ESNP aka Enterprise South aka the VW trails…

esnp

I had a rare Monday off work (and didn’t fill up the entire day catching up with cleaning & freelance work), so I used this opportunity (and sunshine!) to check out the new trails at ESNP. These trails have been in the works a long time, with the local chapter of SORBA contributing an insane number of hours to get them in tip top shape. Even after the mountain bike trails were completed, Hamilton County still had “other stuff” to finish up before the official grand opening in mid-December.

Once inside the park, you’re greeted with a maze of roads to navigate. Note to mtn bikers: take the first right onto the one-way gravel road to access the main trailhead parking. A few things I noticed about the trails in general: What they lack in technical root and rock sections (nothing out here resembles Mega-Watt!), they make up for with hardly any flat sections and lots of twists, turns, and opportunities for catching some air. The SORBA folks even set up several log balance beams (and I’ve heard they have a few other things up their sleeve for future skills-building fun).

There’s about 10 miles of singletrack available to mountain bikers right now. At an easy-moderate pace, I was out there for 1h20m, so while not a place for epic long rides, it’s a great place for a 1-2 hr ride. I think riding everything in the opposite direction would give you an entirely different experience. One note: because the trails are bi-directional, you definitely need to keep a heads-up for oncoming traffic. It’s easy to pick up a bit of speed, but with all the turns, the last thing you want is to have a header with someone. (esp when the sun is low and blinding, like this afternoon!) Might be nice to have alternating directions, like Blanket’s Creek.

After my ride, I went for a run, exploring both the pedestrian trails and non-vehical paved roads (friendly for road bikes too). I found these trails to be a bit soft and cushy for running on – lots of mulch, etc, piled up. It’s also quite hard to figure your way around the place. Definitely don’t leave home without a map! Hopefully future signage will include some maps and you-are-here markers to help you get back to your car.

One thing I am disappointed in is the outer loop being closed to bikes. While the surface quality isn’t exactly road bike material, the big climbs were calling my name. Would be fantastic if they opened it up to bikes sometimes!

Final kudos go to the variety of terrain included in the park, and its accessibility to all levels, from kids on training wheels to handicapped individuals. It’s a true family-oriented place and yet another reason why Chattanooga outdoors rocks!

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