By Susie Owens
Posted On: Oct 1, 2021
It's Ohio's rugged hills, steep inclines and fabulous trees that make up the State Park system and are the perfect backdrop for mountain bike enthusiasts.
For a start, you might want to look at the beautifully-maintained Huffman Park's MoMBA (MetroParks Mountain Biking Area) in Montgomery County. This trail is the area's first fully sustainable trail system that meets the International Mountain Bike Association standards. The hills here are short and punchy, have well marked by signs and intersection kiosks keeping you moving in the right direction. The loops are rated in varying degrees of difficulties.
Hawk's Lair is the most technical trail, with tight rocky patches. For a good challenge, ride MOMBA clockwise — it gives you a totally different trail and a slight uphill climb. This trail is ingeniously designed — you'll be surprised at the amount of trail you can cover in eight miles.
Photo credit: Friends of Bryan Park, Facebook
Need something a little less challenging? John Bryan State Park is part of the Miami Valley Mountain Bike Association, also near Dayton. This 7.5 mile trail is flat, and is a good beginner trail, with fewer restricted-view curves than MoMBA. Note, this trail was also built for hikers — so be careful and considerate.
John Bryan State Park is home to several mountain bike races and cross country running races. The trail includes Powerline, with tight twisty turns and long runs, a boardwalk, some creek crossings and a small ramp. Abracadabra has about two miles of mostly flat and open easy riding. It has one medium-sized ramp (with a bypass around it), a boardwalk and small creek crossings.
After you have a few rides under your belt, the Caesar Creek State Park offers a fresh challenge that brings terrain changes, bigger roots and more hills. The trails are not as well marked as you will find at MoMBA, so you'll need to pay attention. This might be tough, because you'll be distracted by the great views of the lake. Caesar Creek State Park offers several biking options:
- Fifty Springs Loop (3.5 miles) - Easy
- Mountain Bike Trail (15 miles) - Difficult.
Further South is the Mitchell Memorial Forest, a Hamilton County Park. This mountain bike trail is built within the forest, and brings that "hushed" sanctuary ambiance that you can only find by standing in the midst of tall trees. The trail – a gift – was built by the volunteer members of CORA (Cincinnati Off Road Alliance) with the support of Hamilton County Parks.
This four-mile trail offers tree passages, rocks and log-overs. The up and down dips of the trail make this one great fun for the intermediate rider, and a good introduction for the beginner as well. The loop is non-directional, so you can ride the loop several times.
After spending months indoors, go out and enjoy our great Ohio parks and ride!