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  1. #1
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    Harrisonburg Area Advice

    Hey all,

    I've read a lot on this board about your area and it sounds awesome. I'm planning an annual MTB trip with 8 friends and looking for a little advice. Since it's close, and awesome, we often do this trip in Pisgah. 2 years ago it was Davis, WV (incl North Fork Mtn Trail, Spruce Knob, etc)

    Our trip is Thursday thru Sunday the 3rd weekend in May. It seems all the riding options in the Harrisonburg area are spread out. GWNF, Massanutten, and the Fort Valley area. Staying in Harrisonburg would make sense but house/cabin rentals seem non-existent. We typically like to rent our own place, cook our own meals, etc.

    Given that... what's a good way to go? Rent a cabin at Massanutten and deal with the longish drives? Or, find a cabin closer to either GWNF or Fort Valley and do most of the riding where we're located? I guess the question then would be... do these areas have enough trail to keep us busy without much repeat over 3.5 days?

    We favor backcountry epic trails, roots and rocks, over buff and flowy.

    Any advice or leads on cabins would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Holler at Chris over at Shenandoah Mountain Touring. He runs a lodge and bike touring biz, however I know May is when things really start popping off here in the valley. You may get lucky and they might not be booked that week. Otherwise you might want to check out the resort at Massanutten or venture out on your own and find a cabin. Things I would highly recommend: Big Schloss/ Wolf Gap, Narrowback/ Tilghman west/ lookout Mtn, Western Slope (Kaylors Knob/ Boone's Run/ 2000 Hours), Rode Hollow/ Bridge Hollow/ Braleys Pond, and maybe a day in the Fort. I say maybe because that riding isn't for everyone. It's slow technical, and can consist of much hiking if big rock moves aren't your thing. For the most part, it doesn't have the views you get elsewhere in region unless you ride Buzzards. In Fort Valley, I would say a well rounded ride would be climbing Sherman and continue to the Northern end of the ridge and ride Buzzards. If you are feeling ambitious, ride the stuff across the valley first climbing the Signal Knob single track, hook a left on Maneka, then another left to rip down Bear Wallow

  3. #3
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    Hey, thanks a lot for that. Lots of great stuff to go on. Finding a house or cabin to rent seems a lot harder up there than it is in Pisgah -- especially for a large group. I think we'll pass on staying in Massanutten... a little too far from most of what we'll ride. I guess we could change it up and camp this year, too. If anyone has any other advice, I'm all ears. We like to do an epic or mini-epic each day... at least 4 or 5 hours and up to 8+. Gotta pack in it! We dig rocks, too, so Buzzards will be in order. Had read about Elizabeth Furnace. Anyway, thanks!

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    Now camping would open up all kinds of options.

    Places I've camped with lots of riding.....little fort campground in Fort valley and Camp Rosavelt sp?? both have endless riding opportunities.

    Todd lake campground west of Harrisonburg is another place I've camped and rode til i dropped.

    If a cabin is a must with lots of riding then consider Douthat but the 50+ miles of trails are mostly XC.

  5. #5
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    Cabin alternative?

    How many are in your group?

    Depending on group size...you could always look into renting an RV. That way...a shower, fridge, bed, and maybe even a couch is with you at every trail head...though maybe not a luxurious shower. To be central-ish to the good trails that make up the SM100 course...there is todd lake campground and plenty of nearby spots that are open to primitive (free and less likely you'll get complaints if you are up till midnight being loud around the campfire).

    Places like cruise america and elmonte rv are the two big rental companies.

  6. #6
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    I'll help with this as I'm also part of Lono's group.

    There are 8 of us. We do already have one RV that'll sleep three of us fine, and the rest probably are fine camping in tents, especially if we have a campground with any kind of decent bath house facilities. No, 8 of us can NOT shower and share the bathroom in this particular RV. Renting another RV is out of the question as those cost twice what we normally pay for our house in Pisgah and this is a cost conscious group.

    Steve says "we like rocks", but I'm not sure we're on the same page. My idea of "big rock moves" is trials or at least near-trials kind of stuff, and that's NOT the kind of thing this group can do. These are XC guys that aren't afraid of a few 2' rock ledges, but nobody in this group is even going DOWN anything bigger than that without walking. In this group I'd say we'll all try a 20" log crossing but only half will clean it, to give you a skill idea.

    So if a trail is simply "very rocky" but dudes who ride 4-5" bikes a lot can ride it, that's fine. If it's "lots of gaps and ledges" and most people who ride it are on 6+" bikes, no, it's not for us.

