Location: Panama State Forest – Panama, New York 14767
Distance from That Was Exciting Office: Erie P.A. : 27miles / 33 minutes
Total distance: 28.2 km / 17.5 miles
Total Time: 3 hours 40 min. (including exploring and breaks)
Height gain: 1,841m / 6,040 feet
Height loss: 1,802m / 5912 fe
Max height of terrain: 586m / 1922 feet
Min. height of terrain: 469m / 1538 feet
Riders: Sean and Adam
Adam – Let’s go for a ride tomorrow and finish the last part of the Cusimano Westside Overland Trail.
Sean – Ok sounds like a plan, I have to work until noon.
Adam – Alright I’ll pick you up when you’re done.
Sean – Great! and Merry Christmas!!
And our next adventure was planned. If you haven’t been following along we have been out mountain biking a trail in Western N.Y. the last few weeks. That’s right! Out biking in December in an area where there could be more than 3 feet of snow by now. The weather in our area has been great and we have been out taking full advantage of it. So, the last part of the trail we haven’t explored yet is the southern section that runs through Panama State Forest and ends in Brokenstraw State Forest. We decided to jump onto the trail where we started the first time. Our first ride of this area started off of Snake Forest Road in North Harmony State Forest and we headed north on the trail that day. So now here we are back on Snake Forest Road and ready to head south. It’s great to be back out seeing the last section and doing something active after the holiday. Looking around as we start down the trail reconfirms that North Harmony Forest in my opinion is the nicest park in the system. Like I stated in the description about the northern part of the trail, the section south of interstate 86 seems to have nicer more mature forest areas. We make our way out of North Harmony State Forest and into Panama.
If you are looking for more adventure when the trail crosses Rock Hill Road (County Touring Route 10) you can take it East 1.6 miles and be at Panama Rocks a hiking and picnic area that’s pretty cool. As a heads up when the trail hit Rock Hill Road the arrow sign was missing, you want to make a left at this point and head east about a 1/4 mile to get back on track. We were able to where the path picked back up and continued winding our way down towards Brokenstraw the final part of the Cusimano Westside Overland Trail. The last few hundred yards ended up being one of my favorite sections. As you work your way through this mature section of conifers it gives you a neat feeling different from any other section of the trail. There is also a ton of roots so many in fact it feels as if your riding down a flight of stairs. The trail then comes to a end and exits onto a dirt road. This dirt road running through Brokenstraw is listed as the West Side Overland Hiking Trail if you’re trying to find it on the map. Not far from the trails end is a nice parking area and a trail log box so you can sign in if you would like. After a quick water break we decided to follow the dirt road northeast out to Goshen road. By heading north on Goshen Road you’ll hit a point where it T’s into Rock Hill Road, by making a left and heading west you won’t be far from getting back onto the trail. Also at this point if you need a lunch or dinner break you can make a right and head east into the town of Panama. We decided to head back onto the trail and make our way to the truck.
After getting back to our starting point the thought of checking out one of our favorite spots on the entire trail came up. The camping area with the two shelters overlooking a pond of course! This is just such a sensational place and one of the top highlights from our first ride on the Cusimano Westside Overland Trail just a few weeks earlier. Also, my new carbon filter had arrived and needed to be tested out so with empty water bottles and a little energy left in our legs we headed north to the camping spot. On the way there Adam spotted a side trail – A.K.A. -“short cut” …… After off roading or in this case off trailing it through an area that was nowhere near our destination we found the trail and made it to the water well and camping location. We gave the new filter a try and had a short break. With daylight running out we decided to call it a day. We did get back to the truck this time without the need of a flash light (which was nice). With another December ride completed the only thing left to do is refuel and just like on the previous trips, that meant stopping by Pine Junction Tavern, one of the only places in this neck of the woods.
Sean’s Tip – If you are going in the winter or early spring and we have had lots of snow this section might still be to deep to bike. I’ve gone on an early spring day thinking the weather was pretty nice but when arriving to this section of trail the snow being to deep to ride after you make your way in to the pines. The pines protect this section and the snow stays much longer in this area.
Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail
Brokenstraw State Forest
Panama, NY 14767
Great parking spot at the end of the trail. Off of Country Touring Route 23.
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