Mountain Bike! Virginia
by Randy Porter (Menasha Ridge Press)
© Randy Porter/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
What an adventure! This trail is not for the casual rider. It involves some tough physical and mental challenges.
This was my first foray into the Virginia mountains and the climbs were a good challenge. I also saw a lot of wildlife including deer and turkeys (and no cars). The Wallace Tract hiking trail is very overgrown and thickly covered with fallen leaves making the decent a bit nerve wracking since it's almost impossible to see objects on the trail like logs, rocks, and critters. The bushwacking between the end of the single track and the footbridge across the Cowpasture River was an even bigger ordeal. The so-called cultivated farmland is no longer being cultivated and the growth was 3 or 4 feet high. There were no visible trails across the field and there was no way to see the footbridge. It turns out that the footbridge is well left (south) of the trail end. I opted for taking the shortest distance to the river and had to slug through some very thick growth and then I had to wade through the river (carrying my bike) for about a 1/2 mile before I reached the bridge. A real workout!
There is one significant inaccuracy in the information in "Mountainbike Virginia". The campground in the Bullpasture Gorge area is now closed to camping. Fortunately, there is a campground along the Cowpasture a mile or so south of the fish hatchery. Follow VA 678 to forest service road FS 282 (which is the road that leads to the footbridge across the river). There is a sign on FS 282 that indicates the river is 1 mile away. There are several camp sites along the road.
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