Pocahontas Mountain Biking Trails
Pocahontas State Park's mountain biking singletrack trails are built and maintained by volunteers and supported by funds raised through our wood-splitting program and other fundraising activities. They are the largest all-volunteer-maintained trail system in the region. Every year, our volunteers spend many hours maintaining the trails during trail-work days. You can help by volunteering your time, donating money to the Friends of Pocahontas' Trail Fund and by staying off the trails during wet conditions (please let the trails rest for 24 hours for each inch of rain received in a single day).
Learn Trail Building
Trails are not natural features - they're designed, built and maintained by skilled volunteers. You can learn how to build great sustainable trails by volunteering for our trail work days and signing up for trail classes when offered.
Important Safety Tips
The best things about Pocahontas Trails is the back country experience they offer. To enjoy these trails safely, always let someone know when you'll be riding, only ride trails within your ability level, wear a good fitting helmet and carry a snack, plenty of water, and a cell phone. And also important, always practice good trail etiquette by following the "Rules of the Trail".
The IMBA Ride Center
In 2015, the Pocahontas trails will be added to and incorporated into the IMBA Richmond Regional Ride Center.
Find out how you can support these new trails.
The Morgan Trail System
Also known as the "Old" trail system, these were the original, volunteer-built trails developed in the mid 1990s by a hardy group of committed cyclists.
The trails system consists of three trail loops each running between 2.5 and 4 miles in length. The trailhead is halfway between Qualla road and the Heritage Center parking lot on the Crostic Trail. From The Horner Forest Road Parking Lot, the trails can be accessed by following the bidirectional trail that leads out of the NE corner of the lot. When you reach the Crostic Trail (a fire road) you have the option of crossing directly and entering the green/blue loop or turning right and riding to the trail head which is about half way down the trail on your left. From Heritage Center parking area, follow Crostic (the gated fireroad immediately to the south of the parking lot) to the trailhead on your right.
It is worth noting that, apart from the Horner Forest access trail and the Lakeview access trail, all of our mountain biking trails are one-way directional (for safety). Please do not ride in the wrong direction - other cyclists will not be expecting you.
The outermost loop is our "green" or beginner trail, named Box Turtle trail. This trail is marked with a green circle and has moderate climbs and descents, no water crossings, no log crossings and no rock gardens. While probably not rideable by very small children learning to ride, the trail is easily accessible for anyone riding a mountain bike or hybrid bike. For those with a little more ability, check out the two large exposed rocks that are great for practicing your trails skills. They're about 2/3 of the way along the trail on your right.
Everyone is welcome to ride this trail and this is the place where we most often see groups of riders with mixed abilities. For more advanced riders, the trail is great for doing fast loops but we do ask that you be aware of other trail users and be respectful and careful around newer and younger cyclists.
You can find the Green Trail on Strava here.
Tall Oaks and Morel Ravine
Inside the "green" are two more difficult trails. The Tall Oaks trail ("blue"), an intermediate trail marked with a blue square, has somewhat steeper climbs, some rock gardens, several small logs and rooty sections and some steeper, shelved declines which might be intimidating to new or younger riders. The more difficult Morel Ravine ("red") trail, marked with a red square, loops from the trailhead access trail through a ravine area. It announces itself with a berm right at the start followed by a rocky table top and an uphill log. If these all seem like fun things to play on, you're in the right place. If not, now might be a good time to turn around and head back to the blue. One of the best features of this trail are the ravine crossings which start off with dips of just a couple of feet and end up with steep, rooty "halfpipes" 12 to 15 feet high.
Little West Virginia
And then there's "Little West Virginia". Two thirds of the way along the blue trail, there is a short section of expert level trail which we like to think of as a slice of West Virginia back country riding right here in Richmond. In terms of technicality, it is more technical than the Buttermilk trail but less so than some other expert trails out west. On this short, intense loop you will have lots of drop offs, some small jumps, large log pyramids and crossings, some park features, technical climbs, ascending and descending rock gardens, and lots and lots of logs to hop over. The action just keeps coming and coming with very few breaks. This is definitely not a place to ride alone or to learn to ride.
