Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails

    I have the fortunate ability to travel with a bike a lot for work. Typically I'll be riding non-local trail network 2-3 times a week, 2 weeks per month. I fly enough with Westjet that I fortunately don't get charged when I travel with my bike.

    This week I've ridden, or have yet to ride
    With enough time I could have added Ravenshoe, Hardwood Hills, Porcupine Ridge, Buckwallow - but that's for a future trip.

    I won't post reviews here for every location but Walden Mountain Bike Club / Naughton deserves a solid pat on the back for the work they did.

    The first thing they did right (which many locations do) is provide a good map at the trailhead. Surprisingly, some MTB centres don't offer an updated map in the parking area/trailhead, Durham Forest I'm looking at you.

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-trailmapboardfront.jpg

    The they also provided free trailmaps to take with you. With phone GPS apps becoming more accessible, not as many locations offer hard copies (that includes Durham Forest).

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-trailmaphandouts.jpg

    Somewhat ironically, that map isn't needed, because what WMBC / Naughton Trails did exceptionally well was arrange colored loops to help visitors determine the type of ride they want, and then help them experience the best trails to fulfill that role. MANY MTB locations don't do that (Durham Forest - I'm tired of looking at you).

    I can't begin to say how pleasant it is to actually focus on enjoying the ride rather than having to stop at every junction, pull out a damn map and deal with mosquitos and dripping sweat every few minutes, just to see/guess where I should go next.

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-trailmapboardrear.jpg

    It's one thing to offer organised loops at the trail head but it's much harder to ensure that there's consistency (and frequency) of signs throughout the network. In this case all but one junction had clear signs. Bravo!!!

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-naughton_signage.jpg

    I rode the largest Red - 'Kitchen Sink' loop (12km, 234m) and added the Yellow 'Second Lap' loop (4km, 103m) for good measure.

    Trails on the Eastern loop are more hardpacked and little elevation. As you work your way to the center & west of the network you're introduced to more elevation and rock.

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-naughton_1.jpg

    For comparatives, terrain in the harder locations is similar to Kanata Lakes / Camp Fortune / Mont Ste Marie but the Naughton's exposed rock is a little more chipped up. Some of the exposed views had a bit of Kelso / Camp Fortune / Mont Ste Marie feel.

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-naughton_3.jpg

    Climbing wasn't too bad, there's a couple of grunts like this up Logan's Run.

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-naughton_4.jpg

    The other nice thing is that the builders didn't have any surprises. When a visitor experiences a trail network for the first time they have no idea of the quality of trails and if there's any hidden 4' drops around the next bend. WMBC did a great job of building credability/trust early on which meant I could feel comfortable letting the bike roll and really experience the trails.
    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-naughton_5.jpg

    Not sure if it's pictured below, but my favorite trails were 'Will Breaker' and 'Pacemaker' when travelling clockwise (east -> west). Some super fun descents there.

    Sudbury - Giving some love to Walden MBC / Naughton Trails-naughton_6.jpg

    I'm quite surprised at what was offered, for what I expect was relatively little resource. Naughton Trails are just off the Trans Canada Hwy, about 10 minutes east of Sudbury. It's a perfect & convenient way to break up a long trip.

    PS: Not to hack on Durham Forest, because they really do have sweet trails, but what's up with that??? I rode there on Tuesday and had fun, but I could have had a hell of a lot more fun if the trails were visibly named, a map was available, or some kind of organised loop was provided. I was constantly stopping at an un-named singletrack junction (sometimes every 100 meters), or some access road where I'd have to play tracking scout and read the dirt/sand to see which way to go. I'm assuming Durham has been around a hell of a lot longer than Naughton and a LOT more resources.
    www.ottawavelo.com - MTB & Gravel lifestyle in Eastern Ontario

  2. #2
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    A great example of a race paying to build trails, 3 years of 500+ people paying 15$ for a weekend pass adds up.

    Great hosts, only bummer is we haven't been back to race there since.



    Quote Originally Posted by fritZman View Post
    I have the fortunate ability to travel with a bike a lot for work. Typically I'll be riding non-local trail network 2-3 times a week, 2 weeks per month. I fly enough with Westjet that I fortunately don't get charged when I travel with my bike.

    This week I've ridden, or have yet to ride
    With enough time I could have added Ravenshoe, Hardwood Hills, Porcupine Ridge, Buckwallow - but that's for a future trip.

    I won't post reviews here for every location but Walden Mountain Bike Club / Naughton deserves a solid pat on the back for the work they did.