    Our other vehicle available for the trip is an 8 passenger Sprinter van. It's got a custom bike rack in the back for four bikes and we just take another four tray rear rack, so we only need that and the RV to get places. It *could* sleep a couple people fairly well by simply removing the two rows of rear seats and wrapping them up with a tarp (they'd be terribly uncomfortable to use, but they come out very easily).


    --Donnie

  7. #7
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    Check these out

    If you can't get the cabin that Chris at moutaintrouing is now running and the group is okay with camping...I'd say that is your best bet. I'd give you a link for the cabin, but I can't see any mention of it on their website. Might just have to call. As for the campground at Todd Lake...I haven't stayed there...I primitive camped while in that area. If you guys had memorial day weekend open, you could head down for the VA mtb festival that mountain touring puts on. No showers (Todd lake campground is just a couple miles down the road), but it makes it otherwise logistically easy to get a good sampling of the riding there.

    I've also ridden some off of Fort Valley Road near Elizabeth Furnace that washedup mentioned...signal knob, maneka, and bear wallow. I normally ride a 150mm travel 26er and had to walk parts of it. My route went from the Elizabeth Furnace campground, up mudhole gap, over to wodstock tower, along the masanutten trail, up to signal knob and then maneka and bear wallow and back to camp. So, I was pretty tired by the time I hit signal knob. I'm not expert, but I have my fair share of destination rides (mostly CA, AZ, UT, and CO). That route, while a ways from H-burg...is doable by your description of your group...though there will be a couple of spots to get off and walk and still come away having enjoyed the ride overall.

    The stuff that is popular closer to H-burg is a little bit easier in terms of rocks than the loop I just mentioned and there is a lot more of it centrally located. You can find both well maintained and primitive trails there too. Again, nothing a bunch of guys riding 5" bike can't handle. Evey time I've been on a group ride out there as part of an event...the HT bikes far outnumbered the FS bikes. It has been a long time since my one trip to Pisgah and DuPont...but I'd say the H-Burg stuff is no worse in terms of rockiness. Depending on how much riding you want to get done on Thursday and Sunday...you should be able to get plenty of riding in without hitting too much of the same trails and not move camp.



    The below two links shows some of the new stuff out there:




  8. #8
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    Riding Massanutten is a good idea. Riding the SM100 course is a good idea. Southern Traverse is a big out and back unless you ride the road back, which ain't easy either. If you want 4-5 or 8+ hours days, you are heading to the right spot.

    Camping at Todd Lake is a good idea. No matter where you ride down there, you will be scared a few times.

    Pisgah/Brevard stuff is way less maintained then the 'burg area stuff, and that's good. It's not dumbed-down at all but you are way less likely to come around a corner hot and get dumped into a 3 foot washout rut. There's better flow with difficult stuff in GW than the just cowboy nature of Pisgah. The stuff further north near Asheville in Pisgah is more dumbed-down than GW too. There's a ton of flow in the GW with chutes thrown in.

    Generally speaking, all the GW trails are fast and flowy 3/4 of the way from bottom to top with the top 1/4 generally very technical, with some hiking in many of the rides unless you are a stud.

    Shout when you are heading in to town. Many of us have flexible schedules and enjoy watching people hit these trails the first time...

    mk

  9. #9
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    wow, thanks much for all the great information. sounds like we'll have no trouble finding kick-ass trail up yonder. i will continue looking into cabin rentals, including a call to Chris, and camping will be our fall back. so, if anyone has a line on a place that holds 8... pls tell. we'll continue to research the trail sitch. if anyone has the time and mind to put together an itinerary of Hburg greatest hits for a Thurs-Sun trip... awesome. At this point... and without having a map of the area... I'm thinking... Wolf Gap/Big Schloss, Narrowback/Lookout Mtn, Elizabeth Furnace/Fort Valley, and maybe a day at Massanutten. I may not have all that geography quite right... thanks again, and thanks for offer to maybe help us out when we're in town.

    as for skill and interests... we survived and largely enjoyed WV, including Huckleberry from Spruce Knob and are perfectly comfortable with all Pisgah has to offer.

  10. #10
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    Todd Lake Campground

    I understand that option #1 for your group is a cabin but if Chris Scott's Lodge is booked that week (end) you guys should be able to make Todd Lake work.

    It is a very clean and orderly campground smack dab in the middle of the Shenandoah 100 trails. Great location that I have used for pre riding the 100 many times. You can go any direction from there and hit sweetness.

    Each campsite (I think there are 32) has a large tent pad, parking for 2 cars at least, a picnic table, an in ground fire pit (wood provided) and a grill. I know there are RV hookups but not sure if every site is equipped for that or not. Also, the bathrooms are ridiculous. Cleaned daily, stocked with paper products, private showers and toilets. I almost don't call it camping when I stay there.