Another option, Fireroad trails
We love our singletrack trails but there's far more to ride here than just the 23 or so miles in those systems. Pocahontas has more than 50 additional miles of fire roads and doubletrack, mixed use trails. With so much variety, you can ride all day, all weekend or even all week. The best places to ride are the long loop trails on the north and south sides of the park.
In recent years, the popularity of the Monster Cross race series has drawn more riders to the south side. This is great but it does add the possibility of riders encountering equestrians because most of the horse trails are on the south side of the park (south of beach). Horses are often afraid of bicycles and, if spooked, can hurt themselves, their riders or cyclists. Wherever riders encounter horses, we ask that they:
The Lakeview Trails
Our second volunteer-built mountain bike-specific trail system is the Lakeview system of predominantly intermediate trails. Connected like loops in a chain, the trails offer stunning views of Swift Creek Lake and up to 12 miles of continuous riding over a fairly consistent level of difficulty. Because all of the trails return to the same spot on Lakeview 1, riders can enjoy just a single loop of loop 1, loops 1 & 2, or the full course, or they can repeat any of these combinations to create a ride of almost any length they desire.
To get to the Lakeview trails, park at the parking lot next to the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. Follow the Old Mill Bike Trail (to the left of the CCC Museum, across the bridge and up the hill to your left until you reach a road crossing. After crossing the road, bear right and then take a hard left on the Powhatan Trail until you reach the blue trail marker pointing to your left. Follow that trail until you see the entrance to the single track on your left as you climb away from the lake.
Because these are intermediate trails, expect to experience a creek crossing, lots of small logs, some exposed rocky shelves, some basic rock gardens and a lot of climbing and descending. Expert offshoots add more rocky features, log skinnies, jumps and some technical, bouldered sections. Without including the more difficult (red or black diamond marked) offshoots, Lakeview 1 is roughly a six mile loop from the Heritage Center parking lot. Lakeview 2 extends this to about 8.5 miles and Lakeview 3 extends it to a total of 11.5 miles.
Other than the initial access trail all of the trails are one-way directional, clockwise. The trails are ideal for fast riding and get a lot of traffic, please do not ride in the wrong direction.
Swift Creek Trail System
Our newest trail system, completed in 2015 includes four machine cut trails, designed specifically for use by hand-cyclists and beginners. Accessed from the Loop Forest Parking lot off Courthouse Rd, near the 288 exit, these trails offer a new trail style not found in the region.
Gateway 1 and 2
True beginner level trails, these two unidirectional 1/2 mile long trails are separate loops, near the Loop Forest Parking lot. Each of these trails is built in a "lift & tilt" fashion offering a raised trail bed, wide enough for hand-cyclist, but also a great trail for kids and beginners.
Blueberry Hill Trail
This trail is a 4.5 mile uni-directional loop, which begins and ends at the Swift Creek trail hub. Access to this trail is on the right, just past Gateway 2 trail. A lift & tilt flow style trail and also built with hand-cyclists in mind, this trail is fast and fun. Follow the trail along the contours of the park but watch your speed as there are several trail crossings. There are many banked turns and rollers that will put a little air between you and the ground if you carry some speed. The first half of the trail is mostly downhill and will carry riders near Swift Creek Lake before returning on an uphill section back to the trailhead.
Bell Lap Trail
Designed and built by IMBA's Trail Solutions with funding donated by Bell Helmets, this is a unidirectional downhill flow trail, with rollers, berms and lots of twists. This 1.5 mile unidirectional trail is fun for beginners and experts alike. Access to this trail can be found at the Swift Creek trail hub, near the Blueberry entrance/exit. Riders are encouraged to lower their bike seat for the best experience on the downhill section. The trail meets intersects the Loop Forest trail and riders can choose to take a left to return to the top via the gravel trail or take a right and return via a singletrack trail, back to the top.