This big ride features the Lookout Mountain Loop
+ Wolf Ridge
Loop + Narrowback Mountain Loop
VES is a series of FREE backcountry mountain biking events. The routes are an MTB dream come true: backcountry, ultra-mega, hand crafted, all day joy rides. VES events are self-supported and self-navigated, though people can ride and navigate together. Each route will be detailed and published here on mtbproject.com
and printable maps with cue sheets will be available on the VES website.
This epic route is easy to navigate using this FREE map and cue sheet: dropbox.com/s/79v2k4z9rlcsm…
The PDF is ideally printed on 11x17 paper and Staples will print you an 11x17 color copy for about $1.
This ride starts at the trailhead for Wild Oak Trail on Forest Road 95. Ride west from there and stay left (continuing on the pavement) when you get to the road leading to Todd Lake. Youll 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.
At the top of the doubletrack climb, youll be at a well-marked intersection with the Wild Oak Trail. Stay 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, youll 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 youll be on exposed ridgelines and eventually start a long descent.
The final descent off of Lookout drops about 800 feet in 3 miles and the trail gets into a plush forest as it gets closer to the North River.
Dont miss the intersection for an overlook that forks left off of the main trail. This takes you to a cliffside with great views.
At the bottom of the descent, youll arrive at a suspension bridge, and after crossing the river here youll have just a short bit of trail to finish the ride. Take a right on the pavement to the starting point.
After restocking, go east on FR 95 to Tillman Rd, then left / north past the base of Wolf Ridge
trail and continue to a T intersection. Turn left up Briery Rd for a gentle climb to the reservoir. After a short descent down Briery and crossing a bridge with guardrails on the side take a left onto a jeep road that leads to a small stream crossing and a private property sign that marked the beginning of the Lynn ascent.
The Lynn ascent climbs 1100 feet it gradually gets steeper and more rocky with the most technical rocks about half to three quarters the way up the climb. Each section of this climb is rideable by itself, but linking them all together is tough!
At the top of Lynn turn left and ride Wolf Ridge
back down to Tillman Rd..
Ride south on Tillman Rd. to Dog Graveyard - FSR 101B.
Dog Graveyard is a gated road that sits next to remnants of old pet cemetery. Go around the gate and continue climbing. Look for the gate on the right and continue up the two-track. The right turn on Narrowback Trail
comes up very fast (2.4 mi. into this ride) and is easy to miss. Turn here and climb a short distance to the Narrowback ridge. At the top of the hill youll be at a signed intersection with Festival Trail
and Tower Trail
. Turn left on Festival Trail
(432B) and continue along the rocky ridgeline.
After topping out the Narrowback Mountain summit, (2224 ft.) youll start a nice downhill and meet a sharp right hand berm that drops to the east side of the ridge. You'll pop out onto Narrowback Road, continue for 3 miles to the next intersection, right onto Narrowback Trail
again, the trail is short, but steep. Continue until you get to the ridge again, intersecting with the Festival Trail
, turn left, and follow Tower Trail
to the south. After about a mile youll intersect with Tillman West
- a two mile drop off the ridge that is one great DOWN. Near the bottom, cross Big Run Creek, and end at Tillman Rd.
Turn left on Tillman Rd, right onto FR95 to return to the Wild Oak Parking.
This route was crafted by Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) President Kyle Lawrence for the Virginia Endurance Series (VES) virginiaenduranceseries.com
The VES Mission = reveal and celebrate the very best backcountry mountain biking destinations in Virginia | offer FREE monthly ride events in these destinations, with volunteer ride leaders and various distance options (something for everyone) | GIVE riders the maps and information they need to explore these areas (www.mtbproject.com is a huge help with this) | help create, enhance and preserve Virginias great mountain biking experiences.