introduction of the Hayes mountain bike trails
by Ben Willett
- Blue Trail - 1.6 miles
- Yellow Trail - 2.0 miles
- Orange Trail - 1.4 miles
- Red Trail - 2.0 miles
- Road Gap Jump Feature - Yellow Trail
- Log Ride Feature - Orange Trail
- Wooden Berm Feature - Red Trail
- Step-up Pier Drop Feature - Yellow Trail
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO THE NEXT TRAIL FEATURE?
Leave a voicemail or text Ben Willett at (765) 914-2624.
There are 7 miles of trails on the east side of Richmond, Indiana. It’s been rated by Visit Indiana as one of the top mountain bike trails in Indiana. With it’s close proximity to I-70, restaurants and stores, along with cool features and elevation changes, it’s easy to understand why.
Our biking community is lucky the Hayes organization (link: http://www.hayesarboretum.org/) allows the use of their land for free. The 7 miles of trails are located on approximately 170 acres of the 466 acre property and have a 241’ of elevation change.
It’s a single track trail system that are progressively more challenging. Features include a wooden berm turn, 3 tree gable wooden features, table-top, road jump/pier drop, step up pier drop, 11 wooden bridges and 4 log features. A hand-crafted bike rack and an air pump are available at the parking lot. While the trails are situated in town near many restaurants, banks, and gas stations. It’s also quiet, scenic and a rugged adventure for any level of experience. Hayes’ trails are also centered between Hueston Woods and Westwood; both are ~20 minutes away, so make a day of it and visit all 3 trail systems.
Hayes - East Property Address (the parking lot):
191 Hayes Arboretum Road, Richmond, IN 47374
(Across from the Fire Station).
what to expect
Easily accessible, the trails are a 1/2 mile from hwy 40 and 1.5 miles from interstate 70, on Richmond’s east side. There’s a large gravel parking lot with trail maps, a manual machine with instructions on how to use, a repair stand with basic tools and an air pump.
Before your first ride, you’re required to fill out a waiver of liability; available at the parking lot. Fill it out, sign it and either leave it on the clipboard or drop it off at the Nature Center. Once signed, it’s valid for life. A helmet is required at all times.
The trails are single track; you cannot get lost. You can go either direction, color-coded signage guides you and reminds you what trail that you’re on.
The trails offers scenic views for beginner mountain bikers and with features and elevation change to give those of us who enjoy the more challenging aspects of mountain biking. Any feature with a drop also has a “ride around” for those that are not quite ready for it.
For the beginner, the trail offers scenic view and trails to build your confidence. For the more experienced riders, there is a road gap jump and a step up pier drop along with some other technical features.
Nice ride close to town with some neat wooden features. Vaughan Latham - MTB Project.
- 1.6 miles
- Large parking lot near trail head
- 2 wooden features
- 2 log features
- A bridge
A beginner trail that’s the start of a great adventure.
You can access this trail from the parking lot at the trailhead. The first section of the Blue Trail is referred to as “blue warm up” and is a fast, rolling section with sweeping turns. You’ll pass through the scenic wetlands area, past the 3-acre pond before crossing the first gravel access road.
Once across the gravel access road, you enter the main section of the Blue Trail. This area is known as the “fast flats” made up of smooth trail with a series of tight turns and short straights. 1
1 Source: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7008441/blue-trail
This beginner trail is a great warm-up or as an introduction to mountain biking. Greg Turner - MTB Project.
- 2.0 miles
- Intermediate *
- 2 wooden features
- 2 wooden bridges
- 2 log features
* Contains advanced and expert wooden features
An intermediate trail with nice elevation changes and very cool features.
Yellow Trail is for beginner and intermediate riders. It flows very well with bermed turns and log features. It has recently been extended by 3/4 of a mile. In 2017, two very cool wooden features were built by volunteers. Our next project for this trail is to add more berms in the middle section. 1
- 1.4 miles
- Intermediate *
- 1 wooden table top feature
- 3 wooden gable features
- 1 log feature
* Contains advanced log feature
A challenging trail with many elevation changes and features.
As you enter the Orange Trail, you’ll find yourself in some of the more technical sections in this trail system. The Orange Trail starts with a short, fast drop to the base of the first long climb. You’ll descend along the ridge to a series of short, steep switchbacks, bringing you back to the top of the ridge once more.
