Oftentimes we go for a ride for a challenge to get our blood flowing and our adrenaline pumping. On other occasions, we go out with friends or family for an easy ride and enjoy the view that comes along with the bike trail. Ultimately, if we were to have both at the same time – great scenery and a somewhat challenging trail – that would be icing on the cake! Lakeview Loops I, II, and III are exactly that trail. These three loops are what you would usually refer to as stacked loops, and it has an excellent combination of speed, climb, gravel, and water. This 9.4-mile intermediate-rated single-track mountain bike trail is located in Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia.
There is a Park Store where you can buy stuff and maps that you can use but still, but the area is still easy to navigate, and you can easily find your way at the start of the trail after passing a few campsites downhill from the Park Store to the woods. Then, a wooden shed will notify you that you are on the right path toward the trail.
Going straight through the gravel path, you will encounter an intersection. Going left would mean a lollipop trail – going in straight, making a loop, then straight out again, outlining a lollipop with a handle – adding about 1 to 1.5 miles, or you can go straight to continue deep into the woods.
After a straight path, with a short downhill, then past a water crossing, you are now approaching the start of the stacked loops beginning with Lakeview I as you turn left on the T after your short ascent. We find this a bit easy still, not many challenging ups and downs.
Eventually, after a good 2-3 miles in, you’ll find where Lakeview I and II split. You can either go left to continue or follow the sign that says ‘EXIT’ to go back to where you started. If you do choose to exit, you will know that you are close to the start once you pass a small water crossing. The continuing left will take you back to the campsites, up to the Park Store. It should be a quick ride back as the trail leads to a more downhill type of path with a few challenging spots but nothing too difficult for us.
Lakeview II has more ascents and descents but is still somewhat similar to Lakeview I in terms of difficulty and terrain. There is a runout spot where you can rest and have a really good view of the lake. Although there is a better one, we prefer Lakeview III, which we suggest you stick out for. There are offshoot loops present on Lakeview II and are labeled nicely – red for offshoots, blue for the main trail – and they join at about a quarter mile. Before you reach the split for Lakeview III, you will encounter the tabletop rocks, which will be your reminder. If you choose not to continue to Lakeview III, which we do not recommend, you can ride out the last part of Lakeview II, going back to the final half of Lakeview I.
Like we keep saying, Lakeview III is a loop you should definitely see. It is the most challenging but rewarding given its huge ascents but faster straights, and it has the best spot to have pictures and a clear view of the lake. The lack you are seeing in Lakeview I and II can be compensated by Lakeview III pretty well. After that beautiful spot of scenery, a half-mile out of the lake viewing spot is a decent climb, but once it levels, you will go straight to Lakeview II, then I out back to where you started.
As mentioned, we really need to remind you that the path has a collection of rocks, roots, and some twigs that can be a bit of a challenge. This is a trail for Mountain Bikes, and we do not recommend coming in on a Road Bike or even a Gravel Bike, as the terrain may be too much in some areas for these types of bikes.
By the way, there is a fee to enter the park, and parking is available near the Beach Road entrance. For more details, you can visit the State Park’s website or call them through their contact numbers.
Don’t forget to continue to Lakeview II and, more especially, Lakeview III, which has, as you guessed it, a view of the lake that is so stunning.