Coming over to DC for Halloween from Irleand a I wanna MTB not to far from Washington- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Coming over to DC for Halloween from Irleand a I wanna MTB not to far from Washington

    Hi all!

    Coming over to Washington DC for Halloween - I wanna MTB not to far from Washington. Any locations / tips on trail centers and MTB bike hire for my trip would be helpful.
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  2. #2
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    How far do you want to drive from DC?
    Fountainhead is worth the trip, about 40 min south of DC center with no traffic. Good trails with different level green to black diamond, some drops and features
    Closer places like wakefield or accotink are probably 20 min south, good riding, but no features, wakefield is more groomed trails, accotink is more natural singletrack.

  3. #3
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    excellent thanks for that!
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    It also depends on what kind of transportation you have. While Fountainhead is really the only memorable system on the VA side, you'll need to take a car and allow for some time to get to the trail head from downtown DC. Lake Fairfax is accessible from a Metro stop, but it's nothing to write home about.

    The Bike Lane does rentals as well as a few other local shops. I would definitely call ahead though.

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    Montgomery County, just west of DC, has an immense amount (gotta be well over 100 miles?) of very fast, fun flowing trails spread fairly evenly throughout the county. A bit further west is Gambrill State Park and the Frederick Watershed which are more rocky, steep terrain. Both are super fun and an hour or less from most parts of DC.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Montgomery County, just west of DC, has an immense amount (gotta be well over 100 miles?) of very fast, fun flowing trails spread fairly evenly throughout the county. A bit further west is Gambrill State Park and the Frederick Watershed which are more rocky, steep terrain. Both are super fun and an hour or less from most parts of DC.
    Can you pls ID some of the good ones?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xseal View Post
    Can you pls ID some of the good ones?
    Schaeffer Farm is the most popular and well marked. Links up with a bunch of the other trails such as the Seneca Ridge Trail, Seneca Bluffs, Hoyles Mill trail.

    Annual event that links a bunch of the trails systems, options and GPX trax for 15 - 70 mile options here:
    https://www.more-mtb.org/moco-epic/#epiccourses
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xseal View Post
    Can you pls ID some of the good ones?
    Really depends what you want...

    Easy, fast flow? Ten Mile Creek in Black Hills Regional Park.

    Slightly more technical (mostly just roots and mildly steep sections) with good options for multiple loops? Schaeffer Farms.

    Technical (lots and lots of rocks) with sustained climbing? Yellow trail in Gambrill State Park.

    Those would probably be my highlights, each for its own reasons.

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    Fountainhead is worth the trip. Great trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Really depends what you want...

    Easy, fast flow? Ten Mile Creek in Black Hills Regional Park.

    Slightly more technical (mostly just roots and mildly steep sections) with good options for multiple loops? Schaeffer Farms.

    Technical (lots and lots of rocks) with sustained climbing? Yellow trail in Gambrill State Park.

    Those would probably be my highlights, each for its own reasons.
    I'll add Elizabeth Furnace areas in George Washington National Forest to the last category. Classic mountain biking and about the same driving distance as Gambrill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumby_rider View Post
    I'll add Elizabeth Furnace areas in George Washington National Forest to the last category. Classic mountain biking and about the same driving distance as Gambrill.
    Yes! Fantastic riding down that way! Signal Knob, Bear Wallow, Buzzard Rocks, Shawl... Just the northern tip alone has a ton of great stuff!

  12. #12
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    I agree with Bacon Fat, the trails he listed are easy access to DC and very rideable in a day. I would add Meadowood Park, just south of Fort Belvior. It has a fun outer loop with several inner trails with wooden features and a jump trail. You can rent a FS MTB at The Bike Lane on Old Keene Mill and Rolling road and drive to Fountainhead, Accotink/Wakefield and Meadowood easily in a day. I live near The Bike Lane and I do the “Triple” often.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drapper View Post
    Hi all!

    Coming over to Washington DC for Halloween - I wanna MTB not to far from Washington. Any locations / tips on trail centers and MTB bike hire for my trip would be helpful.
    As I like more pedal-y trails, I'm a big fan of Rosaryville State Park, which is just east of DC.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumby_rider View Post
    I'll add Elizabeth Furnace areas in George Washington National Forest to the last category. Classic mountain biking and about the same driving distance as Gambrill.
    E Furnace is classic! Some of best biking in Virginia. There are rentals available in Front Royal and Winchester, which are the towns near there. Jakes Bike Shop has Yet and Giant in Front Royal for sure. Its 75-90 minutes from DC, but oh so awesome.

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    A few things to consider...
    1. Downtown DC isn't "close" to many trails. Well, it is, but they aren't worth flying across the Atlantic to ride.

    2. It's been raining here. A lot. We hit our typical annual total back in early August. Most parks within 40 minutes of the city are in stream valleys. The soil type we have here doesn't take well to rain and riding - everything is a mud pit. You'll have to travel farther out of the city, into the mountains, to get dry trails.

