours): 2.0 hours
Approximate Distance (Miles): 8 miles
Images/Photos: Westwoods051513 015.JPG
2nd image: Westwoods051513 013.JPG
3rd Image:
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Anonymous said...

Yellow trail was recently turned into double track via 'dozer or grader (sad). Park is pretty wrecked since Trop.storm and in need of TLC. Tons of downed trees. Most bike trails have been cleared.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully the trails at West Woods ARE still like the old days. Unlike many of the trails that are being built that are contrived and destined for erosion. What do you say we keep the single track single instead of grooming the hell out of everything.

juan frijole said...

Ummm... not sure about that Mr./Mrs. Anonymous.... West woods trails are "old school" and generally very unsustainable- fall line riding, poor site lines, and lots of permanent wet swamp land... These trails were not created with biking in mind and although, I enjoy it and bike there often... I would certainly never consider it tight single track in a sustainable fashion...

In regards to new trail systems- I believe the folks pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into a trail system are focusing on sustainability, single track, and good flow/fun...

Anonymous said...

Just saying. Seen too much widening of trails everywhere I ride that isn't necessary, with comments praising the fact.