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  1. #1
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    Charlottesville mtn biking?

    Going to be staying there for two days next week and wondering if there are any near by places to mountain bike?

    Looking for beginner single track, fire roads or scenic unpacked trails.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Check out Preddy Creek 20min north of Cville for easy single track. Walnut Creek Park is 15min south of Cville and is more of an intermediate/advanced park. terrain360.com has pics and maps of the parks.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclyle View Post
    Check out Preddy Creek 20min north of Cville for easy single track.
    ^^^^ That for single track. For a fire road, go out past wolftown and head for the top of Blakey Ridge. You might want a guide for that one, it's a bit in the sticks, or at least it was 20 years ago when I last rode it. I assume it still is, based on satellite photos.

  4. #4
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    Preddy Creek is where I ride most. Lots of short elevation changes and very little flat riding. The main loop (Preddy Creek Loop) is 3.6 miles and most of the hills are pretty mild and it is the easiest loop. Some of the inner trails are just as easy as the preddy loop while others get somewhat technical. All of the trails are easily walked so its not a big deal if you can't make it on the bike.

    The creek side trail is marked as a walking path only. There are tons of people who ride mountain bikes on it anyway. Besides one end entering/exiting the trail being washed out, rocky, and rooted along with some sand it is a very nice trail that goes along the creek. There is one sand bar you can walk onto as well (there were more but heavy rains washed them out). I don't ride my mountain bike on it but I wouldn't yell at anyone who does.

    They do have an "expert" trail that branches off of the preddy loop. Its more of an intermediate trail than expert but there are some difficult sections. Again all of it is easily walkable (except for one 6ft tall hill that's rooted and feels almost vertical). It adds about 0.8 miles to the preddy loop.

    P.S. Someone posted a video on youtube with 6 parts of the full Preddy Creek Loop if you want to check it out.

  5. #5
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    Check out this link for all of the close by trails - CAMBC - Local Trails

    Sherando is by far the best riding that is close depending on your skill level. I do not ride Preddy that much because you ride the whole park in 25 minutes if you are fast. Walnut and O'Hill both have a good mix of trails, I prefer O'Hill for its fast downhills but take every chance I get to hit Sherando.

  6. #6
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    While I do enjoy Preddy Creek a few times a year, its mostly an easy/beginner trail that doesn't really offer any challenges. Instead, its essentially wide open throttle throughout (not that there's anything wrong with that) and you should be able to complete the main loop in about 20 minutes; 25 tops. Basically, its where I take newbies who are new to MTB, or my wife, and after a few loops you're basically done.

    As a C'ville resident, I'd far recommend Walnut Creek over Preddy overall, unless again you're more of a beginner rider or just in need of a decent workout. Not only are the trails more interesting and technical, but the views (a nice sized lake is located in the middle of the park) are far superior as well. Lastly, you'll have many more miles of trails to choose from also at Walnut.

    Regarding Sherando, its fantastic but: its a solid 45+ minute drive from C'ville, its quite technical and only for upper intermediate to advanced riders, and its not well marked at all. I personally would recommend riding with someone familiar with the trails there for your first few visits.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roanoke4 View Post
    While I do enjoy Preddy Creek a few times a year, its mostly an easy/beginner trail that doesn't really offer any challenges. Instead, its essentially wide open throttle throughout (not that there's anything wrong with that) and you should be able to complete the main loop in about 20 minutes; 25 tops. Basically, its where I take newbies who are new to MTB, or my wife, and after a few loops you're basically done.

    As a C'ville resident, I'd far recommend Walnut Creek over Preddy overall, unless again you're more of a beginner rider or just in need of a decent workout. Not only are the trails more interesting and technical, but the views (a nice sized lake is located in the middle of the park) are far superior as well. Lastly, you'll have many more miles of trails to choose from also at Walnut.

    Regarding Sherando, its fantastic but: its a solid 45+ minute drive from C'ville, its quite technical and only for upper intermediate to advanced riders, and its not well marked at all. I personally would recommend riding with someone familiar with the trails there for your first few visits.
    We are an older couple so beginner type single track is okay for us. We have been in Harrisonburg for the last few days and had some real fun today at George Washington Forest, serious climbing and had to really watch for those speeding on their way down but it was fun when it was our turn.

    Looking for stuff close to C ville since we have been doing tons of driving! We appreciate all of the advice you people have offered and cannot wait to check out the area. We have heard nothing but great stuff so I am sure we will love it there.

