Over the last five years, the mountain biking has really taken off in the Bethel area. With the addition of several new trail systems, more and more are dusting off their old biking skills to give cross-country biking a try here in Western Maine. There are trails available for all abilities. Here is a break down of four free biking trail systems in and around Bethel.
1. Bethel Pathway
Bunny Slope of Biking Trails | 1 Mile | Park at Davis Park in Bethel
On a nice summer day, this paved pathway is used by all: young kids on training wheels, generational families going for a stroll, and all in between. The wooden bridges and smooth path wind through the outskirts of town, over the Androscroggin River, and out onto North Road, a popular road biking route. Mahoosuc Pathways is currently working on expanding the pathway down North Road towards Valentine Farm in 2020.
2. Bethel Village Trails
Beginner | 4 Miles | Parking lot located at 21 Broad Street
Bethel Village Trails are some of my personal favorite biking trails in the region. I started riding cross country only a year ago and a summer on BVT trails built my confidence, while still providing a fun experience and a great workout. The network is made up of two interconnected trails: Bingham Loop (1 mile) and Double Helix (4 miles). Both are multi-directional trails filled with banked turns, flowy tracks, and short climbs.
3. Bacon Hill
Intermediate | 4 miles | Parking at Long Mountain Trail Head on Vernon Street
Sharing a trail head with Long Mountain Trail, Bacon Hill is made up of two main loops, Little Bacon Hill and Big Bacon Hill, which recently opened in 2019. They are also connected by the Playground. Little Bacon Hill is a directional trail with moderately technical and flowy sections. It’s a great option for the rider looking to push out of their comfort zones with optional drops. Big Bacon has a bit more technical climbing with cork-screwing, almost-roller-coaster-like banked turns. The Playground features introductory jumps with small features good for learning how to catch air.
4. Pine Hill
Intermediate & Expert | 7 Miles | Parking lot on Grover Hill Road
Pine Hill bike trails are a part of Gould Academy, the local private school (and my alma mater) in Bethel. In the fall, the Gould mountain bike team is often seen training and competing on Pine Hill. Gould allows public access on their trail system and we are lucky they do, because these trails are a blast. For the intermediate to expert rider, these directional trails provide a mix of twisty and technical single track rides with rocks, roots, and wooden bridges. To really push your skills, try the jump line on Hill Loop. Then cruise over to Bethel Village Trails for a cool down via the Gould Connector Loop. Just make sure you look both ways before crossing Route 5.
Coming soon: Bethel Community Forest
Mahoosuc Pathways is planning two additional miles of mountain bike trail through Bethel Community Forest. This is just the first step of many to develop the Bethel Community Forest into a biker’s/hiker’s/outdoor lover’s dream.
Bonus Experience: Mt. Abram Bike Park
New! For the summer of 2020, Mt. Abram is launching their brand new, lift-serviced downhill bike park at the local ski area. In late fall of 2019, Mt. Abram opened up for the community to preview their trails and the reviews were wildly amazing. The handful beginner and intermediate trails are just the start for this park as the team plans on growing their network and connecting with other trail systems in the future.
For more information on mountain biking in the area, visit sundayriver.com/summer-activities/mountain-biking.