carvin's cove, douthat state park, harrisonburg va ... questions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    carvin's cove, douthat state park, harrisonburg va ... questions

    hi everybody,

    im planning a roadtrip for next week. i plan on driving down 81 south and staying over night at carvin's cove and then hitting up douthat state park. probably do some riding around harrisonburg on the way back.

    can i get some must ride suggestions for carvin's cove, douthat state park and around harrisonburg?
    it looks like carvins cove and douthat has a trail system, best places to park or start the climb?

    i'll also be camping so any suggestions on campground would be nice too. it can be primitive, i don't mind.

    thanks!

  2. #2
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    Harrisonburg : You have everything in George Washington Nat'l Forest(Narrowback Loop, Lookout Loop, etc), Massanutten Resort(Western Slope and a bike park). Can't go wrong with any of these. In H-burg there are the trails at Hillendale. Not really too technical but a fun ride. Stop in at Shenandoah Bike Company for maps and any help.
    LOVE THE RIDE!

  3. #3
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    okay sweet, ive ridden the western slope before. have you rode hankey mountain or big bald knob. im trying to figure out a big loop i could do.

  4. #4
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Douthat - I like to do the outer loop of trail (closest to the park border) with the exception of Mountain Side in place of Mountain Top. Ride clockwise. Also, many of the great CCC singletrack trails outside the park have recently been cleaned (Fore Mountain, Dry Run, Middle Mountain) and are rolling great if you have some time and want to explore lesser used trails.

    Carvins Cove - I like a loop up Hoe, Up Buck, left at top ride across the mountain, down Gaunlet, left on Lakeside, right on Helmlock Tunnel, left on Comet, 4 Gorges Extension, 4 Gorges. That leaves a whole other series of less physical trails called the lowers that are along the lake. The exception being Rattling Run which is super technical. Main parking lot is Bennett Springs. Just the Right gear can hook you up with more trail beta.

  5. #5
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    I did a loop years ago, went something like this. From Tillman head up to Reddish Knob, down to Wild Oak, cross over to Narrowback and out and back. Then up to Hankey Mtn to Dowells Draft, up to Dividing Ridge, right on Bald Ridge to Camp Todd area. Cross over N River Rd and follow trail to Grooms Ridge, and head down to Tillman. Then I headed down Tillman to the car. Not sure of the mileage, and I'm sure I left out some turns, but at least it gives an idea of a loop, although there is lots of climbing involved.
    LOVE THE RIDE!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    Douthat - I like to do the outer loop of trail (closest to the park border) with the exception of Mountain Side in place of Mountain Top. Ride clockwise. Also, many of the great CCC singletrack trails outside the park have recently been cleaned (Fore Mountain, Dry Run, Middle Mountain) and are rolling great if you have some time and want to explore lesser used trails.

    Carvins Cove - I like a loop up Hoe, Up Buck, left at top ride across the mountain, down Gaunlet, left on Lakeside, right on Helmlock Tunnel, left on Comet, 4 Gorges Extension, 4 Gorges. That leaves a whole other series of less physical trails called the lowers that are along the lake. The exception being Rattling Run which is super technical. Main parking lot is Bennett Springs. Just the Right gear can hook you up with more trail beta.
    awesome, thanks for the info. i see a lot of pictures people took from a overlook around there. Will any of those trails link me up to that view? I'd be willing to check those out, are they located pretty close to the campground at douthat?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker64 View Post
    I did a loop years ago, went something like this. From Tillman head up to Reddish Knob, down to Wild Oak, cross over to Narrowback and out and back. Then up to Hankey Mtn to Dowells Draft, up to Dividing Ridge, right on Bald Ridge to Camp Todd area. Cross over N River Rd and follow trail to Grooms Ridge, and head down to Tillman. Then I headed down Tillman to the car. Not sure of the mileage, and I'm sure I left out some turns, but at least it gives an idea of a loop, although there is lots of climbing involved.
    the loop i was looking is something like that. appreciate it.

