Roanoke, VA - Carvin's Cove- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Roanoke, VA - Carvin's Cove

    Hello All,

    Headed to Roanoke in a few weeks for a 4 day ride weekend. Is Carvins Cove the main place to ride in this area? Can someone give me a list of the most technical and fun downhill trails to ride and correct trail direction. We are all good technical riders and don't want to just ride flow trails. Not that weren't into that but, just want to make sure we don't miss the more challenging and the best downhill trails.. Just starting to investigate this are before the trip. I'll start with looking up the black diamond stuff.. Any advice is much appreciated!! Thanks

  2. #2
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    There is a ton of stuff to ride in the Roanoke area outside of Carvins cove. Carvins is an amazing trail system and if you only have a day or two and don't know your way around, it's certainly the best "bang for your buck. I've only been there a couple times and certainly haven't ridden nearly all of it. It is well marked and pretty easy to get around. The gauntlet and "OG" are the ones that most folks talk about for black trails, but I think there is another one across the road from the Bennet springs parking lot that is supposed to be really tough (Rattlin run). MTB project has pretty good descriptions and suggested direction of travel for a bunch of the trails in the area(inside and outside of Carvins).

  3. #3
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    Dragon's Back might be an option...
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback! Anyone have any other "must ride" trails names/locations to ride in and around the Roanoke area while we are there?

  5. #5
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    Here's a decent map:
    https://www.playroanoke.com/wp-conte...s-Cove-Map.pdf

    Go to the Cove on a nice day and you will have a blast. I'm not sure how many miles you want to put in or how much elevation you want to do, which greatly influences any ride suggestions at the Cove.

    A few directions things and other info:
    -Park at the Bennett Springs parking lot. I think it is 2 or 3 bucks for parking (money box by sign).
    -Carvins Cove is effectively split into the "uppers" and "lowers." Expect 1000-footish climbs to reach the uppers, and descents that match. The trick with the Cove is that you typically go up one side of the mountain and end up on the other side of the mountain. You either go back up the mountain, or take Lakeside Trail to the lowers.
    -Gauntlet is a must do downhill. Take Hi-Dee-Ho or Buck up the mountain. Gauntlet has 2 options to start, "Old Gauntlet" which has bike-park style jumps or just the main Gauntlet entrance, which is across from where Hi-Dee-Ho comes out.
    -From Gauntlet, either use Trough to go back up the mountain or hit Lakeside and make your way over to Kerncliff and then down upper Comet (steep rooty) or Tuckaway (smooth fast). If you go back up the mountain, you have lots of options.
    -If exploring, don't try to climb Hemlock Tunnel, Jacobs Drop, or Upper Comet (unless you are in crazy good shape).
    -The lowers are fun and if they aren't too muddy you should check them out. Try this lowers route: Songbird to Arrowhead to Rock and Roll to Schoolhouse to Little Bell to Enchanted Forest, up Tuckaway to 4 Gorges Ext to 4 Gorges and you are back at the lot.

  6. #6
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    Awesome!! Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Emeritus View Post
    Here's a decent map:
    https://www.playroanoke.com/wp-conte...s-Cove-Map.pdf

    Go to the Cove on a nice day and you will have a blast. I'm not sure how many miles you want to put in or how much elevation you want to do, which greatly influences any ride suggestions at the Cove.

    A few directions things and other info:
    -Park at the Bennett Springs parking lot. I think it is 2 or 3 bucks for parking (money box by sign).
    -Carvins Cove is effectively split into the "uppers" and "lowers." Expect 1000-footish climbs to reach the uppers, and descents that match. The trick with the Cove is that you typically go up one side of the mountain and end up on the other side of the mountain. You either go back up the mountain, or take Lakeside Trail to the lowers.
    -Gauntlet is a must do downhill. Take Hi-Dee-Ho or Buck up the mountain. Gauntlet has 2 options to start, "Old Gauntlet" which has bike-park style jumps or just the main Gauntlet entrance, which is across from where Hi-Dee-Ho comes out.
    -From Gauntlet, either use Trough to go back up the mountain or hit Lakeside and make your way over to Kerncliff and then down upper Comet (steep rooty) or Tuckaway (smooth fast). If you go back up the mountain, you have lots of options.
    -If exploring, don't try to climb Hemlock Tunnel, Jacobs Drop, or Upper Comet (unless you are in crazy good shape).
    -The lowers are fun and if they aren't too muddy you should check them out. Try this lowers route: Songbird to Arrowhead to Rock and Roll to Schoolhouse to Little Bell to Enchanted Forest, up Tuckaway to 4 Gorges Ext to 4 Gorges and you are back at the lot.

