A Kinder Gentler Side of Douthat
I apologize in advance for not having a map of this loop, but maybe later someone more technologically advanced than me can GPS it. Or better yet, maybe the Forest Service can come through with a good map of the Alleghany Highlands Trails System. Some of this ride was in Douthat State Park, but most was on the AHTS south of Douthat.
Parked on the road into Douthat very close to I-64. Some road miles to warm up
A tour of the new campground as you enter the park
Looks like a nice campground and I am guessing it will be open this spring
Flat Run starts out of the campground
Onto a real trail, Stony Run
A mile or mile and half up (past Locust Gap trail), the horse trail bears left and South just before the switchback sections on Stony Run
Some other pics here
Jan Horse Trail Ride Photos by CraigCreekRider | Photobucket
I like this trail a lot, it is called the Douthat Connector
The trail is well built and suffers most from lack of use, leaves and sticks galore
Leaving the park and into the George Washington National Forest
Eventually the trail widens and soon becomes doubletrack
The end of the Douthat Connector, maybe a couple of miles long
Some more Douthat Connector pics here
Douthat Connector Photos by CraigCreekRider | Photobucket
This is where the McGraw name game starts. At the end of the Douthat Connector, you can go left or right onto the McGraw Loop trail. I went both ways, but will just include pics here of the left route.
It is a very pleasant ride
A mile or so from the Douthat Connector, you arrive at a gate and small parking circle
At this point the McGraw Hollow road goes right and the FS road goes left. Left takes you to the paved road at the south end of Douthat.
More McGraw Loop pics
McGraw Loop 1 Photos by CraigCreekRider | Photobucket
On this ride, I went right on McGraw Hollow for a half mile or so. This is when things get a little funny.
Off to the left is the newest trail, deemed as a shortcut to Fore MountainTrail and the McGraw Horse trail. This is also called part of the McGraw Loop trail. For my photo albums I am calling this the McGraw Connector as it connects McGraw Hollow and McGraw Horse Trail and the name McGraw Loop was already used on another trail. Confused yet? There are other words than McGraw and the Forest Service could have named them something a little more identifiable as McGraw was already used on two other established trails closeby.
The McGraw Connector starts off as beautiful doubletrack
Crossing the creek, the doubletrack ends and singletrack begins
From here, the single track climbs – a long ways
In many places this trail is covered and hard to find, there is just not that much trail there to start out with
Middle Mountain in the distance
I really liked this piece of ridgetop
A half mile past the cool ridge top, the trail just ran out.
No trail, no markers, no nothing. I was a good ways in, it was 4 or so in the afternoon and my trail disappeared. I was a good two miles in on that trail, so it was either go all the way back or take a chance and continue on in the same direction and hope for the best.
Luckily a 1/8 mile or so I found the trail again and followed it out to the end.
This is where the junction with ahhhh the McGraw Horse Trail
More McGraw connector pics here
McGraw Loop Connector Photos by CraigCreekRider | Photobucket
Last edited by CraigCreekRider; 02-13-2013 at 07:35 PM.
Reason: Add pic links
Man! I really enjoyed that,didn't want the pics to end.lol
The holy grail of mtnbiking.
Love it, thanks. My buddy lives in NC, I'm in MD, this seems like a great place to meet. Definitely bookmark'd.
Re: A Kinder Gentler Side of Douthat
Great spot for 'sploring, and thanks for sharing. Agree, once outside the park it's confusing.
The best is the one you want to ride most often..
Bird I put photobucket links in for each trail segment in an edit.
I love how the last three pics get steadily darker. That says so much right there.
15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.
CCR, you want to lead a group ride at Douthat this spring?
2015 Giant Anthem 29er
2012 Trek Superfly Carbon HT
Maybe Middle Mountain South and some of this stuff? Most of the stuff in the park is self explanatory.
Middle Mountain South would hook in with these trails quite well.
Middle Mountain Fun
Last edited by CraigCreekRider; 02-16-2013 at 07:50 AM.
Reason: Add thread link
Yes, I was glad I had my lights. This time of year I just keep them on the bike.
Originally Posted by kapusta
Very cool, CCR. I've been out to Douthat several times before, and aside from the section of Stony Run you showed, I don't think I have been on any of those trails. Always something new to explore!
I know you have ridden a lot of the trails north of the park. The trails south of the park see little use by bikes or horse. i suspect the horses will start using it more with the new horseback rider campground, but we will see. This area might be good for some of the bike camping you do - not so vertical as everything else in the area.
Originally Posted by fleetwood
Does anybody know if these trails are shown in the National Geographic Trails Illustrated #788? (Covington/Alleghany Highlands)
Not on the older maps, but possibly the new ones.
Originally Posted by byrot
At the bottom of this map is McGraw Horse Trail 354 and it shows the road on McGraw Hollow. The roads just north of McGraw Hollow (near Big Lick Hollow) are part of the McGraw Loop but the map does not show the full loop or the Douthat Connector. There's some new stuff north of the park too.
I used to have a trails connection on the James River District but she retired. Good mappage is pretty critical I think.
Tell me more about the new stuff north of the park. Interested in a route to Stokesville.
I just got the new National Geographic Trails Illustrated #788 and it shows the trails north of the park. What would you like to know?
This might help. I think this is from Day 1 of Stokesville-Douthat-Stokesville put on by Shenandoah Mountain Touring.
Bike Ride Profile | 75miles near Mt Solon | Times and Records | Strava
thanks. I always wondered if there was anyway to continue north on the east edge of the park, eventually dumping out on 42.
Beards Mountain (459) connects to the very northeast corner of the park. Follow that northeast to Beards Mountain Spur (459A) and it will dump you out at the Cowpasture River. On the other side of the river is a fire road that goes southeast right in to 42. The only thing the map does not show is if there is a bridge to get across the river. Maybe someone can verify.
Used googmaps to find out if there was a bridge across the river. There is.
If I recall right it is a swinging bridge.
Originally Posted by byrot
Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider
I just got the 2012 revised version of this map - there are far more trails marked on this. I still bet I get lost.
Enjoying the trails one pedal stroke at a time...
This map shows most of the new trails north and south of the park
The Mcgraw Loop is not quite finished. I think also Peters Ridge near Covington has not been finished.
Hadn't seen the thread before and wasn't expecting to see some of my company's work in there (the bathhouse and campground).
Based on those pictures, I'm definitely going to have to take a bike next time we have a project up there. Looks like some fun riding.