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  1. #1
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    Pine Hill Park - Couple of Questions

    Hey all, from a neighbor just across the border in NY.

    Thinking about making the drive over to Rutland (about 45 minutes) in the next few weeks to hit PHP. Ive read a few other threads on the park and it seems like its my kind of ridings - lots of flowy buff stuff with a chance to get technical if I'm feeling frisky.

    I'm a pretty timid beginner so its going to depend on when I can get someone to come with me, but I'm thinking maybe the second weekend of October.

    How late do the trails stay good? Could I make it my go-to weekend riding place into November?

    How well are the trails marked? Seems like the suggested route for beginners is Escalator > Svelte Tiger > Sisyphus Rembrandts Brush > Sore Elbow. Looks like I'd be able to make this a loop by using the road to circle back around to Rembrandts Brush then ride Svelte Tiger > Escalator on my way out. Would someone that hasn't ever been there end up turned around and lost? Would also like to hit a couple of the bridges while I'm there.

    I know there are a ton of route recommendation threads so I'm trying not to duplicate those but if you have any recommendations, I'm all ears.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    It's well marked and easy to navigate (you mostly just go downhill to return to the trailhead). Print off the color map from home as it's easier to read than the black/white one sometimes available at the trailhead. Maps It will still be open in November, but if you're a beginner, you might like it better before a lot of leaves fall and stay wet as the days get shorter. I don't know if they do any leaf-blowing or not. Have fun!

  3. #3
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    your route should be great for beginner. Instead of escalotor on the way out id probably go Exit Theory.

    If you wanted to extend the ride go check out Droopy Muffin, to Salmander, to Voldemrot, to Birches. all fairly easy to ride.

    Curious do you ride in New york? do you ride Luther state forest(aka Malta).

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    Yes, I ride in NY, and have ridden Luther a couple of times. Not super familiar with it and always tend to get "lost" and not find the loop Im looking for but its a very fun place. Good place to introduce people to technical/root riding. Takes me about the same amount of time to get the Luther as it does to Rutland.

    I would definitely be open to extending the ride. I like to be able to flow trail to trail as much as possible so I'll check those out and try to work out a route that would let me hit all of them a few times! Thanks.


    Thanks also for the advice on the marked routes and where to get the map. I hope to get over there the second or third weekend of October but I was thinking it might be a fun place to hit on the weekends into the fall. I imagine the leaves make it a bit sketchy?

  5. #5
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    they probably leaf blow at pine hill......even if they do not dry leaves are not so bad... wet leaves are really not so bad with knobby tires...

  6. #6
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    I'm pretty excited to get out there. A couple of endurance events the next two weekends but after that I plan on hitting it.

    I am currently running Geax AKA's so they're... lightly knobby? But do pretty well even in wet as long as I keep the pressure below 35.

    Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll try to stop long enough to take photos and post them after I head out there.

  7. #7
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    I run the same tire on the rear in the summer but I run them at 20 psi.......

    If you ever need Luther Explained I ride there all the time when I am visiting my Girlfriend.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    I run the same tire on the rear in the summer but I run them at 20 psi.......

    If you ever need Luther Explained I ride there all the time when I am visiting my Girlfriend.

    The first time I rode Luther it was with people that were able to show me around. The next time I went there it was like I was completely new to the place. Couldn't figure out how to link the trails to the right with the trails to the left like we did the first time, then ended up on some switch backs which was fine and an unexpected ladder bridge that I was apparently not prepared for.

    Needless to say I could always use some guidance.

  9. #9
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    Is hunting allowed at PHP?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Is hunting allowed at PHP?
    No, but I have seen a few hunters passing through the park on the way elsewhere. I will say that i won't be surprised to see hunters around on the new trail to Proctor though as it leaves the confines of the park pretty quickly. To the OP I typically ride PHP until snow gets too deep for me (over 6" fresh stuff) and the trails are fine.