    Oh yeah, I 'believe' it was $12-16 a night or so.

    Good luck and have fun.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the Todd Lake rundown, 8Shakes. I was curious about all that. Camping starting to sound more appealing. Two more Qs on Todd Lake... I believe I read it does not do reservations. Do you think getting a few spots the 3rd week of May will be tough? We will arrive noon-ish Thurs so maybe that helps. And, second, I assume beer not welcome but if discreet will Mr Park Ranger be up our butts? Because, that would really suck. Thanks again!

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    I think that is correct about no reservations.

    I cannot say with certainty that there will be spots but I have always gotten a spot there 2weeks prior to the 100 - the weekend everyone is pre riding so I think you will be fine unless there is some redneckpalooza that weekend.

    Thursday definitely helps and discreet will work. You guys will be too wiped out to make much noise anyways.

  13. #13
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    You might consider forgoing Fort Valley/ E Furnace for the Road/ Bridge/ Braley's which sounds to be more up your alley. If you are riding in the Fort, I consider it a waste to ride the fire road up as the single track climb is rad, be it intensely technical and draining. If this isn't your cup of tea, I would say pass it up. This would also save you about an hour of driving each way. Road, Bridge, braleys is more of the epic type ride you described and will probably take you 4ish hours. PM if you want the good info on that. It's in the Camp Todd area. And if camping there, Camp Todd/ Chestnut is a good couple hour spin that's worth it.

  14. #14
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    As for camping, I don't think you will have too much trouble with the no reservation thing. On the drive in to the campground, you can see quite a few well established free dispersed/primitive spots to set up camp. Many are close to water. From my limited experience (only 3 camping trips) out there, those sites fill up first...as they are free.

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    if you're camping at todd lake, i'd say definitely put chestnut/grindstone on your list. the camp todd/horse trough climb is a killer, but you can ride FR 95 out to north river trail, then take a right at the top onto FR 85 (?) for a longer but less wicked climb. from little bald you'll have 7-9 miles of sweet downhill ridgeline singletrack with intermittent climbs, with a fun sketchy downhill off grindstone at the end.

  16. #16
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    Sorry to possibly highjack this thread, but I am in need of advice as well.

    We have a group coming to the Harrisonburg area at the last week of March (27th-31st). We will be staying in the Rawley Springs area. We usually vacation in the Dupont/Pisgah areas of NC, so we are used to and enjoy those kinds of trails.

    We are riding on Thursday-Sat and a half day Sunday. We plan on doing the Southern Traverse one day and traveling to Douthat on another day.

    So, we have 1.5 days of riding remaining to fill and are looking for suggestions. We prefer to leave camp in the morning, ride, break for lunch, then ride 2-4 more hours.

    Lookout Mountain and Narrowback seem to be close to where we are staying and are on our short list of trails. With all that being said...

    Considering where we are staying, if you had 1.5 days to fill what would your ride itinerary look like for those days?

    Any help would be appreciated!!!

  17. #17
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    I would spend the extra time in Douthat

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bird View Post
    I would spend the extra time in Douthat
    I am not sure I can convince them to do the 1 hour and 45 minute drive from our Cabin twice....any other suggestions?

  19. #19
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    I recommend stopping by Shenandoah Bicycle Company. They have a packet of about 10 rides with maps and directions to trailheads for about $10. You can also ask them for advice about linking sections together.

  20. #20
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    Are you riding from Stokesville store up Hankey, down Dowell's over 250 to Mountain House/Ramsey's Draught then up to Brailey's then back up Dowell's and down Hankey? You should.

    You can park at the store in Stokesville (yes, that's a real name) but get some gps tracks cuz there's a few turns. You can lunch (or pick up and carry to the top of Brailey's) at the store on 250 before climbing the road up to Mtn House. Good sammiches there.

    Also, the Chestnut ridge ride is worth it. There are some good trails up there. Check out the mtntouring.com website for a map of the SM100 course. All of those trails are rad.

    If you are used to riding in Pisgah, you'll find better maintenance, flow and less 'whoa crap' type of stuff in Harrisonburg area. It's tough, to be sure, but the trails make more sense and allow you to relax a bit more while you are scared to death, screaming through a rock garden.

    mk

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    I would pass on mountain house and continue up the road to Confederate Breastworks (yes, that's its actual name) and ride Road Hollow, Bridge Hollow and then Braleys. One day the Autobahn will be legal and you could climb Tear Jacket, Autobahn, Rode, Bridge, Braleys which will be sweet!