    The first thing they did right (which many locations do) is provide a good map at the trailhead. Surprisingly, some MTB centres don't offer an updated map in the parking area/trailhead, Durham Forest I'm looking at you.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TrailMapBoardFront.jpg 
Views:	171 
Size:	187.8 KB 
ID:	1073913

    The they also provided free trailmaps to take with you. With phone GPS apps becoming more accessible, not as many locations offer hard copies (that includes Durham Forest).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TrailMapHandouts.jpg 
Views:	141 
Size:	141.7 KB 
ID:	1073915

    Somewhat ironically, that map isn't needed, because what WMBC / Naughton Trails did exceptionally well was arrange colored loops to help visitors determine the type of ride they want, and then help them experience the best trails to fulfill that role. MANY MTB locations don't do that (Durham Forest - I'm tired of looking at you).

    I can't begin to say how pleasant it is to actually focus on enjoying the ride rather than having to stop at every junction, pull out a damn map and deal with mosquitos and dripping sweat every few minutes, just to see/guess where I should go next.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TrailMapBoardRear.jpg 
Views:	124 
Size:	106.1 KB 
ID:	1073914

    It's one thing to offer organised loops at the trail head but it's much harder to ensure that there's consistency (and frequency) of signs throughout the network. In this case all but one junction had clear signs. Bravo!!!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Naughton_Signage.jpg 
Views:	182 
Size:	231.0 KB 
ID:	1073912

    I rode the largest Red - 'Kitchen Sink' loop (12km, 234m) and added the Yellow 'Second Lap' loop (4km, 103m) for good measure.

    Trails on the Eastern loop are more hardpacked and little elevation. As you work your way to the center & west of the network you're introduced to more elevation and rock.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Naughton_1.jpg 
Views:	175 
Size:	218.3 KB 
ID:	1073907

    For comparatives, terrain in the harder locations is similar to Kanata Lakes / Camp Fortune / Mont Ste Marie but the Naughton's exposed rock is a little more chipped up. Some of the exposed views had a bit of Kelso / Camp Fortune / Mont Ste Marie feel.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Naughton_3.jpg 
Views:	97 
Size:	203.9 KB 
ID:	1073908

    Climbing wasn't too bad, there's a couple of grunts like this up Logan's Run.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Naughton_4.jpg 
Views:	76 
Size:	169.5 KB 
ID:	1073909

    The other nice thing is that the builders didn't have any surprises. When a visitor experiences a trail network for the first time they have no idea of the quality of trails and if there's any hidden 4' drops around the next bend. WMBC did a great job of building credability/trust early on which meant I could feel comfortable letting the bike roll and really experience the trails.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Naughton_5.jpg 
Views:	78 
Size:	181.5 KB 
ID:	1073910

    Not sure if it's pictured below, but my favorite trails were 'Will Breaker' and 'Pacemaker' when travelling clockwise (east -> west). Some super fun descents there.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Naughton_6.jpg 
Views:	81 
Size:	173.5 KB 
ID:	1073911

    I'm quite surprised at what was offered, for what I expect was relatively little resource. Naughton Trails are just off the Trans Canada Hwy, about 10 minutes east of Sudbury. It's a perfect & convenient way to break up a long trip.

    PS: Not to hack on Durham Forest, because they really do have sweet trails, but what's up with that??? I rode there on Tuesday and had fun, but I could have had a hell of a lot more fun if the trails were visibly named, a map was available, or some kind of organised loop was provided. I was constantly stopping at an un-named singletrack junction (sometimes every 100 meters), or some access road where I'd have to play tracking scout and read the dirt/sand to see which way to go. I'm assuming Durham has been around a hell of a lot longer than Naughton and a LOT more resources.

  3. #3
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    Looks like a fun place to ride... Sudbury is on the way to Timmins. Something to consider for my next trip
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  4. #4
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    I grew up in Sudbury and lived there for several years following university, but have never ridden these trails. I did spend my time as a kid bushwhacking with my Supercycle pretty much anywhere I could find some semblance of a path. Too bad I don't get back very much any more. Will have to ensure I plan an extra day for this if I do, though!

    Thanks for the review, and especially the photos. Brings back a lot of great childhood memories of the area.

