Southern Traverse - IMBA Epic

 15 votes

36.4 Miles 58.5 Kilometers

40%

Singletrack

3,946' 1,203 m

Ascent

-3,970' -1,210 m

Descent

3,487' 1,063 m

High

1,650' 503 m

Low

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Unknown

3,487' 1,063 m

High

1,650' 503 m

Low

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Big mountain singletrack on the east coast - 3,000 feet of climbing for courage and endurance.

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Overview

If you're going to tackle the Southern Traverse, the rigors of boot camp may be the best preparation. With 3,000 feet of climbing over 36 epic miles, this ride promises to test your courage and endurance. The backbone of the Southern Traverse is the south end of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail, an 11 mile singletrack ridge ride. Riding north to south is the best way to enjoy the sweetest of singletrack descents.

The Traverse is the southern most section of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail located in the George Washington National Forests Dry River and Deerfield Ranger Districts. The trail runs along the spine of the massive Shenandoah Mountain, a massive 90+ miles long. It serves as the border of Virginia and West Virginia for the northern most 60 miles of its ridge.

Need To Know

The ride is one that requires commitment once you get to the ridge of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail. The bailout option is at Jerkemtight Rd, about 14 miles into the ride. Jerkemtight is a USFS road that is steep and rough, a 5 mile connection to Route 629. This bailout is really only suitable for emergencies since you'll be missing 5 miles of sweet singletrack descent.

Local Services:
Shenandoah Mountain Touring offers tours and shuttle service for the trail.

The general store in Deerfield is a welcome stop for a refreshing beverage near the end of the ride.

Description

This Epic route starts with a 4 mile climb on Benson Run Rd (aka USFS Rd 173) out of Deerfield Valley. The fire road climb is a nice and steady grade that climbs 1,300 ft to a saddle where you'll pick up the Shenandoah Mountain Trail heading south (left). Continue climbing on the trail towards the summit of The Bump at 3634 feet. This section of singletrack has long straights that are tight, twisty and smooth with some super technical rock gardens scattered throughout.

The only intersection to worry about along the route is the Jerkemtight juncture. There are 2 different singletrack trails heading off the west side of the ridge and 3 jeep trails heading in different directions. Look for the 2 singletrack trails. The Shenandoah Mountain Trail is the one that heads more southerly. Marshall Draft trail is the one that drops straight down the western slope towards sugar tree road.

Continue on the Shenandoah Mountain Trail as it drops a bit to meet up with the ridge again. The route then skirts around North Sister Knob at an elevation of 3,292 feet and then coils up onto South Sister Knob at 3088. From here you'll begin a screaming 1,100 foot descent, some of the sweetest you've ever experienced. The trail ends at Scotchtown Draft - Route 627.

At this point you should take a break and try to stop smiling to keep your face from cramping.

Take a left on Route 627 and another left on Route 629 and enjoy about 10 miles of beautiful rolling country roads back to the trailhead.

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4.0 from 15 votes


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Check-Ins

Jan 2, 2016
Alex Bernard
36.4mi — 5h 09m
Aug 3, 2014
tom hilbert
May 18, 2014
Jonathan Yates
Major mechanical on buddies — 5h 05m
Apr 17, 2014
Chase Smythe
36.4mi — 6h 00m
Mar 15, 2014
Marc Genberg
Mar 15, 2014
Karen Talley Mead
36mi — 4h 55m
Aug 4, 2013
Brian Lusher
Probably could have been in better shape for this ride but it was an absolutely great "adventure mountainbiking" ride. 37mi — 6h 00m

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 15 votes

#315

Overall
  4.0 from 15 votes
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#10

in Virginia

#315

Overall
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7,795 Since Mar 9, 2013
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