West Virginia, popularly called the Mountain State, is an excellent destination for several outdoor enthusiasts, especially mountain riders looking to explore the state’s numerous beautiful valleys and hills. Although it’s the ninth-smallest state in the US, West Virginia offers one of the best pure outdoor splendor and character.
West Virginia is popular for its natural beauty and rolling hills and mountains. Its mountain bike trails are well designed for all rider levels, ranging from beginner tracks to expert-only courses. In this post, you’ll find 10 of the state’s well-ridden and most popular trails with descriptions of the features that make them so unique and fun.
1. Big Bear Lake Trail Center
Amateur to expert bikers who need a thrilling yet challenging mountain biking location can pack up their gear and visit the Big Bear Trail Center in West Virginia. The trail, situated in Hazelton, is gradually gaining popularity as a major destination for classic single-track adventure. Besides, after several years of maintenance and development by experienced mountain riders, the trail system has taken a much better shape.
While the Big Bear Trail Center isn’t recommended for novice/beginner bikers, it has so much to offer advanced riders, including, but not limited to, challenging rock gardens, large embedded rocks, off the saddle (technical and fast) downhill, tight slaloms, and gradual climbs. The system consists of about 50 miles in length and passes through various local floras, including endless mountain laurel groves, soft pine plantations, and knee-deep ferns. Whether you need long technical straightaways or up-and-down courses, you’ll find different kinds of trails that fit your preferences and interests at this destination specially designed for mountain riders.
Bikers can comfortably navigate this trail due to the availability of maps at the entrance, which they’ll get after purchasing a pass. Bikers who enjoy this trail may also invite about the overnight camping destinations available in Beaver Creek.
2. Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Located in the Allegheny Mountain region, which happens to hold the record as the valley with the highest elevation point around the Mississippi River, Canaan Valley has some exclusive vegetation that cannot be found elsewhere in the American east. There are 11 trails on this park, combining to form a total of 18 miles. Four of these trails have been earmarked for the mountain bike. They include the Middle Ridge Trail, the Club Run Trail, the Ridge Top trail, and the Back Hollow Trail.
The trails all differ in terrain and difficulty levels. The Back Hollow trail is the longest in the park, coursing through meadows and joining the Cabin Area to the Main Lodge. With its 3-mile length, Back Hollow Trail has a bit of everything, with some comfortable sections and some technically challenging spots. Club Run Trail, on the other hand, runs alongside one of the outlets of Blackwater River, the Club Run. The one-mile-long ride will take you through shrubs and forests. During spring, wildflowers decorate the trail. Ridge Top Trail is the shortest on this park and serves as the connecting trail between Middle Ridge and Club Run trails. The last trail, Middle Ridge, winds through a variety of vegetation.
You might be forgiven for thinking you have gone through four entirely different locations after riding the trails at Canaan Valley. Each ride offers a unique experience, giving the biker something different every time.
Families and beginners will enjoy the serene environment and the exploration that seldom ends at the park. Advanced riders would find the wetland forests with their many natural obstacles a thrill to ride. Whatever your preferences are, a long ride or a quick short workout, Canaan Valley has got a trail for you.
3. North Fork Mountain Trail
There are mountain biking trails, and then there are mountain biking trails known as “Epics”. The IMBA awards the title of Epic to trails with an unrivaled experience. The North Mountain Biking Trail, hedged by the Seneca Rocks and Spruce Knob in West Virginia, has been adjudged as an Epic.
The trail’s route is hugely rocky and runs on an uneven ridgeline. Resilience, courage, and stamina are needed at the highest level to complete this challenge. The NFMT is a 24-mile long trail that gives an astonishing view of the Dolly Sods Wilderness, the Potomac River Valley, and the Spruce Rock. You could come here for the scenery alone, but the ride will make you lick your lips.
Scattered all over the trail’s route are many overlooks, where you could take a break, and some side trails, if you are in for some exploration. The trail consists mostly of flowing single-track, and some portions of double track littered with berms. The rocky gardens will keep any rider on his feet, as some points will challenge dexterity, while other spots will question the stamina levels. The reward for your trouble is a refreshing 3-mile downhill. What better way to complete this trial?
Any biker thinking of attempting this trail should have at least a strong intermediate rating. Advanced riders will relish this challenging location.
4. Snowshoe Mountain Biking Park
Every mountain biker enjoys downhill, and there is a whole new level to descents at the Snowshoe Mountain. Initially created for skis and snowboards during winter, the resort has been attracted loads of bikers over the years. With 40 trails spanning roughly 40 miles and an incredible 1,500 foot downhill, the machine-groomed trails here are a joy to ride. Topping it all, there is a lift service, which means you get to avoid those grueling climbs with a haul straight to the top of the mountain.
Mountain bikers are attracted to Snowshoe Mountain for its diverse terrain, which ranges from wooded forests to steep terrains. There are trails for every biker here. Beginner trails are painted green, with a width of 4-6 feet, intermediate tracks are painted blue, and advanced trails are painted in black. Most of the advanced courses are used for biking races.
While the trail caters to everyone, advanced bikers would love it here. There is also a double-black diamond trail for riders with something to prove.
5. Little Beaver State Park
Roots, rocks, technical spots, and challenging terrain are the Little Beaver State Park features. The park is home to 19 miles of trails that will leave you any rider happy and exhausted. Small streams and an 18-acre lake are some of the bodies of water you can expect to find here.
There are 18 trails in this location, and almost all of them are tailored to suit intermediate or advanced bikers. Beginners can still find a trail here, like the Lake Front Trail, a short, comfortable ride, which circles the artificial lake. The majority of the trails here feature sharp uphill and challenging descents, giving the rider no respite.
