|Chautauga, New York
New York's Snowbelt
With annual snowfall exceeding 200 inches and over 500 miles of groomed trails, the Chautauqua region in western New York is one of New York state’s best destinations for snowmobiling. Five local clubs groom and maintain trails that traverse old railroad beds, former trolley lines, open farm fields, heavily wooded areas, seasonal roads and everything in between. There are trail areas that stay close to civilization and those that are quite remote. Trails are officially opened immediately after the deer shotgun season, a week or so before Christmas and are rideable until mid-March.
Trails are wide open during the early part of the week but more sleds start showing up by Thursday or Friday afternoons and lots of riders are active throughout the weekend. There are enough trails in the Chautauqua and surrounding area to spend 2-3 days easily. Chautauqua offers a regularly updated snow and trail conditions hotline by calling 800-242-4569, then press #2, then #5. This is very helpful.
A detailed map of primary and secondary trails is available at several Chautauqua area locations for $10. The map not only provides trail routes but lists gas stations, eating and drinking establishments, and lodging conducive to snowmobile trailers. In addition, the Chautauqua County Travel Guide provides a great tourism directory and area map. The travel guide is available at 866-908-4569 or tourchautauqua.com.
New York requires that all sleds be registered. Snowmobilers can save half off the registration fee by joining a club in the state. Club membership is a good way to support the efforts of the volunteers that groom and maintain the trails, as well as to save a few dollars. Chautauqua area clubs annually repair bridges, post and fix signs, arrange for trail routes with landowners, and operate the grooming equipment.
A snowmobile registration form is available online at http://www. nysdmv.com/forms/mv82sn.pdf. A temporary registration can be obtained at a few establishments once the snowmobiler has arrived but it’s a good idea to get it taken care of in advance. For more information on this, contact the local Dept. of Motor Vehicles at 716-753-4229 or the sheriff’s department at 716-753-2131.
Local clubs and organizations host a variety of events for snowmobilers including the Ice Castle Weekend in Mayville, a large Ride-In in Stockton, and the RMR Snowcross at Peek’n Peak Resort. Cherry Creek and Bemus Point are two more communities where a lot of snowmobilers congregate. Additional event information is available at tourchautauqua.com or through the local clubs.
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