  7. #7
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    Where is the "Rock and Roll" Flow trail I keep hearing about?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbfutrell View Post
    Where is the "Rock and Roll" Flow trail I keep hearing about?
    Off happy valley just past the second entrance from Arrowhead coming from Bennet Springs. It's not marked yet other than the construction sign. If you pull up strava's route builder it's marked on there.

  9. #9
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    Is there a preferred up/down trail for Dragons back ?

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    Other than Carvin's Cove what's another challenging, cool trail system in the area while heading back to Harrisburg, PA area? We'll have a total of 5 days riding time.. We've ridden Stokesville before(super fun) and might stop there for a day but we might want to check out something different. thanks

  11. #11
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    Douthat state park. Is "on the way" back North from Roanoke. Riding the whole place in a day is a REALLY big day, but two days makes for solid but manageable days. There is also more national Forest land with trails outside of the park. Cabins and tent camping are available in the park.

  12. #12
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    Thanks,

    Yes, briefly looked at this place.. Any maps available, must ride trails, best flow directions, and best trailhead parking to give you best chance of hitting the good stuff?

  13. #13
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    You'll be passing just by both Massanutten and Bryce bike parks if you are into lift access on the way home. Stating the obvious, but dont want to assume you knew.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruitr1 View Post
    Thanks,

    Yes, briefly looked at this place.. Any maps available, must ride trails, best flow directions, and best trailhead parking to give you best chance of hitting the good stuff?
    Long winded response coming....

    http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-pa...de-douthat.pdf

    They will give you a paper map if you ask when you check into the park (it's a couple bucks per car per day if not camping.
    MTB project has most (if not all) of the trails mapped. There is an "IMBA epic" that would give you most of the "must do" trails in the park in the preferred direction.
    I would suggest dividing the park in half and doing it over 2 days. Day one I would do the stuff on the west side of the lake. Something like this:
    day1: From below the dam. Blue suck falls to locust gap, to stony run, to tuscarora overlook (short out & back) continue on stony run to middle mountain ridge trail headed north. Once on the ridge, you have a few options:
    a) right on salt stump, right on pine tree (easy to miss), left on middle hollow, right on huffs, left on blue suck back to the start (this makes an about 11 mile 2200 ft climbing loop).
    b) right on salt stump & take it all the way to the bottom. This will drop you at the upper end of the lake. Take the road or trails back to the start. Similar distance/climbing
    c) Continue on the ridge of middle mountain all the way to the end (out of the park). It is a GREAT ridge ride and wraps up with some super sketchy switchbacks as it comes off the mountain. Once you hit the gravel rd you can turn right and follow the rd all the way back into the park and the start OR you can turn left and take about 5 miles of gravel back to sandy gap trail. HAB back up to the top of Middle mountain (where stoney run dumped you out earlier) and ride the ridge back to salt stump and down to the start. 20ish miles 3500ish ft loop.
    If you are into super tech, you might consider coming down blue suck falls trail from the top. I've never seen anyone ride the stuff immediately down from the falls, but I'm sure some folks do.

    On the other side of the park, the whole point is to come down Brushy Hollow. One way is to climb Ross camp then choose mountain side or mountain top. I will say that Ross camp to mountain top is a pretty soul crushing climb. Mountain side is a cool trail with pretty good views. There are other ways to get up there including Buck hollow and Beards gap.
    Last edited by notso; 06-26-2018 at 07:13 AM. Reason: add something else.

