I just got back from being there over the weekend (Mar. 7 2015) and for perspective I am a CLE Rays MTB season pass holder. We rode a larger portion of Saturday and I took both the Santa Cruz Heckler (150mm AM) and my dirt jumper.
Yes, the location itself is what makes it worth the trip, maybe repeatable (I will discuss this later), and it was a one of a kind place. When you get there you see 3-4 large “cave” like entrances big enough for a semi to drive in. Your entrance is a more commercialized/man-made walk way, a lot like entering onto a commercial airline. You sign forms, prep, get lockers, etc. near the “touristy” bathroom area that sells drinks and tourist stuff. There are also less secure picnic tables in the riding area to set stuff on which we did. What I expected was to be going in some depth from the entrance either vertically or horizontally but that sadly wasn’t the case. The riding area was pretty easy to navigate within an hour and was never more than a few pedals from one of the large entrances. I found this slightly disappointing but I imagine it was for safety reasons so I wasn’t too upset over it. The two biggest elevation changes were done via large shipping containers that I show later. (videos below)
The “trails/cross country”:
They were just “okay” to me, there were some obstacles etc. but I would have to say Rays is better besides the fact it is not real dirt at rays. My two complaints about the trails is they were somewhat simple and on top of that they weren’t really long enough. Think of someone that took a lot of dirt and spread mounds everywhere then made multiple little paths through and over them, mostly only changing in elevation a few feet here and there. Then it breaks apart and you cross an area that could have more passive traffic riding to a different spot instead of the trail just being constant. If you have done the outer loop and Rays CLE it’s almost like that but possibly a bit more distance and in separate sections. What I would have liked to see would have been a much longer unbroken trail that maybe split off some from the main area. You could somewhat see all the lines close to each other all the time so there wasn’t enough surprise to it and it never felt like I was covering distance. It is new so they will be adding more trails and I am sure this will improve, this is why I will get into how frequent it’s worth visiting later.
*So you know, I like trails AND jumping but probably lean a bit towards jumping.
These were pretty great and were I spent over half of my time. Most everything besides the biggest line is forgiving and a lot of table tops but all the lips and landing are well taken care of even for table tops. There was also an employee that came by and asked that we let them know if a lip needed fixed or worked on. There were roughly 5-6 lines but most of them had enough options including conjoining each other that it was plenty. They did offer a couple smaller lines but most of them were geared towards intermediate to experienced jumpers, including the very large line that I never got around to hitting. The roll in areas seemed to be well enough controlled and big enough but I could see them becoming an issue if they don’t continue to limit tickets. The first video below shows a very tiny line to my right, a similar line to the one I am on the left, and the end with the container is where the largest line ends up going with a large step up at the very end. The second video is a friend hitting a shipping crate before one of the smaller lines.
The biggest question, is it worth it? The answer to that is yes, whether you go just for jumps, just for trails, or both. We would have been okay with a 4 hour pass though at around $24 instead as we rode the entire time and were wore out after 4-5 hours. I wouldn’t plan to go a full 8 hours again unless we were going to leave in the middle to go get lunch. I probably would not visit frequently even if I lived near by, for me the price is somewhat steep for what you’re getting at least for now. However I do think was a great trip and worth a “trip” to go see/experience it at least once. We even talked about trying to go once a year to see the changes.
TL;DR: They just opened, it is worth it to visit, and I only see it getting better.