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Lookout Mountain Loop

Difficult
 4.4 (65) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This ride has a 3-mile singletrack descent with plenty of rock.


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Map Key

13.5

Miles

21.8

KM

50%

Singletrack

2,657' 810 m

High

1,592' 485 m

Low

1,612' 491 m

Up

1,618' 493 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

41%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Overview

This ride has a bit of everything including easy climbing, fast descents and technical rocky areas. It has one large rerouted section that is one of the highlights of the ride. There are some nice views on exposed ridgelines and a great overlook near the finish.

Need to Know

The ride uses a segment of the Oak Mountain Trail, a 25.6 mi loop. The OMT, designated a National Recreation Trail, traverses many of the ridgetops in the North River area.

There are plenty of accommodations nearby, but if camping, it's hard to beat the ride in/ride out option at Todd Lake Recreation Area which has showers and flush toilets. Campsites are first-come first served here though (no reservations).

Description

This ride starts at the trailhead for Wild Oak Trail on Forest Road 95. Ride west from there on the singletrack (next to the trail sign in) for about a half mile and until you reach the pavement (turn right) and continue for five miles when you get to the road leading to Todd Lake. You'll eventually start descending and reach the intersection with FR 95B. Ride past the campground on the left and look for the gated road on the left, Hankey Mountain Road - FSR 425. (5.5-mile mark)

At the top of the doubletrack (7.5-mile mark), there will be a well-marked intersection with the Wild Oak Trail. Go left. If you're looking for more mileage, you can take a right here and ride on the doubletrack to Hankey Mountain. This ride stays left, following the Wild Oak Trail - Lookout Mountain. From this intersection, the ride follows some old roads and a fairly wide corridor along the ridge for about 1.5 miles.

The next 1.5 miles have been rerouted to west side of the ridge (skirting Lookout Mountains main peak). Here, you'll ride through some very progressively-built trail that passes through small boulderfields and a lot of rock. When this merges back on the ridge of Lookout Mountain the experience changes again as you'll be on exposed ridgelines and eventually start a long descent.

The final descent off of Lookout drops about 800 feet in 3 miles and gets crazy fast in some sections. The trail gets into a plush forest as it gets closer to the North River. There are many technical sections here with some mossy slick rocks in places.

Don't miss the intersection for an overlook that forks left off of the main trail. This takes you to a cliffside with great views of the North River, Skidmore Fork, and Trimble Mountain.

At the bottom of the descent, you'll arrive at a suspension bridge that you can not ride across as it is quite narrow and after crossing the river go right onto the singletrack. Here you'll have just a short bit of trail to finish the ride.

In about 0.75 miles you cross the road onto the singletrack that you started with. Stay to the right - the parking lot is about a half mile downhill.

History & Background

Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) continues to make a huge impact on trails all over the Harrisonburg, VA region and particularly in the George Washington National Forest. Through SVBC's model partnership with the USFS, some amazing results have been produced. SVBC's work in the North River District of GWNF is ongoing, with the club maintaining even the remotest of trails. Also, monetary contributions secured through the RTP and other sources have funded projects a grand scale and optimized the riding experience.

Contacts

Shared By:

Paul Stahlschmidt with improvements by Rick Horas

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 65 votes

#173

Overall
  4.4 from 65 votes
5 Star
60%
4 Star
29%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
3%
Recommended Route Rankings

#5

in Virginia

#173

Overall
185 Views Last Month
25,866 Since Aug 6, 2013
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Photos

adventureseen.com video of Lookout Mountain Trail.
Dec 14, 2014 near Bridgew…, VA
Per the description, if you can time your ride to reach the overlook before sunset, you'll be greeted with a fantastic photo op!
Nov 2, 2020 near Bridgew…, VA
Optional lines on newly rerouted trail
Sep 19, 2013 near Bridgew…, VA
Braaaaaaaaaap!
May 19, 2014 near Bridgew…, VA
Lookout Mountain: drone style!
Aug 20, 2017 near Bridgew…, VA
Suspension Bridge over North River
Sep 19, 2013 near Bridgew…, VA

Weather


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Check-Ins

Mar 22, 2021
August Peterson
Jul 30, 2020
Kim Theodore
Jul 18, 2020
Chas Semon
May 23, 2020
Chas Semon
May 10, 2020
Chas Semon
Apr 6, 2020
Ian Nickel
Great conditions. Didn't see another person the whole ride
Mar 22, 2020
Chas Semon
Jul 27, 2019
O B
Nice uphill climb on the doubletrack, then some fast flowy downhill, then rocks for days. — 2h 15m