  15. #15
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    Awesome guys!! Thank you

  16. #16
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    Fantastic information here. My wife and I are heading down there to ride and camp with the RV at the end of July and this helped firm up some of my ride choices.

    Thanks for taking the time to type things out.
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  17. #17
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    Pandapas Pond in Blacksburg is quite challenging.

    This is actually called the 'Challenging loop'

    Cutand paste from here
    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/382...allenging-loop

    Starting at the map kiosk from the main parking lot at Pandapas Pond, head to the left to pick up Horsenettle. You'll ride for about half-a-mile on doubletrack before making a sharp left onto the trail. The climbing starts immediately There are a few places on the way up to do a brief rolling recovery, but it's pretty much a solid 2-mile climb up. You're about half way when you make a right onto the fireroad portion of the trail.

    The fire road has 3 false summits where you think you've reached the top, only to see a short descent followed by another climb. You're just about at the top when you pass the communication tower on your left. Salvation can be found at the circle which marks the end of the climb and gets you back into singletrack. The singletrack is a short, fast section that will take you a very short and fast section of fire road to the top of Jacobs Ladder - It's real easy to blow past the entrance of the trail, so look for it right after the small mogul in the road (you can catch air on the mogul if you're going fast enough).

    Jacobs Ladder has 2 tight switchbacks at the top and one lazy one. After this, it's pretty much a straight shot down the hill. The top section has a good amount of loose rocks to navigate. The middle section levels out a bit and you have to shoot a gap between 2 small trees so watch out if you have ultrawide bars. The bottom half gets a bit hairy with erosion channels creating 2 rooty drops. If you're not ready for these drops you'll crash hard so either plan to drop them or dismount - You won't be able to simply roll them. At the bottom of Jacobs Ladder you'll cross the creek and make a right onto the Poverty Creek Trail.

    This section of Poverty Creek is pretty fast and flowy with one rooty section and one small rock garden. Take the trail down a bit and pick up Royale, which will be a hard left.

    Royale will be a steady climb which starts smooth and ends rocky. Royale will dump you out at a Forest Service Road 708, where you'll go directly across to access Prickly Pear. A very short distance down the Pear, the trail will turn to the right and you'll see a large flat rock on an uphill that you have to hop up on to (totally fun and doable). From this point on, it's rocks, rocks, and more rocks through Pear, Skullcap, and Trillium, though things mellow out *a bit* for the second half of Skullcap and into Trillium. There is a short, steep climb about half way down Prickly Pear, and another shortly after getting on Skullcap. While not long, they have max grades of 20%-25% so a good granny gear helps a lot! At all trail junctions, stay right - from Prickly Pear, make a right where it hooks up with Skullcap, from Skullcap, make a right where it hooks up with Trillium.

    At the end of Trillium, hang a left on to the Poverty Creek Trail, cross the road, and take Poverty all the way back to the parking lot. Poverty Creek likes to keep mudholes around for a good while after a rain. And the closer you get to the parking area and Pandapas Pond, the more likely it is that you'll encounter other trail users. Poverty Creek finishes up with a short but steepish and rocky climb up to the park entrance. You'll see the main parking lot where you started directly across the road.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHogan View Post
    Pandapas Pond in Blacksburg is quite challenging.

    This is actually called the 'Challenging loop'

    Cutand paste from here
    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/382...allenging-loop

    Starting at the map kiosk from the main parking lot at Pandapas Pond, head to the left to pick up Horsenettle. You'll ride for about half-a-mile on doubletrack before making a sharp left onto the trail. The climbing starts immediately There are a few places on the way up to do a brief rolling recovery, but it's pretty much a solid 2-mile climb up. You're about half way when you make a right onto the fireroad portion of the trail.

    The fire road has 3 false summits where you think you've reached the top, only to see a short descent followed by another climb. You're just about at the top when you pass the communication tower on your left. Salvation can be found at the circle which marks the end of the climb and gets you back into singletrack. The singletrack is a short, fast section that will take you a very short and fast section of fire road to the top of Jacobs Ladder - It's real easy to blow past the entrance of the trail, so look for it right after the small mogul in the road (you can catch air on the mogul if you're going fast enough).

