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Virginia Bike Trails

864 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  tkobrian
My wife and I live in New York and are looking for a place in Virginia, or somewhere south within 5 hours of NY, NJ area, where we can spend a few days and do some mountain biking.

If anyone can recommend an area or town with some good bike trails, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Darn - thought I had you covered, until the 5 hour stipulation.

Douthat State Park - Clifton Forge, Virginia. 40 miles of mountain biking trails. 50-acre lake. Great CCC-era log cabins with riverstone fireplaces. Campgrounds.

220 miles southwest of DC.

Description: Excellent single track. Middle Mountain Momma Mt. bike race held here. Stony Run trail is a 2000' climb, Middle Mountain Trail takes you along the top, and there are a number of trails leading down the mountain on very technical singletrack. Mountain side and Mountain view trails are great on the other side of the Park. Staff VERY mt. biker friendly!!!!!!!!! Hs been called the Mountain Biker's Disney Land, and is just a great place to camp, ride and swim!

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Bike In Virginia

As Hiker Chick noted, 5 hours will not get you to the Roanoke / Blacksburg area, but if you are willing to add a couple of hours driving time you's have at the 400 mile Allegheny Mountains Loop => and the New River Trail =>

Else if exceeding the 5 hour limit is not an option there is a nice road loop just beyond DC see =>

or lots of flat country roads on the Eastern Shore.
Bike in Virginia

Thanks for all of the information and I did check it all out on line. It appears the New River Trail is a really spectacular one but is quite a drive from our location, at least for a two or three day trip only.

The wife wants to stay in Georgetown and try the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
Trail which is 184 miles long.

Has anyone ever travel this trail ? Our trip will be during the Thanksgiving day holiday, so just wondering how the DC traffic will be as well ?

Thanks for all of your input and the links that were included!
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

A friend, my son and I rode the Great Allegheny Passage => and C & O towpath => last week from Pittsburgh to DC =>

If you only have a couple of days, I'd recommend you drive to Cumberland, MD and if you intend to motel, stay at the Marriott Fairfield Inn => It opened weeks ago and is on the boardwalk connector between the GAP and the C&O. Both trails are literally out the back door of the motel.

Ride west one day to the Eastern Continental Divide and Big Savage tunnel (image 1), then ride east another day to the Paw Paw tunnel (image 2).


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The wife wants to stay in Georgetown and try the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
Trail which is 184 miles long.

Has anyone ever travel this trail ? Our trip will be during the Thanksgiving day holiday, so just wondering how the DC traffic will be as well ?

Thanks for all of your input and the links that were included!
If you are content with a flat bike path then the C&O Canal would be delightful. You can pick it up in Georgetown and head west for several days. It would be a fantastic journey. We frequently - at least a few times a month - hike between Old Angler Inn and Swains Lock (which encompasses Great Falls). You can also park at various points.

At Thanksgiving, the neighborhoods will be quiet because so many locals go elsewhere. The Smithsonian Museums will be busy because of all the visitors in the area who will want to tour. A lot of people take the Friday after Thanksgiving off and traffic will be lighter than normal - unless you're at a shopping mall, of course.

Count on Thanksgiving Eve traffic being horrendous all along I-95, as I would imagine it would be anywhere.

You should also check out the Mt. Vernon bike path, on the Virginia side. Stop in Old Town Alexandria to eat (many excellent places to dine - from casual to upscale).

Located just across the river from Downtown Washington D.C. is a great multi-use recreation trail. Nearly 18 miles long, the Mount Vernon Trail follows the Potomac's Virginia shoreline from Theodore Roosevelt Island (near Rossyln, Va) to George Washington's Estate located at Mount Vernon.
The Mount Vernon Trail is a big favorite of area cyclists. The trail offers wonderful views of the Potomac and DC monuments. There are also several points-of-interest along the way, including George Washington's home at Mount Vernon, Olde Town Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetery, and the local's favorite Gravelly Point (at the north end of National Airport's main runway).

The trail is some what tricky to follow as it passes through Alexandria because there are actually two route choices, both of which are on street. The more popular route is along the waterfront, via Union Street. There are several shops and restaurant around the King Street intersection. However, some may find that North Royal Street provides a more direct route. Either street route is quite bicycle friendly.

For the most part, the trail is fairly flat with an occasional rolling hill here and there. However the last mile heading toward Mount Vernon has a pretty good climb. Once you reach the northern end at Roosevelt Island, you can either turn around and head back south, or you can cross the footbridge over the parkway and head west on the Custis Trail. This will take you to the W&OD Trail, a 45 mile long rail trail through Northern Virginia.

It is also worth noting that there are several Metrorail stations within close proximity to the trail. The most convenient stations are Rossyln (near the north end of the trail) Arlington Cemetery, Reagan National Airport, and Braddock Road. This provides a possible bail-out option, should you discover that the full 36 mile round trip proves too much. Just keep in mind that bikes are not permitted on the trains during weekday rush hour periods.

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If you're going to do the C&O, I highly recommend that you get off your bikes at two points: the Billy Goat Trail - Section "A" and the Great Falls overlook (a short hike on a wood pathway -- there is a bike rack).

The Billy Goat Trail - Section A - is not a huge hike but it includes a rock scramble (which 5 year olds traverse with no problem) and you will have the best views of the Potomac Gorge and Great Falls NP on the Virginia side. It's the most famous hike around here.

You'd probably see rock climbers and kayakers there, too. Great place to picnic.

You'll also want to ride your bikes on the Mall and around Haines Point. A terrific way to view the monuments.

And I'd recommend riding across Memorial Bridge (which connects the Lincoln Memorial with Arlington National Cemetery).

That should just about take care of your weekend....


hiker chick & B1ke Box,

Thanks so much all of the valuable information. Wow, much more than I had ever imagined, first hand information, photos, links, all kinds of very helpful facts and advice.

I really appreciate you time and concern and I will let you both know just how it goes. At this point in time, from our Rockland County house in NY State, most of our riding has been along an unpaved Rail Trail, the Old Erie Path. It is about close to our home and affords great views of the Hudson River, for almost the entire lenght of the trail. ( really three trails in one )

Thanks again !!
There's also a great rails to trails in West Virginia called the greenbriar river trail. I rode a section of it a dozen years ago and it was spectacular.

The true mountainbiking in that area is also unbelievable, but not exactly novice oriented. Try Elk River touring or snowshoe mountain resort for excellent offroad stuff.
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