  11. #11
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    PHP looks very similar to XC at KT, is that true? Thanks

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_m View Post
    PHP looks very similar to XC at KT, is that true? Thanks

    IMO not at all. Pine hill is pine hill. The majority of pine hill trails are easier and more flowly than the majority of KT but its not as big..... you know that bombed out rooty, multiple tracks everywhere with mud pits at Kingdom? does not exist at pine hill.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    IMO not at all. Pine hill is pine hill. The majority of pine hill trails are easier and more flowly than the majority of KT but its not as big..... you know that bombed out rooty, multiple tracks everywhere with mud pits at Kingdom? does not exist at pine hill.
    Interesting, thanks

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    IMO not at all. Pine hill is pine hill. The majority of pine hill trails are easier and more flowly than the majority of KT but its not as big..... you know that bombed out rooty, multiple tracks everywhere with mud pits at Kingdom? does not exist at pine hill.
    You just made my day. Looks like I'll ride PHP this season. My first-season-back-to-mtb-trip-to-KT just got less important. I like easier and flowy right now.

  15. #15
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    headed to PHP Sunday 9/29/13, looking for a local guide? every time I head up there I'm with a beginner or a mechanical/injury shortens the ride. live to see it ride from a locals perspective/trail wisdom...
    Brattleboro/Keene NEMBA officer and trail hero!

  16. #16
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    anyone want to go tuesday?

  17. #17
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    good ride today @ PHP, thanks to the guide on the black rocky mt.
    https://www.strava.com/activities/85782979


    Brattleboro-Keene NEMBA veep
    Brattleboro/Keene NEMBA officer and trail hero!

  18. #18
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    Any recommendations for a good place to stay close to PHP? Was going to hit KT one more time this season but I may check PHP out instead. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_m View Post
    Any recommendations for a good place to stay close to PHP? Was going to hit KT one more time this season but I may check PHP out instead. Thanks
    What sort of place are you looking to stay? Budget? Chain place?

    If you're looking for something a bit different and a great value, I've had visiting family stay here (Mendon Mountain Orchards & Motel Home) a bunch. Great rates for a basic, clean place if you don't need anything fancy. Just keep in mind the area's lodging will be pretty busy with it being foliage season and prices will be higher as a result.

    Pine Hill typically remains rideable on dirt until a snowpack forms. I'm usually riding there well into November before switching over to skiing. Morning is typically better as we get later into November to avoid any sloppiness (and resulting trail damage) from freeze-thaw cycles. Most trails get leaf blown and the park sees enough traffic that they are naturally pretty cleared out on their own.
    2005 Cannondale Jekyll with Manitou Minute Super 140mm

  20. #20
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    Looks like I am finally able to make it out there this Saturday for some morning riding. Possibly solo, possibly with a buddy. Watch for the big guy on the Airborne bike with orange bits on it going extremely slowly and don't be afraid to say hi.
    Eric

  21. #21
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    wish i would be their saturday. FYI I found a place near albany called Pine Bush preserve. I think there is something like 17+ miles of really fun singletrack in and around that place.

  22. #22
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    Ah yeah, Pinebush. I've never ridden there but have a bunch of Albany-based friends that do. There and Central Park in Schenectady, and Thatcher Park outside of Albany. I'll make it down there one of these days. I've hiked Thatcher and I bet it would be a blast to ride but some of the trails are very far over my skill level at the moment. I've heard Pinebush is really sandy, what was your experience?

  23. #23
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    Pine Bush - aka "Sand Bush" isn't what I would call a ride destination. It was a convenient area to hit after work 9-10 years ago when I lived in that area. You have to link together the different sections to make a decent ride out of the place.

    Keep in mind the primary goal there is preservation.

    There used to be a bunch more really good trails there, that were technically off the map. Then the commission started shutting down trails over an endangered butterfly.

    If you do go, make sure you obey the no-bikes signs. They used to be pretty serious about bikes riding in areas not approved for bikes.

  24. #24
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    Quite honestly I live and work a solid 25-30 minutes closer to PHP than to Pinebush and can't describe my hatred for Albany after working there for many years, which is why I haven't gone down there to ride at all.

    Sounds like a decent enough place to go walk around, or ride if I happen to be down there, though.

  25. #25
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    If you live north of Albany, go to Moreau instead. Be prepared to do some climbing, but once you get up top the trails are pretty good.

    Best option a little further south is to join SMBA. Really good trails. The reason you have to join to ride there, is all of the trails are on land leased from the paper company. Well worth it, and the best trails in the Albany area, IMO.