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    We should be clear on the amount of climbing there is out there. There's a lot. You should have a few loops set up and maybe consider stashing some vehicles just in case. It's remote, it's sketchy and there is a lot of high-speed stuff out there. Big tires are a must, regardless of what bike you are riding.

    Be prepared.

    mk

  23. #23
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    Thanks for all the responses!! I will take these routes into the Shenandoah Bicycle Company and get info/directions!

    Awesome!!
    Last edited by Chase1996; 02-02-2013 at 05:55 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    Are you riding from Stokesville store..

    Which store are you referring to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    Big tires are a must....

    mk
    We are all on FS 29er's. Speaking of tires....what are your favorites for this area? I have had success with Racing Ralphs and Conti XKings in Pisgah/Dupont, would these be a good choice here?

  26. #26
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    There's only one store in Stokesville.

    You'll see a lot of Ardent tires down here. Crossmarks in the rear. 2.4s. Tubeless is popular. Thick sidewalls are important.

    mk

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    Must rides: Narrowback, *Hankey/Dowell's, 250/Braley's (word of caution - this trail can be inacccesible during spring as it has a rather serious stream crossing right in the beginning at the base of the climb. I've done it in the spring - requires taking shoes/socks off. Water can be thigh high and is moving very fast. Pretty sketchy IMO. And no there is no way around it), Lynn (tough climb, hike-a-bike for most)/Wolf Ridge, *forest roads/Chestnut ridge, and Hankey/Lookout (haven't ridden the new reroute on Lookout, heard it's very sweet). * = strongly suggested must must rides.

    You may want to get a confirmation that ST (Southern Traverse) is cleared and ready to ride before ventuing over that way. That storm last summer with high winds did a lot of damage to it (+100 blowdowns). I have not heard if it ever got totally cleared. Could be a major buzzkill if there still is blowdowns.

  28. #28
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    Southern Traverse will be in top shape in May as crews will be out chainsawing it in preparation for SDS rolling it in early May.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by wi1trackrider View Post
    Must rides: Narrowback, *Hankey/Dowell's, 250/Braley's (word of caution - this trail can be inacccesible during spring as it has a rather serious stream crossing right in the beginning at the base of the climb. I've done it in the spring - requires taking shoes/socks off. Water can be thigh high and is moving very fast. Pretty sketchy IMO. And no there is no way around it), Lynn (tough climb, hike-a-bike for most)/Wolf Ridge, *forest roads/Chestnut ridge, and Hankey/Lookout (haven't ridden the new reroute on Lookout, heard it's very sweet). * = strongly suggested must must rides.

    You may want to get a confirmation that ST (Southern Traverse) is cleared and ready to ride before ventuing over that way. That storm last summer with high winds did a lot of damage to it (+100 blowdowns). I have not heard if it ever got totally cleared. Could be a major buzzkill if there still is blowdowns.
    Thanks for the heads up! We are heading there in late March (27th-31st)...hope the Southern Traverse is clear as we are really looking forward to riding it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase1996 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up! We are heading there in late March (27th-31st)...hope the Southern Traverse is clear as we are really looking forward to riding it.
    ST was fine end of Nov should still be ok get the NatGeo maps for GWNF for sure.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    There's only one store in Stokesville.

    You'll see a lot of Ardent tires down here. Crossmarks in the rear. 2.4s. Tubeless is popular. Thick sidewalls are important.

    mk
    Could I get away with Ikons with EXO casings , or do I need a more aggressive front tire?

  32. #32
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    I generally suggest 2.3 or 2.4 tires out there so you can party. I like to party so I like my tires to party.

    More sidewall is always better, at least for me.

    mk

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    I generally suggest 2.3 or 2.4 tires out there so you can party. I like to party so I like my tires to party.

    More sidewall is always better, at least for me.

    mk
    I'm gonna grab an 2.4 Ardent then for the front, unless there is another Maxxis you recommend...

    I wanna party too.

  34. #34
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    I hate recommending tires to anyone cuz I don't want you cursing my name. But let's say that I would happily ride a 2.4 Ardent in the front, tubeless, all day long out there. And I'd squeeze on in the back too...

    Come to think of it, I have.

    mk

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    Depending on the bike/ ride I go between Ardent 2.4 EXO casing front and rear and Ardent 2.25 UST front and Crossmark 2.1 UST rear. You won't see a lot of weight weenie tires out here.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by washedup View Post
    Depending on the bike/ ride I go between Ardent 2.4 EXO casing front and rear and Ardent 2.25 UST front and Crossmark 2.1 UST rear. You won't see a lot of weight weenie tires out here.
    I already own a set of the Ikon 2.2 EXO's, which are perfect for the riding in my home state. I was hoping they would suffice, but it seems I may need a grippier front tire, so I am just looking to replace as few tires as possible.

