History: East Setauket is located on Belle Meade Road which is off of Rt.347 to the north. The trail is on the property of Laurel Ridge Setauket Woods Nature Preserve which is property of the Town of Brookhaven. The name “Laurel Ridge” comes from the fact that the preserve is situated on the Harbor Hill Terminal Moraine. The woodlands on the parcels are dominated by a pine-oak forest, comprised of a canopy of pitch pine and a variety of oak species as well as an extensive under story of Mountain Laurel, which forms one of the typical upland community types in the Long Island Pine Barrens. The Laurel Ridge-Setauket Woods Nature Preserve recharges an estimated 143 million gallons of clean drinking water annually. It is home to a wide variety of migratory songbirds, woodpeckers, game birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and numerous invertebrates.
East Setauket Mountain Bike/Hiking Trail: East Setauket Mountain Bike Trail begins on the east side of Belle Meade Road marked by a trailhead. The east side is composed of 18 miles of singletrack. The main loop is approx. 5.5 miles long which contains various switchbacks, some optional tight tree in between lines, and moderate climbs and downhills. The main loop is relatively smooth with a few roots and small rocks along the way. Off of the main loop are additional side loops that will add on mileage. In these additional loops you will have a few small natural rock features that are rideable as well as some small log piles. The additional loops contain more elevation and challenging climbs. The additional loops are named as follows. **Note that all the sections may not be named exactly as I have listed here or found on the current map at the trailhead.
FIRST HALF: 10 miles containing the 5.5 mile main loop(blue) and an additional 4.5 miles of more challenging trail(black).
BJ’s Way Intro
BJ’s Way Finish
Wild Laurel Intro
Wild Laurel Continued
Wild Laurel Finish
New Black Intro
Monster Mash Climb
New Black Finish
After completing Twisted Sister you will emerge back on to the main loop where you will ride for approx. 1/2 mile getting back to the power lines and crossing over. After crossing over the power lines you will do a few switchbacks and then get to a junction where you have two options. The first is you can make a left and take the main loop back to the trailhead at Belle Mead Rd. At this point you will have completed approx. 10 miles of the trail. Based on time constraints and conditioning there are some riders who may feel like only doing these first 10 miles which has become known as “Doing the First Half” of ES (East Setauket). The second option is to continue straight ahead for an additional 8 miles of singletrack which is known as “Doing the Second Half” of ES. Note that in this part there is no crossing over the power lines. Some riders have named the first 10 miles as the “East Side” since over 9 miles of the that section are found east of the power lines while the second half is 8 miles and all west of the power lines. This terminology is starting to fade out though due to an additional 4.25 mile loop on the west side of Belle Mead Rd.
SECOND HALF: 8 miles of challenging trail(black diamond) relative to the main loop found on in the first half. No main loop in this section. Note that you can ride this section without having to do the first 10 miles. Simply park at the trailhead and ride north on Belle Mead Rd. for approx. 1/8 of a mile and on the right hand side you will see an entrance which takes you to a fireroad. Take that fire road up about a 100 yards and on the left hand side you will see a sign taking you onto the singletrack.
No Dab Zone
Ground Hog Hill
Sick Bro Hill
After Sick Bro Hill there is approx 3 more miles of hills before you get back to the junction which takes you back on the main loop to the parking lot. If you have done everything I have listed above then you have completed 18 miles of trail east of Belle Mead Road. Now you can cross the street for an additional 4.25 miles of trail.
WEST SIDE: 4.25 miles. The loop isn’t marked too well so if it’s your first time in there then I recommend going with someone who knows it. This has been named, “The West Side” of ES. This loop contains challenging rooty and rocky climbs for the first 3.5 miles. Towards the end there’s an additional 3/4 of a mile which is flat singletrack. At this point if you have ridden everything I have listed above you should have done approx. 22.5-23 miles.
Mileage: 23 miles total. The main loop is 5.5 miles(blue) and there is an additional 17.5 miles of more challenging trail(black diamond).
Elevation: Approx. 2400 feet of climbing with 125 ft of elevation change. Many of the climbs you have to work for since there is little flow into many of them.
Technical: There are some optional tight spots to navigate through as well as some challenging climbs that present apexes or hairpin turns towards the crest. In addition, there are some hills with some small rocks or small log piles to clear while climbing.
Flow: While the trail is clearly XC it definitely lacks in flow compared to some of the other local Long Island trails such as Glacier Ridge, Manorville, Rocky Point, and Shoreham. There are plenty of times when you do get some good flow but then it’s interrupted by a near 90 degree turn with a moderate to challenging climb.
Overall: East Setauket is one of the longest MTB trails on Long Island that will challenge your endurance and strength. It presents some of the toughest climbs on Long Island for XC riding. The only other trail that may have some tougher climbs are over at Shoreham. However, with the way the trail has been laid out it certainly is not the fastest nor most flow trail that can be found on Long Island. There are no man made technical trail features in this trail. However, the natural terrain has left some small erratic rocks that can be ridden. There may be plans to keep adding mileage at this trail and getting it perhaps closer to 30 miles eventually.