“Ridden uphill, you'll see stars; ridden downhill, you'll be a star. Awesome historical area, too.”
— Chris Swarr
At its western trailhead, Gary's Grind begins at shelter #3 at the end of the gravel road that leads off Volcano Rd. by the dog park and beach volleyball court. From there it travels northeast alongside Mud Lick Run in the shadow of Sand Hill, crossing the occasional bridge until it intersects with the Little Gnarly
Trail. Hang a sharp right there and Gary's Grind continues up a number of switchbacks and inclines until it eventually ends at the paved road that leads to the horse camp (no worries--all mountain bike and equestrian trails are separate and are on entirely different tracts of land). This is a fine uphill that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment when you finally top out.
When Gary's Grind is ridden in the opposite direction, however, it becomes an excellent screamer of a mile-long downhill with swooping lines, g-outs, and kickers that are excellent opportunities to catch a little air. While this is one of the oldest trails at Mountwood Park, every bit of it is a blast that is as fun to ride as the day it was minted.
Also, be sure to note the many relics from the oil and gas era of the 19th century that are visible along much of the ridge section of this trail just beneath the top of Sand Hill, in the highest elevation part of Mountwood Park on the border of Wood and Ritchie counties. It swoops through what was once part of the second earliest discovered oil field in the United Sates, and evidence of old pump houses, wooden oil storage tanks, and oil derricks adorn the steep hillsides along this route. This is a truly beautiful section of eastern Appalachia.