    Odds are, whatever I buy to run in Harrisonburg will get very little use after that, so i am trying to keep expenditure to a minimum...

  37. #37
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    Focusing on the front is a good idea.

    mk

  38. #38
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    So, I got my Nat Geo and Ride Package in the mail from Shenandoah Bicycle Company. I will definitely stop by and spend some money with them!

    We will arrive around lunchtime and wanted to get a ride in before check in time @ 4:00PM (maybe 2-3 hours or so).

    We are staying in Rawley Springs. I was originally planning to do the Mud Pond Short Loop as suggested by SBC...but I think we may want a longer loop. Is there a way to extend this loop?

    My other thought was to do Chestnut Ridge. I caught some video clips and it looks awesome. It looks to be just as close to Rawley Springs as the Mud Pond loop...how long does it typically take?

    Does anyone have directions to Chestnut Ridge trail head (parking, etc?) My map says Chestnut Ridge, but the map trail indicator is #490 Maple Springs?



    What/which would you pick?

  39. #39
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    Since it sounds like you're going to be riding on the west side of I81, I recommend riding the Western Slope of Massanutten just as you get to the area. The trails are fantastic!

    Go to the Garmin Connect website and search for user StokesvilleLodge (that's Chris Scott) and you'll see three Western Slope Enduro routes.

    Any of these three routes will have you grinning from ear to ear. I stopped and rode the Enduro 2 course as I was passing by Hburg last Friday and had an absolute blast.

    My tire recommendation is Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.35 w SnakeSkin sidewalls. Bottom line is that you're going to have more fun with a high volume aggressively knobbed tires front and rear.

    Enjoy!

  40. #40
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    Now that is one sweet recommendo, for sure. What a gift! Those enduro routes are basically unknown. For now. Big doings in 2013 from what the little birds tell me...

    mk

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecobykr View Post
    Since it sounds like you're going to be riding on the west side of I81, I recommend riding the Western Slope of Massanutten just as you get to the area. The trails are fantastic!

    Go to the Garmin Connect website and search for user StokesvilleLodge (that's Chris Scott) and you'll see three Western Slope Enduro routes.

    Any of these three routes will have you grinning from ear to ear. I stopped and rode the Enduro 2 course as I was passing by Hburg last Friday and had an absolute blast.

    My tire recommendation is Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.35 w SnakeSkin sidewalls. Bottom line is that you're going to have more fun with a high volume aggressively knobbed tires front and rear.

    Enjoy!
    I was under the impression that you had to pay to ride on Massanutten? A few guys coming are on tight budgets, so that might be out..

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase1996 View Post
    Does anyone have directions to Chestnut Ridge trail head (parking, etc?) My map says Chestnut Ridge, but the map trail indicator is #490 Maple Springs?

    What/which would you pick?
    Chestnut Ridge is near Stokesville. It's a great ride, and part of the SM100. Forest road/double track climb, 100% singletrack downhill. The loop would take a solid hours including a few breaks. I'd recommend parking at the Wild Oak Trailhead lot (the big bold P on the map near the intersection of Rd. 101 (Tillmann Rd.) and Rd. 95). I like to do the loop by riding Rd. 95 shown orange on the map. Turn right onto Rd. 95 where 95 intersects with 96. Ride 95 all the way to the WV border. Turn right onto Rd. 85. The climbing really begins here. Stay on Rd. 85 all the way up to Rd. 421. Turn right onto Rd. 421. 421 is a typical forest road, then turns into a grassy doubletrack after passing around a gate about 2 miles in. Stay on 421 until you get to a small intersection. With a sign and firepit/backwoods campground setting. This is the trailhead of Chestnut Ridge. Take a left onto Chestnut Ridge (brown trail #716 on the map). Stay on it all the way down. Stay to the right at all intersections with other trails. You'll end up down at a fairly well worn double track (514 on the map). Take this towards the paved road you started the loop on. 514 has a few shallow creek crossings. Once out to the road turn left and ride the road back to your vehicle.

    Hope this helps. Any questions, post it up!

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    Theres talk of an "Enduro" event on Elliot's this year. Cold Springs is getting love as we speak. Killer Elliots ride is to hit all 4 ways. Ride up the road, down Cold Springs which is getting love as we speak, slum back up the super steep gravel, down Elliot's over to Crawford Knob, climb the steps and left down Chimey Hollow.

