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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys so far I’ve ridden Reddish knob (Timber to wolf), Carvins Cove, and Sherando (Torrey to slacks) so far.

I’ve heard of rides like Narrowback, lookout, douthat, and all that good stuff. Looking for something with a fun long downhill, but I don’t mind having to earn my uphill as long as it won’t kill me. Shuttleable places are a plus too.

What’s your favorite downhill singletrack in VA?

Thanks!
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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Narrow back has never been bad to me. However, the south end of the southern traverse is often overlooked. Speaking of overlooks. Go in the north end of the traverse and ride south. Stop at the medow overlooking the south end for some refreshments and rest before you bomb the downhill. It’s a great view.
 

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During hunting season, they open up the fire road to Hankey mtn. With that open, you could shuttle most of the way up Lookout. Also, don't forget about the other trail down from Reddish (stay straight where you turned to go down Wolf, then bear right at the next intersection. MTB project seems to call all of that Timber Ridge, but I thought the lower part was called something else (hearthstone?).
You could conceivably descend twice from the top of Reddish and do Lookout in the same day.
 

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My favorites you've not mentioned:
GWF
Last two miles of Whetstone
Dowell's Draft
Brayley's Pond
Lookout
Road Hollow
Southern end of Southern Traverse

Douthat
Brushy Hollow
Salt Stump
 

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I am the owl
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Too many to choose just one, but here are a few to check out
  • Bear Wallow (a.k.a. 31 Flavors) in the GWNF near Elizabeth Furnace - From Maneka Peak to Ft. Valley Rd. Recommend climbing all the way to Signal Knob and then coming across Maneka before descending.
  • In the Wolf Gap/Big Schloss area of the GWNF - Cherry Ridge, Bucktail Cutoff, Long Mountain Trail off of Judge Rye Rd (a.k.a Devil's Hole Mtn.), descent off of Little North Mtn on the Tuscarora (rocky, fun singletrack - description at this link is incomplete.) Cherry Ridge
  • Massanutten trail south into Endinburgh Gap
  • Tillman West off of Narrowback
  • So much fun stuff at Douthat Douthat
Pretty much have to earn everything I listed, although you could do a point to point shuttle to get Long Mountain and Cherry Ridge in one ride with some climbing in the middle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Too many to choose just one, but here are a few to check out
  • Bear Wallow (a.k.a. 31 Flavors) in the GWNF near Elizabeth Furnace - From Maneka Peak to Ft. Valley Rd. Recommend climbing all the way to Signal Knob and then coming across Maneka before descending.


  • Thanks for the responses everyone

    Riderx, I'm going to ride the Signal Knob/Meneka/Bear Wallow loop this saturday (https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7013075/signal-knob-meneka-peak-bear-wallow-loop)

    Looks like tons of fun, the downhill sections looks like a blast, i think my hardtail should do great. How bad is the climb? I expect to do a decent amount of hike a bike on sections and take breaks, it doesnt look too terrible.

    Thanks for the suggestions, I need to take a trip out to Douthat asap it seems like too!

    Also if anyone wants to make a comment, which is better dh, Narrowback vs Lookout!?
 

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I am the owl
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Thanks for the responses everyone

Riderx, I'm going to ride the Signal Knob/Meneka/Bear Wallow loop this saturday (https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7013075/signal-knob-meneka-peak-bear-wallow-loop)
I'm going to suggest you don't do that. It is an awesome loop, but I will bet that is not what you are looking for. The climb on that to Maneka is a slow, rocky crawling, challenge. Heck, even going down, for most people it is more than they want to bite off. I've done it both ways, going up is a special kind of challenge.

I'll suggest this route:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17578767

If you are not up for the full pull, which is a big ride for most people, trim off the southern portion (roughly mile 6 - 17), so you make it a lollipop, which is a pretty standard ride. Go up Bear Wallow, Sidewinder, Mudhole Gap, double track to Signal Knob, across the ridge to Maneka Peak and then down 31 Flavors. 12ish miles of pain and fun, but the last 4 or 5 miles will make you forget the early suffering.

As far as Lookout vs. Tillman, rode both of them this weekend. You really can't go wrong with either. Both are great rides. Lookout has more rocks and technical at the top, Tillman has more flow. Both super fun trails.
 

