Located just minutes off the highway in Waterbury, Perry Hill is one of the most popular places in the area for locals to ride and thus attracts mountain bikers from all over the place. Its eight trails offer 7.8 miles of mostly advanced singletrack with only one intermediate option. The Waterbury Area Trail Alliance (WATA), a nonprofit organization that maintains of the trail, are working hard to build additional trails, when they are able, to make it more welcoming for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.
What Makes It Great
Perry Hill is infamous for the stout climb necessary to get to the trailheads, but once riders conquer the steep quarter-mile ascent they hit Permission and, again, up they go. Permission is the central trail that leads to a variety of options on which to play around. The most well-known trails include the super technical, rocky, slab-covered Joe’s (usually ridden downhill only. Heading up will require some walking); the super fast and flowy terrain on Burning Spear, or the highly exposed and technical Rastaman. Campfire is the only intermediate trail at Perry Hill and is a fun loopy route through the pines. The trails are all marked with unique fun signs that keep riders motivated to see what the next one looks like.
The trails here are very steep with an average grade of 7.8% and a max grade of 14.3% found on the quarter-mile entrance trail that leads you to the rest of the trailheads. Embrace it, it’s the only way in to the other trails. Needless to say with the entrance and climb up Permission, riders work for their fun, but the effort is promised to be rewarded. Once at the top riders will find a technical playground with faster, rolly trails on the way down.
The topography here lends itself to amazing natural mountain biking as the trails have been around since mountain biking started growing in the area 10-15 years ago. Because of this they end up being much more technical and advanced with all the rocks, drops, roots and rollers created by nature.
Being located in Waterbury, home of the Alchemist’s famous Heady Topper IPA, there are a handful of good restaurants and spots to stop and grab a craft beer in town post-ride. Always crowded each of the restaurants and pubs have their own personality and offer everything from local-beef burgers and pizza to famous craft beers and wine.
Who is Going to Love It
Advanced riders looking for something challenging and fun will have a blast navigating the technical trails off Permission. Most riders don’t even bother to ride up Joe’s because it is impossible to do it without walking your bike at points, so just imagine the ride down. Mix that with the fast flow some of the other trails provide and it makes for a potentially epic day. The workout is one of a kind, so riders best be in shape to ride here.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take a left immediately before the bridge onto River Rd. Drive a 1/4 mile down the road and there is a parking lot on the right directly across from the trailhead. There is also a row of parking across the road.
Perry Hill is a multipurpose trail network open to runners, mountain bikers and hikers from May through October. The trails are closed during the winter. If the trails are wet, people are asked to stay off of them.