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Discussion Starter #1
One heck of a title...
We're gearing up for our fall (RV) camping trip of the year, and I'm wondering about the above places.

Any riding near Stonewall Jackson Lake? We're going there for part of our anniversary and to give my wife an "upscale" camping trip. Gonna get her the spa treatment.

Next decision is where to go after that. Got enough vacation to go to either Claytor Lake VA or Douthat. I think Claytor is preferred by the family, so I've thought about driving to Pandapas pond once or twice. The other idea is to stay at Douthat which I hear has some fast & smooth stuff which I REALLY like.

Any comments on Douthat vs Pandapas, or anything near Claytor?

Thanks!
 

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Douthat is MUCH better than Pandapas or anything near Claytor if you are after fast, smooth (most of the time) flowing single track.... and MILES of it IMHO of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
mud'n'sweat said:
Douthat is MUCH better than Pandapas
That's what I was thinking for what I prefer - but it looks like we'll be staying at Claytor Lake this time around. What kind of riding can I expect at Pandapas? My local ride (Paris Mountain State Park, SC) is sort of a "mini-Pisgah" as they call it - a good amount of technical areas, not really flat anywhere, you're either going up or down, all singletrack, jumps here and there, and one really challenging downhill section. The elevation gain is about 700ft over about 4 miles. I enjoy it and it's a real challenge - if Pandapas has those elements I'd be happy with it. Have to schedule Douthat some other time...
 

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TurtleClimber said:
That's what I was thinking for what I prefer - but it looks like we'll be staying at Claytor Lake this time around. What kind of riding can I expect at Pandapas? My local ride (Paris Mountain State Park, SC) is sort of a "mini-Pisgah" as they call it - a good amount of technical areas, not really flat anywhere, you're either going up or down, all singletrack, jumps here and there, and one really challenging downhill section. The elevation gain is about 700ft over about 4 miles. I enjoy it and it's a real challenge - if Pandapas has those elements I'd be happy with it. Have to schedule Douthat some other time...
From what you describe liking, Douthat is the way to go.

I live near Pandapas now, and have ridden at Douthat a lot in the past. Here are some of the differences:

Douthat has a few long loops with long ups and downs. One downhill section (or up if you so choose) is 4 miles of brilliant single track. There are a lot of options at Pandapas, and you can do many different smaller loops, but no long ones like at Douthat unless you do a lot of zig-zagging.

Douthat offers much more elevation gain than Pandapas.

Both are very well marked, but Douthat gives you a map when you show up at the park office. Pandapas has a map in the parking lot, and you can find one on line as well, but some of the best stuff is unmarked or not on any map I've seen.

Douthat offers AMAZING views at the top of both ridges (especially from the old cabin) that are worth stopping and chilling out for after the long climb. Pandapas does not really offer any views.

The terrain at Douthat is generally smooth and fast, though there is one section that is more challenging to go down (at least 5 years ago). Pandapas has more varied trail conditions from smooth and fast to challenging rock gardens to some downhill runs with 2-3 foot drops and one trail that has some VERY steep and rooty sections that take some skill and nerve to ride. I think that overall I like the actual trail terrain better at Pandapas, it's just that the runs are not long enough.

In the end, if you can only ride one or the other, I have to say that Douthat is the winner, hands down. However, if you do end up going to Claytor lake and want to explore Pandapas, I live in Blacksburg and I'd be happy to show you around Pandapas.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info, great stuff - I think we'll hit Douthat next summer (hate to wait that long). Sent you an email about Pandapas...
 

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Check thread on riding the BSA Reservation

It is very close to Claytor Lake...if you have the legs you could ride there for a nice mix of single and double track.
 
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