Who said bikes belong on pavement? It’s time to hit the dirt and ride, climb, dive, and jump! Lakeside Trails at R. Shaefer Heard Park has several wooded single-track mountain bike trails for cyclists of all levels, from an easy two-mile ride to an 11-mile technical challenge with roots, rocks, and elevation changes. There’s a reason everyone is saying, “It’s fun!”
If you prefer a smoother ride, pick a park or hiking trail and discover West Point Lake on two wheels. Enjoy scenic routes with panoramic views of the lake, along with great views of wildlife habitats. West Point Lake’s parks are enjoyed by beginners and professional pedalers. You don’t have to be an avid cyclist to appreciate a good ride with a good view.
Lakeside Trail – 1.7 Miles (Easy) With few technical features, this trail lends itself well to the experienced beginner but challenging for the true novice. Riding this trail out-and-back provides a good three-mile challenge. It’s fast with decent flow, so even experienced riders can enjoy. This trail ends at an alternate trailhead just below Eagleview Park. Bench seating and an observation deck located along the route offer great stopping points for views of the lake.
Turkey Run Trail – 4.2 Miles (Intermediate) This very fast and slightly downhill-oriented trail features roots and rocks, which make up the majority of the technical challenge for this trail. The trail also has a set of short, sweet switchbacks. There is one large drop of three to four feet that can be rolled at low speed or bypassed with a ride-around, and there are plenty of fast sections and some spots that allow you to get your wheels off the ground. There are a few driveway and road crossings.
The Island Trail – 0.6 Miles (Difficult) This tight and twisty hand-built trail is riddled with short, steep, and rooty climbs. Be careful, especially when wet.
Adventure Jam Trail – 0.2 Miles (Most Difficult) This very short, twisty, root-filled section was originally created and used for an adventure race. There is no flat on this section. You’re’ either going up or down.
Mayors Mile Trail – 1.3 Miles (Most Difficult) This trail layout and terrain are unique to this area, and offers one of the best descents within the entire trail system. The trail has roots, rocks, and punchy short climbs, as well as some navigational challenges. There is little room for recovery after the short, steep climbs and bar-gripping descents. You may have to stop and recoup. You’re not going to set any land speed records here, but if you have the legs and aptitude for it you’ll emerge from the trail with a smile.
Hack-N-Yak Trail – 2.2 Miles (Most Difficult) Two difficult miles of roots, climbs and technical descents. The flowy opening descent was created to get away from the original fall line descent known as Suicide Hill. This section is a technical downhill with a very fast ending, if you’re riding it right. Once this downhill is complete you’ll be rewarded with a great view of West Point Dam before dropping into a very dense root system. The rest of the trail undulates over rocks and roots, providing various technical challenges. If you’re adventurous Hack-n-Yack will not disappoint.
- Be nice. Treat everyone you meet on the trail like you would treat your grandmother. If you don’t like your grandmother, think of someone that you respect. Everyone on the trail is there to have a good time, so be courteous, polite, and utter a friendly greeting. A simple “Howdy” to fellow trail mates goes a long way, especially if you later fall and break your leg and they become your rescuer.
- Right-of-way. There is a hierarchy. Pedestrians yield to bikers on the bike trails. Bikers may time their speed when traversing a trail, so hikers are asked to step aside and allow the riders to pass.
- Beware of blind corners. Anticipate other trail users around a corner. If you come to a blind corner, assume an angry lawyer is approaching that same corner. Safety first.
- Do not disturb wildlife. This is probably a no-brainer, but don’t run over anything, chase anything, or taunt anything. You’re on their turf, and they were there first. Plus, they’re nice to look at.
- Leave no trace. The “Leave No Trace” principle is basic outdoor ethics. If Bigfoot can do it so can you. Carry out what you carry in. No one wants to see trash on the trail. If you see litter that was left behind, be a Good Samaritan and pick it up.