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Iron Mountain Trail

Difficult

Trail

20.7 mile 33.4 kilometer point to point
Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,939' 591 m
Descent: -3,585' -1,093 m
High: 4,548' 1,386 m
Low: 2,113' 644 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Map Key

Trail shared by Paul Stahlschmidt

Backcountry ridgeline riding in VA.

Paul Stahlschmidt

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

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.

Biked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Features, Electic Mountain Bikes Allowed

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Check-Ins

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.
Apr 10, 2019
Sam Hutchens
downed trees are the only issue on the sections I rode
Nov 10, 2018
Joey Atkins
May 14, 2018
Joey Atkins
5.4mi

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 14 votes

#1765

Overall
  4.2 from 14 votes
5 Star
43%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
7%
Trail Rankings

#53

in Virginia

#1,765

Overall
131 Views Last Month
14,743 Since May 26, 2013
Difficult

0%
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9%
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91%
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Photos

Iron Mountain Trail ridge riding!
Aug 4, 2014 near Adwolf, VA
Beartree Gap/IMT intersection.
Apr 6, 2018 near Chilhowie, VA
The old AT shelter at Cherry Knob
Jun 3, 2019 near Adwolf, VA
Taking a break at the old AT shelter
Aug 2, 2013 near Adwolf, VA
Hurricane Road/IMT Intersection
Apr 6, 2018 near Adwolf, VA
Cherry Tree Shelter
Aug 4, 2014 near Adwolf, VA

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