Week of October 19-26, 1995
Weekend hikes near Chicago
Mountain biking in the White Mountains
Q: I was wondering what trails in the White Mountains would be best to mountain bike for an advanced/expert rider. I plan on traveling there later this fall and I would really appreciate this information.
A: For witheringly steep trails and spectacular views, we recommend heading up to the high country off Sandwich Notch Road, smack in the middle of the White Mountain National Forest. One of the last undeveloped mountain roads in New Hampshire, Sandwich Notch is a narrow, unpaved route that runs northwest for 11 miles from Route 113 in Center Sandwich to Route 49, just south of Waterville Valley. With plenty of lung-busting hills, Sandwich Notch Road makes for a great warm-up before testing your mettle on one of the many rugged singletracks that branch out from trailheads along its length. Start the challenging, 16-mile ride to Flat Mountain Pond at the Guinea Pond trailhead, 5.7 miles north of Center Sandwich. By the time you make it to the pond, after braving nasty gullies and punishingly steep hills, you'll definitely be ready for a lunch break; or, if you don't mind carrying your gear, plan to camp here tonight in the pond's wonderfully secluded shelter (free, first-come, first-served). Another fat-tire option is the Dickey Notch Trail, which starts just off Route 49 north of Sandwich Notch Road and forms the first leg of a 25-mile loop around Dickey Mountain. You'll be rewarded for your superhuman effort with sweeping views of Waterville Valley from Dickey Notch. For additional advice on the area's many mountain bike routes as well as rentals, stop by the Greasey Wheel in Plymouth (603-536-3655), or check out "The Exhaust-Free, Self-Propelled Foliage Tour" in the Destinations section of our October 1995 issue.