  44. #44
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    Thanks to everyone for all of the replies and advice! It has been instrumental in helping us plan our trip. The goal is to have loops set up each day to give us 5-7 hours of riding each day.

    I have a few more questions if you are willing.

    Here is our itinerary with questions highlighted:

    Wednesday - arrive in Rawley Springs around 2:00 PM - Ride Mud Pond Short Loop both ways for a 3-4 hour loop. Then call it a day. Chose this loop as it is close to our cabin.

    Thursday - Douthat - ALL Day!

    Friday - Narrowback / Lookout / Trimble Mountain - Seemed to be in vicinity of each other.
    Looking for advice concerning the best way to loop this as well as feasibility....feedback is wanted/appreciated. Is this a full day loop? Any other loops to add / or omit?

    Saturday - This is a toss up.

    We originally wanted to do the Southern Traverse IMBA Epic route, but are somewhat divided on this. It appears the majority of this ride is the dirt road on the ride back. The consensus is that we would rather be on singletrack as much as possible. Out and back is an option...

    The other option is a Dowell's Draft / Braley Pond Loop. Just wondering the proper way to do this logistically and wondering the difficulty / duration of this loop.

    Which loop would you do choose? Any other suggestions / feedback, etc. for this day? What is an out and back like on the Southern Traverse? Help!



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    Southern traverse is kinda tough to make a loop of. Lots of road riding. Instead of 1.5 or so hours on the road after riding the ST, I would warm up for 45 mins on the road and hit Road Hollow, Bridge Hollow and Braleys, but that's just me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by washedup View Post
    Southern traverse is kinda tough to make a loop of. Lots of road riding. Instead of 1.5 or so hours on the road after riding the ST, I would warm up for 45 mins on the road and hit Road Hollow, Bridge Hollow and Braleys, but that's just me.
    So that I understand...and it is difficult having never been to the area and knowing the lay of the land...you would do Road Hollow/Bridge Hollow and Braleys as a loop instead of doing the Southern Traverse altogether?

  47. #47
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    That is correct. And there are options if you want to get creative. You can either lengthen or shorten if you wish. That is a solid route to start with. Ride rt250 to confederate breast works and start from there. Some might argue it but that's my opinion

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase1996 View Post
    Wednesday - arrive in Rawley Springs around 2:00 PM - Ride Mud Pond Short Loop both ways for a 3-4 hour loop. Then call it a day. Chose this loop as it is close to our cabin.

    Thursday - Douthat - ALL Day!

    Friday - Narrowback / Lookout / Trimble Mountain - Seemed to be in vicinity of each other.
    Looking for advice concerning the best way to loop this as well as feasibility....feedback is wanted/appreciated. Is this a full day loop? Any other loops to add / or omit?

    Saturday - This is a toss up.

    We originally wanted to do the Southern Traverse IMBA Epic route, but are somewhat divided on this. It appears the majority of this ride is the dirt road on the ride back. The consensus is that we would rather be on singletrack as much as possible. Out and back is an option...
    Thanks for everyone's input!

    We have decided to replace the Southern Traverse with a loop of Dowell's Draft/Braley's with an option to bail out at Braley's.

    One last question, (I promise!)

    On Friday we had planned to do a Narrowback / Lookout / Trimble Mountain loop (Trimble was included in case we had something left in the tank..totally optional)...however, I was curious if maybe replacing one of these loops (Narrowback or Lookout) with Chestnut Ridge might be a better option?

    Thoughts? Opinions?
    Last edited by Chase1996; 03-04-2013 at 04:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase1996 View Post
    On Friday we had planned to do a Narrowback / Lookout / Trimble Mountain loop (Trimble was included in case we had something left in the tank..totally optional)...however, I was curious if maybe replacing one of these loops (Narrowback or Lookout) with Chestnut Ridge might be a better option?

    Thoughts? Opinions?
    Chestnut for Narrowback or Lookout is not even swap out based on location. Chestnut is a hard loop to tie into due to its location and the fact that it's a serious loop for most riders on its own.

    One route I can think of would be to park at the Wild Oak Trailhead. Ride to the what I call the backside of Narrowback, play around Narrowback for a while, then take the paved road #257 up to Reddish Knob (long long long paved climb). Take in the view on top of Reddish and continue to Chestnut. Bomb down Chestnut, and you'll end up back on the road somewhat near the Wild Oak Trailhead.

    To rate the trails I'd go #1 - Chestnut, #2 Lookout (even though I haven't ridden the new route yet - the old one was badass/major gnar, new one is designed to be rideable so it must be a lot better, and #3 Narrowback (no big elevation, no great views).

    If I had one day to ride in the area I'd ride Lookout, take a good break then tackle Chestnut.