    Thanks- Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    We are an older couple so beginner type single track is okay for us. We have been in Harrisonburg for the last few days and had some real fun today at George Washington Forest, serious climbing and had to really watch for those speeding on their way down but it was fun when it was our turn.

    Looking for stuff close to C ville since we have been doing tons of driving! We appreciate all of the advice you people have offered and cannot wait to check out the area. We have heard nothing but great stuff so I am sure we will love it there.

    Thanks- Rick
    Sorry about that Rick---somehow I missed the part where you mentioned you were looking at beginner singletrack. In that case, Preddy Creek absolutely is your best bet. IMO, going clockwise is more fun (and easier) than going counterclockwise. Have fun.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roanoke4 View Post
    Sorry about that Rick---somehow I missed the part where you mentioned you were looking at beginner singletrack. In that case, Preddy Creek absolutely is your best bet. IMO, going clockwise is more fun (and easier) than going counterclockwise. Have fun.
    Yep, Sherando probably would not be that fun for ya, lol. I concur about Preddy and running it clockwise.

  11. #11
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    You guys are good, you really know your riding! We did try Shenandoah forest, may have riddled the easiest trail off of Tilghman road and I was panting like a dog, along with legs afire, wow! Had to move aside for speeding conveys of great bikers, but when it was our turn to descend, it was a blast, totally exhilarating!

    Now we are in Charlottesville and the traffic is unreal! We are from NY, just north of the City but really surprised by the traffic out here, at noon time on a week day.
    At any rate, it is beautiful here and we did take a quick run to Preddy Creek. That place is beautiful, really nice and we were welcomed by the Cicada's who were out in full force. I could not believe the sound!

    Tomorrow we will head up there with sandwiches and drinks and have a blast, what a great place. Then we will head back to charlottesville, sight see and re- walk the downtown mall, very cool!

    Thanks for all of your great help and info, it is greatly appreciated!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roanoke4 View Post
    While I do enjoy Preddy Creek a few times a year, its mostly an easy/beginner trail that doesn't really offer any challenges. Instead, its essentially wide open throttle throughout (not that there's anything wrong with that) and you should be able to complete the main loop in about 20 minutes; 25 tops. Basically, its where I take newbies who are new to MTB, or my wife, and after a few loops you're basically done.

    As a C'ville resident, I'd far recommend Walnut Creek over Preddy overall, unless again you're more of a beginner rider or just in need of a decent workout. Not only are the trails more interesting and technical, but the views (a nice sized lake is located in the middle of the park) are far superior as well. Lastly, you'll have many more miles of trails to choose from also at Walnut.

    Regarding Sherando, its fantastic but: its a solid 45+ minute drive from C'ville, its quite technical and only for upper intermediate to advanced riders, and its not well marked at all. I personally would recommend riding with someone familiar with the trails there for your first few visits.
    Should we check out Walnut Creek as beginner type riders??

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    You must have been on route 29, which can be brutal for traffic. There's also current construction on 'the loop' as well. Traffic typically isn't all that bad---except again for 29 north. If you drive just a few minutes in either direction (except 29/north), it becomes rural quite quick without even many stoplights to slow you down.

    If you have a chance, head down to Walnut Creek park (about 15 minutes south of downtown) and bike the blue trail, which is the easiest trail there. Take 20 south towards Scottsville, followed by a right on Red Hill Road, followed by a left on Old Lynchburg Road, and the park will be just ahead on the left. The park is beautiful...far more so than Preddy creek.

  14. #14
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    You are correct, all of the traffic is on Rt 29 which is where we are staying at the Comfort Inn. The traffic was crazy from about 4:30 on and when I looked out of the Motels window around 6 pm or so, it was gone, none at all!!

    I had a whole bunch of fun and exercise today at Preddy Creek. When there, I spoke with a couple of local riders who were very friendly, polite and helpful. We find the people in VA, in general, to be very warm and friendly.

    Hopefully tomorrow we will check out Walnut Creek but the wife does not want to bike. She banger up her legs a bit and a woman's vanity over rides her desire to bike.

    Is Walnut a good place for her to walk, sun or hike?

    Thanks again-Rick
    Last edited by rickcin; 05-29-2013 at 04:11 PM.

  15. #15
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    She could walk/hike there. The park has a beach area where she could get some sun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    You are correct, all of the traffic is on Rt 29 which is where we are staying at the Comfort Inn. The traffic was crazy from about 4:30 on and when I looked out of the Motels window around 6 pm or so, it was gone, none at all!!

