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A direct ride out of Douthat State Park to the Fore Mountain Trail.

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3,144' 958 m


1,272' 388 m


2,538' 774 m


2,542' 775 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (13°)

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A fast way to access the Middle Mountain and then head south into the George Washington National Forest via the Fore Mountain Trail. The climb up to Middle Mountain is steep, but all rideable. Once you are on top there is really good flat ridge riding. The Fore Mountain Trail is remote so it can be overgrown. Don't expect to see many folks on this section of the ride. There are a lot of switchbacks descending, and are generally covered in deep leaves during the fall months.

Need to Know

The Fore Mountain trailhead is hard to find off the Stony Run Trail, it is located near the intersection of the Middle Mountain Trail (Fore Mountain Trail on GW Map) and Stony Run Trail. Once you get off the Fore Mountain Trail you'll get onto the Mcgraw Gap Trail. There are several turns, but is it well marked. It is good to have the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Covington/Alleghany HIghlands(Map #788) and the Douthat Start Park Map:…


Starting from the Lakeside Campground at Douthat State Park you'll take Heron Run part way around the lake for a 1/4 mile to your next trail intersection. Here you'll take a right on the Middle Hollow Trail and begin the first section of the climb. Continue up the Middle Hollow Trail for about 1 mile, passing through to two trail intersections. You'll then come to a "T" intersection with the Pine Tree Trail, take a left at this intersection.

On the Pine Tree Trail you'll have a fun, short descent. After this downhill portion you'll climb for the next 1/2 mile to the intersection of the Blue Suck Falls Trail, take a right. You'll then begin the bulk of your climb to the Middle Mountain Trail (Fore Mountain Trail on the NG Map). This climb is steep with a lot of switchbacks.

About a 1/4 of the way up the Blue Suck Falls Trail you'll pass a side trail to the Blue Suck Falls Overlook, take a break and enjoy this view. Just before the top of the Blue Suck Falls Trail you'll pass the Tuscarora Overlook Trail, continue straight. There is one last pitch of climbing and then you'll intersect the Middle Mountain Trail.

Take a left on the Middle Mountain Trail (Fore Mountain Trail on the NG Map). This trail is fun Virginia ridge riding, smooth and usually in very good condition. You'll travel about 3/4 of a mile on this trail and then the trail will take a 90 degree left hand turn. Soon after this left hand turn (150 ft) look for the Fore Mountain Trail on your right. There is an old wood trailhead sign on your right (hard to see). If you begin a sustained downhill you'll know you've passed the trail intersection. The sign for the Fore Mountain Trail is not the newer style State Park signs you have seen up to this point on the ride, so be on the lookout for something different.

Follow the Fore Mountain Trail which is backcountry singletrack. This portion of the Fore Mountain Trail takes you out of Douthat State Park and into the George Washington National Forest. The National Forest trails are typically not as maintained as well as the Douthat trails.

The intial portion of the is trail is uphill and then you'll begin some very fun descending. The descent goes from gradual ridge singletrack to a very steep and loose trail. After this steep downhill there is a steep 300' pine needle covered climb. At the top of this climb you'll want to take a left (this is not marked, but the straight option is usually blocked).

This next descent has a number of switchbacks leading into some really fun twisty singletrack. This portion of the downhill goes on for a while so enjoy! There is a lefthand turn which is not marked but the straight option is usually block (see photo of orange jacket rider).

You'll eventually pop out on the doubletrack trail taking a left on the McGraw Horse Loop. This portion of the ride is old fire roads which are not open to vehicles. The next several miles are not singletrack, but still fun riding.

The McGraw Horse Loop will drop you down to a gate where you'll take a left and immediately go through another gate and follow the trails for Douthat State Park (you can bail out to State Road #629 by taking a right at this first gate). This section of the ride will include several short climbs before turning into singletrack as you re-enter Douthtat Sate Park.

At your next intersection take a right on the Stony Run Trail. This final descent is fast, be careful because there are many more trail users in this portion of the Park. You'll eventually come to an intersection with the Locust Gap Trail, continue straight on the Stony Run Trail (you can take left if you want additional to do additional singletrack in the park or back to the start of ride).

You'll drop you down to State Road Route 629, the main road in Douthat State Park. Take a left on the pavement and enjoy the final 2 miles back to the start of the ride.


Shared By:

Shenandoah Bicycle

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  3.5 from 2 votes
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in Virginia


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1,968 Since Nov 25, 2014
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A few creek crossing on a hot day are certainly welcome.  Stony Run trail.
Jun 5, 2013 near Clifton…, VA
Climbing up the Middle Hollow Trail to the intersetion of the Pine Tree Trail
Nov 25, 2014 near Clifton…, VA
The view from the Stony Run Trail looking back to the Short Cut trail to the Magraw Horse Loop
Nov 25, 2014 near Clifton…, VA
Intersection of Middle Mountain and Sandy Gap Trail. Continue straight at this point on Middle Mountain Trail. Do not go Sandy Gap Trail
Dec 6, 2014 near Clifton…, VA
The intersection of Blue Suck Falls Trail, head up hill and begin the next climb
Nov 25, 2014 near Clifton…, VA
Take left at this turn. Does not show up as an intersection on map.
Dec 3, 2014 near Clifton…, VA



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Sep 10, 2016
Tom Lowum

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