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    Yesterday, a group us headed out from SMT HQ and did Hankey, out and back on Dowells and then Lookout w/ a little bonus traverse in there as well. I suppose it would be possible to tack Braleys on to that but it would a juicy ride for sure. We discussed trying to get Braleys onto that while sipping coffee in the morning but decided not to since some of us were hurting from the day before. The options are there.
    Last edited by washedup; 03-05-2013 at 06:26 PM.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase1996 View Post

    Does anyone have directions to Chestnut Ridge trail head (parking, etc?) My map says Chestnut Ridge, but the map trail indicator is #490 Maple Springs?
    I called Shenandoah Bicycle Company inquiring about #490 Maple Springs (near Rawley Springs) out of curiosity....no one there had ever ridden it and they had no information on it. They asked me for a ride report if I rode it.

    The Nat Geo map lists it as suitable for biking. Does anyone have any info on this trail?

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase1996 View Post
    I called Shenandoah Bicycle Company inquiring about #490 Maple Springs (near Rawley Springs) out of curiosity....no one there had ever ridden it and they had no information on it. They asked me for a ride report if I rode it.

    The Nat Geo map lists it as suitable for biking. Does anyone have any info on this trail?
    i've never ridden that trail, but i've thought about riding up union spring rd, down maple spring, and trying to find my way back to union spring via a section of doubletrack that may or may not actually lead from rawley springs to union spring (it's on one of my maps, but not the other). i'm guessing that if the trail's there, it's in horrible shape...but maybe one day i'll give it a go.

    i've hiked up maple springs several times, but not in the last couple years. it's a sustained and fairly steep grade, but apart from that it's pretty unremarkable. not technical at all (apart from a rock slide section at the top of a hollow near the very top of the trail), grassy and overgrown in a couple spots (at least in summer), and kind of boring as i remember it. there are a number of big dips/rollers at a few spots, but they're abrupt and tightly spaced so i'm not sure how much fun they'd be to hit at speed. maybe a couple short washed out sections in there somewhere as well, but not many. the bottom mile or so after the 2nd switchback is flat with a few stream crossings.

    it might be a fun trail to come down, but from what i remember i wouldn't want to ride up it (boring and too steep to ride much of it). but i'd be interested to hear what you think if you end up doing it.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocktownrook View Post
    i've never ridden that trail, but i've thought about riding up union spring rd, down maple spring, and trying to find my way back to union spring via a section of doubletrack that may or may not actually lead from rawley springs to union spring (it's on one of my maps, but not the other). i'm guessing that if the trail's there, it's in horrible shape...but maybe one day i'll give it a go.

    i've hiked up maple springs several times, but not in the last couple years. it's a sustained and fairly steep grade, but apart from that it's pretty unremarkable. not technical at all (apart from a rock slide section at the top of a hollow near the very top of the trail), grassy and overgrown in a couple spots (at least in summer), and kind of boring as i remember it. there are a number of big dips/rollers at a few spots, but they're abrupt and tightly spaced so i'm not sure how much fun they'd be to hit at speed. maybe a couple short washed out sections in there somewhere as well, but not many. the bottom mile or so after the 2nd switchback is flat with a few stream crossings.

    it might be a fun trail to come down, but from what i remember i wouldn't want to ride up it (boring and too steep to ride much of it). but i'd be interested to hear what you think if you end up doing it.
    Thanks for the feedback!

    I may check it out since it is so close to our cabin. Will post up the results when I can.

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    Just out of curiosity, why is the 2.4 recommended in the front in that area?

    More cush? more side grip on the bench cut trails to stop sliding side slipping?

    I was having some sketchy side slipping on dowells draft last year that I thought some extra bite might help.

    Right now I have a 2.1 crossmark in front and back and mostly ride in Richmond but was thinking of upgrading to a 2.4 ardent up front for more cush.

  55. #55
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    Soooo....our trip to Harrisonburg is this week. We are staying Wednesday - Saturday.

    It appears the area received snow this weekend. We will arrive Wednesday afternoon and hope to get a quick ride in Wednesday...but if we can't, no biggie.


    Someone PLEASE tell me that the trails (Narrowback,Lookout,Dowells, Braley) will be rideable by Wednesday/Thursday?

    Here is the forecast:

    Harrisonburg Area Advice-hburg-weather.jpg

    Will it warm up / dry out enough by then to at least have an enjoyable ride?

    I hope this vacation isn't ruined.

  56. #56
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    I would say no.

    Nate is down there though and he'll tell you. I was planning on heading down there tomorrow into Wed but I ain't going. Did they get 7" in town? My buddy lives just south of downtown and he got a lot.

