Douthat State Park Winter Ride

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Douthat State Park Winter Ride

Viewing 7 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #76477

      Riding in western Virginia this time of year requires a little patience. Good riding days are few and far between. Had a little time off around Christmas and got a week of good weather. One of my favorite winter rides is on Beards Mountain in Douthat State Park.

      Did a solo ride and snapped a few point and click trailside pics along the way. This ride is pretty short – only showed about seven miles by the map. Like most rides at Douthat this one seems longer than what the map says. Nothing too technical at Douthat (except maybe Blue Suck Falls Trail). Trails are steep though. Park and trails were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the depression. Most are in pretty good shape, but kind of overgrown in places and some switchbacks are eroded.

      Douthat Lake Dam
      Image

      I like this ride in the winter because you get the afternoon sun on Beards Mountain. I cheated and rode up the road by lake and also up the road to the Guest Lodge. All of this can be done by trail, but short days made me want to get to the top quick. The Guest Lodge Road also lets you bypass the Ross Camp Trail which is so steep it is barely rideable (by me).

      Guest Lodge
      Image
      Image

      Unmarked Trail Junction.
      Image
      Best way is left so you don’t loose elevation. Either way will get you to Mountain Side Trail.
      Image
      Mountain Side is one of my favorite trails in the park. Loose Shale and scrubby trees. Some pretty good views for East Coast riding. Nice and sunny on the western exposures. Temperatures drop about 10 degrees when you ride back into a hollow with northern exposure. Rode this in shorts and a T-shirt but the hollows were cold and it always felt good to round the bend and get some more sunshine.
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image

      Mountain Side eventually runs into Brushy Hollow Trail. A mile or so of climbing gets you to the top.
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      The top at last.
      Image
      Someone leaned this rock against the tree and now the tree is growing around the rock. Pretty cool
      Image

      A fast fun downhill awaits.
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Image
      Some new trail work at the bottom.
      Image

      Too soon you get back to the creek and road back to the beginning.

      Swinging Bridge at the bottom
      Image
      Route
      Image

    • #76478

      Great pics! trails look like they are in pretty good shape. I rode Douthat only once more than a year ago and remember many rocky/overgrown sections that were not very fun. Glad someone else enjoyed it out there!

    • #76479

      Thanks CCR for the photo tour of Douthat. Awesome pics. I wish the
      weather would break a bit here so I could get out some more. I just hate
      riding in temps below 30 and it’s been there for quite some time over here.

      I’m getting cabin fever and wanting to get out and ride. Hope we can at
      least get over to Kennison before long and get that trail cleared. Maybe
      we’ll see ya when we do that. Take care for now and hope you get some
      more awesome miles in….

      ODN

    • #76480
      "Outdoornut" wrote

      Thanks CCR for the photo tour of Douthat. Awesome pics. I wish the
      weather would break a bit here so I could get out some more. I just hate
      riding in temps below 30 and it’s been there for quite some time over here.

      I’m getting cabin fever and wanting to get out and ride. Hope we can at
      least get over to Kennison before long and get that trail cleared. Maybe
      we’ll see ya when we do that. Take care for now and hope you get some
      more awesome miles in….

      ODN

      Thanks ODN. I have been riding most of the winter on and off. We have not had any snow or ice to mention of, but temps have been stuck in upper 30’s and low 40’s and windy since November. I ride, but I am always cold at the end of the ride. 50’s this Sunday though so may get a warmer ride in. Would love to Snowbird in Florida, but its not in the plan for now.

      We’ll have to do a saw out of Kennison Mountain trail this spring. I have a lot of graudations to go to in late spring, so think about a good date for that. Been riding Douthat a lot lately. Lots of new stuff going on there – some sections of the Alleghany Highlands Trail System have been finished and I expect a lot of the remaining trails will be finished this summer by Boy Scout troops. The state is also rebuilding most of the Douthat trails too.

    • #76481

      CCR, Glad to hear that you’ve been riding. I started riding again around the first of February. I only rode two rides in Dec and one in Jan. This month has been chilly but the bad thing is the thawing ground. I rode Carvins last Sunday and it was a mess. If I live closer I would have just not ridden at all. Saturday was the same way in Greensboro but not near as bad. And this weekend it just had to rain. I am itching everyday to ride and this weather is killen meeeee.

      On another note, there is going to be a trail work day at Douthat on March 28th. A group of us from the SVMBA are coming up with our trailor full of tools to lend a hand. We are planning a short night ride that evening and a Sunday ride before heading home. Maybe we can finally meet up and get a ride in together.

    • #76482

      Welcome back to 2 wheels AA.

      I rode Friday PM on Mill Mountain and the trails were in pretty good shape. We had 6-7 inches of snow yesterday and last night, but its supposed to be in the 70’s by the weekend, so it could be sloppy here for the next week or so. Oh well.

      I plan on being at Douthat for the work day, so maybe a ride Sunday. Reminds me – I was planning on posting the Work Day here too.

    • #76483

      Glad to be back CC. Yeah this weather is driving me crazy. I’m hoping to get some good riding in next week after things dry out a little. Its going to be a very messy weekend and I would not dream of trying to ride. So I am going to Rock Castle Gorge Trail a serious run/hike. I have never made it in under 3 hours and it want happen this time since its my first trip this year but I am on a mission and plan to break the 3 hr mark by May. My quickest time is 3 hr and 2 minutes. The last mile I could not make myself run at all. Its a brutal trail. Wish that I could take my bike on it sometime but the Parkway says no.

      At the moment we (SVMBA members) are planning on riding Sunday Morning before leaving for the day. Everyone will be welcomed to ride along or we will join what ever groups are wanting to ride that day. We will coordinate on Saturday. I will definately look you up on Saturday before trail work begins

    • #76484
      "aabiking" wrote

      Glad to be back CC. Yeah this weather is driving me crazy. I’m hoping to get some good riding in next week after things dry out a little. Its going to be a very messy weekend and I would not dream of trying to ride. So I am going to Rock Castle Gorge Trail a serious run/hike. I have never made it in under 3 hours and it want happen this time since its my first trip this year but I am on a mission and plan to break the 3 hr mark by May. My quickest time is 3 hr and 2 minutes. The last mile I could not make myself run at all. Its a brutal trail. Wish that I could take my bike on it sometime but the Parkway says no.

      At the moment we (SVMBA members) are planning on riding Sunday Morning before leaving for the day. Everyone will be welcomed to ride along or we will join what ever groups are wanting to ride that day. We will coordinate on Saturday. I will definately look you up on Saturday before trail work begins

      AA, hoping to ride the old railroad bed behind my house tomorrow. A few of my local trails hold up to the weather pretty good. We only had 4 inches at my house, Roanoke had about 7 – and it is rapidly disappearing. Still, I would bet Carvins Cove is a complete mess right now. Might even get the kayak out Sunday, s-posed to be 77 Saturday and Sunday.

      Are you a trail runner? I see more folks doing that these days. My girlfriend used to hike Rock Castle Gorge and speaks highly of the trail. She grew up in Meadows of Dan and Rocky Mount. I have never hiked it. Anyway, see you at Douthat – I have a silver Tacoma.

Viewing 7 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.