Mountain Biking Virginia
by Scott Adams (Falcon Guides)
© Scott Adams/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
My 14 year old son and I did this for the first time in 2008. It was a lung buster then but it is an awesome ride. We did better this time as we were more experienced. It was almost all ridable for us up to the switchbacks. There were a couple of creeks we tried to cross and one or both of us had a problem (wipe-out), but overall it was a good ride up. The switchbacks are a killer and we admit to pushing more than riding. Once you top out, it is great. The ride down the Parkway was sweet, but the White Rock Gap Trail down to the lake is really a blast. The time was off for us as well. I think it took us around four hours plus. Make sure you have plenty of water and tubes.
We started at the Mt. Torry Furnace and made a loop around the Lake. It was a nice hike with a lot of elevation changes. Had some nice views along the way, too.
Ian, I think you are absolutely right. This trail is not for beginners. I too found myself at the top of the very long climb with 8 switchbacks in less than a mile. I believe it was close to 1000 feet of vertical climb. An amazing view at the top, but it took us much longer than the 2.5 hours that was predicted. Maybe taking the trail in reverse might have been a better idea as it would have been mostly downhill with the more difficult parts in the beginning.
This trail was much more of a challenge than let on in the description. It took us about 4 hours to reach the 6 mile mark at the top of the steep climb. What is not indicated before is the fact that for the first five mile the terrain is very rocky - almost like a dried up river bed. You have to cross the stream 4 or 5 times. Most crossings are easy but prepare to get wet. Are timing was way off and we happened to make it to the top of the hill right at 4:30 when the temperature dropped big time. I would not recommend this trail to novice bikers. Other than that the scenery is fantastic and the trail is a whole lot of fun.
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