By MIKE LYNCH
Hikers looking to tackle the new Mount Van Hoevenberg East Trail this season should expect a significant detour through cross-country skiing trails due to construction at the nearby Olympic sports facilities.
Hikers and mountain bikers — who have their own trails — are being rerouted to the biathlon complex closer to Route 73, where there is a small parking area and a makeshift trailhead among a construction zone. The main parking lots and facilities where the Mount Van Hoevenberg Trail is located are closed for the season.
The detour for the hiking trail takes hikers to a point on the trail one mile below the summit, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. The trail without the detour is normally 1.7 miles each way. A map provided by the Olympic Regional Development Authority states the total trail mileage with the detour is 2.35 miles.
Trail crews upgraded the Mount Van Hoevenberg trail last hiking season, and it was touted during a ceremony during Columbus Day weekend. It’s expected to alleviate some of the hiking pressure from the nearby High Peaks over the long term.
The main parking lot was used to run shuttles to Cascade over Columbus Day weekend. In addition, DEC is expected to build a trail to the summit of Cascade Mountain off the Van Hoevenberg hiking trail.
The main trailhead closure is occurring because Olympic Sports Complex is slated for major upgrades in the coming years due to an influx of state money.
Lundin said the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex will get a new base lodge, which will be the home to a bobsled and skeleton training facility, among other things. The lodge, expected to be completed in the fall of 2020, will also feature retail shops, a welcome center, mountain bike shop, food services and ticket offices.
The center will also get a new Nordic skiing trails and snow-making equipment. The new trail system is being designed to meet international skiing standards, which would allow more competitions to be held at Van Hoevenberg.
Hikers wanting to reach the Mount Van Hoevenberg summit via 2.2-mile Mount Van Hoevenberg West Trail may do so from Meadows Lane.