Virginia has plenty of trail systems for mountain bikers eager to conquer new heights, but some of the most exciting and beautiful trails are found within Virginia’s State Parks. Mountain biking trails of every experience level wind through these four state parks, giving bikers the chance to get back to the pristine natural wilderness of Virginia while challenging themselves on miles of intense trails.
DOUTHAT STATE PARK—MILLBORO
Containing over 40 miles of singletrack mountain biking trails within the park boundaries, Douthat State Park in Virginia’s Western Highlands has some of the most outstanding scenic viewpoints in all of Virginia. The 22 biking trails ascend 3,500 feet up the mountainous landscape, and range from easy to difficult. Flat Run is the easiest of the trails, winding 2.5 miles through the park. There are nine moderate-level trails totaling about 15 miles, and 12 difficult trails totaling about 24 miles. Although one of the most difficult trails, the three-mile Blue Suck Falls Trails has one of the best payoffs, finishing with a stunning view of a waterfall. Continue further along the trail to the Tuscarora Overlook for another scenic view of the surrounding mountains.
POCAHONTAS STATE PARK—CHESTERFIELD
Pocahontas State Park has over 25 miles of mountain biking trails, including traditional singletrack trails, machine-built flow trails, and hand-cycle friendly trails. The trails are part of both the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the Richmond Regional Ride Center, providing easy to moderate level trails through the woodlands of Central Virginia (although a few of the moderate trails are more technical, leaning to difficult). Three main trail systems curve through the park. The Morgan Trail System contains three trail loops totaling about 9.4 miles, and is known for tight turns over rocky, root-filled tread. The Lakeview Trail System is made up of another 9.5 miles of trails, with a combination of rake and ride and hand-built sections. The Lakeview Trails contain moderately tight turns, rough tread, and continuously rolling terrain. The Swift Creek Trail System totals about seven miles, with four separate machine-cut trails designed for hand-cyclists ranging from beginner to professional level.
YORK RIVER STATE PARK—WILLIAMSBURG
If you’re looking for mountain biking trails in Coastal Virginia, head to York River State Park. There are 11 miles of singletrack mountain biking trails within the park, including five trails specifically for mountain biking and nine multi-use trails where mountain bikers are welcome permitting they yield to hikers or horseback riders. The mountain biking trails within York River State Park range from easy to difficult, with a variety of terrain and elevation changes through the hardwood forests. Start with an easier trail, like Black Bear Run, a short .38-mile trail through the woods and the fields. The moderate trails include 3.12-mile Bobcat Run Trail, John Blair Trail, a 12-mile double track ride, and Laurel Glen Trail, a 1.26-mile moderate trail lined with vast mountain laurel bushes. Advanced riders will enjoy Marl Ravine Trail, a six-mile narrow singletrack trail that follows steep ravines throughout.
HUNGRY MOTHER STATE PARK—MARION
Southwest Virginia’s Hungry Mother State Park contains more than 12 miles of singletrack mountain biking trails that range from easy to difficult. There is a short half-mile trail for beginners, five moderate trails totaling roughly ten miles, and four difficult trails adding another seven miles to the trail system. Parts of the trail follows the scenic Hungry Mother Lake, with other trails curving through the forests and colorful fields of rhododendron. Ride Molly’s Knob Trail for outstanding views of the park from the summit; on a clear day, you’ll even be able to see Mount Rogers.