Self-Guided Night Mountain Biking Rules
Updated September 2019
Winter months mean shorter days and less time to ride our wonderful trails. Under a special agreement with the Park, riders can keep riding after dusk as long as the following rules are followed. Please help keep this opportunity available by following all rules. Night ride season begins the Monday After Labor Day and runs through the first Sunday of May each year. Rides must conclude by 9pm and all vehicles out of parking areas by 10pm.
- For the fourth season night rides are allowed through the fall and winter with the exception of trails closures due to official announced closures or due to wet trail conditions. To monitor for official and weather related trail closures please check the website www.FOPSP.org. Please follow trail closures and use common sense. If you are leaving tracks do not ride. Note the season starts the Monday after Labor Day and runs through the first Sunday of May the following year.
- By default, use of the park after sundown is illegal and subject to fines. Night riding is available under a special use permit obtained by the Friends of Pocahontas State Park. The special use permit can be revoked if participants fail to follow rules and common sense, please review these rules carefully.
- Riders are required to print out, complete and sign a night riding permit and to display the permit(s), one per rider, in their car window. Permit will not be available or provided by the Park or Staff. This helps the park rangers know who is riding and who may be lost when inspecting lots for permits and parking.
- Night riding without completely filling out and displaying a waiver is illegal and subject to fine.
- Breaking the permit or park rules voids the permit.
- Riders are allowed to only ride the Swift Creek Trails, Lakeview I and III, Morgan Trails and fire roads north of beach road.
- Riders must park and access the trails from the parking lot just beyond the Welcome Station at the main entrance of the park off Beach Rd., Loop Forest Trail parking lot, Horner Forest Trail parking lot, or Taylor Forest Trail parking lot.
- Please be safe. Riding is being allowed and expanded this year because people rode conservatively and respectfully last year. If there are accidents or rule violations the special use permit may be revoked and night ride privileges will be eliminated.
- Ride safe, ride in groups, pay the parking fee, follow the rules, be self-sufficient and enjoy this privilege. Currently there is no additional charge for after hours riding. Should we as the users not properly manage the program causing additional work for the rangers the future may hold a cost for the permit to cover cost to operate the program.
- Equipment – minimum of two separate light systems required. Lighting must be powerful enough to illuminate trail for riding and robust enough for mountain bike use. Helmet and handlebar mounted systems are recommended. Spare battery is also recommended. Bicycle should be well maintained and ready to ride. Working and operational mobile phone is also mandatory.
The permit rules are (quoting from the permit form below):
- Fill out the form and place it on your vehicle dashboard (one form per rider).
- Limit rides to the Lakeview I and III (Lakeview II is under an on-going closure, must use East State Park Rd or Fendley Station to link LV I and LV III), Morgan and Swift Creek Trail Systems, and Fire roads north of beach road only.
- Ride only in the signed direction.
- Carry a cell phone in a waterproof cover.
- Carry no fewer than 2 high intensity lights per person.
- Ride in groups of two or more, do not ride alone.
- Carry either a physical trail map or a smartphone with mapping app such as TrailForks App.
- Park only in the Front Parking Lot on State Park Rd, Loop Forest Trail Parking Lot, Horner Trail Parking Lot, or Taylor Trail Parking Lot (parking fee applies at all locations).
- Return to your car no later than 9:00 pm EST.
- Leave the Park no later than 10:00 pm EST.