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blueBlack Iron Mountain Trail

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20.7 mile 33.4 kilometer point to point


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


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


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Trail shared by Paul Stahlschmidt

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Minor Issues 16 days ago See History
Mostly Dry, Fallen Trees

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Backcountry ridgeline riding in VA.

Paul Stahlschmidt

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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.


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.


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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
Jan 12, 2018
Joey Atkins
Dec 23, 2017
Joey Atkins
Dec 16, 2017
Joey Atkins
Dec 8, 2017
Joey Atkins
Nov 17, 2017
Joey Atkins

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 13 votes


  4.5 from 13 votes
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in Virginia


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Blake McKinney
Blake McKinney   Virginia
Does anyone know or know who to ask about what sections, if any, are designated for legal motorcycle riding?? Oct 23, 2017
Paul Stahlschmidt
Boone, NC
Paul Stahlschmidt   Boone, NC
Blake, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Click the land manager link above for more info. Oct 23, 2017

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