With thousands of miles of trails, Virginia is one of the most mountain bike-friendly states in the country. Cruise through Southwestern Virginia, Central Virginia or the Eastern side before heading north to the Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia. No matter where you go, you’re only minutes away from a fantastic ride with a gorgeous view. Check out 10 of the best mountain biking trails below!
Harrisonburg, Virginia, is an up and coming mountain biking destination, according to grindtv.com, and no trail exemplifies this better than the Narrowback Mountain trail. Located in the George Washington National Forest, Narrowback trail is a perfect loop for beginners to get acclimated to the sport. The loop goes on for 13 miles and passes a pet cemetery.
The Lake View Trail system is located in Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia. The system is comprised of three unique paths with differing mileage, ranging from just over two miles to about three and a half of moderate difficulty. The trails are all well marked with more technical options for the veteran bikers amongst us. Pocahontas State Park offers incredible scenery.
The Paddy Creek Trail Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, offers over 10 miles of trails for running, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The trail is advanced, featuring “unavoidable technical features,” including log rides, log crossings, rock gardens, and a three-foot boulder drop off. The trail is narrow and steep and is designed for mountain biking, so you won’t see any horses as you ride. That track isn’t too long, at just about a mile and a half, but the technical skills required more than make up for the shorter distance.
The Massanutten Ring, also know as “The Ring of Fire,” covers over 69 miles through the Shenandoah Valley. The terrain is challenging, and is mostly rock and dirt covered gravel. Avoid the trail after a rain, as the rocks will become slick. Very few have actually completed the entire ring, as it takes around seventeen hours and is rated “extremely difficult.” But for the wayward biking adventurer, it might be perfect.
Fountainhead Regional Park in Fairfax, Virginia and features “a single use series of loops that feature multiple short, steep climbs and several fast descents.” Enjoy over 11 miles, with a beginner loop of three miles, and an intermediate and advanced loop. The advanced loop includes drops, rock gardens, and jumps. Helmets are required, and make sure to leave the park by dark.
The James River Park System in Richmond, Virginia, includes several unique trail options. Consider the Dogwood Dell Loop or the Forest Hill Park. North Bank Trail, Buttermilk East, and Belle Isle are worthwhile, too. Overall, the park provides 17.3 miles of trail with various difficulty levels.
For over 13 miles, the Lookout Mountain Loop in Bridgewater, Virginia, maintains a portion of the Wild Oak Trail. The trail is versatile, with sections that will appeal to all levels of mountain bikers. Part of the trail has fast descents, perfect for advanced riders, whereas others are straightaways that beginners can enjoy. Follow the signs to stick to the trail.
Douthat State Park takes up 4,500-acres with over 40 miles of trails throughout. Keep in mind, unlike other trails, Douthat isn’t free. The small fee is only $2 on weekdays and $3 on weekends. Trails exist within the confines of the park for every type of rider, making for a perfect family getaway. Make sure to stop by the cabin at Tuscarora Overlook for gorgeous views.
Laurel Hill Park in Lorton, Virginia is a fast trail covering just under 11 miles. The trail system is relatively new and crosses through much of the previous building infrastructure. Riders may come across retired guard towers, inmate work farms, utility buildings, and more. Keep in mind that the trail crosses roads, and pay extra attention to ensure safety.
Cruise through First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to see the site of Christopher Columbus’s first landing in America. The various trails inside the park cover just under 20 miles. While 10 trails exist, the longest and most heavily trafficked is the Cape Henry Trail. For six miles, ride the sand-strewn trail through forest, swamp and salt marsh. When you’re finished with that, move on to the Bald Cypress Trail loop for a better look at the low wetlands and forest covered dunes. Imagine what Christopher Columbus and his compatriots might have seen as you ride.