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Dody Ridge and Spec Mine Solo Ride

5526 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  BikerJen
I've been in MTB deprivation lately, so last Sunday was beautiful. Put down the paint brush, scre- the remodeling project for a day. Nothing gets me going like a ride somewhere out on the national forest . Decided on a loop combining Spec Mines Trail and Dody Ridge on the Jefferson National Forest. I think Spec Mines is one of the best downhills in the Roanoke area. Dody Ridge is one of the gnarliest rides around. Cake and ice cream too.

Only 15 minutes or so east of Roanoke is Day Creek parking area for the Glenwood Horse Trail. Its pretty close to the Montvale area.

This ride starts climbing Black Horse Gap.

Its somewhere around a 1200 foot climb and pretty steep for doubletrack. It was a stage coach route back in the day.

This climb hurt that day. Must be getting old or something. At the top, took a right and headed north on the Blue Ridge Parkway for several mostly downhill miles. Some beautiful scenery on this stretch of parkway.

View towards the Peaks of Otter

About a 100 feet South of Milepost 96 is the Spec Mine trailhead. It's tucked up in the woods and hard to see. Spec Mines is my definition of fun. A downhill scream with a steep tecky stretch at the end. Mean Gene and I rode this last year on a different route.

Pour on the gas and hold on. Tight and twisty and fast. Packs a lot of fun in 2 miles.

In the last half mile or so, you enter a steep rock garden. Watch for leaf covered loose rocks. I wouldn't ride this in November.

At about 2 miles, the trail crosses a Forest Service road. You are back on the Glenwood Horse Trail. Hang a left on the FS 634 for 2-3 miles.

This guy seemed happy where he was, so I went around.

Seems like I normally meet some horseback riders on this stretch. Passed 3 this day.

At the next road intersection, take the road most to the left. This is Black Horse Gap on the west side of the Blue Ridge. The climbing starts again. The road is blocked off. This is grassy double going back to singletrack. I like this trail.

At the top, you are straight across the parkway from the first climb. End of loop1. Hang a right on the parkway and head south for about 3 miles, again mostly downhill. Sweet.

Looking down on Dody Ridge, the last part of the ride.

Cool sandstone rock along the parkway

After a nice paved downhill, you come to a dirt road intersection on both sides ot the parkway. I believe this is called Curry Gap. Take the left one and head down a jeep trail. This is the Glenwood Horse Trail again.

FS163 I think

Top part is rocky doubletrack, more of a jeep trail than a road.

Eventually you come out in a sort of subdivision. How did they get that doublewide up that high? Hang a left on quarry road at the intersection.

A mile or so it becomes a jeep trail again. The Glenwood Horse trail diverges off to the left behind the "horse" sign.

Thus begins climb #3 up to Dody Ridge. Not as big of climb as the first 2, but it makes up for it by being steep and full of loose rocks.

Trail is between single and doubletrack in width, maybe built with a minidozer or could be an old wagon trail.

Bear right at this unmarked trail junction. I think the left one goes back towards the parkway.

The top at last.

Montvale tank farm in the distance

Rocky and gnarly and fun. Dody Ridge must have a "Burn Me" sign on it. Not particularly high, but it juts out east of the Blue Ridge. I think that area has burnt twice in the last 2 years. Mother Nature can be a "B" when she wants too. Momentum is your friend on this ridgetop. Three times my wheel got "chocked" when I wasn't going fast enough to make it over the rocks in slightly uphill sections.

Somewhere between an half mile and a mile of rocky ridgetop fun

NMan and some of his riding buddies cleaned the ridgetop section off last year and it is nice.
Down the hill. More rocky stuff

Cross Day Creek

In some more rocks

And a little bit of smooth stuff

You will pass another trail intersection along the creek. Either way will take you back to the parking lot. Left side has more singletrack, but a lot of fresh blowdowns. I think the right trail follows the creek (haven't ridden it yet). Both bring you back to the Forest Service road (3078) for a mile or so downhill to Day Creek parking area. 20 mile double loop by my map software. Good Stuff::D
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It looks like a good, fun ride. I'll have to keep it in mind if I am in the area.
As always, thanks for sharing the pics, CCR. Looks like a ton of fun.

How big do you think that snake was?
davis said:
As always, thanks for sharing the pics, CCR. Looks like a ton of fun.

How big do you think that snake was?
Definitely a lot of fun and a good workout too. Snake was about 5 feet long and didn't seem to care whether I was there or not. Must have a rat for lunch or something. Didn't hang around to see what happened when the 3 gals on horses got there. Could have been interesting.
Map of the area

Do you happen to have the map to the right and the left of the one on your post. I ride in that area alot but have never used a map-I grew up in Montvale and spent a lot of time in these mountains but never had to use a map, would like one to leave with with when ridin g in case anything were to happen. Thanks Kenny
Heres a couple to the right of that double loop. I don't think I have one made up to the left. Parkway Area/SpecMinetoChairRockRoad.jpg Area/?action=view&current=WhitetailTrail.jpg

You might want to get the National Geopgraphic Software for the Southern Appalachian region. Pretty cool, you can make your own maps and routes with distances. I got mine at the outdoor store in Daleville. Although now, I can't seem to get my new computer to take it - it keeps wanting to burn it as a CD or a DVD. !#*# *computers.

The old Jefferson National Forest Ranger District maps were the best I thought. Good topo and close enough scale to find your way around. I am not sure if you can still get them. Used to be you called the district office and they would mail you one for 5 bucks or so. You could try here and ask for the old Glenwood District map:
Glenwood / Pedlar Ranger Station

They will probably try to sell you this one though. The Forest Service has decided to let National Geographic make their next series of maps. Get the Lexington /Blue Ridge Mts map #789 at an outdoor goods store or order it online.

Man, I got to get back over there and ride again sometime.
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If anyone knows you're going there to ride and don't mind dragging my slow a$$ along, I'd like to try these trails out. I'm too chicken to try it alone and I'd probably get lost. :thumbsup:
BikerJen said:
If anyone knows you're going there to ride and don't mind dragging my slow a$$ along, I'd like to try these trails out. I'm too chicken to try it alone and I'd probably get lost. :thumbsup:
That would be 2 slow a$$es then:D
Theres some pretty good stuff out that way, and the parkway cuts through the middle of most of it allowing shorter loops - some maybe even doable after work on these longer days. PM me if you want to try that one afternoon.
CCR - I may take you on that. I'll have to see what my work schedule when I get a break from classes... Damn education and career are disrupting my riding time!!!
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