    I had a whole bunch of fun and exercise today at Preddy Creek. When there, I spoke with a couple of local riders who were very friendly, polite and helpful. We find the people in VA, in general, to be very warm and friendly.

    Hopefully tomorrow we will check out Walnut Creek but the wife does not want to bike. She banger up her legs a bit and a woman's vanity over rides her desire to bike.

    Is Walnut a good place for her to walk, sun or hike?

    Thanks again-Rick
    Absolutely. In fact the vast majority of visitors to Walnut go there to fish, kayak, walk, run, etc. There is a beautiful lake in the middle of the park, so the park is very versatile overall. You could bike/walk/run along the blue trail (The blue Wheel), then perhaps pick up the orange trail nearby which leads you back to the first parking lot (the first one on the right as you drive in). In fact, a fair majority of those I see on the trails there are walkers, runners, etc.

    There are also wineries in that area, including the new Trump Winery you could check out. Carter Mountain Orchard also is in the area (near I-64/route 20 off of Jefferson Parkway/53) which I'd also recommend. I believe it opens full time starting this Friday. Bodos Bagels right down the street from you (29, just south of the 250 loop on the left) is a must---great way to start the day (just don't ask them to toast your bagel).
    I believe you've checked out the downtown mall already; also recommended would be the UVA grounds and Monticello (just up the street from Carter Mountain).

    Virginians are great people overall, and I'm glad you're having a good time.

  17. #17
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    You guys are excellent and we appreciate all of the great advice. Tomorrow we will head to Walnut Creek, and probably that Bagel place that we have not seen back on the east coast!

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    You guys are excellent and we appreciate all of the great advice. Tomorrow we will head to Walnut Creek, and probably that Bagel place that we have not seen back on the east coast!

    Thanks
    Bodo's bagels? They're pretty good. Makes for an excellent lunch. Yew York and New Jersey bagels spoiled me from when I grew up. Nothing beats Liberty Bagel cafe in Fords, NJ. I lived right down the street from it.

  19. #19
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    New Jersey has plenty of good food that you cannot find in most of Virginia. There are definitely many trade-offs but VA is a very cool state overall!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    New Jersey has plenty of good food that you cannot find in most of Virginia. There are definitely many trade-offs but VA is a very cool state overall!
    So, did you check out Walnut? Any other comments on your trip here?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roanoke4 View Post
    So, did you check out Walnut? Any other comments on your trip here?
    We loved the area, great scenery people and weather, we had a great time. Our biggest problem is finding singletrack trails that we are capable of comfortably riding.

    We started out at Hillandale Park in Harrisonburg and then rode a recommended trail at George Washington forest off of Tillman (Tilghman) Rd. The trail was very difficult to find with the missing road signs. Once we found the trail head, it was a great trail but very challenging since there was a whole bunch of climbing. ( by our standards)
    Once we made it to the top, the downhill run was real fun, exhilarating. We met a bunch of bikers at the bottom and they were very friendly, helpful and informative. They were heading out to a local Mountain Bike Fest in a small nearby town at a camp.
    We were not able to attend. The trails at the forest are probably the best anywhere, but they invoke big climbs.

    We did go to Walnut Creek and found it to be absolutely beautiful, great Lake, scenic trail and forest and an overall great place. Again, the trails seemed very challenging to us and after riding there for several hours, we loaded up the car and headed back to our favorite place, Preddy Creek. This place is my favorite of any place that I have even ridden and the second contender would be York River Park in Chesapeake. I am in my sixties so I am somewhat limited and cautious as to where I ride and just how far I will push it. I totally loved everything about Preddy Creek, even the Cicada's added a nice touch. It seems the combination of the workout and the scenic beauty was just the best it could be in my mind.

    Later this year, we will head back to Asheville for our second visit, it is a very cool place.

    Thanks again for all of your help - Rick

  22. #22
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    Hillandale is a cool place to ride, but there's a huge jump in the rock content from the intermediate to the expert trails out there, and there isn't a huge amount of trail because of the size.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed Preddy. I only rode it once when I was there about a year ago, in fact it was around the 4th of July, so when I say it was about 110 degrees that day, locals there will know what I mean. In spite of the heat it was a fun ride, and the end of the ride was topped off with some cooling down at the creek. Based on my memory of the trails, I thought it sounded like what you were looking for.

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