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Level: Advanced
Length: 12 mi (19.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +612/ -603 ft
Total: 31 riders

Mountain Biking Dody Ridge

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#20 of 291 mountain bike trails in Virginia
#640 in the world

Yes, Roanoke, there are many alternatives to Carvin's Cove, which obviously ain't bad itself.

This little jewel cooks up a killer 2.8 mile 1500' climb to warm up, a mellow Blue Ridge Parkway portage, a fun, pedal-assist downhill, and finishes off with some mean rock stew that just keeps getting rougher and tougher by the day.

Take 460 east from Roanoke towards Montvale. Just before Montvale, spot Camp Jaycee Rd on the left. Signs say Day Creek Recreation. Take it. Go 1/2 mile to left on dirt to Day Creek parking area. Exit parking to the gated road, which is the start of the Black Horse Gap fire road climb. If the road you take is basically flat, it's the wrong one (you'll return on that). Climb like hell, the first mile being unkempt gravel. The second gate introduces dirt. Think Carvin's Cove's 1000' climb, only at 10% rather than 5%. You'll pass a historical area where once sat the Black Horse Tavern. This was the main route from to West Virginia, later on becoming VA 606 that heads to Sweet Springs, WV.

You'll finally grunt through a gate at the parkway, which is always welcomed after this beast. Go left, or south, on the Parkway, eventually passing the Great Valley Overlook. Stop there and take in views of Dragon's Back, Bald Mountain, Potts Mountain, and other great mountain bike locales to the west.

Proceed downhill south on the Parkway for a mile, reaching Salt Pond Rd., a fireroad gated on both sides. Take the left. Have fun, on the gas, dropping down a 3-5% grade for 1 1/2 miles. Go left on Quarry Rd. After about 1/2 mile, after passing the A-framed house on the right, you'll spot a steep, wide trail to the left. If you get to a powerline, you overshot. Take this steep, rocky, rutty beast.

Eventually, you'll get on top of ol' Dody on a neat, mini-slickrock ridge skimming across bolder scalps, slcing through sandstone cantaloupes and bocce balls. Technical zones keep your rotors warmed up, as does a Clownheadesque drop off that nasty rock.

Surviving that, you cross the headwaters of Day Creek in a nice wooded section that yields to more fun with rocks before you're completely done. If you happen to spot a fork in the trail, stay left. Right works, too, with a creek bed ride that's a hoot, but it's longer and better left. If you make it through the rolling stones, you'll be singing Gimme Shelter to get outta that place! Back on the dirt road, go left, downhill at 2% back to your vehicle.

If you want Dragon's Back training in a 2 hour packet closer to home, this is it. More fun from Day Creek to follow...

First added by n-man-726 on Sep 5, 2008. Last updated May 11, 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
Take 460 east from Roanoke towards Montvale. Just before Montvale, spot Camp Jaycee Rd on the left. Signs say Day Creek Recreation. Take it. Go 1/2 mile to left on dirt to Day Creek parking area.
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Paul Workman (on Jan 12, 2020)
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(on Jun 24, 2018)
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  • Chain of Fools Bicycles

    TOUGH. This trail will separate the men from the boys (and women from girls). Rocky, loose, chunky, and fast. Your brakes and tires WILL get a workout on the way down, and your legs will get it on the way up. Totally worth it, but not for the faint of heart.

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  • BestRidesDC   ✓ supporter

    This is an excellent ride. Spec Mines is one of the funnest downhills you'll ride, and great alternative to Carvin's when the trails are wet. bear in mind that the "alternate" route that is mentioned to access Dody is illegal. It's on NPS property. stick to the described route here...

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  • alexlipine

    Awesome ride.
    The initial climb is about the same as Carvins Cove 1000 foot climb, not sure if there is a significant difference in %. Apparently the fire road is one that was used ages ago to travel between VA and WV with horse and carriage. Then you get on the BRP mostly descending mesmerized by the beauty of the mountains (keep your eyes on the road). Salt Pond rd - just a fire rd, slow descend. Once you turn onto Quarry Rd, we were confused about where the trail starts and where the A framed house is. Proceed on Quarry Rd, you will see the power line parallel to the road on the right, the trail is rather difficult to make out, it will be on your left and as of yesterday there was a short sign sticking out of the ground with pink tape on it, it is overgrown but really fun. Plenty of rocks and fallen trees. Once you get to the top, the real fun begins. Rocks of all sizes on the trail, making it intermediate/advanced pretty much the rest of the way down. You will be on the mountain ridge having a blast for almost a mile until the trail descends.

    14.4 miles (according to the mileage tracker) of shear awesomeness and badassery

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  • mtberik

    Its an good trail but I think it is to short and way to rocky.

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  • CraigCreekRider

    The ride on top of Dody Ridge is one of the best in the area. I only wish the ridge-top section was longer. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks - some embedded, some loose. With the Parkway at the top there are many loop and double loop options other than the one described here. Best to hook up with a local though, since trail markings are few and far between.* Review edited 12/24/2010

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