Editor’s Note: Jordan Carr and co-author and photographer Leilani Bruntz spent the last year traveling the country spreading the gospel of mountain biking as the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew. Along the way they got to explore some of the country’s best riding locales, and then share them with you in this reoccurring Mtbr Trail Report series. Follow Carr and Bruntz’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram, and let us know in the comments section below if you have additional beta about these great riding destinations. And be sure to check out some of their other write-ups, including Salida, Colorado, Oakridge, Oregon, Phoenix, Arizona, and Cable, Wisconsin.
If I told you there’s a place where a devoted cyclist has opened a mountain bike-friendly lodge with immediate access to more than 500 miles of rocky, mountainous singletrack meandering through dense forests, you might think you’d found paradise. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Stokesville Lodge in Northern Virginia. Indeed, with access to what seems like endless interconnected singletrack, the entire Stokesville area could quite easily be one of the best mountain bike destinations in the U.S.
To bolster that reputation, lodge owner Chris Scott has been hard at work creating a buzz around Stokesville, putting on events such as the Shenandoah Mountain 100 and Stoopid 50. Scott’s deep passion for mountain biking has added a new level of stoke to the area riding.
Years of development from key leaders within the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition has opened up key relationships with local land managers, creating significant momentum within this tight knit community of mountain bikers in nearby Harrisonburg, which has an IMBA Bronze lever ride center. Harrisonburg’s proximity to Stokesville, combined with its own evolving trail network on Massanutten Mountain and Hillendale Park, is a testament to the entire area’s devotion to a truly diverse knobby tire experience.
Riding Around Stokesville
Your body will most likely wear out before you are able to ride all the great trails in this rural pocket of National Forrest. But there are a few must-do rides, and the varied loop options out of Stokesville Lodge make it a perfect base camp. Riders looking for epic adventures will enjoy Wild Oak NRT and the Shenandoah Mountain Trail. Shorter options include T.W.O.T. (Camp Todd, Chestnut, Grindstone) and Reddish Knob. Most of the riding around Stokesville is rocky and technical, though there are some smooth machine built trails, too. Check out the Narrowback Mountain Loop and the rocky and flowy Lookout Trail. Great details on all these trails can be found on MTBProject.com
Stokesville is a rural community in the truest sense. If you’re looking for a bustling city experience after your rides, nearby Harrisonburg is a better choice. But if you prefer listening to nothing more than wind rustling through the leaves and maybe some crickets and coyotes at night, the Stokesville Lodge is a great escape. The lodge can accommodate a variety of group sizes, and features a full kitchen and garage. There are also established campsites, a shower house, and communal pavilion. For more information on rates and options, check out www.stokesvillelodge.com.
In Harrisonburg, many options are available for food and drink. There are also some great bike shops, including the Shenandoah Bicycle Company, which has a helpful staff and great selection of gear.