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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past weekend my wife & I visited the Shenandoah area of Virginia for some riding. She is new to MTB so I was hoping to find something not too difficult to help her progress. We Headed up Saturday morning & got to Harrisonburg about lunch time. After lunch and a visit to the LBS (Shenandoah Bicycle Company) for some local intel we got to riding.

We started with an in town ride at Hillandale Park. This is a small 7-10 mile trail system that has some really well labeled Greens, Blues, & Reds. I was riding with my wife, so we stuck to the greens & blues for a slow pace. It was OK. The trails could definitely be hammered for some decent times if wanted. There was also a small, but well built, pump track. Higher concentration of rocks as the trails got more difficult. I would not label this park as a destination, but if you are looking for a quick ride in the area to fill some time, it is worth it.

We then headed west into Shenandoah for a LBS referred ride out of a trailhead called "Tillman West". MTB Project GPS led us to some gravel road homestead with friendly Amish-like-peoples who then re-directed us to the right location. As we got closer & closer to the trailhead we started seeing more & more MTBers (4 groups to be exact). Some were riding back to their cars & some were swimming at local streamside pull offs. We found the trailhead just in time for a big thunderstorm to roll in. After talking with some local MTBers we decided to skip the ride due to the impeding apocalypse. This area definitely sounds like it has potential for some good singletrack.

Saturday night we stayed in Woodstock, Va at an "old style" hotel. It got great reviews online, but I was a little hesitant from looking at the pictures online. Turned out to be fine for the evening. There is nothing fancy about this place. It was cheap, clean, the A/C worked & there was a little local diner next door (steak dinners were a steal. Breakfast was solid).

Sunday morning we headed out to Bryce Resort for a day of trail bike DH. We got there a little early & explored around a bit. It is a small resort, with golf course, lodges, zip lines, swimming pools, & even an active small private plane runway for you Cessna pilots. Substantial onsite bike shop for rentals & lift passes (not much purchasable inventory).

I was concerned about wet trails from it raining all night, but was quite surprised to see that this presented zero problems. Trails were hero dirt & well drained. This place has obviously dumped a lot of money into their 8 trail, 500 ft elevation park (don't let those small numbers scare you off). There are well designed machine built greens, blue jump trails, tight-berm-tire-folding blues, hand built off camber blacks & double blacks with fail safe or send it wooden drops & step ups. All finished off with a couple exit lines that consist of some whale tails, drops, or wooden berms. There is not many technical rock gardens, & a full DH rig would be overkill (although we saw a lot of them out there).

The trails are well labeled, which is good b/c they merge/intersect A LOT! I originally thought this would pose a problem, but I actually ended up liking the design after a few runs. Things never got boring with the ability to transition from one trail to another. Zero to 2 chair lift waits (3 bike tray setup), & I never once came across riders during my descent due to the small mountain nature of the place. It was pretty much like we had the place to ourselves.

In summary, the short trail runs were offset by trail variety & short lift ride. Not once did I get arm pump. All this allowed me to get ~15 runs in during my 4 hr lift pass. I had a blast at this place with my trail bike! It was a hell of a lot of fun to throw something super light around. That & the ability to wear light body armor with no concern for major injury made the hot/sunny day enjoyable. There are a couple features there that I skipped over due to end of day fatigue & learning the park. My wife had a great time on the greens & blues. She said that she felt a lot more confident on the bike afterward. I would highly recommend bringing someone here to introduce them to DH. I think Bryce is a great place to hit on a weekend trip. Plan a day riding singletrack in the area, & a day at Bryce.

Quick Reference Chart:
Bryce Bike Park
- 500 ft elevation
- ~8 Trails (intersecting)
- ~10 minute lift ride
- 3-5 minute runs
- Buff trails
- Good beginner DH system. Fun to Crush It!
- Bring the trail bikes!

My wife & I will definitely be returning in the future. Thanks for the great experience Bryce!

145 Posts
Thanks so much for the great review! We're incredibly proud of the park and our staff. You are quite right on the retail side, since bike shops are our best forms of referral and our goal is to reach as many active people (cyclists or not) into the park we choose to not sell products that most shops would. That being said, we focus our inventory on a great selection of full face helmets, clothing, and protective gear.

We plan to continue to grow the park so tell all your friends!

Also just a note that the trail riding in the area is fantastic and Chalet High offers 2-3 bdrm condos for unbelievably reasonable prices!

thanks again and hope to see you back

5 Posts
Well said OP!!!

I am trying to get my Mrs. out and think that the Harrisonburg trails (greens) may be the place to start, or even Shendoah River State Park may be a good start. Maybe even the WO&D. We'll see...

Your review of Bryce is spot on. They care about their MTBing, that's for sure. It is a great place for the new and experienced rider, both trial and DH people can enjoy! No pressure and everyone is really cool!

Thank you Bryce... That's why I have a season pass.

BTW- I was out there a couple weeks ago watching the DH racing.... Young, old, female, male... I am going to give that a try... At least once.
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