There's a reason Big Bear Lake in West Virginia is becoming a destination spot for mountain bikers. With plenty of rock gardens, big boulder drops, and a rewarding vista after a long ascent, this trail system is well worth the cost of entry.
If you have Fear Of Missing Out, you can chew off all 50 miles of Big Bear Lake Trail Center. If you want to cut it shorter, a nice 21-mile loop starts off at the gate and will give you a nice taster of all Big Bear has to offer.
Destination Distance From Downtown
4 of 5 diamonds
Big Bear gets pretty rocky at times, with plenty of boulders and the occasional log, plus muddy sections depending on the weather. Beginners need not sweat it, though—you'll find plenty of options within your skill level if the rocks become overwhelming.
Time To Complete
There is close to 50 miles of Single Track at the Big Bear Lake Trail Center, including long, gradual climbs (and their accompanying descents), but a loop can be done to get you home in time.
Spring, Summer, and Winter
Big Bear Lake closes to mountain bikers from October 31 through December, and opens back up in January.
For a day pass, it’s $5, but for $30 you are able to ride for the entire January 1 - October 31 season.
Big Bear Lake Trail Center is becoming a mountain bike epicenter for enduro riders, racers, and everyone looking for a rush. With almost 50 miles of single track, you'll come across plenty of rock gardens, boulders, logs, and epic descents, while still enjoying a long, gradual climb with a rewarding vista at the top of the pine forest, as well as some fast, smooth trails that are appropriate for all still levels. Spend an afternoon exploring the well-maintained trail system, or take the plunge and sign up for one of the renowned races hosted here.
What Makes It Great
Big Bear Lake Trail Center is one of the best places in the region to get a taste of the everything West Virginia has to offer in terms of trail features. From boulder drops and embedded rock gardens to challenging climbs and white-knuckling descents, this trail system is perfect for any rider with a bit of skill and a lot of heart. With almost 50 miles, you’ll have plenty of explore, but if you’re looking for something a bit more moderate in distance, try the Race Loop (about 13 miles) or the cross country loop (about 20 miles). These rides will still give you a taste of the Bear without exhausting you beyond the point of having a great time. If you camp at Big Bear Lake campgrounds, you’ll have the opportunity to ride it all and still enjoy some R&R. Just be sure to pace yourself, because some of these trails get very technical. If you find yourself over your head (hopefully before you find yourself over the bars), there is a gentler inner loop, but overall this park is a great intermediate to advanced trail network with lots of fast, swooping sections and plenty of rocks to keep it interesting.
Who is Going to Love It
Big Bear Lake will be appreciated by anyone who can pedal a bike and doesn’t mind getting out of the saddle every once in a while to climb or descend over tricky terrain. There is a little bit of everything, though, so climbers, jumpers, lovers of rock gardens, riders of big drops, and enduro racers, unite and enjoy Big Bear’s trail system. More advanced riders will be able to appreciate more of the park, with some trails being very challenging, but the majority of the park can be ridden by less experienced riders who have two wheels and a heart.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take exit 29 for Hazleton off I-68 in West Virginia and head south for about 3 miles. There will be maps available at the entrance, and parking will be visible. For a day pass, it’s $5, but for $30 you are able to ride for the entire January 1 - October 31 season. Dogs are allowed at this private park, and camping is available for tents, RVs, or cabins. If you are interesting in watching or participating in a mountain bike race, be sure to check Big Bear Lake’s website for the schedule of race that take place throughout the spring and summer.
Written by Carolyne Whelan for RootsRated in partnership with West Virginia .