Trails near (but outside) Douthat- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Trails near (but outside) Douthat

    So a group of us have had the main Douthat lodge reserved for this weekend for a year. Just got word that due to a bear attack, all trails in the park are closed "until further notice" (IE until the bear is caught). The park says that we can cancel as late as Friday mid day and get our money back, but we'd (I'd) still really like to go if we can find suitable riding for everyone in close proximity to the park. It's a pretty diverse group from intermediate to beginner riders.

    Looking at the Nat-Geo trails map, it looks like there is some stuff in the area. I'm just curious what folks can tell me about the trails outside the park. I've ridden most of the trails inside the park, so direct comparisons would be great.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    I am the owl
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    The park is surrounded by the GWNF. Lots of trails but will they will be less groomed, more of a raw, back country feel. Great stuff.

    I can't recommend a specific loop, as I usually am starting on the Douthat trails inside the park when I link up with the outside trails. The National Geographic maps are a good starting point. Look on MTB Project for the Clifton Forge area. I've done Fore Mountain, Brushy Ridge (Awesome but you need to access from Douthat), Little Mare. I wouldn't call any of it for beginners though. There is also a loop south of Douthat, but I haven't done it.

    Also google Stokesville-Douthat-Stokesville ride, an annual out and back ride. Some of the best riding on that route is just outside of Douthat proper IMO.

    Have your beginner riders ridden Douthat before? While most of it isn't tech, any decent loop has lots of climbing for beginners. Stuff outside the park will as well.

    Hopefully they catch the bear and you can tap into the full range of goods.

    If you need to relocate your destination, depending on where you are coming from, options could be: Davis, WV - Stokesville, VA - Fort Valley, VA
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  3. #3
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    There's also great riding in GWNF near Harrisonburg. I'm only guessing it's probably close to 2 hours drive away.
    LOVE THE RIDE!

  4. #4
    CrgCrkRyder
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    I am guessing Middle Mountain trail is unaffected by the ban as it is mostly in National Forest. Middle Mountain trail runs into Fore Mountain trail which runs all the way to Covington. There is a bailout about half way, you could do a loop from McGraw Gap at the southern end of the park. You could also do a loop from McGraw Gap to McGraw Horse trail which loops back around to Douthat Road, which would be your most beginner friendly loop. Most of that country really is not beginner friendly.

    The Longdale - North Mountain loop is excellent also, it is right off of I-64 a few miles east. It is intermediate (at least) in difficulty.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input. The group is coming from Charlottesville/staunton so the intermediates in the group are familiar with at least some of the GW stuff (Stokesville, Southern Traverse, etc). Truthfully, there are only a few trails in the park proper that will be suitable for the real beginners of the group. According to the Nat Geo map, there is at least one trail to the north that is rated as "easy", but that's a hiking rating. There is also a rail trail from Covington to Lake Moomaw that we will likely hit up. While we always start with big "epic ride" plans, this trip is at least as much about hanging out with friends/family, so we'll make it work.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    I am guessing Middle Mountain trail is unaffected by the ban as it is mostly in National Forest. Middle Mountain trail runs into Fore Mountain trail which runs all the way to Covington. There is a bailout about half way, you could do a loop from McGraw Gap at the southern end of the park. You could also do a loop from McGraw Gap to McGraw Horse trail which loops back around to Douthat Road, which would be your most beginner friendly loop. Most of that country really is not beginner friendly.

    The Longdale - North Mountain loop is excellent also, it is right off of I-64 a few miles east. It is intermediate (at least) in difficulty.
    Thanks. Since the Bear attack was "near Tuscora overlook" I'm guessing that they would really like to keep folks off of MM trail. The chances of me getting my wife to the top of that mountain are slim-to-none anyway. Before the closure, I was hoping to split our group with some riding the mid level trails on that side of the park (laural view-Locust gap), and the rest doing Stoney run- MM-Salt stump (or that one that leads out of the park north) on the 1st day, then having the beginners do the trail that parallels the road while the rest of us went for mountain top to brushy hollow on the other side the 2nd day.

  7. #7
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by notso View Post
    Thanks for the input. The group is coming from Charlottesville/staunton so the intermediates in the group are familiar with at least some of the GW stuff (Stokesville, Southern Traverse, etc). Truthfully, there are only a few trails in the park proper that will be suitable for the real beginners of the group. According to the Nat Geo map, there is at least one trail to the north that is rated as "easy", but that's a hiking rating. There is also a rail trail from Covington to Lake Moomaw that we will likely hit up. While we always start with big "epic ride" plans, this trip is at least as much about hanging out with friends/family, so we'll make it work.
    If you stop by Jack Mason's Tavern (highly recommended) see if Mike is working. He knows all the trails in the area so you could hit him up for some beta.Jack Mason's Tavern | Euro-style pub in Clifton Forge, VA

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    If you stop by Jack Mason's Tavern (highly recommended) see if Mike is working. He knows all the trails in the area so you could hit him up for some beta.Jack Mason's Tavern | Euro-style pub in Clifton Forge, VA
    Cool deal. We were talking about heading there tonight to watch the football game anyway.

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