“Stellar backcountry riding in relatively unknown parts of West Virginia.”
— Leslie Kehmeier
Cheat Mountain is a relatively unknown riding area in West Virginia. The backcountry-style ride is characterized by things you might find in the pages of a Tolkien book: dense mixed forest covered in bright spongy mosses; trees growing over boulders and disappearing streams that run underground for miles. Youll feel as if youve entered another world.
The route covers a collection of trails that traverse the top of the mountain, descending and climbing from the Shavers Fork
River. Its a healthy dose of West Virginia riding and the iconic backcountry trails the state is known for.
Need to Know
Cheat Mountain is fairly remote, even for West Virginia standards. While the trails are well-signed, youre definitely out there. Self-sufficiency is mandatory.
Start the ride at a pullout between Stonecoal
and ride down to Whitcomb.
Whitcomb starts with a slight climb and then a rolling traverse across the top of Cheat Mountain through a mix of moss covered pine trees with no under-story and thick mixed forest. The descent begins gradually by dropping down through a narrow corridor of pine with some roots and spills into a steeper, more technical descent over big roots and rocks. The line can be hard to follow at times. In addition, youll certainly be distracted by the sound of water flowing beneath you. Its not imaginary and part of the other worldy experience on Cheat Mountain. The route exits into rhododendrons on Shavers Fork
. Bear right here.
The Shavers Fork
connection rolls through rhododendron corridor, crossing a road. If you're so inclined head left down to the river at the and enjoy the flat waters of the Shaver's Fork River. The trail continues up a steep and punchy climb to a rolling bench that eventually exits to FS 760.
Pedal the road past several campsites on your right. Look for the sign for Stonecoal
and turn right, going uphill. Ride around the gate and towards an opening in the tree canopy. Bear left here into an open flat area and aim for the back right corner where the trail starts. Settle in for a long pull up an old railroad grade. Youll be pedaling through dense canopy in a lush forest. After a few quick flat sections and more climbing, youll be back cresting the top of the mountain.
From here the trail rolls slightly up and down through big pines and some slabby boulders before a series of long, gradual runs of actual downhill. Minus a few clusters of roots, these sections are super fun and travel through narrow corridors of pines all the way back to the road.
Turn right at the end and cruise back to the beginning of the ride.