Ben Hawes Park, Owensboro, KentuckyThe Quick Click pages will scroll automatically or you can click any tab to keep that page open. Numbers on the tabs refer to our Ratings, which are explained on the Tips page.Summary Imagine the flowiest, roller-coasteriest MTB trails you’ve ever ridden. This is better than that.Location The Rudy Mine Multi-Use Trails are about 1.5 miles west of the main entrance to the park on the north side of U.S. 60. The main address for the park is 400 Booth Field Road, Owensboro, KY 42301You’ll find a map of most of the singletrack at Ben Hawes on our Garmin and RideWithGPS pages. Although you won’t need the maps to navigate this small trail system, they are helpful in locating the parking lot and trailhead.Timing We are not aware of any races or other special events that would have an impact on trail access, but such events are likely to evolve so check the park’s website or do a Google search for current information. Otherwise it’s the same key restriction as with all MTB trails: if it’s muddy, if your wheels form ruts, get off the trail and come back when it’s dry.Where to Stay Owensboro is big enough to offer accommodations. We were camping at Lincoln State Park in Indiana, which gave us about an hour’s drive each way. Where to Eat Again, Owensboro probably has what you want. After riding and hiking we ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in town. It didn’t kill us, but it isn’t a place we’d recommend, either.How can the MTB experience be so stellar here, in Owensboro, Kentucky? It’s not like all of Ben Hawes Park is on the same level with the Rudy Mine Multi-Use Trails. In fact, the reviews we’ve seen of the park’s two golf courses aren’t favorable and no one even mentions the archery range. So how did these trails get built?Simple. Someone, somewhere, had the good sense to contract the construction to Alex Stewart, president of Spectrum Trail Design. There are a lot of talented professional trail builders these days; Alex is among them and some of our favorite trails are those with which he was involved. Alex typically engages local mountain bike groups to help with trail construction and for this system much of the help came from the Bowling Green Chapter of the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association as well as the Owensboro-area MTB community. Although there had been trails on the site before Stewart arrived, those trails were severely damaged by an ice storm in 2009. The City put up $25,000 for the rehabilitation and improvement of the trails.The main characteristic of this trail system is flow. There are no big hills, but neither are there any extended flat sections. Everything rolls and dips and bends. Lots of trails claim to have flow. Ben Hawes backs up the claim. One of the ways Rich gauges the flow of a trail is by how little he has to use his brakes and this trail comes close to “braking optional.”What you see on the maps on our Garmin and RideWithGPS pages is most of the available singletrack. Old roads are also part of the trail system. All of it is open to hiking as well as mountain biking, but the undulations that make it so much fun to ride can become frustrating on foot.The trail system is named for the coal mine that was active here until the 1950s. The 553-acre park was developed as a city park in the mid-1960s and then sold to the State a decade later. After 35 years as a state park, Ben Hawes was returned to the City of Owensboro effective June 1, 2010.There’s not enough miles of trail nor are there enough other attractions to make Ben Hawes a destination. Our suggestion is that if you’re in the area and have the time, you really should ride here just to see what flow is supposed to feel like. What defines “in the area”? That depends on how highly you value the flow experience. For Rich the two-hour round trip drive from the campground seemed like a bargain for the chance to ride trails this nice.1. The trailhead provides ample parking, maps, and an info kiosk.2. A few buildings remain from the days of coal mining.3. This hand-hewn log bridge is one of the unique features at Ben Hawes.4. Rich hung his helmet at the top of this berm to give a sense of scale.5. The only potentially confusing intersection. Every choice comes back here eventually.6. Most intersections are much easier to read, as where singeltrack crosses fire road.