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Level: Intermediate
Length: 20 mi (32.2 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +380/ -357 ft
Total: 10 riders

Mountain Biking Charles Fork Lake

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#38 of 109 mountain bike trails in West Virginia
#3,953 in the world

Begin in the parking area overlooking the lake. Ride toward the boat ramp from the parking area, turn right up a steep double track and follow for about 2/10th mile up the hill. You will see Lake Trail go to the left about 3/4 the way up the hill. Take Lake Trail to the left, in about 3/4 mile you will pass Jungle Pass on your right, stay straight on Lake Trail. In a few miles you will pass an old cemetary on your left, the trail will go left in about 100 feet. Follow to the next intersection where the trail goes left downhill for 1/4 mile. When you come out in a bottom, stay left and cross an old broken up concrete bridge to the gravel road and go left again. Ride for about 1/4 mile and as you top a short climb watch on your right for Charlies Challege to climb up a steep bank and then start a grueling climb for another 1/4 mile. When you come to an intersection, Charlies Challenge goes to the right if you wish to use that route. However, I suggest going straight through onto Trevor's Trail. This trail will take you over "The Whale Tail" a fun section of trail. Follow past the first intersection staying straight (left) back onto Charlies Challenge till the 2nd intersection and go straight thru staying on Charlies Challenge. You will pass some big awesome rocks (Big Rocks) and you can play around on a couple that you can ride over. This trail gets awesome fast just before the end of it. Be carefull after about 1/4 to 1/2 mile of fast singletrack because a sharp left hand turn comes up quickly. It will be kinda steep down and then are hard right will dump you right out onto the dam. If you feel like you want more, after crossing the dam go back up the same climb from the parking lot, however this time you can keep climbing on the fire road or use Lake Trail. When you get all the way around the lake again, take Charlies Challenge to the right instead of Trevor's, then take Low Gap Trail and tie into (cross Charlies Challenge) at the next intersection and go onto Chadway (very fun, narrow trail) which comes out at that last sharp turn on Charlies at the dam.
Go to Charles Fork Lake - Spencer WV and get the map from their website. It will be useful in deciding your loops. There is also a WVMBA series race held here near the 3rd week of May every year so be careful when you schedule your trip. It is always best to ride here a couple weeks before the race or a couple week after since the briers and spider webs are very bad. Some fun obsticles here as well. Check out the tall bridge log crossing !

First added by Outdoornut on Feb 24, 2008. Last updated May 9, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Drive to Spencer, WV on U.S. Rt. 33, go south on Rt.119 for about 1 mile then turn left onto Rt.36. Go approx. 1.3 miles and watch for sign on the right. Turn right onto a narrow blacktop road which dead ends at Charles Fork Lake on top of the dam. There are a couple different loops around the lake itself. The one I will note here uses a few different trails and totals about 10 miles. You can then do another loop, on different trails around the lake for a total near 20 miles.
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Charles Fork Lake Trail map

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JSTU (on Mar 24, 2019)
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Good (on Mar 26, 2017)
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  • Cameron Litviak

    A great place to ride, its around 10 miles around the lake. Would be nice if more people helped with the trail maintenance.

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  • wvangler

    After falling to disrepair in recent years, the trails at CFL have been brought back to life by several of us locals!!! Since the description was authored, there are some additional trails. The low gap spur now also continues around the ridge to CC near the dam and then onto a new trail we call Boy Scout Trail. Also, at the back of the lake before you cut up CC there is a meadow on the right. If you go up this meadow and cross the creek at the crossing, there is a new trail that is slightly easier climb to Trevor's Trail. A guy named Steve Hill designed this trail initially and I reclaimed it, so I named the trail "Steve's Hill".

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  • Outdoornut

    Great news ! Was talking to Steve, the trail guru for Charles Fork, on March 1st and he advises he has made a switchback climb out of the parking lot up toward lake trail instead of having to ride that steep fire road climb. Sounds like this will be an awesome addition to the trails there. He did mention it will take him a while to get all the trees cleared from the trails as he is a one man show. I'll be contacting him and giving him at least a day of my time there to help get the trails back in shape for this year. I'll post more on Charles Fork later.

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