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  1. #1
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    How many miles of trails can I get within 53 acres?

    I know it's a pretty general and broad question with lots of variables, but there's a decent chance that by end of the summer, I'll be the owner of a 53 acre piece of property. We will be building a house on the land at some point, but I'll also be building my own piece of mountain biking heaven. The land is 95%+ covered in woods and has some pretty decent terrain as far as I can tell. I am just curious how many miles of trail I might be able to squeeze in this space. I'm hoping for at least a couple mile loop. Thoughts?

    Here's the lot and terrain...

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
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  2. #2
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I am just curious how many miles of trail I might be able to squeeze in this space. I'm hoping for at least a couple mile loop. Thoughts?
    What kind of experience are you after? Answering this is important in finding out the miles. 1.5-10 miles not knowing anything else.

    Do you want to feel like you're going somewhere and not see one segment of trail with another rider ever? I think this is what a lot of public land mangers with good size chunks of land to work with shoot for. 1 mile per 25+ acres.

    Still want to feel like you're going somewhere but don't care about seeing an occasional other trail user through the woods but don't want to see the other actual trail tread segment? IMO, seeing the other trail segment through the woods detracts from the experience and make you feel more like you're on a gerbil wheel. A bit tight on space, but your own private playground, you should be looking here IMO. 1 mile per 10 to 12 acres.

    Or do you not mind a spiderweb of trails and giving your riding buddy a high five as he comes past you the opposite way on the next trail segment that is only separated by a few feet or yards. This type of trail system will be more about the "training" and less about the quality of the experience IMO. 1 mile per 5 acres or so.

    It really comes down to what you're after
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  3. #3
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    Good point...yeah, I agree, I'd probably fall in the second, or maybe a little in between the second and third. I don't mind seeing other segments too much, especially since it's my own property and like you said, it's as much for training and fitness as it is about the ride. I mean I'd like to get out there and get lost and enjoy the time outside on my bike, but want to ride as much as I can as well without having to do multiple laps just to get in a couple miles. So I'd say that the 1 to 1.5 miles per 10-12 acres seems reasonable, giving me around 4 to 7.5 miles of possible trails. That sounds pretty awesome to me.

    I used a tool on the mapping site that measures and the perimeter of the property is 1.2 miles, so I know just a single lap around the exterior will give me that much. Of course I'll have full access to the entire property since my wife doesn't care and is actually excited about the idea of trails at our back door if this all works out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
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  4. #4
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    To give you an idea, 40 acres is 1/4 of a mile wide by 1/4 of a mile long on the exact perimeter. So with 53 acres, even though it is irregular, you will still get about 1 mile by going once around the outside. The more you zig zag and jink, the more you'll get.

    Locally we have Sylvan Island, and on some maps it says the island is 33 acres, but our GIS says it's more like 50 acres. We have slightly over 4 miles of trails, but they are EVERYWHERE!! We have the Sylvan Island Stampede race there every year in the early spring and with a course slightly under 4 miles, you can stand in one spot and see bikes going in 10 different directions ALL AROUND you. Its pretty cool actually.

    Good luck with your purchase!
    Believe in yourself? Well, of course. Just be aware that believing in myself has been the root cause of most of my injuries!

  5. #5
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    It's tough to say what you might get, but I would use those ravine lookin things for a swoopy descent or two if possible. I'd also try to minimize the amount of intersections, making it feel more like one bigger loop. if the trees and undergrowth are dense enough, you can route your trails pretty close to each other an not loose that secluded feel.

    Its tough to say what you can and cant do without walking around and planning it out. There might be really cool rock features, ledges, downed trees, ect that you can't see on a map.

  6. #6
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    Subscribed. OP, I've always been interested in such a project if life provided me the opportunity. Keep us updated and good luck!

  7. #7
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    Map My Ride has some cool features to give you ideas as well:

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    That's awesome. I have that app, I didn't realized it could do that.

    Like you said, I do want it to be a big loop rather than a bunch of random intersections. I do like the idea of splitting the trail in a few places just to give a line option. Like in the pic below, as you come to the point of the ridge, you can opt to climb the ridge line or follow the stream, both ending up in the same spot at the end. Of course I have LOTS to learn about trail design and building, this is just a rough idea. And of course I have to get the land first...lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgxtreme View Post
    Subscribed. OP, I've always been interested in such a project if life provided me the opportunity. Keep us updated and good luck!
    I'm hoping the opportunity becomes reality. Good thing is, the seller is my wife's boss and he's offered the land to her before. It's not actively for sale, so there is time to try and work out details and financing. The price per acre is too good to pass up but is still pretty hefty just due to the amount of land. Here's to hoping it all works out
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  10. #10
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    That's awesome. I have that app, I didn't realized it could do that.

