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Bird Knob and Catherine Furnace Loop



20.2 mile 32.5 kilometer loop
85% Singletrack


Ascent: 3,580' 1,091 m
Descent: -3,581' -1,092 m
High: 2,858' 871 m
Low: 1,108' 338 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 34% (19°)


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Map Key

This loop features lots of singletrack with a good fire road climb to the very technical Trail #416 - Bird Knob Trail.

aaron cochran

Electric Mountain Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-


This ride features great views of Shenandoah Valley at the top of Bird Knob, a 180-year-old big iron furnace, and Emerald Pond to cool off in the summer.

Need to Know

There are several creek crossings along this route, steep climbs and steep descents, great views and even better rocks to ride. As always, bring a map and compass, this is not a bike park!


From the parking lot on Rt 211, find the trailhead on the back north side of the lot.

Get ready to make the climb up Trail #416 - Rt 211 Connector following the orange blazes to an old fire road and stay to the right. Continue across Georges Run.

At the next fire road intersection, go left onto the Short Horse Mountain Trail following pink blazes for just under five miles. This trail starts out with a really fast pace descent then a good 1.5-mile climb then a more technical descent. A short climb later you should reach a purple-blazed, Roaring Run Trail.

Head left down the Roaring Run Trail for a fast descent to the Catherine Furnace. Once you reach it, turn right on Cub Run Road and then another right on Pitt Springs Road (375) for a rive mile climb. You'll see where the top of the Roaring Run Trail intersects the fire road. Trail #416 - Bird Knob Trail is on the left about 300 yards up the road.

About 100 yards after turning left, take the right turn onto the Emerald Pond Spur to Emerald Pond and take a well deserved break or swim if its warm enough.

After climbing up to the Trail #416 - Bird Knob Trail, get ready for a super-technical rocky ascent to the overlooks at the Yellow Cliffs. After the overlooks, Bird Knob turns into a vicious technical downhill back to the Trail #416 - Rt 211 Connector that leads down to the parking lot.

History & Background

Catherine Furnace was built in 1836.


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Mar 22, 2020
James Fitzgerald
Awesome trail, road counterclockwise 17mi — 3h 40m
Sep 1, 2019
Kristopher Kaufmann
Aug 4, 2019
Alex B
such killer loop 20mi
Apr 19, 2018
aaron cochran
Trails are in great shape. May have been three trees down that weren’t rideable... not bad for 20 miles of backcountry.
Oct 16, 2017
Christine Danielle
Jul 10, 2017
Dan Korienek
Very challenging route. Hard climbs with a couple technical sections that i had to walk. 19mi
Apr 15, 2017
Kim Theodore
After a boggy start, Very dry with a couple mud puddles. Riding to mile 5 give or take. Rough climb- about to enjoy the downhill! 10mi
Apr 2, 2017
Alex B
directions are spot on. great route with amazing views. note: part of trail is a stream bed descending to Catherine Furnace, probably a lot drier... 20mi

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 12 votes


in Tenth Legion


  3.6 from 12 votes
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in Tenth Legion


in Virginia


127 Views Last Month
3,552 Since Dec 7, 2016



One of the overlooks on Bird Knob Trail.
Dec 7, 2016 near New Market, VA
Emerald Pond
Dec 7, 2016 near New Market, VA
The 180 year old Catherine Furnace.
Dec 7, 2016 near Shenandoah, VA
Pitt Spring Run borders the gravel road climb after Catherine Furnace.
Dec 7, 2016 near Shenandoah, VA


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