Heritage Farm’s bike park is packed with two-wheeled adventures.
written by DAWN NOLAN
photos courtesy of HERITAGE FARM
Audy Perry grins as he climbs into the driver’s side of a “Holler Hauler” Utility Task Vehicle. “Getting up the mountain is half the fun,” says Perry, executive director of the Heritage Farm openair living history museum in Huntington.
After a brisk and bumpy ride, Perry arrives at the trail hub for the farm’s Mountain Rim Bike Park. Mountain Rim opened in 2022 as an extension of the farm’s Adventure Park, which also features the RedTail Racers ziplines, TalithaKoum aerial adventure course, the TreeRock Challenge Course, and the Rock Wall.
“When we segued to the Adventure Park in 2021, we were talking about how, for 20-some years, the farm had focused on the Appalachian people, how amazing they are, and how they overcame challenges in the mountains,” Perry says, “and we thought of how great it would be if we actually sent people into the mountains.”
Although Perry was inspired to “do something special” with the trails during a family trip where he saw an old rail bed transformed into a mountain bike trail, he credits Tracy Toler of Adventure Trail Systems in Hurricane for pitching the idea and making it a reality. “He had just completed some mountain bike trails at Meeks Mountain in Putnam County, and he approached us about adding mountain bike trails to the farm,” Perry says. “We started with five trails, and this season we have 10. And we’re working on more.”
Mountain Rim isn’t just for experienced riders—beginners will find numerous ways to get comfortable with mountain biking. Thrasher, a skills area and pump track at the top of the mountain, gives riders a feel for the terrain and helps them work on skill development while having a bit of fun. Less experienced riders may enjoy some time on Hay Baler, a mile-long, relatively flat practice loop where they can prepare for their downhill adventure. Lessons and skills assessments are available to pair each visitor up with the best trails for their skill level, and plans are in the works to offer more classes. “It’s kind of like skiing,” Perry says. “It’s a fun family sport, but sometimes you need to start with a lesson to get everyone’s confidence up.”
Also similar to the ski slopes, each of the bike trails is marked with a different color based on the degree of difficulty. Green trails are easy, blue are intermediate, and red are expert. As an homage to Appalachian heritage, the trails are named after farm equipment used throughout the decades with pieces of the namesake equipment to be found along them.
“We wanted to tie in our heritage, and we had a lot of pieces of farm equipment that never ‘made it into the show.’ They weren’t in the museums, and we wanted to celebrate them,” Perry says. “So, we started taking the hay balers and corn huskers and hit-and-miss engines and stump grinders and all kinds of things up the mountain. Now, people get to see them in all of their glory.”
A new addition this season includes a slalom-type course called Cross-cut where riders can race each other. “It’s named after an old type of saw that took two people to make it work,” Perry says. “That turns into Rock Crusher or Reaper—so, at the end of the slalom course, you can choose to go down an intermediate or expert trail.”
Riders can bring their own bikes and safety equipment—subject to staff inspection—or opt to rent on-site. Hardtails are available for $40, a full suspension soft-tail for $60, or an e-bike for $100. This fee includes a full day of riding and general admission to the farm.
Along with allowing riders to “embrace the spirit of Appalachian adventure,” Perry says Mountain Rim Bike Park was a natural extension of the farm museum and village because it is a great way to see the forest and experience Appalachia’s beautiful flora and fauna, a dimension that Heritage Farm has been exploring over the past few years.
“Usually our forest is so impenetrable. You don’t get to go in very far,” he says. “The bike trails provide the opportunity to go explore within the forest without the difficulties—like briars and underbrush—that are usually associated.”
Heritage Farm Mountain Rim Bike Park pass times are available for Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a break from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Passes and bike rentals may be purchased online.