Plan your Almost Heaven mountain biking adventure

These parks and forests are favorite riding haunts

West Virginia’s state parks and forests are crisscrossed with hundred of miles of biking trails, from screaming downhillers to gentle rail trails. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’re sure to find some trails to suit you. Here are a few favorites:

Mountain Biking West Virginia State Parks

Best for beginners

If you’re new to mountain biking, North Bend State Park is the place for you! The Quest outdoor adventure program offers an introduction to mountain biking, which includes one-on-one instruction for beginners and intermediates. Classes include bike rental and helmets

The National Interscholastic Cycling League (NICA) and the West Virginia Interscholastic Cycling League (WVICL) hold annual races here for youth interested in learning the sport. The Old Farm Trail, a moderate trail with flow, fun and challenges, was built specifically to meet NICA standards for accessibility and rider safety.

The park has 20 miles of single-track trails to explore, but if you’re not ready to tackle , you can always head next door to the North Bend Rail Trail. The wide, gentle grade path is made primarily of crushed stone and dirt, just right for beginners. The 72-mile trail winds through shaded tree canopies, rock cuts and farmland. Pack a picnic lunch and stop at one of the shelters along the road!

Minutes from the city

Only 20 minutes from downtown Charleston, Kanawha State Forest is a mecca for hardcore mountain bike riders—so much that it’s the site of the annual Kanawha State Forest Mountain Bike Festival featuring the Black Bear 40K and the Black Bear Enduro. Chief among its big daddy trails rides is—you guessed it—the Black Bear, a mile-long steep and challenging downhiller.

“The Bear is a white-knuckled trip down sketchy single-track heading straight down.”

— Me Hendo, MTBProject.com

But if the Black Bear is a screaming loop-de-loop rollercoaster, Middle Ridge is that classic wooden coaster at Coney Island. The trail winds through the woods along the ridgeline for nearly 8 miles. There are no steep drop-offs—just rolling hills and the occasional root or rock to navigate—making it ideal for an intermediate run.

Just off I-68 outside Morgantown, Coopers Rock State Forest remains a popular destination for students from nearby West Virginia University. The forest boasts nearly 50 miles of trails—many with spectacular views of the Cheat River Canyon. Favorite mountain biking trails include the easy-to-intermediate Rock City, which winds less than a mile through rhododendron tunnels and magnificent rock formations; and Clay Run, an easy double- and single-track two-miler that that leads to the Henry Clay Furnace, a towering stone structure built in the mid-1800s to smelt iron ore extracted from the area.

Mountain Biking West Virginia State Parks

Mountain playground

Set in the Alleghenies in the heart of the Monongahela National Forest, Blackwater Falls State Park puts the “mountain” in mountain biking. The park’s namesake waterfall and stunning views of Blackwater Canyon are reason enough to visit, but it has some pretty amazing trails, too—like the mile-long Yellow Birch, described as both beautiful and challenging:

“Twisty and rooty single-track through an enchanting forest.”  

— Adam Linstedt, MTBProject.com

For more riding options, the 8-mile Allegheny/Davis trail system links Blackwater to Canaan Valley Resort State Park where there’s another 18 miles of wide-open trails for you and your buddies to explore.

And if that’s not enough, you might want to check out the annual Canaan Mountain Bike Festival in Davis, a multiday event featuring group-led rides in both state parks and surrounding natural areas.

Turn your mountain biking adventure into an #AlmostHeaven getaway! West Virginia State Parks and Forests has the accommodations to suit your group, from tent and RV camping to historic cabins to modern lodge rooms.

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