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Discussion Starter #1
I am trying to plan a last minute mountain bike trip with the family. Originally, I was thinking about going to NC. But with Covid and the long drive, I think Virginia might be a better choice. Looking for advice/recommendations. I'm thinking Harrisonburg area or Roanoke. Or any other suggestions?

Looking for an area that would have a good mix of trails. I need some easier rides that we can do as a family. I have a 6 y/o that is very good on his bike. He will ride 8-10 mile loops of single track in PA with some changes in elevation. That being said, he isn't going to be grinding out any extended climbs. My wife also enjoys these type of trails.

I also have an older son that will be heading out on rides with me. Looking for some more technical trails/fun down hills/drops/jumps. We definitely want to check out some of the more challenging trails in the area.

Staying in an area with other things to do off the bike would be nice. Most likely renting a house. A nearby lake for swimming would also be a plus.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I throw poo
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Massanutten Western Slope Trails are amazing. They have some beginner trails, but most are intermediate to advanced, all are well marked.

One to think about for sure.

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My vote is Harrisonburg. Definitely not on the beginner side but there are some trails that can be ridden on the tamer side. There are the trails at Hillendale which is just outside of Harrisonburg. These are a good bit easier, although rocky in some spots. As for George Washington National Forest, that is biking in the outback. Hilly, flow, rocks, roots, everything backcountry. All is good there!
 

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CrgCrkRyder
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You may want to check out Carvins Cove in Roanoke. You have to ride pavement for a mile to get to the easier stuff known as the Lowers. 10 miles or so of rolling trails without a lot of elevation. The Uppers have a lot of advanced trails like the Gauntlet and some free ride type terrain. Explore Park has 12 or so miles of intermediate trails with ziplines, tent-cabins, etc that I have not seen yet. Roanoke River Greenway is close by if you want some urban riding that is pretty cool.
 

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Pocahontas state park near Richmond is awesome. It has quite a bit of flowy machine built trails and I see.quite a.few kids out there with parents.

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. We decided on the Harrisonburg area. We'll be staying near Massanutten, so we will definitely be checking out the western slopes. Also, maybe a day at the bike park? Hillendale looks like a good option for some of the family rides. I've been doing some research on the trails in this area and it's a bit overwhelming. What are some of your recommendations of the best areas/not to miss trails within an hour drive of this location?
 

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I will ride the western slope at mazsanutten and will also do the narrowback mtn loop and the lookout loop in the george washington national forest. All are within an hours ride from harrisonburg.
 

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Stokesville Campground has trails kids and your wife will like maybe 3ish miles of singletrack while you go checkout someting like lookout, narrowback, or wolf.
 
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I'll 2nd the Stokesville recommendation. You can camp, or just pay a day-use fee, to use the facility (pavilion w/ grill, bathrooms, trails on site, plus a water hole to dip in at the bottom of the site near the bridge). The on-site trails are suitable for most ages and abilities, and loop around the camp, so you're never far from the car.

Or, if you don't need the facilities, you can park any number of places in the area and get in solid rides (though none would be suitable for your youngest). Check RideWithGPS for SM100 race logs and other rides in the area.

If time is limited, riding the Lookout Mountain loop is a favorite. From camp, it's a bit over an hour, IRRC. Narrowback and Tillman West are fun single track, not too technical, though you need fitness to get to the ridge trail. Wolf Ridge descent is rad, though getting to it is a big ride (or shuttle to Reddish Knob and ride the while ridge down).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the replies. What is the best way to get a pass for western slopes? I saw a daily pass and a yearly membership. Do they offer a weekly pass? Any discount for kids? Can you get them somewhere in person or do you need to get online?

Any recommended loops?

Thanks again for all the help. Looking forward to our trip!
 

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And YES, take the fam to BRYCE Resort man. Super tame flowy lift trails. The kids will love it if they have never done that type of thing before.
 

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Narrowback has been mentioned a couple times. A few weeks ago, we did Narrowback/Tillman west with a group of kids down to like 6/7 years old and they did great. The climb up from Dog graveyard will be pretty big for the little man, but just stop a couple times for snacks. The Narrowback ridgeline and Tillman west descent will be totally worth it. On the ridge, there is one rock feature that might be over the little guys pay grade, but it's easily walkable. You can shorten the loop by "shuttling" folks to the dog graveyard and then driving back down Tillman Rd to the outlet of Tillman west trail. That will knock out a couple miles (up hill) of gravel grinding. Doing that, I think the ride is only about 5 miles and less than 1000ft of climbing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the replies! We just got back from the trip. Stayed near Massanutten in a house we rented. Lost 2 days of riding because of rain, but still managed to have a great time. We rode Hillandale park as a family. We did a clockwise loop connecting green/blue trails. Kids really enjoyed the power line trail and the pump track. I was able to ride the red trails while the kids played on the pump track. I really enjoyed the rock features and drops on the trails. This place is seriously rocky!

We also rode as a family at Preddy Creek park in Charlottesville. Very fun and flowy trails. Great family ride. My wife enjoyed these trails best.

Being close to Massanutten, it made it easy to access the western slope trails. To get the trail pass, you need to purchase online. No weekly passes. Just day passes or you can pay for a yearly pass. We rode the gold loop both directions and mixed in a bunch of the other trails. My wife also shuttled my son and I. What an awesome downhill from the top of the mountain. Definitely preferred the gold loop in the clockwise direction. What an awesome network of trails!

Unfortunately with the rain, I never made it to Stokesville. Both days we were planning on going it rained. There is so much riding in this area, we will definitely need to take a trip back!
 

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There's no shortage of trails here that's for sure. :)

I just finished a day at Massanutten's bike park. The rockyness of the upper slopes is absolutely brutal now which is the way I like it. The two upper intermediate runs could use some work though. Especially creamy.

What trails did you use for descending on the Western Slopes? Gold loop is great but it misses four of the best downhills. Laird's nostil, Upper ravine, 2,000 hours and Puzzler. If your up for some suffering and more of an epic ride feel I recommend going up Laird's downhill (hike a bike involved) and riding Kaylor ridge South to descend Puzzler. It's a pretty big loop but s ton of fun. Kaylor ridge does have some very technical rock sections which you may or may not want to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We added Upper Ravine/Kaylors knob Ridge trail south and 2000 hours to make a loop, instead of coming across Lower Ravine to connect the gold loop. We also shuttled and rode some other combinations of trails to the lower lot. Definitely didn't hit Laird's nostril. Not sure if we hit Puzzler?
 
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