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Riding in Shenandoah Valley, VA?(10 posts)

Riding in Shenandoah Valley, VA?vindicator
Oct 9, 2003 7:39 AM
My mom organizes a family reunion style vacation every other year and next August we'll be at Massanutten Resort in the Shenandoah Valley, 11 miles east of Harrisonburg.

Of course, my first question is what bike(s) to bring. Here's the deal and I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts.

We have 4 kids, 2 pedalers and 2 Burley riders. I have a hybrid and my road bike, my wife has a hybrid, and the 2 pedalers have hardtail "mountain bike" style bikes with steel non-suspension forks. The resort has rental mountain bikes, though no details on their website about quality, kids' sizes, etc.

1) Is there good road riding in the area? (i.e., should I brink my road bike)? Can I get to the good road rides strictly by bike or would I need to drive first?

2) Are there beginner level mtb trails such that the hybrids and the "hardtail/hardfork" bikes would be fine (I'm not an experienced mtber and no one in the family is, either).

3) What about the Burley? Are there some good road rides that aren't straight up a mountain so it's worth bringing?

My twin goals here are obviously to avoid bringing a bike or trailer that I'm not going to use but also to avoid leaving something at home that I'm going to wish I had. Bringing both my bikes, plus the 3 ladies', plus the Burley, will tax our transport capacity.

Thanks in advance,

The road riding is great. Not much off road riding close by.MB1
Oct 9, 2003 8:13 AM
Miles and miles of quiet country roads-none of it flat, no mountains either just rolling countryside. You shouldn't have any problem finding quiet riding within a couple of miles from any town in the valley.
The resort itself supposedly has the off road stuffvindicator
Oct 9, 2003 8:28 AM
They claim they have trails on-site, and even ski runs for the winter, so I assume the hills have at least some steepness and they have a fair amount of acreage.

Thanks for the advice!
Its a fairly substantial mountain, by Virginia standards ...Humma Hah
Oct 9, 2003 8:42 AM
Massanutten (Mass of Nuttin') is a ski resort: not enough snow, not enough mountain, and not enough facilities, but otherwise, its OK. Its claim to fame is being close enough to get to from the cities.

But, checking a topo map, its got some of the most intense terrain in Virginia. Massanutten Mountain sticks up in the middle of the Shenendoah Valley, not part of the Blue Ridge or Appalachians, doing its own, unique thing. The northern end, away from the resort, is an absolute devil's playground of steep stuff.
Not much off road riding close by??????cyclopathic
Oct 9, 2003 9:03 AM
You've gotta be kidding!

have you ever heard of Mass mnt Hoo-Ha? Massanutten mnt packs hundreds of miles best in area singletack, leg busting fireroad climbs. I have a fireroad century route in Massanutten, and I had to drop ~60mi, 'cause noone wants to ride 160mi on dirt.

And if it isn't enough, there's Flagpoll, Reddish Knob only minutes away.
A book of maps I recommend ...Humma Hah
Oct 9, 2003 8:28 AM
... There's a book of maps called the Virginia Gazetteir (I'm sure I've mis-spelled that) which has topo maps of the whole bloody state in very good resolution. Not as detailed as a 7.5-minute USGS topo, but it will show all the little roads the highway maps miss, and give a good idea of the terrain. Good cycling resource, not much money, and most convenience stores seem to have them. Its kinda big, but you could pull out the pages you need, or stash it in the Burley.

Some locales in Virginia also have detailed map books by the Alexandria Drafting Company, with somewhat more detail.
An mtb noteOverStuffed
Oct 9, 2003 8:31 AM
Massanutten has some trails. Extremely rocky. When I rode them, I was walking the bike about half the time. I didn't have much time to explore other trails, so I might have only gotten to the hardest sections. Suspension is an advantage there, though. I don't know much about the road scene.
MTB riding around Harrisonburg-bob
Oct 9, 2003 9:15 AM
The off road riding around Harrisonburg is phenomenal. It is probably one of the best kept secrets of the east coast. For example, the Southern Traverse, which is south west of Harrisonburg, was designated by the IMBA as one of their "epic" rides. The Traverse is not a beginner ride but there are plenty of other trails in the George Washington National Forest. Contact the people at the Shenendoah Bike Company and they can point you in the right direction.
MTB riding around Harrisonburgbburgbiker
Oct 9, 2003 11:30 AM
while any of the country roads around Hburg will be very scenic for road riding, to say that there is not much mtb riding in the area couldn't be further from the truth. as bob mentioned there is the Southern Traverse
and you can find more info on trails at

btw, Harrisonburg is the adopted home of Jeremiah Bishop of recent mtb success and he came up riding the local race series.
re: Riding in Shenandoah Valley, VA?montavi
Oct 10, 2003 10:58 AM
I agree with what everyone else has said, but I'll add my 2¢ since I live at Massanutten.

1- The road riding is great. Scenic, rolling roads throughout the valley with not much traffic. I would suggest driving from the resort a couple miles across the main highway to start your rides...the road in is busy, hilly & twisty.
Skyline Drive which runs thru Shenandoah National Park is only about 15 minutes away - real nice riding there but a little hillier.

2 - The mtb trails at Massanutten are great - but even the easiest marked trail has some singletrack. Nothing too tough, but a few rocks and little climbs. There are a few fireroads that anyone could ride on, and plenty of tough, rocky stuff if you want. The resort rents Jamis mountain bikes - probably a lower model with front suspension. Not sure about kid's sizes.

3 - Not sure about the Burleys. Any road rides would be on county roads - not alot of traffice but always some. There aren't any paved bike trails around.

Hope this helps!