The Coolest Place You've Never Biked

Blog
Staff
Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau
10/29/2018

 

Auburn wasn't supposed to be this awesome

"When lining up the slate of East Bound & Down stories for 2017, I think I would've called the Auburn stop the most "unassuming" of the half-dozen destinations on tap for exploration. Auburn is located on the edge of the Atlantic Seaboard fall line, which means that it is essentially on the spot where the last hints of the Appalachian Mountains meet the Atlantic Coastal Plain. While there are some remnants of the 1+ billion-year-old mountain chain apparent in places like Chewacla State Park, home to the cornerstone trail network for the area, it's a place that is decidedly devoid of any notable hills, much less mountains, and is not exactly where you might expect to find much of anything of note for riders.

"The Auburn and Opelika region is dominated culturally by Auburn University. There are no shortages of extracurricular opportunities when you visit, with plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, golf courses, and of course, the university itself to keep you busy and distracted from the ride if you are in fact looking for a distraction. The world might have a fair few preconceived notions about the state of Alabama, some deserving, and some too broad a brush stroke, but Auburn/Opelika proved to be a very pleasant surprise. The hospitality was real, the countryside beautiful, and as someone who appreciates really good coffee and really good food, I was happy to discover for myself that there was no shortage of either of those two things."

"Oh yes, and the trails there are pretty rad to boot." Brice Shirback | East Bound and Down | PINKBIKE

 

 
 
 
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We didn't have hills and mountains, so we built our own.

Chewacla State Park is the area's primary trails destination. The 696-acre state park features close to 30 miles of singletrack split between two "systems". The lower system is where you'll find some of the park's earliest trails, with a decidedly rough and rugged feel geared towards the cross country crowd.

The upper system features a variety of flow and gravity offerings, utilizing every inch of the park's 200 vertical feet of relief. While that's barely a lump compared to many other destinations, including some in the same state, it does feature a jump line with over 25 jumps and features, including a 20'X8' stepdown, numerous 20'+ doubles and tables, one of the best hips you'll find anywhere on the east coast, and a 35' road gap. That doesn't include the scores of other features found throughout the upper system, which utilizes quite a bit of lumber, as well as the final, rocky whispers of Appalachia before the region's transition towards a sandy coastal plain takes over.

 

The area's local mountain biking club, the Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers (CAMP) is responsible for the thousands of hands-on volunteer hours that went into building the trails. CAMP also offers open instructional rides for all skill levels.

Another hot spot for riders, Lake Wilmore, is a 2-mile intermediate loop located behind Ogletee Elementary. The trail head is located in the Ogletree Elementary School parking lot. There are a few “challenge” areas that are marked, suitable for the more intermediate riders or for the beginner looking to up their skill set. Challenge yourself on the trails all while enjoying the beautiful view of the lake. This trail is just a short ride from Chewacla as well.

Tuskegee National Forest is a short drive from Auburn offering 12 miles of ‘bikeable’ single track. The trek through Tuskegee National Forrest can be a challenge, but is an experience you’ll enjoy. Labeled as an “old school” trail, Tuskegee offers a back-country experience just a short drive from Auburn. | More reasons to bring your bike. 

 
 
 
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Our hotels love riders! The Clarion is a bike-friendly hotel and offers a discounted rate for travelers who bring their bikes. You can even store your bike right in your room! The deal stands on any non-football weekend and is only $62 per night plus tax. Contact the Clarion by calling 334-821-7001. 

Other activites and staying in Chewacla State Park

For a post-shredding break, Chewacla offers a 26-acre lake, rental boats, swimming area, playgrounds, hiking trails, and modern and primitive campgrounds. For those who prefer a roof over their heads, the park features six stone cottages available for rent year-round. Each cottage features hardwood floors, stone fireplaces, bathrooms, modern kitchens, and televisions, plus central heating and air (if you ask us, that last one may be the most important). Smaller cabins can house up to four people while the larger ones can sleep up to six.

 

 

A trip to Chewacla State Park is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Hiking, biking, spending time on the lake, and basking in nature. Get outside and enjoy the sounds of the plentiful songbirds, look for wildlife, picnic and hammock with your family, or explore miles of trails. 

Still not impressed? See for yourself.

 

 

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