“A great extension of the Douthat Park riding with a bonus downhill into the GW National Forest”
— Shenandoah Bicycle
Open Year Around
This rides uses some of the more popular trails at Douthat State Park.
The Mountain Side Trail
has some of the finest views around. This trail is super thin so keep your tires on the mountain. The first big downhill on the Brushy Hollow
Trail has switchback after switchback. The bottom portion of the downhill has been redone a few years back and is very fast and fun.
The next climb up the Stony Run
Trail is very long, taking you to the top of Middle Mountain
. Near the top of the climb you'll come to the Tuscarora Overlook Trail
. The 1/2 detail to the overlook is worth the view, a great opportunity to soak in the scenery and take in some liquids and calories.
Need to Know
Make sure you don't drop down the two left trails off the Middle Mountain
Trail. Towards the end of your descent on the Fore Mountain Trail
there is a right hand turn on the a trail (Yellow blazed) which will take you back to the bottom half of the Salt Stump Trail
. This will remove the paved portion of the ride.
This is a great ride leaving from the cabin rental area in Douthat State Park. You'll take the paved road up to the Douthat Lodge. At the bottom of the driveway for the lodge you'll go straight into the trail and follow this to the Mountain Side Trail
. You are gaining some elevation but there is not much climbing at this point of the ride.
At that the end of the Mountain Side Trail
you'll take a right on the Brushy Ridge Trail
. The next 1/2 mile will consist mostly of climbing thin singletrack trail. When you get to a spectacular overlook (with a stone bench) you know you are close to the top of the climb. The descent for the Brushy Ridge Trail
will have numerous, very tight switchbacks before opening up to a final mile of very fast descending. At the bottom of the downhill you'll cross a stream with an old suspension bridge which will require you to dismount your bike (you can ride through the creek on warm, low water days).
Once over the bridge, take a right and jump onto the pave road and head north (right) for a 1/4 mile. On your left there is a small parking lot with the Stony Run
TrailHead. Take the Stony Run
trail and begin the long climb to the top of Middle Mountain
. The beginning of this climb will have several creek crossings but you can get through these and keep your shoes dry. Continue straight up the Stony Run
Trail, this climb is long and gets steeper as you go. You'll know you are about 1 mile from the top when you pass a right hand turn to the Tuscarora Overlook (a good out and back trail for a very rewarding view). When you get to the top of the Stony Run
you'll take a right on the Middle Mountain
Trail (Fore Mountain Trail
on the National Geographic Map).
Continue straight on the ridge trail not taking any of the trail options to your left or right. Pass the sharp right hand turn for the Salt Stump Trail
and begin a gradual very fast descent into the GW National Forest. You'll enter a series of switchback turns that will get tighter and tighter with each turn. At the first left hand turn you'll notice a yellow blazed trail on your right. (This trail is an option to take you back into Douthat State Park without taking road back into the park.).
After the switchbacks, the trail will drop you onto a gravel forest service road, take a right. Ride is flat gravel road to Route 629. Take a right (south) on this paved road and follow it 2 miles back into Douthat State Park.