As you follow the ridge you’ll pass a well-built log ride. (Hint: The log ride gives you an alternate route and is a great way to make a pass on your buddies) The trail descends to the back side of the ridge and begins to transition into a series of fast flat sections with log crossings and sweeping turns. 1
1.4 miles of flowing singletrack containing climbs, berms, sharp corners and fast descents. Greg Turner - MTB Project.
- 2.0 miles
- Intermediate *
- 2 wooden features
- 6 wooden bridges
- 3 log features
* Contains advanced wooden feature
The most physically challenging and scenic trail with many elevation changes.
The most technically advanced trail at Hayes Arboretum. Red Trail was built in Spring of 2015 and is gradually coming into its own through increased usage. This trail features short, steep climbs, off-camber sections, tight turns, and a number of large log crossings.
This first section of Red is a nice, flowing single track that takes advantage of natural berms and bowls as you climb to the top of the first ridge. Once you summit the ridge, you’ll drop down into the second section of Red.
Stay tuned as the volunteers are building an additional 1/2 mile of trail extension in 2018.
Hayes mtn bike trail history
Dieter Stapelberg and his team from AUTOCAR lead the way for what has become one of the Top Ten mountain bike trails in Indiana.
Trail work began in April of 2012 on the Hayes east property. This effort was lead by volunteers, Dieter Stapelberg and his team from AUTOCAR, Jon Proctor Jr, John Weber and countless other volunteers. They worked nearly every weekend and by March of 2013, they had built the Blue and Yellow Trails. At the end of Yellow Trail, you could turn around and ride back, or take the maintenance roads back to the trail head. At this time, there wasn’t even a parking lot. By mid-2014, volunteers had built the Orange Trail. The Hayes Foundation installed the parking lot near the trail head and added a bulletin board.
2015 started off rough. As good stewards, Hayes Arboretum contracted a logging company to clear some of the tress on the east property. While the logging company promised not to harm the trails, unfortunately many of the them were in complete dis-repair from to the heavy equipment and unwanted trees left behind. Several sections of the Blue and Yellow Trail were un-recognizable. Luckily, volunteers rallied and we were able to fix and re-build the existing trails. [2015 was my first serious year as a volunteer] Using that momentium, I lead the effort to build Red Trail. The effort started off strong, but as volunteering sometimes goes, many of the volunteers had burned out from putting in so much time in the initial trail build. I decided that it was my time to gave back. By the fall of 2015, after about 250 hours, we had Red Trail and a single track course that started and ended near the parking lot. Hayes now had almost 6 miles of mountain bike trails.
In 2016, the focus was to extend the trails and add signage. You guessed it, by the end of the year, we added the hill top extension along with the wooden berm on Red Trail (.1 mile), extended 2nd section of Yellow Trail (.75 mile) and added the 21’ bridge at the end of the Red Trail.
Our focus in 2017 was to add features and continue to extend the trails that would increase traffic and make the trails more than just an cross-country trail. In 2017, we built 7 new wooden features, added a bike pump, the Manual Machine, fabricated and installed the bike repair stand, 2 log features, 5 bridges and created the tri-fold map. It’s important to note that our FaceBook membership in the last 3 years has gone from 33 to 253. We also used this page to find out what our members wanted in features and we listened. All of the features that we built were a direct result of those surveys.
By the end of the 2017, I also changed the 4th section of Red trail to use what used to be called, “the bowl” and added a short section along the existing trail giving us a few tenths of mile and forcing riders to use all of the trails (the bowl used to be an optional loop, so it went un-ridden). This wan’t nececessarily done to add a lot to the trail, but to create the flow for what will be our focus in 2018.
This year, we’re going to try to reach 8 miles with the ultimate goal of having sanctioned races at some point. Which is part of our other priority of raising awareness of what Richmond has to offer. We all know that when we have more wheels and feet on the ground, it generally leads to less maintainance, therefore giving me more time to build the cool stuff that we all enjoy. We already have a scheduled race in August with a group from Indianapolis. As you might have guessed, volunteers have been fairly minimal for the last couple of years.
If you’re interested in volunteering, see our FaceBook page for the current schedule and/or
leave me a voicemail or text me at (765) 914-2624.
This trail was featured in Issue #1 (mountain bike edition)