Coming to Roanoke, What to ride?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Coming to Roanoke, What to ride?

    What are some good rides and can't miss mountain bike trails.

    I'm looking for some scenic trails to see and experience the area, hilltop overlooks and generally beautiful trails.

    I am also looking for some good single track trails. What trail would be "the best"

    I'm coming out from Utah for work and have about two extra days to ride. I havn't ridding the East much and I want to ride while i'm there. I'm looking for approx 1 to 3 hour rides. Fitness level is good.

    Thanks for your help.
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  2. #2
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    Carvins Cove, Mill Mountain in Roanoke and Douthat State Park in Clifton Forge an hour away.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_123
    Carvins Cove, Mill Mountain in Roanoke and Douthat State Park in Clifton Forge an hour away.
    +1 on what Mark said

    Douthat is further out but probably has the best views. Mill Mountain is urban but still pretty nice with some views of the city (every tourist has to go to The Star anyway,might as well do it on a mountain bike). Carvins Cove is a 12700 acre city park right on the edge of town. Lots of lake scenery there and great trails.

    Compared to the west our vistas are not so great, theres all this green stuff covering them up. If you are into hiking McAfees Knob has probably the best views around.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnriden
    What are some good rides and can't miss mountain bike trails.

    I'm looking for some scenic trails to see and experience the area, hilltop overlooks and generally beautiful trails.

    I am also looking for some good single track trails. What trail would be "the best"

    I'm coming out from Utah for work and have about two extra days to ride. I havn't ridding the East much and I want to ride while i'm there. I'm looking for approx 1 to 3 hour rides. Fitness level is good.

    Thanks for your help.
    The top two places I would hit are, without a doubt, Carvins Cove (right outside of Roanoke) and Douthat State Park (~45-60 minutes northeast). Both of these places are well mapped and marked. Carvins Cove sees a lot of use, so if you post here you could likely even get some folks to ride with.

    Douthat has some really good views, and long climbs and descents. Not very technical, but really fun, and kind of epic-feeling. I have not been there in about 1-1/2 years (it is almost 2 hrs from me) but every time I go I kick myself for not making the drive more often.

    Carvins Cove is IMO a really good example of East Coast riding. Good variety of trail types, from IMBA-ish smooth and flowy to old-school stuff that keeps you on your toes (the stuff that I consider classic East Coast single track). Some parts are mildly rolling, others are @ss-buster climbs and good descents. Though there are no real views (the ridges are thickly forested), I find it to be very beautiful there, which has a lot to do with why I go there so much.

    For a shorter day, you might check out Pandapas Pond in Blacksburg, about 1hr west of Roanoke. It is more technical than Carvins Cove or Douthat, though there is not as much mileage. If you want to get in 4 hours of riding you will end up re-riding a lot of sections. It is excellent for a technical 2 hour loop, though.

    And as others have mentioned, there is Mill Mt right in Roanoke, if you are staying near downtown you can ride there. Great for a short after-work ride, though I would not waste one of your days off for it. It is wonderful for what it is (an in-town trail system), but there are much better things around to ride if you have more time, IMO.
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  5. #5
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    By no means an expert on the area but i will give another nod to Douthat State Park.
    I actually just moved to Utah from NYC and spend a few weeks in the Staunton VA area not too far from Roanoke.
    Was fortunate enough to ride Douthat during my stay and absolutely loved it: Remote, densely green with longish climbs, ridge top flowy singletrack and descents that, as described by my buddy, "spit you back down the mountain".
    Also, we saw not not one person on the trail which, i guess depends on where in Utah you are, might be a treat (my first ride on the BST had me stopping for traffic more in one day then my entire East Coast riding career!).

    Enjoy!

  6. #6
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    Mtb. Rentals

    Are there any Mtb. rentals nearby?
    What about Mountain Lake Conservancy (they have rentals)? Is it worth it?
    Last edited by gnriden; 07-25-2011 at 06:56 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnriden View Post
    Are there any Mtb. rentals nearby?
    What about Mountain Lake Conservancy (they have rentals)? Is it worth it?
    The nice thing about Mt Lake Conservancy is that in the dead of the summer heat, it is about 15 degrees cooler there than in Roanoke. For example, the high in Roanoke today is 98, Carvins Cove is 95, Pandapas (a trail system near Blacksburg) is 92. Mt Lake has a high of81. Yes, 81, that is not a typo, and in my experience up there makes me believe the report.

    The trails are OK, it is a weird mix of mostly doubletrack and old road beds, and one or two with of the most technically challenging trails around (Moonstomper and Bear Cliffs) . Not so much steep, just incredibly rocky. I find them a fun challenge, but it can be very slow going.

    It is incredibly beautiful up there, with a bit of old growth forests, and hemlock forests as well.

    If you want to do the cheese-ball tourist thing, you can do the Dirty Dancing tour (it is where they filmed the movie).

    Not sure of anywhere else that rents bikes.
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  8. #8
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    Mt lake rents bikes at the hotel. $30-40 for a whole day if I remember right. They have basic Trek hardtails and a few Fisher full suspensions. Cakes if I remember right.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnriden View Post
    Are there any Mtb. rentals nearby?
    What about Mountain Lake Conservancy (they have rentals)? Is it worth it?
    If you ride Carvins Cove you can rent a bike at Just The Right Gear. It is located almost directly at the entrance to the trails. Super nice folks too who can help you choose trails that match personal rider preference.

  10. #10
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    Taking the wife there in a few weekends to see if we want to move there - any suggestions on resturaunts and campsites? Sound s like we should ride at Carvins and walk McAfees

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 123qwerty View Post
    Taking the wife there in a few weekends to see if we want to move there - any suggestions on resturaunts and campsites? Sound s like we should ride at Carvins and walk McAfees
    Those would be my first suggestions for one ride and one hike

    Can't help on the camping. If you go downtown in Roanoke there are a lot of restaurants, worth checking out. Hopefully someone will chime in on a good place to eat. I like Table 50 a lot, but it is on the pricy side. Alexandros (sp) is pretty decent Mexican (both downtown).
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  12. #12
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    Mcafee is great. Dragon's Tooth and Tinker Cliffs are 2 other fun hikes worth checking if you have time.

    I've heard a lot of good things about the Home Place. Home Place Restaurant - Catawba, VA

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 123qwerty View Post
    Taking the wife there in a few weekends to see if we want to move there - any suggestions on resturaunts and campsites? Sound s like we should ride at Carvins and walk McAfees
    There are shelters along the AT, not too far from the parking on VA 311, which is the closest trailhead to McAfees Knob. I'm not sure about the mileage of the second, but the first is only about a mile in.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Those would be my first suggestions for one ride and one hike

    Can't help on the camping. If you go downtown in Roanoke there are a lot of restaurants, worth checking out. Hopefully someone will chime in on a good place to eat. I like Table 50 a lot, but it is on the pricy side. Alexandros (sp) is pretty decent Mexican (both downtown).
    Second Kapusta on the ride and hike. Table 50 is my favorite local restaurant also, but it ain't cheap. Alexandros is good Mexican, Corned Beef & Co has good sandwiches pizza and steak for reasonable prices. The Quarter has good New Orleans style food and is reasonably priced. Awful Arthurs has raw bar for oysters etc. Man, I am hungry all of a sudden.

    Camping kind of sucks here. KOA type place at Dixie Caverns. Roanoke Mountain campground just off the BR Parkway, but no showers. There's a commercial campground at Arcadia and a scenic National Forest campground on North Creek at Arcadia, but thats getting pretty far out of town. Lots of primitive camping out in the National Forest if you like to rough it.

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