  7. #7
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    Lots of loops that are mix of Singletrack, Gravel, and Road in GW area. I know the area decently and the above does not make much sense to me. Probably best bet is to have a map and a gpx of the SM100 loop. You can definitely start at Wild Oak parking but trying to follow Wild Oak trail can get you lost. You could also check in a t stokesville campground nad someone may be able to help you. Easiest route to follow though is going to SM100 course and than you can cut off loops sections to get down to the amount of time you want to spend in the saddle. Narrowback, Lynn, Wolf, Hankey, Dowells gravel/road back to car would be big day but can absolutely add braileys or death climb/chestnut to make big day. Try to plan to stop for a refuel at your car (wild oak parking lot or bottom of Wolf you will, only if you take 250 to mountain house to braileys loop will you pass a store (with exception of first couple a miles).
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  8. #8
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by gillymtb14 View Post
    awesome, thanks for the info. i see a lot of pictures people took from a overlook around there. Will any of those trails link me up to that view? I'd be willing to check those out, are they located pretty close to the campground at douthat?



    the loop i was looking is something like that. appreciate it.
    Stony Run to Tuscarora Overlook. The loop I described will take you right by there. From the bottom there are several trails that end up on Locust Gap (Blue Suck is one), left on Locust Gap, right on Stony Run (almost a five mile climb, eat your Wheaties), at top take Middle Mountain along the ridge, down Salt Stump, up Ross Camp, Mountain Side, great downhill on Brushy Hollow to bottom.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    Douthat - I like to do the outer loop of trail (closest to the park border) with the exception of Mountain Side in place of Mountain Top. Ride clockwise. Also, many of the great CCC singletrack trails outside the park have recently been cleaned (Fore Mountain, Dry Run, Middle Mountain) and are rolling great if you have some time and want to explore lesser used trails.

    Carvins Cove - I like a loop up Hoe, Up Buck, left at top ride across the mountain, down Gaunlet, left on Lakeside, right on Helmlock Tunnel, left on Comet, 4 Gorges Extension, 4 Gorges. That leaves a whole other series of less physical trails called the lowers that are along the lake. The exception being Rattling Run which is super technical. Main parking lot is Bennett Springs. Just the Right gear can hook you up with more trail beta.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker64 View Post
    I did a loop years ago, went something like this. From Tillman head up to Reddish Knob, down to Wild Oak, cross over to Narrowback and out and back. Then up to Hankey Mtn to Dowells Draft, up to Dividing Ridge, right on Bald Ridge to Camp Todd area. Cross over N River Rd and follow trail to Grooms Ridge, and head down to Tillman. Then I headed down Tillman to the car. Not sure of the mileage, and I'm sure I left out some turns, but at least it gives an idea of a loop, although there is lots of climbing involved.
    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    Stony Run to Tuscarora Overlook. The loop I described will take you right by there. From the bottom there are several trails that end up on Locust Gap (Blue Suck is one), left on Locust Gap, right on Stony Run (almost a five mile climb, eat your Wheaties), at top take Middle Mountain along the ridge, down Salt Stump, up Ross Camp, Mountain Side, great downhill on Brushy Hollow to bottom.
    damn that sounds like a solid day of riding. any places on the way to fill up the hydration pack? is middle mountain a nice ridgetop ride?

    I believe there is also a view that overlooks cavin's cove lake. any idea what trail that is?

  10. #10
    I am the owl
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    Here's a Douthat loop similar to CraigCreek's description. Goes to the overlook around mile 6. Finishes on Beards Gap instead of Brushy. Both are great downhills, going to Brushy adds a couple of miles. Camping right at Douthat, you can roll right to the trail
    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20214303

    Lots of options for Harrisonburg. Check in with Shenandoah Bikes or Stokesville Lodge, they can help you with a loop or check MTB Project, there are some good routes there
    https://www.mtbproject.com/directory...8/harrisonburg
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    Douthat - I like to do the outer loop of trail (closest to the park border) with the exception of Mountain Side in place of Mountain Top. Ride clockwise. Also, many of the great CCC singletrack trails outside the park have recently been cleaned (Fore Mountain, Dry Run, Middle Mountain) and are rolling great if you have some time and want to explore lesser used trails.

