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Trails Collective

Your Trail: The Enchanted Mountains of Ellicottville, NY

Vishal Gupta on the 171 mile Conservation Trail in Allegany State Park – Photo Credit Mark Valites from @Buffalotrailandultrarunners

Tucked into the far southwestern corner of New York State on the border of Pennsylvania lie the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County and the trail town of Ellicottville, NY. 

With a permanent population of less than 300 people, there are two ski resorts, miles of cross-country ski and mountain bike trails and a bevy of some of the most beautiful and secluded trails for running that you will ever encounter. 

The Finger Lakes trail and The North Country trail cut through the region giving access to some of the longest footpaths in the country that then break off into numerous smaller trails in the area.
Nearby trails through places named Little Rock City and Thunder Rocks give the surreal feeling of not being in New York anymore. Just minutes outside of Ellicottville are endless options of trails in Allegany State Park (the largest state park in NY at 65,000 acres) and the similarly named, but differently spelled Allegheny National Forest (at 517,000 acres). The former even includes a fun run to check out and crawl around in some local  bear caves!

With world class trails, a reason to visit in all seasons, and a food/drink scene on par with anywhere – Check out some of the details below and then you need to add Ellicottville, NY to your bucket list today!
The “You need to run this” trail: It’s a combination effort – Utilizing the Finger Lakes Trail from Little Rock City heading east you can then create a loop via the surrounding Rim/Bent Rim trails. Local runner Mark Valites says  “It’s technical, and unlike anything else in the region.”

Vishal Gupta runs the Rim Trail, Rock City: Photo Credit Mark Valites from @Buffalotrailandultrarunners

Other noteworthy trails:

-Black Snake Mountain Trail– This trail runs so close to Pennsylvania that you can stand in both NY and PA at the same time while even checking out oil rigs (yes, oil rigs, in NY and PA). 

-Mount Tuscarora Trail: An old fire tower surrounded by old growth trees still sits at the top. A fun loop, and a great spot for hill repeats.

Thunder rocks: Bring the kids and check out nature’s playground. Gigantic rock formations, in one of the only places in NewYork that was NOT touched by glaciers. Where did they come from? Visit to find out!

– The Finger Lakes Trail and The North Country Trail – They are both located  together in some locations within the region

Best Race/Event: Does a bear crap in the woods? Find out at The Allegany Adventure Run. with options for everyone with 5k, 13k, and 27k events. 

Trail Event Companies:

Heart Rate Up puts on a number of races in the region covering the toughest and most scenic places.

Reluctant Runner Racing throws 50k and 50 mile options in the mix as well. 

Best FKT to chase: The 584 mile Finger Lakes Trail which runs right through the middle of town and then continues on through the remainder of New York State. With 90,000 feet of vertical gain, the current time is 15 days 12 hours 10 minutes by Mark Valites of @Buffalotrailandultrarunners.

Local Trail Media: The area is so secluded there is nothing really documenting the scene! Now is your chance to get down there, and send us a recap of what you thought of the place and we can publish it here!

Lodging –  As a ski town, there is no shortage of places to stay. From luxury resorts near the slopes to cabins and campsites in nearby Allegany State Park and Allegheny National Forest. Take a look here for places to crash and rest those trail weary legs 

Shopping – Tucked into the village are over 23 eclectic shops – Are you looking to buy something for that hard to buy person, or to bring home as a fun reminder of  your trip? Check out the She Shed, He Shed right in town or any of the other shops that catch your eye in this very walkable, quant village. 

Good eats N’ drinks: You can’t go wrong in town, and for such a small town there are a shocking amount of options.  The crown jewel of the beer in the area has to be the Ellicottville Brewing Company . Founded in 1995 serving the best craft beer and an award winning menu you get a local feel where you can dress up or come straight off the trail and still feel like you fit in.

Bringing it all together: “New York”  has you thinking of a fast paced big city and bright lights, but Ellicottville will show you how to slow things down. You can run for miles and not see another human. You can climb massive rock formations and then run on smooth flowing single track.You can visit bear caves and check out a fire tower and then follow it up with that classic americana small town feel. Come on out to Ellicottville, NY and take in all the Enchanted Mountains have to offer.

Don’t live in a trail town and want to build one, check some advice here: https://www.trailrunnermag.com/training/trail-tips-training/building-a-trail-town-from-scratch

Want your town highlighted? Suggestions can be sent to Eric at TrailsRoc@Gmail.com

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