If ever in Gray, Maine, and in the mood for a mountain biking adventure, the South Loop and its connector trails at Pinelands offer a distinctive biking experience that's a cut above the "average" trails. With an intermediate difficulty level, a total distance of 8 miles, and a loop-type route, this trail system is nothing short of a mountain biker's paradise.
This trail is not your run-of-the-mill biking destination. While it stays true to Maine's signature roots and rocks, it also offers so much more. For thrill-seekers, the trail is interspersed with jumps approximately halfway through the loop, offering an opportunity to test aerial skills. Another highlight is the recent addition of a 2-mile stretch to the east of Route 231. This newly added section sports about 300 feet in elevation changes and introduces new bridges and skinnies into the mix.
Take heed that the trail section east of Route 231 has recently experienced significant storm and tree damage, making it currently unrideable past the halfway point. The power line trail also needs some upkeep, as it has become overgrown and is less frequently ridden.
Riders can enjoy two short loops packed with technical single tracks. Depending on the loop's direction, several moderate climbs and descents make each run unique. Note that the North Loop is off-limits to mountain bikes.
What used to be single-plank skinnies have now evolved into wider, 3-foot bridges. While easier, they offer less of a technical challenge than their predecessors.
Plans are underway to connect the trail to Bradbury Mountain. This makes the South Loop a promising choice for those looking to explore an evolving trail system.
Despite a couple of areas in need of TLC, the South Loop at Pinelands remains an appealing destination for mountain bikers. Its rich terrain and new additions make it perfect for those seeking a balanced, intermediate-level riding experience. As the trail system continues to expand and improve, its allure is only expected to grow.