  26. #26
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    SMBA is a bit over my skill level and not really my kind of riding but I'm friends with a couple of members so I'll likely give it a shot. I far prefer buff and flowy to rocky and technical.

    I've never been to Moreau even though its only a few minutes from my house. I might go explore the fireroads and double track but I've also heard that is a techy place to ride... Great for folks that like that.
    Eric

  27. #27
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    Pine Bush's singletrack is not that sandy lots of place with dry packed dirt., and there is a ton of it, seriously a ton of it. 15+ mile rides with out crossing the roads or repeating. The doubletrack is REALLY REALLY sandy though

    There is ton in and outside of the preserve and its 1/4 to 1/2 of mile of doubletrack in between the good stuff. The trail close sign lead you to the good stuff. According the capitol area MTB guys no one patrols these areas any more and plus you are on a mountain bike, even a horse would have trouble keeping up with you on singletrack....

    Bike Ride Profile | Jun 12, 2013 near Schenectady | Times and Records | Strava this is someone else GPS track, yesterday I rode and my riding buddy got 17.2 miles (my GPS was off for 20 minutes of the ride...) we did not repeat and it really it is minimal time spent riding on doubletrack

  28. #28
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    Pine Hill in small compared to KT, trails are excellent, but riding up, and down, the same hill all day.
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  29. #29
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    Re: Pine Hill Park - Couple of Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    Pine Hill in small compared to KT, trails are excellent, but riding up, and down, the same hill all day.
    That's about my skill level. Helps me to repeat some trails a few times in a day... Works the skills and boosts the confidence. I'll find out this weekend and by next time KT is open I should be ready.
    Eric

  30. #30
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    Out of curiosity, before I make the drive over and find wet trails that I don't want to damage, did Rutland get a large amount of rain over night like we did in NY? The ground here is slick but not saturated which usually indicates to me its OK to ride but I have no idea how PHP handles it and I'd hate to get over there and not be able to ride.

  31. #31
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    everywhere in vermont got rain. whether that damages trails is up for debate, they were VERY dry prior to the rain and I was caught out in the rain yesterday in stowe and trail never got saturated just wet concrete.

    My understanding is Pinehill does not close due to rain. its pretty bomb proof singletrack from what I have seen but given the choice Id go to Luther because luther gets better while it rains due to its sandy soil type.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    everywhere in vermont got rain. whether that damages trails is up for debate, they were VERY dry prior to the rain and I was caught out in the rain yesterday in stowe and trail never got saturated just wet concrete.

    My understanding is Pinehill does not close due to rain. its pretty bomb proof singletrack from what I have seen but given the choice Id go to Luther because luther gets better while it rains due to its sandy soil type.

    Thanks. I don't mind riding in the rain but that's a lot of effort to put into a bike park and I'd hate to be part of the reason it gets torn up. This might be my last ride of the year (or at least until after hunting season or I get a deer) and I am bound and determined to ride it. We rode Luther last weekend and it was awesome... grippy and fun... but I'd really like to try something different this weekend if I can. If not we'll likely just wind up down there again.

  33. #33
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    Got in a few hours there this morning. Wet leaves made it a little greasy but better than anything else I've ridden on wet days. Leaves protected the trails too, seemingly. Only a couple of soggy spots that we did our best to avoid.

    Couldn't even tell you the route we took since we just sort of explored. We definitely climbed escalator, voldemort, attempted the climb up evergreen falls, lower ledges, svelte tiger, we rode Burches a couple of times and bombed the carriage road a couple of times. We rode Jersey Turnpike for the most part except the direction we were headed put us going uphill through the rock garden and that was above my skill level. Overlook, to the one that goes around to the lookout over the pond, and then a trail that cuts down to the pond shore. Shimmer maybe? And we rode Exit Theory only to ride back up Escalator so we could come right back down Exit Theory again. I've got a buddy that lives very close... I expect to be crashing on his couch and putting in full days there. Loved every second and every trail we touched got better each time we rode it.


