Sterling Forest’s New Augusta Mine Trail

Over the last few years, it’s been interesting and enlightening to learn about people throughout the New York/New Jersey region who are constructing new mountain bike trails. Too often, we tend to take for granted that trails exist and don’t consider the amount of forethought, time, effort, and resources it takes to design and build them.

Sterling Forest Augusta Mine Trail

It’s been especially exciting to note the increase in mountain biking terrain along the state line, where riders at Ringwood State Park and Sterling Forest have been the happy recipients of excellent new trails. My friend Jason is a big fan of both and invites me along a few times a year.

As we transition into late fall with cold temps and more foliage on the ground than still on the trees, I usually start winding down my mountain biking (and golfing) in anticipation of the coming ski season. However, with the abnormally mild weather lately, I looked forward to joining Jason and checking out how things are coming along at Sterling Forest, which has become an increasingly popular mountain bike destination over the last few years.

mountain bike climb

Arriving at the Caretakers parking lot on Saturday, a dozen cars were already there. Our objective was to ride the newly opened Augusta Mine Trail on the far left of the map, which branches off the Hutchinson Trail and skirts a couple large ponds.

With 95% of the leaves down, the hero dirt I’ve been riding lately at my home area in Morristown, NJ wasn’t on the menu. Instead, I had to pay more attention to wet rocks under the colorful foliage covering the trails. Still, I was surprised by how smooth many stretches of this trail are and admired the effort that it must’ve taken to remove all of those obstacles.

small pond in Sterling Forest

A couple times we rode past people wearing Palisades MTB (PMTB) shirts, the group that’s overseeing the ongoing project to build five miles of new trails. As mentioned on their website, PMTB saw that mountain biking wasn’t available at many of the parks throughout Orange, Rockland, and Bergen Counties and formed the organization in March 2015 to collaborate with other groups to petition park managers for trail access. They contracted with Tahawus Trails, a professional trail-building company, to expedite the three-phase project with both machine-made and hand-built sections.

The new Augusta Mine Trail offered an intermediate rider like me a nice blend of uphills and some beautifully flowing downhill lines. Meanwhile, Jason took advantage of a few well-positioned rocks to get some air. Between the fun terrain, the balmy temps, and the gorgeous autumn colors, it was a great outing and I look forward to going back to Sterling Forest as they finish off the project.

11 comments on “Sterling Forest’s New Augusta Mine Trail

  1. Nice. I’ll have to scope out Augusta Mine the next time I go there. Don’t get me started about deep leaves, I nearly got lost today.

  2. Thanks for the shoutout. Augusta Mine along with the other work that we are doing in Sterling is crowd-funded and volunteer efforts. We will be building more this fall and next Spring. We can always use volunteers and donations to continue to push forward.

    Shepard Grinker
    Volunteer Coordinator and Co-Chair

  3. Absolutely worth a trip to ride Sterling or Ringwood..

    When not buried in leaves, this trail offers machine built berms, natural features and drops. James takes great scenery pics, he is working on his action shots..Just kidding..

    If anyone one wants to come and ride just reach out..

  4. I love Sterling but I haven’t been there since the spring. I will definitely check out the new Augusta Mine trail. Please take note, these trails are not for beginners.

  5. The key player from the start was the New York New Jersey Trial Conference, without them and NYS Parks we wouldn’t have what we have. Several NYNJTC conservation corps crews sweat for months on end battling bugs and everything else with volunteers to build the main loop. JORBA was there from day one as well. Art and Ellen White and Tom Hennigan were on the first segment nearest to S. Gate Rd., Rd. the first day we broke ground and continue to show up. MTBNJ, CLIMB, and the Boy Scouts among others have also come out. It has been a pleasure to continue the growth and development of Sterling Forest with Palisades MTB as well. Sterling is a very special place with wonderful scenery and great potential for engaging trails. When “complete” and attached to Ringwood it will be a destination for Northeast riders, hikers, and runners.

  6. Thanks Erik. I gave a Cliff Notes version that left out the many people and organizations involved with such a huge project. The Ringwood/Sterling Forest interconnect will be incredible — how many miles of total trails will it encompass when built out?

  7. Scoped out Augusta Mine and Palisades 17 this morning. Very nice. A word of caution to those who may be planning an excursion: The switchback section at the end of Redback is still under construction and there are some really gnarly bits.

  8. Thanks for the heads up Peter. The rain on Sunday cancelled my planned trip there. Hopefully we’ll make it there this weekend.

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