Basically perfect ... super well maintained, flowy, a few basic features (good for a advanced beginner like me). Cool breezes, plenty of shade. Sandy parts can be tricky but they are few and fairly short. Some rooty sections, a bit of elevation change here and there. It's biggest flaw is that it's fairly small. I ride a 4 mile loop, reverse it, then repeat a couple of times. Works for me.
Have to say now that COVID restrictions have eased, the crowds (walkers, runners, many with dogs) have lessened. This reserve never closed and it has been busy over the past couple of months, especially on the trail that circles the lake. The trails that go deeper into the reserve are the highlight of the place, IMHO.
Have not been there for about a week, and not since the recent rain. The trails drain VERY quickly but there are some small/medium puddles that can get fairly large, though are still sandy at the bottom (not mucky) and easy to ride through. Overall I'd say definitely hit it, these are fantastic trails, in my view, even though the area is fairly small. Lots to explore, flowy singletrack and a few features. LMK if you want more specifics...
Finally got to go this morning. Had a great time. I explored both the trails through the woods (twice) and the trail around the lake. Except for almost going down due to sand I had a really fun time - especially the flowy section farthest from the parking lot.
Bike was covered in sand when I got back and unfortunately the beach house we're staying at doesn't have an outdoor hose. Had to stand it upright in the outdoor shower and clean it off, haha.
Glad you had a good ride! Yes, the flowy sections furthest from the lot (marked with the X in the pic, lots of trails not shown in that part of the map I logged that day) are among my favorites. There are a few features, nothing crazy, but overall it's really the best singletrack I've found (for my riding style and interests) within a 30 to 40 minute drive. Outside that, Camden County College and Black Run Preserve are my favorites.
The sandy parts are manageable once you know the trail and can prepare for them but yes they'll take you down if you're not careful. Fortunately there aren't that many.
I stay off the trail around the lake as much as I can because it's usually the busiest with walkers (many with dogs). Mostly folks are nice and understanding, I make a point of slowing down, announcing myself and thanking them, as I'm sure you do as well.
BTW that is an AMAZING bike, is it a Nukeproof Scout? And where was that pic taken? Surely not in Ocean City or at the Reserve! ;-)
Yes it's a Scout 275. If i was local I'd have skipped the lake trails but for my first time I really wanted to experience it all. Only saw one group of 3 people there walking unleashed dogs so they were cool (cause you can tell they knew better) and not a single person on the rest of the trails. The pic was down by the lake close to the lot. It was super foggy. The weird thing is a lot of unmarked trails looked like they led right into people's yards. But yeah, it was a great time.