    Jacobs Ladder has 2 tight switchbacks at the top and one lazy one. After this, it's pretty much a straight shot down the hill. The top section has a good amount of loose rocks to navigate. The middle section levels out a bit and you have to shoot a gap between 2 small trees so watch out if you have ultrawide bars. The bottom half gets a bit hairy with erosion channels creating 2 rooty drops. If you're not ready for these drops you'll crash hard so either plan to drop them or dismount - You won't be able to simply roll them. At the bottom of Jacobs Ladder you'll cross the creek and make a right onto the Poverty Creek Trail.

    This section of Poverty Creek is pretty fast and flowy with one rooty section and one small rock garden. Take the trail down a bit and pick up Royale, which will be a hard left.

    Royale will be a steady climb which starts smooth and ends rocky. Royale will dump you out at a Forest Service Road 708, where you'll go directly across to access Prickly Pear. A very short distance down the Pear, the trail will turn to the right and you'll see a large flat rock on an uphill that you have to hop up on to (totally fun and doable). From this point on, it's rocks, rocks, and more rocks through Pear, Skullcap, and Trillium, though things mellow out *a bit* for the second half of Skullcap and into Trillium. There is a short, steep climb about half way down Prickly Pear, and another shortly after getting on Skullcap. While not long, they have max grades of 20%-25% so a good granny gear helps a lot! At all trail junctions, stay right - from Prickly Pear, make a right where it hooks up with Skullcap, from Skullcap, make a right where it hooks up with Trillium.

    At the end of Trillium, hang a left on to the Poverty Creek Trail, cross the road, and take Poverty all the way back to the parking lot. Poverty Creek likes to keep mudholes around for a good while after a rain. And the closer you get to the parking area and Pandapas Pond, the more likely it is that you'll encounter other trail users. Poverty Creek finishes up with a short but steepish and rocky climb up to the park entrance. You'll see the main parking lot where you started directly across the road.
    Is it a fun challenge !!??

  19. #19
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    Yes. Fun and technical. I almost ride Carvin's Cove exclusively because of my proximity and had an opportunity to ride Pandapas this past Saturday. Quite a change-up. A lot of technical rock sections uphill and down on the ride I suggested. After riding Pandapas, I would almost call everything at Carvins Cove flowy. Almost.

    Jay

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHogan View Post
    Yes. Fun and technical. I almost ride Carvin's Cove exclusively because of my proximity and had an opportunity to ride Pandapas this past Saturday. Quite a change-up. A lot of technical rock sections uphill and down on the ride I suggested. After riding Pandapas, I would almost call everything at Carvins Cove flowy. Almost.

    Jay
    Thanks Jay,
    Ill be in town at Va Tech for a class in a couple weeks...plan on riding every afternoon/evening.

  21. #21
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    In related not hijacking news......my wife and I will be down there for 4-5 days at the end of July and camping at a KOA out by Lynchburg and I am pulling together some rides that I think we would like to do and want to make sure I am thinking about this right.....


    Thinking if we are in the greater Roanoke area we need to hit the Mill Mountain set of trails and will try and follow the MTB Project "Full Pull".

    Carvin's Cove something like the "Upper Left Loop" and maybe combine that iwth another easier loop who knows.

    We also would like to hit Douthat and try and follow the "IMBA Epic" route.....

    I also ahve some notes on things like Mineshaft & Longdale Furnace or maybe Liberty Mountain in Lynchburg......


    Would love some suggestions.

    Wife and I are reasonably fit, ride multiple times per week, climb a bunch, lift serve bike park some, done Pisgah, Davis, Dupont etc.

    Thoughts?
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruitr1 View Post
    Thanks,

    Yes, briefly looked at this place.. Any maps available, must ride trails, best flow directions, and best trailhead parking to give you best chance of hitting the good stuff?
    Depending on your desired adventure level, there are a couple of rides in the Douthat area I love. North Mountain - Longdale and Dry Run - Fore Mountain. North mountain Longdale may be the most scenic ridgeline ride in the state. Dry Run - Fore Mountain has a massive climb, and fast very technical downhill.

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