Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It’s Time to Enjoy a Ride!

In this article, we'll be revealing to you why Virginia is a highly rated place for mountain biking and the best 10 trails in the state.
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Last updatedLast updated: June 15, 2022
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Mountain biking on trails permits everyone – beginners, intermediates, and experts to partake in the sport, making it fun. But, not all places have conducive trails for mountain biking.

However, you’ll easily find a lot of mountain bike trails in Virginia. No matter where you go in the state, you can start riding as long as you are with your bike. The whole state has a breathtaking view. With this in mind, we collated a list of the best mountain bike trails in Virginia. But before delving into that, let’s look at why Virginia is the right place for you to go mountain biking.

Why Mount Biking in Virginia?

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

Virginia is known for its award-winning mountain biking trails.

Virginia has established itself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to mountain biking. In the east, it’s the best. It’s also one of the best riding spots in the world. Virginia MTB trails range from challenging ridgeline routes to fast-flowing woodland singletrack. Short, rapid, and super long-distance trails are all available. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re searching for a path to test your skills, Virginia has a spot for you.

Virginia Ride Centers

VA mountain biking is not just the best because there are trails for everybody; the state has also won awards with three of its biking trails making it to the IMBA-designed Ride Centers. Virginia is one of the four states that have three IMBA-designed Ride Centers Trusted Source IMBA Announces Newest Recipients of its Ride Center Designation | IMBA The three newest Ride Center locations, one in Virginia and two in Colorado, were extensively vetted by IMBA’s trail design professionals and represent the pinnacle of mountain biking communities. www.imba.com . These ride centers are:

Roanoke Ride Center

Roanoke Ride Center prides itself as the capital of mountain bikes in the east, and it’s easy to understand why with the abundance of trails in the area. Roanoke has several singletrack trails, 10 miles on Mill Mountain in Roanoke, 46 miles in Carvins Cove, and 34 miles on North Mountain in the Jefferson National Forest.

Richmond Ride Center

This is the second center in the state riding spots that won an award – bronze level. Richmond has expanded over the last few years to add more than 70 mountain biking miles. This includes a single track for beginners, a smooth trail, and a more complex trail for experts who seek to hone their skills.

Harrisonburg Ride Center

This part of the state won a bronze award as well. Harrisonburg Ride Center was primarily enlisted because it has something for every mountain bike rider. It appeals to every mountain biking lover.

The fantastic trails all around the state are not limited to these. There are also burgeoning mountain biking scenes and mountain bike parks in Virginia. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Virginia key mountain bike trails.

10 Best Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia

Virginia mountain biking is one of the best in the world, and this is because there are a lot of fantastic trails to choose from. The options are endless in Virginia, but we’ve collated the best of the best mountain bike trails to choose from in the state.

1. Carvins Cove

Carvins Cove is the first to make a list. It’s a well-known mountain biking arena in Virginia. Many mountain bikers outside the state travel down there to explore and have fun. This reserve is a 12,500-acre haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

At Carvins Cove, there are over 60 miles of trails, ranging from fast-flowing single track downhill to steep climbs and thrilling downhill segments. There is something for everyone. Among the most common routes are Rattlin’ Run, Gauntlet, and Hemlock tunnel.

In fact, Roanoke, the award-winning center, is only ten miles away from Carvins Cove. There are so many additional trails nearby, no wonder why mountain bikers want to go there for the weekend.

2. Mill Mountain Park

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

A view of Mill Mountain park

Mountain bikers adore Mill Mountain because of its close proximity to highly rated Roanoke. This park has the iconic Roanoke Star perched above it. The park also considers safety as its whole trail system is located within the Roanoke City limits. The Mill Mountain Park tour explores much of the 500 acres of parkland that overlooks Roanoke.

Even though the trails are small, they are full pack. There are steep climbs, fast-flowing singletrack downhills, and whatever you might wish for. The park’s trails are a must-ride for mountain bikers.

3. Douthat IMBA Epic Trail

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

A small bridge in Dota IMBA Epic trail

Douthat State Park is a treasure located in the Appalachian Mountains of South Central Virginia. There are more than 4,500 acres in the park, and it’s encompassed by the George Washington National Forest, providing plenty of chances for backcountry adventure. Many mountain bikers from other routes come to this park to spend the night.

There are more than 40 miles of trail to suit every level of difficulty. In fact, the IMBA, which maintains tight standards for what qualifies as “epic,” accredited this trail as being “epic.” This goes to tell you how fantastic it is.

However, you must note that this is technical and physically taxing singletrack that provides a true backcountry mountain biking ride. This means that this trail is professional and meant for true mountain bikers. It’s advisable that you make use of full-suspension mountain bikes to help you tackle the technicality.

It doesn’t have the longest trail, but it makes up for this via its elevation. It requires some strong climbs and breathtaking descents.

Unlike other trails, you’d have to pay a small fee to ride on the trail. The fee is usually less than $5.

4. Massanutten Western Slope Trail

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

A cable car in Massanutten Western Slope trail

The Western Slope of Massanutten contains more than 800 acres of multi-use non-motorized trails ideal for mountain biking and trail running. Downtown Harrisonburg is roughly 7 miles from the Western slope. This is a private terrain controlled by Massanutten Resort, so you must get a Trail Pass to explore the area.

