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Monday, November 16, 2009

Frick Park Trail Guide


The mountain bike trails at Frick Park are located just five miles east of city center. It's ironic that many people head into town to mountain bike, but the trails at Frick Park are that good. It's hard to say how many miles of trails there are but on the April 2008 P.O.R.C. ride took us over 17 miles with what I'd estimate at barely a mile of overlap. This still left trails unridden.

The Frick system is a series of trails along the steep sides of of Fern Hollow where it meet Nine Mile Run. To help you visualze that Tranquil Trail runs down the center of Fern Hollow the length of the park North to South were it meets up with the trail along Nine Mile run on the south end. Eventually all of the trails empty into this basin. This makes it easy to find your way down to the bottom without getting lost. At Frick you never seem to know exactly where you are but manage to end up at the same place every time. Because many of the trails end up here most of your climbs are going to start out with Fire Lane Extension or Ravine Falls trail. They are just about the only sane routes back up to the top on the east side of the park where the majority of the trails lay.  The trick of spinning a good ride together at Frick is to construct a nice long route before being spit back down onto the valley floor. With a little patience and planning it is very possible.


Suggested Routes

Three of Fricks best and well know trails are Iron Grate, Roller Coaster and Bradema.

Iron Grate, probably the most popular trail in Frick, is a fast, furious decent along the hillside that borders Forward avenue. Iron Grate adds plenty of gravity and keeps you flying but it's gradual enough to keep the ride going long. The trail takes you through dozen of tight windy turns without pushing you into a route that scrubs away coveted hard earned momentum. The trail also features a couple TTF constructions and PTAG workers added a few high banked berms to the trail. You can find the trail head up by the baseball field located down the end of first base line just off the black topped park trail near the end of English Lane. The trail head begins with a rooty decent and then over the trails namesake an iron grate that was placed to lift tires off a muddy section of the trail. The trail eventually paralles Forward Avenue near the Irish Center and ends on the park access road, Fire Lane Trail.

Iron Grate Trail Photo Credit J. Matta
 Roller Coaster officially starts at a left turn just past the sand piles just after the paved black top park trail turns into gravel. It hovers and undulates at the top at bit before crossing Riverview Extension and making it's descent. Half way down, after crossing Lower Riverview the trail turns right and begins following the contours only to be interrupted by a series of ravines. These plunges and quick ascents are the trails highlight and namesake. To continue on to the end section of roller coaster go just a few yards down fire lane extension and cross the plywood bridge. After shooting through the woods you will be greeted with a series of challenging climbs. After a set of climbs, the trail Ys. The first right takes you on the loop back trail, choose this trail to do roller coaster backwards or continue up the ascent. At the top of the ascent (or before) any of the eventual left turns will take you back down where you will merge with the end of Iron Grate.

Bradema starts by the nature center. It can be reached by climbing Falls Ravine park trail and making a right at social. It is a fast rooty trail with that follows the contours with tight twitchy turns that features several TTFs involving ramps over large log crossings. Bradema eventually ends in a hairy descent that cross Biddle trail and emptying you onto Tranquil Trail in the Fern Hollow Valley.

Roll Over on Bradema Photo Cred J. Matta

The Nature Center and is trails are off limits to bicycles. Bradema, the trail often referred to as 'The Nature Center Trail' is named such because it falls just below the nature center but does not encroach on the Nature Center area. Please stay off the nature center trails.

The parks official closing time is 11:00PM making night riding a possibility and quite popular.

Ride Apre
Some favorite apre ride locations are Ryan's Pub at the corner of Forbes and Bradock, Dee's Dog and Six Pack in Regent Square, or the Squirrel Cage just a bit up from the intersection of Forbes and Murry.

More on Mountain Biking in Frick Park

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