The streams flowing through this park and the sound of your bike tires grazing the single-track trail should form a perfect soundtrack for the challenge that lies ahead. Black Bear Run Trail is an intermediate route with relatively scanty roots and rocks, and a narrow trail, only rivaled by the Nature Ridge Trail, an advanced 2.2 miles long trail winding through tight rock gardens and tree roots. Intermediate riders looking for a course to up the skills should try this park.
6. PocaFork Mountain Bike Trail
Built in the 1930s by CCC, the bike trail here has since evolved into a single-track trail with a wicked reputation. The first thing you notice at the PocaFork Mountain Bike Trail is that the tracks are properly groomed.
This 27-mile long trail has got it all. Roots, jumps, stream crossings, length, and downhills make the course enjoyable. Many bikers tackle this trail by approaching it through the Cranberry Nature Center and riding to the PocaFork Mountain Bike Trail, which makes for a total of 30 miles. The Water-Bar section of the trail is mostly avoided by riders because of the difficult climbs involved. There is a 4-mile gravel road that leads to a section of rocky gardens where the trail ends.
PocaFork Mountain can be daunting at some points and can be fun to ride too. Beginners, Intermediate and advanced riders all come here for the thrill it gives.
7. North Bend Rail Trail
This trail is located in Harrisville Town, West Virginia. It’s part of the North Bend Park, which gets its name from the Hughes River’s horse-shaped bend in North Fork.
The 72-mile trail is a multi-use course built for mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. As the name possibly implies, the North Bend Trail runs through the B and O Railroad bed, starting in Parkersburg town, down to Wolf Summit, close to Clarksburg. Due to its length, the trail is rated intermediate, and it offers a fantastic scenic ride through several quaint small towns.
This wonderful trail passes through over 35 bridges, 13 tunnels and travels through various local parks, counties, and states. The trail is also part of the coast-to-coast 5000-mile American Discovery Trail.
Besides hosting the trail’s trailhead, this State Park features an abundance of recreational resources in a fabulous pastoral setting. The abundant wildlife, cabins and lodge, outstanding overnight accommodations, lodge dining room, hiking trails, lake, and fishing streams are just a few of the fantastic features you will enjoy in the year-round park.
8. Mountwood Park Trail System
Mountwood Park, situated in Parkersburg town in the Mid-Ohio Valley, is the most popular and oldest trail system in an area recognized nationally for its quality and prevalent off-road biking opportunities. For more than twenty years, the RVMBA (River Valley Mountain Bike Association) has put so much effort into making this trail system one of the best in the eastern US and among the most prominent single-track mountain biking locations within the nation.
The Mountwood Park Trail network is rated intermediate, though, in reality, it features trails for every skill level, including beginner riders to experienced competitive cyclists. In terms of racing, this park also hosts one of the most well-attended and longest-running races WVMBA Points Series, a popular race called the Mountwood Challenge. The fast-paced and entertaining race consistently tracts numerous racers from many nearby states every spring—racers who need an early-season fitness test on tracks that flow and rip through the ravines, valleys, and ridge tops around the 50-acre Mountwood lake.
The RVMBA consistently maintains and updates the trail system to ensure bikers enjoy the entertainment and thrills. This implies that you’ll get a new experience on each trip to this fantastic mountain biking park, which is why riders keep returning to the park. This single-track course is always open at any time of the year. It features endless ridges and rapid descent riding through rocky, scenic woodlands and the 19th-century Volcano oil community’s historic ruins.
Guests will find the Mountwood Park courses appropriately-marked according to each trail’s difficulty level, with black color indicating an expert-only course, blue for intermediate tracks, and green signaling a path for beginners.
9. Kennison Mountain Trail
This trail is rated as an intermediate and technical single-track. It has only a few descents and climbs but plenty of roots and rocks to challenge bikers along the way. Situated in Richwood town, West Virginia, this trail is 9 miles long, or 18 miles (approximately) when you ride it as a loop (out-and-back).
The trail’s rolling terrain takes bikers through a variety of small creeks and over three boardwalks before starting to climb up the popular Kennison Mountain gently. This trail ends with a very steep 1-mile downhill that takes bikers down to the Cranberry River’s cool water. The river doesn’t have a footbridge, so you will have to carry your bike across the water before getting back on the dirt road to the park.
10. Seneca Creek Trail
This trail is situated in the quiet Spruce Knob Town, West Virginia, within the Seneca Rocks Recreation Area—a hotspot for rock climbing and mountain biking. The biking trailing is a scenic adventure that features gushing waterfalls, hardwood forests, streams, and meadows. Unlike several other rail-trails, you’ll find in West Virginia’s forests, this out-and-back course represents a former railroad corridor: even and flat and rated as ideal for beginner/novice riders.
The trail is part of a larger 70-mile trail network—the Spruce Knob-Seneca Creek Train System. Spruce Knob is the highest peak in West Virginia, at almost 5000 ft above sea level. The trail follows Seneca Creek, a spring-fed, fast-flowing mountain stream with clean water that you can see or hear almost everywhere along the paths.
The trail starts at the trailhead and immediately travels through several kinds of spruce groves and meadows before taking you through the hardwood forest’s coolness. Overhead, you’ll find a canopy of beech, cherry, birch, and maple trees that create a natural cover, offering shade during summer and a wide range of colors in the fall. Bikers will also see several small creeks along the path before finishing at the Upper Seneca Creek Falls (about 30 feet)—an ideal spot to recharge and rest while enjoying every splendor that Mother Nature offers.
West Virginia is a state filled with different biking options that will put smiles on your face. It’s an excellent place for beginners to start their mountain biking adventure. It offers outfitters and bike rentals, downtown restaurants and shops, hotels, and breakfast spots.