It’s important to note that the Massanutten is a seasonal spot for mountain bikers. During the winter, it’s a ski resort, but it’s home to some amazing mountain biking trails for the remaining part of the year. The fact that Massanutten is a ski resort means that the lifts are open all summer for mountain bikes. This allows you to reserve all your energy for the downhill rides and forego the long, difficult trails. It has one of the best downhill mountain bike trails in Virginia.

5. Dragon’s Back – North Mountain

If you ride on North mountain’s rocky ridge, you’ll grasp why it’s dubbed “Dragon’s Back.” The trail is around 12 miles long and has an elevation range of 1,750 feet to 3,051 feet, with much challenging rock climbing.

This is a difficult trail that is ideal only for experienced mountain bikers. It has rocky, difficult riding-through jagged ridgelines, as well as a number of uphills and scary descents. You may even have to carry your bike through some areas to avoid the worst of the rocks. However, your extra exertion is rewarded as you return down the mountain with a lengthy, rapid downhill section.

6. Virginia Mountain Bike Trail

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

Mount biking in Virginia Mountains

This is a 480-mile trail that runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is the perfect trail for you if you’re seeking the ultimate bike packing adventure. Over 75% of the trail is off-road.

The trail will take you at least 10 days to complete, with over 16,000 meters of elevation. The trail goes through breathtaking sceneries, from the rugged peaks to the huge expanses of rural farming settlements.

Virginia Mountain Bike trail is impressive, but be aware that it includes sections of challenging terrain that are rarely traveled and can be quite harsh, rocky, and overgrown.

7. RockStar Bikepacking Trail

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

A view of RockStar Bikepacking trail

This trail is a 270-mile bike packing route between two award-winning places in Virginia – Harrisonburg and Roanoke. This trail is an incredible, top-notch east coast mountain bike dream ride.

RockStar does not thoroughly explore all of the trail sections it passes through, but it does give riders a solid taste of each ride destination, with the hope of piquing their interest to come back again for another ride. It’s an exciting and enjoyable trail.

8. Potts Mountain Jeep Trail

Potts Mountain is Craig County’s largest mountain. The trails around are well-known for off-roading and wheeling, but it’s also a great area for mountain bikers.

The trail system is quite technical, though. It will put any experienced mountain biker to the test with tough trails, jeep roads, paved roads, and gravel surface forest service roads. Be ready for some really technical maneuvering with your bike. You’ll end up with a spectacular view if you can handle the challenging ascents.

9. Sherando Lake Advanced Loop

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

A view of Sherando Lake Advanced Loop bike trail

This trail, which is almost 19 miles long, will provide you a terrific exercise while taking you through a variety of landscapes. When you cross the creeks that make up the Sherando Loop Trail, you’ll get wet feet. But after that, you’ll get to smooth descents, challenging rock gardens, and beautiful singletrack that will woah you.

Sherando Lake is recognized for its excellent hiking, but the mountain biking is as impressive. It’s a popular vacation spot, so you can easily fill your weekend with adventure by riding through the surrounding trails or relaxing by paddling on the lake. You can go with a front bike rack to help you pack some necessary accessories.

10. Roaring Run Hoop Hole Trail

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia – It's Time to Enjoy a Ride!

A waterfall in Roaring Run Hoop Hole trail

This is a 2.7-kilometer out-and-back trail with a waterfall in Eagle Rock, Virginia, that’s suitable for mountain bikers of all skill levels. The route is open year-round and offers a variety of activities.

This arena is well-known for its waterfall, but mountain bikers can take advantage of the tough Hoop Hole Trail Systems available. The Upper Hoop Hole ride offers about 6 miles of singletrack with a total elevation change of over 2,500 feet.

According to mountain biking experts, the Micargi Men Monarch and Micargi Men Montagna are the best bikes to ride on all kinds of trails. No matter how rugged the trail is, these bikes will ensure a safe passage. They are primarily designed to handle all kinds of technicalities and meet unforeseen challenges. As much as Virginia favors mountain biking, you can also get a sturdy and versatile gravel bike for other tough terrains.

Final Thoughts

It’s so evident why the mountain bike trails in Virginia are so popular. The state has different kinds of trails for everybody. No matter your skill level, be it beginner, intermediate, or expert, there is a special terrain for you. From smooth trails to rugged trails, the options are endless. It’s a place to go back to countless times for a superb experience.

Another interesting thing about Virginia is that it’s still developing, with new trails set to be discovered in coming years. The whole place is practically covered with trails that favor bike riding. If you really enjoy the effects of mountain biking Trusted Source Effects of mountain biking versus hiking on trails under different environmental conditions | ScienceDirect Recreational use of nature areas is increasing worldwide. All trail-based activities have a certain degradation effect on vegetation and soil, and conflicts between conservation values and recreation may occur. www.sciencedirect.com , make plans to explore these trails!

References

1.
IMBA Announces Newest Recipients of its Ride Center Designation | IMBA
The three newest Ride Center locations, one in Virginia and two in Colorado, were extensively vetted by IMBA’s trail design professionals and represent the pinnacle of mountain biking communities.
2.
Effects of mountain biking versus hiking on trails under different environmental conditions | ScienceDirect
Recreational use of nature areas is increasing worldwide. All trail-based activities have a certain degradation effect on vegetation and soil, and conflicts between conservation values and recreation may occur.
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