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Roanoke has transformed itself into a true East Coast mountain bike destination. The city is surrounded by great trails, including Carvin’s Cove, Dragon’s Back, Liberty Mountain, and many more.

So if you want to plan a trip to mountain bike Roanoke here’s what you need to know.

Lodging

While there are plenty of hotels in the city of Roanoke, if you want something a little more rustic and affordable, try checking out the cabins at Wilderness Adventure just outside of New Castle. If you and a group of your buddies are planning a trip, this is a great place to use as your base of operations!

Wilderness Adventure's main lodge. Photo: Wilderness Adventure.

Lodge main room. Photo: Wilderness Adventure.

Wilderness Adventure has cabins available to rent for groups as small as just a few people all the way up to 50 or more. If you have a large enough group and/or there are other groups on camp, you have the option to pay for meals from Wilderness Adventure’s professionally staffed kitchen which is one less detail you’ll have to worry about.

This past fall during our Roanoke trip, my wife and I stayed in the Sneaky cabin:

It was plenty big for the two of us, and would be great for a large family or a group of 7-8 guys. It did only have a kitchenette (and a grill outside), so if you’re going to be doing some serious cooking, check and see if you can get meals from the kitchen.

Gas fire and kitchenette. Photo: Wilderness Adventure.

Wilderness Adventure has a couple miles of trails on camp, but it’s just a short drive away from Dragon’s Back, not too much farther from Carvin’s Cove, and there is an old trail system even closer to camp that is currently being revitalized and reopened. Singletracks’ own CraigCreekRider and Dan Lucas of Wilderness Adventure are both involved in that project.

View of the Blue Ridge mountains from Wilderness Adventure. Photo: Wilderness Adventure.

If you’re interested in staying at Wilderness Adventure, you can rent the Sneaky Cabin for a flat rate of $130 a night. Rates for the Sly Lodge range from $25-40 per person, per night, depending on the number of guests. The Main Lodge ranges from $20-40 per person. In addition to mountain biking, there’s also swimming, fishing, and canoeing in the pond plus sand volleyball, horseshoes, and a Frisbee golf course.

Bike Shops

If your bike breaks down and you need some assistance, one of the closest bike shops to Carvin’s Cove is Just the Right Gear. They are an official dealer for over a dozen of the best mountain bike brands, and have been in business for many years.

If you’re closer to town (or staying in town) and need some assistance, be sure to check out the newly opened UnderDog Bikes. Located right on the greenway, this is a great location to rent a cruiser and go for a pedal into the heart of downtown, but their main passion is definitely mountain bikes. I took in one of my rigs that was having issues and had Chris look at it, and while it was a a warranty issue and the derailleur needed to be replaced, he was great to help me out.

Chris taking a look at the Foundry Broadaxe.

While I read on their website that Underdog Bikes will be moving their location to the base of Mill Mountain (still convenient to downtown), their previous location was pretty cool. Underdog Bikes shared a building with Underdog Salvage, a salvage company that is actually featured in a cable TV show. You can see a lot of cool stuff just by peeking through the gate in the back of their shop:

Thankfully, the move was inspired by growth: Underdog has been doing great business! Also, the location at Mill Mountain will be super convenient for mountain bikers, as there’s about 8 miles of singletrack on the mountain.

Zombie, the chillest shop dog you'll ever meet.

Eats

Image from roadfood.com

There are plenty of great local places to grab a beer and a bite to eat in Roanoke, but one we tried ourselves and can vouch for is the Fork in the Alley. Literally located in an alley, this is a great local haunt that serves a variety of excellent food… but I can personally vouch for the delicious burger and fries! They also have a killer draft beer selection, including plenty of local brews from just down the street in Roanoke and from other towns in Appalachia. If it’s closer to where you’re staying, be sure to check out their sister restaurant, Fork in the City.

The only unfortunate thing about staying at Wilderness Adventure is there isn’t much in the town of New Castle: an IGA, Subway, gas station, and maybe a diner or two. To get to the great dining in Roanoke, you’re looking at about a 50 minute drive into downtown. Of course, if you’re paying for meals from the camp, you don’t need to deal with the headache of traffic and can just enjoy the peaceful solitude of the woods!

With these few tips, hopefully your next mountain bike trip to Roanoke will be off to a smooth start!

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# Comments

    • mtbgreg1

      Yeah, it was gorgeous! Many of the leaves were already off the trees in late November… I can only imagine what October would look like!

  • CraigCreekRider

    It all looks kinda familiar for some reason. Fork in the Alley is our Monday night post Mill Mountain ride stop. We roll off the trail a few blocks away and partake of lies and suds. Anyone passing through is welcome to join us, but we don’t start til 5:45 PM. Will plug East Coasters bike shop (Trek and Salsa) as well as JTRG for higher end bikes.

    For those who want to stay in town, Colony House Motor Lodge gets a lot of good press from locals who have to use a motel for whatever reason. Clean inexpensive and pretty close to everything. Old school, with its own front door – what I always look for if I travel with my bike.

    We just finished putting up signs Saturday on the Price Mountain trails. We still have some marking to do and hopefully will have that done in the next few weeks. After that we will finish cleaning the other side of the valley on Patterson Mountain. Some of these trails are probably 10 minute drive from Wilderness Adventure’s very nice lodge set-up. There is a trail work – ride weekend in the works so stay tuned if you are interested in checking out some new – old trails. Old school CCC trails (i.e. steep) with no shortage of hike a bike.
    Nice job on the write-up Greg, now put down the books and go riding!

    • mtbgreg1

      Thanks for the additional information CCR! It’s always nice to get a local’s take 🙂

    • Lincoln Humphry

      Are you guys still doing Monday night post-work, Mill Mtn rides?

  • Stl_Greaser

    Looks like a very cool place to stay and ride. I will be adding this to a vacation destination soon!

  • MrRodgers82

    Great write-up. I’d like to add one great place to eat, though! Its a newly-opened sister restaurant of one of my favorite bars from my college town.

    Jack Brown’s – Great beer list and a menu of food you can only afford to eat after biking up the face of one of the nearby mountains (Greg Brady – burger w/ mac-n-cheese and martins potato chips; Elvis – burger w/ peanut butter, mayo, smoked bacon, and cheese; fried oreos…)

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