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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Sherando Lake Mountain Biking????

    I was wondering if anyone can give me some more info about riding at Sherando Lake. I have never ridden there before, but have heard it can be a cool place to ride.

    My first question is about its degree of technicality. I have heard that some of the trails are quite technical. I like technical riding, but not trails that are overly hazardous to your health. I ride a 4 inch travel 29er so it is up to reasonably technical riding, but again may not be optimal for super technical riding. Additionally I would look to ride there with my wife who has only been riding for about a year. She rode with me at Walnut Creek last week and did okay though, and she can handle the hills at Douthat for what it's worth for comparison sake. She also has ridden the James River Trails in Richmond which are moderately technical.

    How technical are the trails at Sherando?

    Can anyone tell me where I can go online to get a good trail map? Are the trails marked? What trails would you recommend and do they all start at the same trailhead essentially?

    We would probably look to take our camper out there and camp at the campground. I assume the trails are reasonably close to there.



  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Hey Matt,

    Sherando Lake is indeed a good place to camp and ride.Plenty of riding from the campground.You can get a map at the gate as you enter.

    My favorite ride is about a 21 mile loop that consists of XC type trails.
    You exit the park and turn left and ride the hard surface "a few miles" down to Big levels which is Coal road.You turn left on to coal road and ride this Forrest road for maybe 1/2 mile and turn left onto Mill Creek.

    This trail will turn into sweet single track and take your all the way to Blue Ridge parkway for some beautiful scenery.The last mile of mill creek is steep but smooth.Once at the top of the ridge you'll turn left onto a jeep trail then make a quick right to the parkway.Left onto parkway for several miles of downhill.

    You'll come to a parking lot on your left off the parkway,behind this parking lot is Slacks trail "blue blazed" . ride 2.6 miles where it turns into White Rock falls trail "yellow blazed" and ride this trail to the upper lake at Sherando.Gotta be one of my favorite rides ....takes me around 4hrs.

    I personally don't care for Torry Ridge,to many rocks for my liking.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: FTW Special K's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Here is a trail map for you, and like Bird said Torrey Ridge is very rocky. Torrey is a lot of fun, but there might be a few hike a bike sections depending on your abilities.
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  4. #4
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    Reputation: steelisreal4130's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    I would recommend a variation of the one mentioned above. Mill creek -> Torry ridge for a short bit -> Slacks Trail -> White Rock Gap -> Then hammer some pavement back to the car.

    Its basically the same but you get to descend on single track instead of the parkway.

  5. #5
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    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Only been there once. Quite a ride. We parked on Coal Rd. and took Mill Creek to the top. The section before the switchbacks is fairly mellow. The switchbacks make for some good climbing. Think Stony Run at Douthat for a rough comparison. We started down Torrey to Slacks to White Rock. This section is a lot of fun. We followed down to the campground and then hiked up the blue loop trail on the left in the map linked above. Not recommended, unless you are only hiking. It sucks on a bike and wears you out for the extremely rocky finish on Torrey Ridge. I was bonking for the last bit of Torrey down to the Mill Creek Connector so didn't have as much fun as I would have liked. Definitely a worthwhile ride, but be prepared for some serious climbing going up the switchbacks and LOTS of rocky terrrain on Torrey.
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  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Sherando is not any more technical than the red loop at Walnut Creek, but Sherando's mileage is the challenging aspect. A 20mile ride at Sherando means you are putting in some serious climbing. My fav route is parking at Coad Rd., ride the road to and through the park, up White Rock to the parkway, parkway to Bald Mtn. overlook, forest rd. up Bald Mtn - hang a right at top, left onto Torrey Ridge (few hike a bike sections through some serious boulder fields), right onto Upper Slacks, continue onto Lower Slacks back to White Rock - tracing your route backwards to the car. The section of Slacks to White Rock is a blast. Few techy spots, all downhill. To shorten this route some, park inside the park, and when on the parkway pick up Slacks at Slacks Overlook.

    Riding up Mill Creek is cool until you get to the switchbacks. Elevation gain at the switchbacks is 300'? Most people can clear the first 2-4 of the 7? switchbacks. After that it's hike-a-bike. In warm temps it can be a real b!tch.

  7. #7
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    Reputation: OneSlowBusa's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Old thread bump but wanted to share the great experience I had riding Sherando over the weekend. Did a loop of 19.5 miles according to my GPS by heading up the eastern Blue Loop trail, to a right on Torry Ridge, left on the Mill Creek connector, left on Mill Creek to the parkway, then Slacks to White Rock back to the car. My early season legs had all they could take by the end but it was a great ride with trails in incredible shape for this time of year. A few notes:

    - The Blue Loop is a bear that earns its double black on the way up, we probably walked 75%, however Torry Ridge to the connector is a nice technical ridgeline ride with incredible views.
    -Mill Creek Connector is incorrectly labeled on some maps as a green, its a tech. blue or black for sure
    -Mill Creek trail has a number of decent size creek crossings when the water level is up a bit, also the trails are not well marked at these intersections. The switchbacks up to the parkway are closer to 600' of elevation according to my phone gps, which is often wrong, but def. more than 300'
    -Slacks and White Rock are in great shape, and its clear someone has recently spent alot of time working on water bars, etc

    Maybe its just the excitement of riding something new, but as a similar drive from Roanoke as Douthat, can't wait to go back.
    If you Google "Judy Butter" to reminisce on the good ole days, do NOT click on images...

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