    Make a call into the shop. They may not have ventured out yet.

    Good luck with the bad luck.

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    We got a good amount of snow, but its been melting all day. My guess is IN TOWN it will be gone tomorrow. Vacation is not ruined, but you may want to make adjustments in the trails you plan to ride. Dowells will have snow and or a bunch of mud on Hankey aka it will suck. The snow is wet and heavy and crap to ride in. I say hit fort valley on day 1 depending as it is rocky and typically the stuff to the east doesn't get as much weather and dries quicker. But check in later in the week.

    Mike- when are you coming around?

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by washedup View Post
    We got a good amount of snow, but its been melting all day. My guess is IN TOWN it will be gone tomorrow. Vacation is not ruined, but you may want to make adjustments in the trails you plan to ride. Dowells will have snow and or a bunch of mud on Hankey aka it will suck. The snow is wet and heavy and crap to ride in. I say hit fort valley on day 1 depending as it is rocky and typically the stuff to the east doesn't get as much weather and dries quicker. But check in later in the week.

    Mike- when are you coming around?
    You've opened up another can of worms

    Sorry..I have done a lot of planning for the Western stuff..so not sure where to head..

    We were headed there this Wednesday (two days from now)...staying until Saturday night.

    So...Fort Valley Day 1? Could we begin to look at Narrowback/Lookout/Dowell's on Friday/Saturday?

    We were also planning on Douthat...would it be rideable?

    Sorry...I had 3.5 days of riding planned and now it seems I am starting from scratch..I bought the NatGeo map #791...so I don't think i have much trail info for the East.

  59. #59
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    Nate, I was coming down today but weather-waived.

    Next trip is up in the air. I need to start getting more work form TrailWerks so that is taking precedence right now. Riding a lot local and the pump track/jump line got a MAJOR overhaul so I have to get on that a lot. Poor me...

    It sucks that the weather came in like it did. This weather is the exact worse weather you could hope for to ride that stuff. Too warm to be fun snow riding, too wet and slow to avoid complete misery.

    Pisgah/Brevard is further south quite a bit if you really wanna pull the chute and make a change.

    Welcome to mid-Atlantic weather!

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    Reports today if 12"-16" up on Reddish. Douthat I have no idea. They get different weather down there. By different, I mean usually more. The sun poking its head out here and there between snow showers but its supposed to be warming up through the day.

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    i'd say the new stuff on narrowback is definitely gonna be wet through the weekend since it holds water for a surprisingly long time, so i'd stay away from that for sure (especially because it's new/soft). new stuff on lookout might also be pretty iffy.

  62. #62
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    I think for now, we are going to have to drive down to Roanoke (Eastcoasters has recommended a few trails, inc. Dragon's Back) on Thursday and Friday (I know it's a haul) if need be and then check to see if Douthat is rideable on Saturday.

    Everyone I spoke with seems to be guiding me away from Harrisonburg at the moment.

    We were considering the Fort Valley/Elizabeth Furnace area, but I am not sure all of us are comfortable with the type of terrain. We like rock gardens, but that trail looks like it is nothing but rocks.

    Would there be any other trails at lower elevation that would be rideable (Mud Pond)?
    Unless we get confirmation or suggestions otherwise, that's what we are forced to do.

    Any other help or suggestions are appreciated.

  63. #63
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    Sun is shining and things are warming up here in the valley, but looking to the west, the mountains have disappeared in dark clouds and precip. A report of thunder snow south west in WVA.

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    Report back on what you find down there. It's going to be a tough week for riding around here.

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  65. #65
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    @Chase1996

    What did you guys end up riding?

  66. #66
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    Great thread guys. I am just starting to plan a few days in this zone in late Sept. Think that'll be a nice time to visit for cool temps and lack of bugs. I do a lot of mtb travel and have been to many of the spots we read about. Harrisonburg's blend of traditional chunky East Coast riding and progressive trail building has blown me away. Those Adventure Seen Videos are sooo good. Love the Lifestyle Ride branding. Awesome to see guys shredding trail and it looking rad. Honestly much cooler than seeing some guy backflipping off everything to sell DVDs. Anywho.....I'm going to paw through these deets but main question is will some of you locals been down to ride? I can hang on big climbs, moderate to advanced tech and am a decent descender. Other locals in mtb destinations haven't minded my company. Look forward to sharing the stoke. FP

  67. #67
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    Post up when you are ready to come out. First weekend in October is the festival and you will have no shortage of people to ride with. Many of the folks here are less online and more on bike so they don't really post up, but sept/oct is the best time to be out this way, other than right now maybe.

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