As spring kicks into gear, the weather is continuously improving. And you know what that means, biking season is here! So dust off your bike, and find your helmet, because there are tons of great trails to ride all over Western New York.
Whether you’re a beginner looking to immerse yourself in a new weekend activity, or a seasoned veteran on the prowl for a new ride, this series is made for you. Stay tuned for more all season long!
Pit Stop: Clarence Deli & Clarence Town Park
10633 Main St, Clarence
On the corner of Main Street and Ransom Road in Clarence there’s a great little sub-shop called the Clarence Deli. They’ve got all sorts of different foods inside including ice cream, chips, pop, and more, but I’d highly recommend their grabbing a sub, or better yet one of their awesome breakfast sandwiches if you’re early enough (one of the best around IMO). The place is nothing fancy, but is the perfect stop before a for a bike ride or hike excursion.
After picking up a sandwich or two, head back West to Clarence Town Park. Rather than eating at the picnic tables outside the Deli, park in the back lot and grab a seat as close to the pond as possible. You can sit near the playgrounds if you want, and there’s a fairly large pavilion on top of the hill next to the water.
If you’ve never been to Clarence Town Park, all you have to do is follow the main entrance all the way to the back road. You make a left once you get to the ‘fork’ and can park right in front of the large fountain. The water fountain sprays mist high into the pond and is really quite beautiful to watch. Likewise, the pond is absolutely loaded with fish, turtles, and water fowl.
After your meal, take a quick walk around the fountain and then grab your bike. On one side of the parking lot is a trail that leads to the playgrounds, but on the other side is one that leads up a slight incline. You can take the second path to reach the pavilion resting in the wooded area, OR you can use it to reach the Clarence Pathways Bike Trail.
Ride: The Clarence Pathways
The Clarence Pathways are 16.7 miles, if you ride them in full. Check out a map of the whole trail here. Choose how long you want to ride ahead of time, or simply ride as long as you like once you’re there.
The trail is neatly paved and very well taken care of. Along it, the environment changes from shaded woods, to sunshine lit meadows, and even wetlands. Before you begin your ride look for movement in the trees directly behind Clarence Town Park. There are plenty of interesting, and even rare, birds that nest back there. Watch out for Bluebirds, American Restarts, and Yellow Warblers too. If you listen carefully, you’ll likely hear a woodpecker or too, so follow the sound if you’re interested in seeing something new (both Northern Flickers and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are strong possibilities).
If you ride the entire Clarence Pathways you’ll be taken from Clarence, to Akron, to Amherst, and back – which is pretty key. Make sure to follow the trailheads and keep in mind, however far you ride – you have to make the ride back as well! Taking into consideration the fantastic condition of the trail, the environmental variety, and the versatile length of the trail, this is surely one of Western New York’s best. Enjoy!
This article was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated for 2021.