Shenandoah Mountain Biking

Suspension Bridge over Jackson RiverI met up with some old college roommates for their annual camping/trout fishing trip to the Jackson River this past weekend.  Not being an avid fisherman, I took the opportunity to do some mountain biking in the George Washington National Forest.

Suspended bridge over the Jackson River

Suspension Bridge over Jackson River

After arriving around noon on Friday and setting up camp, I hopped on the bike for a little exploring.  I wasn’t expecting to go too far so I didn’t bother with maps or GPS.  I wound up on the single-track section of the “Hidden Valley” trail which parallels the Jackson River.  It eventually connected with some double-track and seemed to continue on indefinitely – so after 5 miles, I turned back, crossed the river on a suspended bridge, and returned to the campground for a beer.

Double track near the Hidden Valley Campground

Road leading to Hidden Valley Campground

Saturday morning I decided to ride the actual “Hidden Valley” loop described in the book “Mountain Biking Virginia” (ride #35).  It’s a nice 15 mile loop that begins on Forest Service roads before connecting back to the double and single-track that I rode the previous day.  Some of the single-track was a bit too technical (rocky, rooted, and unforgivably perched on the side of the mountain) for my tasted, so I wound up walking about a half-mile section.

On Sunday, I headed over to the Buena Vista Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway for the “Blue Ridge Dirt Ride” (#40 in “Mountain Biking Virginia”). It’s a nice 15 mile loop on on Forest Service roads with only the last 3 to 4 miles on the Parkway. As you can see from the elevation profile, the ride starts with a 1000 feet descent over the first 4 miles.  Now that’s “commitment”.

A great time spent with old friends, good mountain biking, and topped off with some fresh trout cooked on the grill. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

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