  5. #5
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    If anyone has done it before, I'd love some tips;
    I'm a student at Laurentian and would really hate to have my season ended in September just because of school. Does anyone know the best way to get to the trails from campus (I don't have a car)? And are there any races to compete in?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lancew1 View Post
    If anyone has done it before, I'd love some tips;
    I'm a student at Laurentian and would really hate to have my season ended in September just because of school. Does anyone know the best way to get to the trails from campus (I don't have a car)? And are there any races to compete in?
    There are a couple of short loops right on campus; I don't remember what the quality of them is like, but they're likely not quite singletrack, and wider gravel/chip trails. Also some stuff at the Lake Laurentian CA, just around the corner from the university (Trail Maps & Conditions - Conservation Sudbury). As I mentioned in my post above, it's been years since I've been back, but I did ride here once or twice when I was younger. It's not like Albion or Durham Forest, though! Check in with them about riding options.

    As to getting to Naughton without a car, it will be challenging. Transit in Sudbury itself is barely adequate, and to places like Naughton is nearly (or probably completely) non-existent. It's about a 25 km ride (one way) to get there on non-highway roads. Best bet is to find some others who do have a car. LU may have an MTB team or club - check there first, and the Walden MTB Club (linked in the OP) as well.

    Finally, get some XC skis and enjoy some incredible skiing and cross-training in the winter up there. There are amazing trails right at your doorstep at the university and conservation area.

  7. #7
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    To be fair to Durham, a lot of trail networks could be better at these things, including our own home trail network (South March Highlands aka Kanata Lakes):

    • We don't have a trail map at every trail head.
    • We do have a good trail map at the main trail head, but it excludes all of the unofficial trails.
    • We have provided free trail maps in the past at the main trailhead, but most times, there are none.
    • We have signage at intersections, but it gets vandalized from time to time.
    • We are slow to address the vandalism.
    • There is (or was) a map in circulation with suggested color-coded loops, but neither the main trailhead sign or intersection signs reference it.
    • Our trails have surprises.


    I'm a big fan of having colour-coded suggested loops. You just follow the matching arrows. No digging out a sweat-soaked map at every intersection.
    Last edited by ray.vermette; 06-21-2016 at 02:24 PM. Reason: rewording

  8. #8
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    "I'm a big fan of having colour-coded suggested loops. You just follow the matching arrows. No digging out a sweat-soaked map at every intersection,"
    Ya and the bugs make for less than ideal study time and orienteering at each of a thousand intersections also sometimes. Thus fast rides on less than the 'epic trail' you had heard about and went way out of town for. Perhaps, something a club could get local Hotels , motels , restaurants on board to sponsor with $ a bit to get the out of town folks into that area on unknown trails for 'epic memorable ' rides that keep them returning or staying in the area for a day or more. Just came back from a trip to Kingdom Trails Vt, throw in a nice young staffer at a kiosk highlighting the appropriate skill level or trails with colour coded highliters showing up hill , can't miss, downhills, nice views etc. And that's Killer ; that makes you wanna travel hours and stay spend the $ and return! LoL

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    To be fair to Durham, a lot of trail networks could be better at these things, including our own home trail network (South March Highlands aka Kanata Lakes):
    I agree, but KL is certainly better than it has been in the past. I never run into lost noobies anymore.

    I guess that's my point, at least OMBA is making the effort, even if it isn't perfect. I really feel like Durham doesn't care, or even consider the scenario of new visitors. The lack of map and visible signage has been like that for at least 7+ years.

    It's a shame because once you know where to go, Durham (along with Hydrocut) have some of the best buffed singletrack I've experienced in the North East.
    www.ottawavelo.com - MTB & Gravel lifestyle in Eastern Ontario

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritZman View Post
    I never run into lost noobies anymore.
    I came across a rider once on Outback in SMH, in the dark, in October, on a rigid hybrid with racks and panniers, with no light. She found about the trails and tried to use them as a shortcut on the way home from work. That was before the signage went in.

    I still encounter the odd newbie on Outback, but usually they have a general sense of where they are and just want to know how to get the hell out of there! In over their heads. lol.

    There was some resistance in the bike community to the signage when it was first proposed for SMH. Some felt it was unnecessary; that it would attract even more people to the trails. Some threatened to tear it down, and some have tried. Maybe that is the case at Durham.

    I haven't biked at Durham or Hydrocut. I've read good things about the Hydrocut. I need to get out and explore more on my bike.

  11. #11
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    Durham has over 100 km of trails and they're free to access. I'm a local, so my view may be coloured, but I would rather the spend the money on building and improving the trail network then on markings and maps that will be destroyed by drunk teens on the weekend. Some of Durham area forest is open to "night use." Plus, when they have maps available they're usually found littered throughout the area as they get discarded or lost by weekend multi-users or due to vandalism.

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