    Here is the strava ride
    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Pine Hill Park first time near Rutland | Times and Records | Strava

  34. #34
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    Been riding Pine Hill quite a bit, went out again today. Was great and solid with about 1.5" of snow in most places. A few tracks, some fat bike tracks, lots of dog walkers. Trails were really solid until the sun really got on them, then we left. Coming out Exit Strategy the second to last Berm at the very bottom had no snow on it and was just slick mud... lots of foot prints in it. Tried to avoid the high part of the berm so as not to damage it. Would'e just come down Escalator if I realized it was like that. Otherwise, awesome riding. First time on Steg... interesting in the snow on a rigid 26" bike. Awesome day, though!
    Eric

  35. #35
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    Just one for now.....

    Any local info on conditions and Sunday (12/8) riding? Looks like a small amount of snow on the snow cover maps, not sure if there is enough snow and/or ice to warrant wider rims and studs, or if a good easy clearing summer tire would suffice.

  36. #36
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    Last Friday I was there and there was between 1.5 and 3" of snow everywhere. Most of that probably melted and then refell last night and today. I didn't go over there today, trying to let the ground harden back up. If it gets cold cold tonight the trails should be OK tomorrow. Morning would be best before the sun warms it up. I live about 35 miles west but same elevation and the snow was gone from the sunny parts of my yard by mid day today.

    Never felt the need for studs last week. If it were me I'd avoid trails like Shimmer and Exit Strategy so as not to damage berms if the smaller berms in other places are soft. Even in mid 20 degree temps the 2nd to last berm on exit strategy was greasy and walkers and bike tracks were leaving pretty deep Imprints despite everywhere else being really solid. I was on a mud oriented tire but a buddy was on typical Ikon rear Ardent front setup and neither of us had much issue. Was actually surprisingly grippy.

    I'd say as long as its cold like sub 25 degrees tonight you'll be good. Have fun!
    Eric

  37. #37
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    Thanks for the update-I'll keep an eye on the overnight temps and make the call in the morning

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    Angelo, Hi!

    I can't really add much more than what Eric has said above. But, living two miles away from Pine Hill, I can say it's been warm all day, and I think it rained a bit last night (Friday Night). There probably won't be much snow left.

    The temperatures are dropping now.

    Does that make sense?



    Liz

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    Yes it does, Liz. Thanks so much-I think I'll be making the trip in the morning!

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelo View Post
    Yes it does, Liz. Thanks so much-I think I'll be making the trip in the morning!

    Just went out and checked - ground at my house is frozen solid and its usually a couple degrees colder in Rutland. Riding will be amazing. Wish I could be there!
    Eric

  41. #41
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    Angelo,

    You're very welcome, and have a wonderful ride!

    Eric,

    You're absolutely right, I just went out to the barn, and the ground is frozen here too.

    Sounds like the riding in the morning will be awesome.

    Enjoy,


    Liz

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    Great ride this morning. Super firm trails with just a little frost coming out of the earth here and there, like chocolate covered reverse icicles. No mud or snow to speak of. Firm berms!!

    Did a perimeter loop with the addition of an out an back on part of the carriage trail towards Proctor-first time out that way since exploring those woods roads many, many years ago. Looks like a fun and very different addition to the trail network that adds a bit of the back out there, adventure type overland route.

  43. #43
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    Those reverse icicles are cool aren't they? Glad the ride was good and the berms were hard... That is the best part of that place!

    How much tech was on the ride towards proctor? I thought about trying that route the next time I went over there.
    Eric

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    Very little tech, just double track with some worn in sections and new stone work here and there done in part by VYCC crews. Stil,l it is fun riding- I plan on checking it out all the way to Proctor the next time it's doable.

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    I'm not a big fan of technical riding, which was the primary reason that I asked. Sounds like a fun true cross country style ride. Thanks for the report!
    Eric

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    Angelo,

    Yay on the good ride!

    There's always more to explore at Pine Hill.

    I'm glad you had fun.


    Liz

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    To all, I guess I should say, if anyone is curious what local weather conditions are, they can just post here or privately, and I'll try to respond.

    However, I won't be able to give day by day trail conditions over at Pine Hill. Sorry. That would be up to everyone else.



    Liz

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    Does anyone have any info on how the trails faired after the rain/snow/sleet/freeze we got early this week? I know here in my yard its mostly just crunchy snow but the trails about 40 minutes south of me were on the verge of slick ice. I just got my primary bike back from the mechanic and am dying to ride!
    Eric

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