Southern Traverse - IMBA EPIC
ElevationAscent: 3,946' 1,203 m
Descent: -3,970' -1,210 m
High: 3,487' 1,063 m
Low: 1,650' 503 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)
Popular rides nearby
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18.0 mi 29.0 km • Point to Point • 2,753 ft Ascent 839.1 m Ascent
Montgomery Hall Park trails
4.1 mi 6.7 km • Loop • 471 ft Ascent 143.49 m Ascent
Lookout Mountain from Stokesville
8.8 mi 14.2 km • Loop • 1,398 ft Ascent 426.26 m Ascent
Big Hollow Heartbreak Hotlap
6.3 mi 10.1 km • Loop • 1,427 ft Ascent 434.84 m Ascent
Brushy Hollow, Stony Run & Fore Mountain North
19.1 mi 30.7 km • Loop • 2,771 ft Ascent 844.59 m Ascent
Longdale Furnace North Mountain Loop
11.8 mi 19.0 km • Loop • 1,827 ft Ascent 556.95 m Ascent
“Big mountain singletrack on the east coast - 3,000 feet of climbing for courage and endurance.”— Leslie Kehmeier
Electric Mountain Bikes Not Allowed
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
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.
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.
Note that as of summer 2018, there is little maintenance evident on this trail. Riding the trail during the growing season, or at least the summer months is probably a mistake for most. Be prepared to encounter large swaths of nettles, thorns, and bull thistles...with heights exceeding 6 feet and completely obscuring the trail. Lots of nettles along the rock slides as well, and there are a lot of rock slides especially on the western sides. You also won't have cell phone coverage except up on the ridges and oddly T-Mobile had the best coverage.
Local Club: Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition
Apr 24, 2020: Trail Work During a Pandemic?
Apr 8, 2020: 2020 Elections Board of Directors SVBCoalition
Land Manager: USFS - George Washington & Jefferson National Forests