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