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Thanks for the responses everyone

Also if anyone wants to make a comment, which is better dh, Narrowback vs Lookout!?
If you enjoyed Reddish knob, then Lookout is probably much more of what you're looking for. Sure cool rock features. Narrowback is a cool ridge ride with a couple technical features. As Riderx said the Tillman west descent is super fast flow stuff with a few small tabletops thrown in. It's really fun, but not in the same league as the other stuff mentioned. You could really do both in the same day. If you just want to check out Tillman, the bottom of it is very close to where you get dumped out from the Lookout loop. It wouldn't be too big of a deal to add an out and back of Tillman to the end of a lookout day. Our local club (CAMBC) has a group ride planned for Lookout and Narrowback/Tillman on 5/20.
 

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Since it hasn't been mentioned, Dragon's Back (aka North Mountain Trail) outside Roanoke is outstanding. No easy way up to the ridge, but no boring way down either.

Throw Massanutten's Western Slope on there too. The descent off Kaylor's Knob is one of the best around IMO.

High Knob off West Virginia side of the GWNF near Stokesville is a great shuttle too. Steep with some rock and about as much speed as anything I've ridden.
 

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Dowell’s Draft is the sh!t. My fav (haven’t ridden Southern Traverse yet though). Length, quality of track, and vertical drop all contributing factors.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm going to suggest you don't do that. It is an awesome loop, but I will bet that is not what you are looking for. The climb on that to Maneka is a slow, rocky crawling, challenge.
We knew it would be real rough but we tried it anyway! 90% brutal hike a bike on jagged rocks hahah, but we dont regret it, it was an adventure. Theres no way were going up that way again, next time we go were going to try the Bear Wallow, Sidewinder, Mudhole Gap, double track to Signal Knob, across the ridge to Maneka Peak and then down 31 Flavors route for sure.

The downhill made it all so worth it, plus the 60 degree sunny weather didnt hurt! It was sweet rocky tech stuff at the top for a bit but then it just opens up into some fun flowy narrow bench cut stuff down for a while. Some great rocky flow if you pick your lines right. They also had a section at the bottom with some awesome berms and flow to finish up strong.

Thanks for the recommendation it was a hell of a day!

IMG_3880.jpg IMG_3883.jpg IMG_3881.jpg IMG_3882.jpg

Also thanks for all the other replies! I without a doubt am going to try Lookout at one point along with narrowback and dowells sometime too.

TheDwayyo, i saw the mtbproject for high knob and it looks down right gnarly! Descending 1,900 feet in 2 miles is just insane hahaha and I camped near North mountain one time I just have to hit those trails
 

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We knew it would be real rough but we tried it anyway! 90% brutal hike a bike on jagged rocks hahah, but we dont regret it, it was an adventure. Theres no way were going up that way again, next time we go were going to try the Bear Wallow, Sidewinder, Mudhole Gap, double track to Signal Knob, across the ridge to Maneka Peak and then down 31 Flavors route for sure.

The downhill made it all so worth it, plus the 60 degree sunny weather didnt hurt! It was sweet rocky tech stuff at the top for a bit but then it just opens up into some fun flowy narrow bench cut stuff down for a while. Some great rocky flow if you pick your lines right. They also had a section at the bottom with some awesome berms and flow to finish up strong.

Thanks for the recommendation it was a hell of a day!

Also thanks for all the other replies! I without a doubt am going to try Lookout at one point along with narrowback and dowells sometime too.

TheDwayyo, i saw the mtbproject for high knob and it looks down right gnarly! Descending 1,900 feet in 2 miles is just insane hahaha and I camped near North mountain one time I just have to hit those trails
Awesome! The Signal Knob loop is no joke! Not only is the Mudhole Gap way easier, it's also longer and can all be ridden so it feels like a more substantial ride IMO.

High Knob is pretty unique, it's not terribly gnarly aside from one pretty wild chute, but it is steep and fast! The shuttle road is really good too so hitting it a couple times (if you don't mind the little climb out to the start of the descent anyway) is quick and easy.

Lookout is one of my all-time favorite trails, just beautifully done top to bottom. Narrowback is more mellow, less impressive but very, very fun. Dowell's is great, the top is fantastic (and not just because I helped build it) so if you climb Wild Oak to descend Dowell's make sure to do the short out and back up to the very top of Hankey Mountain.
 
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