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Iron Mountain Trail

Difficult
 4.2 (17)

Backcountry ridgeline riding in VA.


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Map Key

20.7

Miles

33.4

KM

Singletrack

4,548' 1,386 m

High

2,113' 644 m

Low

1,939' 591 m

Up

3,585' 1,093 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

30%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

The easternmost 1.7-mile section of Iron Mountain Trail is open only to hikers. Bikes and horses heading eastbound are routed down the short FS Road 7411 to State Road 741 (Homestead Road), which is a narrow, lightly-used dirt road.

Description

This segment of the Iron Mountain Trail (IMT) is from Hurricane Mountain to the trail town of Damascus VA, and has one-way mileage over 20 miles. The IMT contains a goldmine of amazing terrain including long rocky ridgelines, scenic vistas, and oak forests. This trail has its share of technical spots including some washed out steep sections. Ridgeline riding is the definite highlight of the IMT, as many parts are aligned right on the the backbone of the mountains. Riding the whole IMT one-way or putting together a loop on any section of it would be a solid addition to any mountain bikers bucket list.

The northeast terminus of this section is on Hurricane Mountain at FR 4022 near VA 741. There are several options for long distance rides in this area of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Other forest roads and the Virginia Highlands Horse trail (67 miles) can be used to plan rides on other sections of the IMT on this end.

Damascus is on the southwest end of this IMT segment, and serves as a gateway to the entire Mount Rogers NRA, which is over 115,000 Acres. It markets itself as Trail Town USA, because of the four designated trails which intersect with it, including IMT, the Hwy 76 Bicycle Route, Appalachian Trail, and Virginia Creeper Trail.

This MTB designated section of the IMT was actually old Appalachian Trail until 1972, when the AT was relocated to the southeast. Now, the IMT in this section is a multi-use trail, with bikers sharing travel with foot traffic, equestrians, and even motorcycles in some sections.

Worth noting: the ability to plan smaller loops on this section increases the closer you get to Damascus. There are many possibilities including riding trails or roads through Skulls Gap, Shaw Gap, Beartree Recreation Area, Straight Branch, and Sandy Flats among others.

Back in Damascus, make sure you find a Trails Illustrated Mount Rogers NRA Map (#786) of the entire area. Pack it on your ride. Also, consider making use of one the many bike shops/shuttle companies that service Virginia Creeper Trail visitors. These outfits make daily trips up VA 58 to Whitetop, VA. 58 intersects with other trails and roads that can get you up on Iron Mountain. Call around; these businesses are friendly and have been known to service mountain bikers who want to do some riding on the IMT and end their ride in town.

Contacts

Shared By:

Paul Stahlschmidt with improvements by Ralph Grizz

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 17 votes

#1077

Overall
  4.2 from 17 votes
5 Star
47%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
6%
Trail Rankings

#31

in Virginia

#1,077

Overall
99 Views Last Month
15,963 Since May 26, 2013
Difficult

0%
0%
7%
7%
86%
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Photos

Bikepacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains | Iron Mountain Trail
Nov 13, 2020 near Glade S…, VA
Iron Mountain Trail ridge riding!
Aug 4, 2014 near Adwolf, VA
Stinging Nettles!
Oct 8, 2020 near Adwolf, VA
Beartree Gap, Chestnut Ridge, FSR615, Sawmill Trail, Iron Mountain Trail, Virginia Creeper Trail
Mar 9, 2021 near Chilhowie, VA
Great ride along the ridge line. Came from Beartree down Iron Mt trail, lots of downhill. Rocky in some spots. Was told by local shop to skip last 2 miles due to conditions so took Beech Trail down to Rt 58 and finished up on the Creeper Trail into town.
Aug 26, 2020 near Glade S…, VA
Beartree Gap/IMT intersection.
Apr 6, 2018 near Chilhowie, VA

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Check-Ins

Mar 13, 2021
Lost Justpastnowhere
Aug 21, 2020
Randy Ward
Awesome ride, we came from Beartree trail back towards Damascus. Some really good downhill, just a couple climbs in this direction. 5mi
Aug 13, 2020
Joey Atkins
Mar 25, 2020
Joey Atkins
Jun 27, 2019
Don Childrey
Rode up from Grindstone Campground and then to Damascus. 17mi
May 25, 2019
Sean Wiggins
A few trees down on the Skulls Gap section. A couple more on the rest of the trail toward Damascus. Overall in great shape.
May 23, 2019
Sam Hutchens
Only 2 trees between Damascus and Beech Grove, after that it's totally clear all the way to White Top Rd.
May 1, 2019
Sam Hutchens
Lots of trees down on IMT between the Beartree/Shaw Gap/Chestnut intersection east to the Straight Branch Shelter. I counted 13 in 2.5 miles.