    Like you said, I do want it to be a big loop rather than a bunch of random intersections. I do like the idea of splitting the trail in a few places just to give a line option. Like in the pic below, as you come to the point of the ridge, you can opt to climb the ridge line or follow the stream, both ending up in the same spot at the end. Of course I have LOTS to learn about trail design and building, this is just a rough idea. And of course I have to get the land first...lol

    Don't draw lines at more than a 45 degree line to the contours lines on the map. That's called the "half rule". Take some time to search that as well as 10% rule. We've had a couple people post similar thread where these "tips" if you will have been explained in detail.
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  11. #11
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    Yeah, I do plan to do the trails correctly. Lots of research to do and hopefully I can get in on some trail building and perhaps even a course. I want it done right since I'll be riding the heck out of them and having friends ride them too. In that pic, I was just illustrating how I wanted to split the trail to make two different lines that lead to the same place. I'll certainly look into those rules though as well as all the other stuff I should know before I even start doing any building.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  12. #12
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    This is something that I would really like to do someday if the opportunity presented itself.

    Just a random thought about the property ... is there an easement in place for a driveway?

  13. #13
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    Yeah, there's two right of ways actually, so depending on where we might want the house built in the future, we can choose which ever or both. One is at the top of the property on the map, to the right. You can see a culdisac, the right of way there splits those two properties (6 and 7). The other is at the bottom to the right. There's a drive that leads up to lot 13.4. The right of way is on that property to the far left edge of it between lot 13.6 and 13.4. I prefer the upper on as it gives the best access to town and it takes us out through the towns "exclusive" neighborhood, so when coming and going from the property I'll feel all fancy and important...lol...but in reality the other entrance I think gives a better access since it's flat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  14. #14
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    Here's something I would consider. Not having seen the land and your points of interest, it's tough to say. You could easily fit a small 2 or 3 stacked loop system, I think.

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    Wow, good luck acquiring that parcel! Should be your own paradise once developed how you like it.

    Not to totally spy on your place, but your local GIS map technically lists it as 49 acres (maybe they aren't accurate down to the creek?)
    Hampshire County Parcel Maps

    I just bought 19 acres myself back in January, and posted a fairly newbish thread asking for advice on developing my own trail system. So far I am embarrassed to admit how little trail I have put in - maybe only about 500' worth. And now it's grown over with plants again since I don't ride it at all. yet. Basically I had a lot of motivation for a short while, but then between poison ivy, deer flies, oppressive heat (WTF is up with the weather? ugh), and the standard crap (full time job, wife, gardening, vehicle repairs) I lost my will to keep going on the trail work. I hope to resume come the fall.

    But back to your parcel. The topography is awesome. However, you are going to have to bench cut EVERYTHING. You are going to want a mini-excavator. 2-3 miles of manual bench cutting through roots and rocks is going to ruin your body, unless you can get a crew of friends out to help every weekend. (good luck with that, my own support crew got bored after just a couple sessions).

    The possibilities are certainly exciting though. Go after it and get to work!

  16. #16
    KLF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I know it's a pretty general and broad question with lots of variables, but there's a decent chance that by end of the summer, I'll be the owner of a 53 acre piece of property. We will be building a house on the land at some point, but I'll also be building my own piece of mountain biking heaven. The land is 95%+ covered in woods and has some pretty decent terrain as far as I can tell. I am just curious how many miles of trail I might be able to squeeze in this space. I'm hoping for at least a couple mile loop. Thoughts?
    For comparison - high density trails on an unwooded tract:
    Maze Photos

  17. #17
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    I actually built myself a super compact trail on a very small peice of land at my parents years ago. They had almost an acre of land and I built some trails in the front of the house so maybe a quarter acre. I zig zagged it like crazy but found it very fun for zipping around. One thing I found is animal trails tend to make great trails.
    Negative Reps Please.

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  18. #18
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    Really depends on the quality of the dirt and how much time you want to spend on building....
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

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