    3. Public transport to trails is shit. You'll need a car.

    All that said, here's what I'd ride...
    1. Frederick Watershed and/or Gambril State Park in Maryland (they're next to each other, trail networks connect). Non-stop rocky technical trail, lots of steep up/down. Trails are a bit zig-zaggy - you'll want a local guide or a good GPS with trails marked - otherwise you'll end up riding in circles or worse. The trail here is canonical east-coast mountain trail. And it packs a lot of features into a small area. Don't let mileage throw you off - it could take 3 hours to go 12 miles and that will still beat you to shit. But, you'll grin the whole time if you like that sort of trail (I do).

    2. Fountainhead, VA. Less technical than #1. But, prone to closing when the weather turns wet. Which it has a lot lately. Good 12? mile loop of dedicated bike trail on one side of park. Another 6 miles (12 out and back) of mixed use hiking trail on the other. The bike trail is about 2 hours at a casual pace. The hiking trail is similar time. Good mix of stuff. Call for trail status before heading here.

    3. Elizabeth Furnace (Figure 8 of Hate), VA. Further out of the city, but a nice full-day ride. Technical like #1 in places, but long stretches of sweet single track and a few bits of forrest road linking it up.

    4. Stokesville, VA. 2-3 hours from the city - you'll do it as an overnight. Some of the best trail in the DC metro area. Camp at Stokesville Campground or motel in Harrisonburg. 100s of miles of sweet trail, but you'll do a fair bit of forrest road linking stuff up. Totally worth it. I head down here 4-5 times/season to do 2-3 30+ mile days. Site of the Shenandoah 100 mountain bike race.

    The other trails mentioned above (Schaeffer Farms, Lake Fairfax, etc) are mostly great for riding closer to the city. But, if you have a full day or more to ride, try to hit the stuff above.

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    Thanks to the OP and Crack Monkey we are driving down from Toronto and going to stay for a day or 2 in Fredricksbug then head over to Harrisonburg. Was there a particular motel that is bike friendly you can suggest ? I'm going to email the campground as well and enquire. I have a truck and room for 1 more bike and would love to link up with a local and explore.

    Thanks a ton. ( oh and dates are 2 weeks starting oct 25 )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crack Monkey View Post
    4. Stokesville, VA. 2-3 hours from the city - you'll do it as an overnight. Some of the best trail in the DC metro area. Camp at Stokesville Campground or motel in Harrisonburg. 100s of miles of sweet trail, but you'll do a fair bit of forrest road linking stuff up. Totally worth it. I head down here 4-5 times/season to do 2-3 30+ mile days. Site of the Shenandoah 100 mountain bike race.

  17. #17
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    Many hotels in the area are not the most service oriented. Your bike is likely to be greeted more warmly than you.

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    Harrisonburg is a college town, so plenty of cheap and mod-price motels. But book in advance to avoid college events (football, etc). I’ve always just picked one right off the interstate.

    Chris Scott, the owner of Stokesville campground and lodge, is a mountain biker and can point you in the right direction. There are two shops in town - SBC and Rocktown. And a very active mountain bike scene, so shouldn’t be any trouble finding locals.

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    G-t- there’s also Massanutten bike park and Bryce park not far, if you’re into park riding. Both ski areas, so seasonal.

  20. #20
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    Look up and call the Shennedoah Bike Company. They have bikes and knowledge.

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  21. #21
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    Awsome thanks for the info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-t- View Post
    Thanks to the OP and Crack Monkey we are driving down from Toronto and going to stay for a day or 2 in Fredricksbug then head over to Harrisonburg. Was there a particular motel that is bike friendly you can suggest ? I'm going to email the campground as well and enquire. I have a truck and room for 1 more bike and would love to link up with a local and explore.

    Thanks a ton. ( oh and dates are 2 weeks starting oct 25 )

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    Do you mean Frederick, not Fredericksburg?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by g-t- View Post
    Thanks to the OP and Crack Monkey we are driving down from Toronto and going to stay for a day or 2 in Fredricksbug then head over to Harrisonburg. Was there a particular motel that is bike friendly you can suggest ? I'm going to email the campground as well and enquire. I have a truck and room for 1 more bike and would love to link up with a local and explore.

    Thanks a ton. ( oh and dates are 2 weeks starting oct 25 )

    Life Behind Bars....
    let me know if you want some local knowledge as I will hitting E Furnace a few of those days youll be out this way

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Do you mean Frederick, not Fredericksburg?
    Fredricksburg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnashed View Post
    let me know if you want some local knowledge as I will hitting E Furnace a few of those days youll be out this way
    Sounds good. I'll DM you once we get down there and have a better idea of specific dates etc.

    Looking forward to this. We have only ever ridden Canaan WV a looooong time ago.

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  26. #26
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    Stay at Stokesville Campground! Ride to the trails from camp! (And ride the trails in camp.)

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