    Carvins Cove - I like a loop up Hoe, Up Buck, left at top ride across the mountain, down Gaunlet, left on Lakeside, right on Helmlock Tunnel, left on Comet, 4 Gorges Extension, 4 Gorges. That leaves a whole other series of less physical trails called the lowers that are along the lake. The exception being Rattling Run which is super technical. Main parking lot is Bennett Springs. Just the Right gear can hook you up with more trail beta.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker64 View Post
    I did a loop years ago, went something like this. From Tillman head up to Reddish Knob, down to Wild Oak, cross over to Narrowback and out and back. Then up to Hankey Mtn to Dowells Draft, up to Dividing Ridge, right on Bald Ridge to Camp Todd area. Cross over N River Rd and follow trail to Grooms Ridge, and head down to Tillman. Then I headed down Tillman to the car. Not sure of the mileage, and I'm sure I left out some turns, but at least it gives an idea of a loop, although there is lots of climbing involved.
    Quote Originally Posted by riderx View Post
    Here's a Douthat loop similar to CraigCreek's description. Goes to the overlook around mile 6. Finishes on Beards Gap instead of Brushy. Both are great downhills, going to Brushy adds a couple of miles. Camping right at Douthat, you can roll right to the trail
    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20214303

    Lots of options for Harrisonburg. Check in with Shenandoah Bikes or Stokesville Lodge, they can help you with a loop or check MTB Project, there are some good routes there
    https://www.mtbproject.com/directory...8/harrisonburg
    thanks. i appreciate it.

  12. #12
    WillWorkForTrail
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    If you'll be in Harrisonburg, two rides I haven't seen mentioned that you might consider are Reddish Knob and the Southern Traverse. Both will put you on the road a little, but both are also great rides. In fact, there aren't a lot of rides in that area that aren't great.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    If you'll be in Harrisonburg, two rides I haven't seen mentioned that you might consider are Reddish Knob and the Southern Traverse. Both will put you on the road a little, but both are also great rides. In fact, there aren't a lot of rides in that area that aren't great.
    I've ridden both of these this "summer".
    We just did shuttle runs on reddish last weekend. 1st lap we took Timber ridge to hearthstone ridge to tillman.
    2nd lap we took timber to lynn to wolf ridge.
    Super fun but a little outside of my comfort zone.
    I don't think I would want to mess with riding the 9 mile road climb to get to the top.

    We did the southern traverse a little earlier in the year. It was truly awesome but I would bet that it's really grown up now and might not be worth messing with.

    Another pretty big day in the area would be to follow the stokesville 60K course:
    forest road 36D? to the top of narrow back, tower trail to festival trail to fire road, to narrow back trail, run ridge in the opposite direction, down tillman west, left on tillman rd, then up and over lookout mtn. I haven't made it to lookout yet, but EVERYONE says it's awesome.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by notso View Post

    We did the southern traverse a little earlier in the year. It was truly awesome but I would bet that it's really grown up now and might not be worth messing with.
    I don't know about that - did you do the Traverse before or after it was cleared this year? My most recent experience with it was in the dead of winter, and it was fine, but obviously hadn't been cleared in a couple years. It might be ok.

    As far as shuttling Reddish Knob....lucky. I've never been able to hitch a ride to the top. Timber to Wolf to Tillman is a sweet ride though. Worth the climb (I thought it was 10 miles?) in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I don't know about that - did you do the Traverse before or after it was cleared this year?
    I was told that it had recently been cut back. This was in early May of this year. It was fine when we rode it, but there were lots of places that I imagine would get pretty grown up by this point in the year. So much of that ride is narrow side hill stuff, that IMHO, vegetation intrusion into the trail would be pretty problematic.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by notso View Post
    I was told that it had recently been cut back. This was in early May of this year. It was fine when we rode it, but there were lots of places that I imagine would get pretty grown up by this point in the year. So much of that ride is narrow side hill stuff, that IMHO, vegetation intrusion into the trail would be pretty problematic.
    Maybe. But I've come down Wolf Ridge in the dead of winter dragging both ends of 730mm bars through the Laurel bushes growing beside the trail. It's part of the charm of those back country rides sometimes.

  17. #17
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    Don't overlook Sherando. Mill Creek, Slacks, Torrey Ridge - you can put together a fantastic loop if you don't mind some climbing.

  18. #18
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    Just watch for bears in Carvins Cove. And get ready for the EMP near the power wires. It will mess up your equilibrium, plus it's right after the hardest climb of the ride.

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