Mountain Biking 101

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The Roanoke Region of Virginia is the Mountain Bike Capital of the East Coast … and for good reason. The caliber of riding is hard to match and local riders, businesses, governments, economic developers, and tourism folks are taking notice.

“Carvins Cove might be the best trail system in the East, and it is just the tip of the iceberg for Roanoke mountain biking. The riding in Roanoke compares well to the most famous trails in the U.S.” — Steve Powers, local rider, trail builder, and college professor

Did you know that Roanoke is one of only 15 Silver-Level IMBA Ride Centers in the world? (Yep, we sure are.)

Want to get in on the action? Here’s how our region has not only embraced the mountain biking culture, but is actively working to make it even better.

Explore Trails

bike trails roanoke

The region is home to multiple trail systems — Mill Mountain Park, Explore Park, Douthat State Park, Poverty Creek, and Carvins Cove to name a few — that include multiple ride options that can give you a short half-hour ride or occupy you all day long. Add each of these areas to your bucket list, check them off one at a time, and be prepared to come back again and again.

And we’re not ashamed to say the region is home to a few stand-alone epic trails for more experienced riders. Try Patterson Mountain, Arcadia Up and Over, Dragon’s Back, and Dody Ridge for starters. (These classic rides are not for the faint at heart.) Note that some are one-way rides, so consider a shuttle and plan in advance.

You can find them all here.

Groups and Clubs

mountain biking in roanoke

  • Roanoke IMBA: If you love mountain biking and care about the environment, you belong with IMBA – the International Mountain Bike Association. Roanoke IMBA is a member-based, 501(c)3 nonprofit, dedicated to promoting land access, trail preservation, and new trail development in order to enhance mountain biking in the Roanoke Region.
  • Blue Ridge Gravity: Group dedicated to downhill riding in and around the Roanoke Region includes volunteers working to better the region’s mountain bike trails, including the area’s first mountain bike jump trail system at Carvins Cove.
  • Pathfinders for Greenways: A group of citizens who represent the trail users of the Roanoke Valley for non-motorized trail uses, with a vision is to have all area trail users meet and work together on projects that would benefit the community.
  • Volunteer Trail Work: Building, improving and maintaining trail networks is a rewarding and fun volunteer opportunity. Local organizations host regular volunteer trail maintenance work days in parks and recreational spaces throughout the region.

Youth Biking Resources

junior mountain biking

Events and Group Rides

mountain biking roanoke

The best way to keep up with mountain biking events is to check the calendar. (And if you host an event, listings are free!)

One that you might want to try is the Thursday Night Special, a social ride that happens twice each month, starting at Roanoke Mountain Adventures and ending with a cold beverage on the patio. The leaves from RMA at 5:30, heads to Mill Mountain via the Greenway and then to the Star. All ability levels welcome, but keep in mind Mill Mountain is mostly intermediate trail. Riders will be back at the shop around 7 p.m., feel free to bring refreshments if you’d like to hang out post ride! Call in advance at 540-525-8295 if you need to rent a bike.

Note Sure Where to Start?

Mountain biking only looks intimidating, but it’s not! Berm Peak Express has a great video guide (below) that answers all of the questions you are too embarrassed to ask. (Give it a watch; you’ll probably learn something new.)

Create Your Own Land Adventure

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