by Matt Hayes
July 18-19, 2009
Twelve of the GORC crew headed east for a weekend of riding the fast, flowy trails of Brown County State Park near Nashville, Indiana. Tom, Mari, Scott, Marvin, John, Bryan, Steph, Rob, Matt, Lisa, Josh and Valerie represented St. Louis in fine fashion and had quite the time jumping trail rollers, getting sideways on the many berms and balancing over some bridge skinnies. It's safe to say that Brown County is one of the top midwestern biking destinations.
In four hours you can be out of St. Louis and in Brown County State Park riding hardpack dirt trails with rock obstacles sprinkled throughout the forest. The climbs are single speed friendly and the views are open and spectacular.
With over 21 miles of trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, it's hard to find anything to dislike about the trail system. Two rollercoaster-esqe loops and an incredible out-n-back ridge runner are the most popular but if you look hard you can drop in on the expert-level "Schooner." Serious exposure, technical rock and log croppings force you to get off or get good real quick.
Unbeknownst to us we randomly came across Nate and Aaron from Grand Rapids, Michigan buzzing around the park. They rode with us throughout the weekend and we reminisced about their great trails we had the opportunity to ride when they hosted the Midwest Mountain Bike Summit this past May.
I'll keep the recap to a minimum and let the photos speak for themselves. The still images don't do the trails justice but our man Bryan had his new HD wide angle all-in-one helmet video camera capturing the moments and should be available for viewing in the near future.
Finally, may I suggest that you rally the Indiana kids to host a Midwest Mountain Bike Summit in the coming years. It could be legendary.
The 16,000+ acre park is a popular destination for locals and out-of-state visitors. They have a lodge and a large camping area but be sure to reserve weeks ahead of time as they are frequently booked up.
There is a $7.00 entrance fee per day for out-of-state vehicles.
Over 21 miles of mountain bike trails.
There are dedicated equestrian-only trails. You won't find horses on the mountain bike trails. Trail runners and hikers have the right-of-way, however.
The trails can be busy on the weekends so keep a lookout for families and hikers coming your way.
If you like single speeding, bring the bike. The trails are not steep, and while there are some large rocks to ride up and over, you won't encounter loose gravel or super-technical roots.
Make sure you ride up to Hesitation Point - the park's main lookout. The ride up to the lookout is about 3.5 miles long and climbs 400 feet. The downhill is amazing.
Some of the original loops were hand-built but the newer stuff, such as the trail running along the ridge, is machine-built. A small trail dozer roughs the trail in and volunteers clean up and finalize the look and feel of the singletrack. This method speeds up the building process by putting the back-breaking deep benchcutting used at Brown County into the hands of the trail dozer operator.