Monongahela National Forest - Mountain Biking

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Summary

Monongahela National Forest has more than 80 miles of mountain biking trails that will challenge riders at every skill level.

Written by

Carolyne Whelan

Distance

80.0 miles

Monongahela National Forest can be split up into different sections, each with their own network of trails, providing for a seemingly endless amount of opportunities to shred, carve and get gnarly.

Destination Distance From Downtown

103.2 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

This park has lots of climbs, descents, rocks, and creek crossings, so riders with a moderate amount of bike handling skills and fitness will enjoy it most. But there are crushed limestone double track for beginners, as well as large drops, rock gardens, and fast, twisty descents for the more skilled and daring riders.

Time To Complete

5 hours

The Monongahela National Forest is huge, so serious mountain bikers could spend a solid day exploring the trails here. For a weekend adventure, spend a night camping and then treat yourself to a day at Snowshoe Bike Park in the heart of the forest.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Because of wet conditions in the spring and winter, summer and fall are the best times to ride in the Monongahela. Be careful if you head out in the winter, and to preserve the trails, don’t ride when everything is thawing and sloppy in the early to mid-spring.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Pets are only allowed on campgrounds and must be on leash at all times.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Monongahela National Forest is a vast wilderness with plenty of mountain biking opportunities. While not all parts of the park are open to cyclists (like the designated wilderness areas of Dolly Sods, Otter Creek, Laurel Fork North and South, Big Draft, Cranberry, Roaring Plains and Spice Run), there are still lots of places to get an adrenaline rush or just some fresh air on 2 wheels. There are only a few maintained mountain biking trails in the forest, but they do have a variety of features, from creek crossings to rock gardens, plus plenty of opportunities to get your heart rate up with impressive climbs.

What Makes It Great

With lush diversity and trails ranging from moderate to difficult, Monongahela National Forest is a mountain biker’s playground. The trails can be challenging for some riders, with grinding ascents and steep, turbulent descents, but that’s all part of the fun while riding in this park. This forest boasts some of the best riding in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia. With plenty of spots to pitch a tent, you can easily spend a weekend exploring the trail systems.

These adventurous, probably muddy mountain bike trails with beautiful wildlife and serene vistas will make you want to come back again and again to explore new sections and gain the skills to ride faster and stronger. Expect to come across lots of moss-covered granite and slick roots as you come around switchbacks, but the (literally) slippery slopes are worth the extra handling for the thrill of descending among mountain laurel, rhododendron and wildlife.

As technical as Monongahela National Forest can be, even less experienced riders can find their happy place here, with trails like West Fork that take you along rivers and abandoned railroad tracks, with all the peacefulness of mountain biking while you cruise along a relatively flat, smooth trail surface.

Who is Going to Love It

If you love to push your limits, explore trails that seem to go on forever, and ride a variety of technical trail features, this place is for you. Monongahela National Forest is for riders who aren’t afraid of getting a little muddy or of standing out of the saddle to make it up a punchy climb or down a descent. Ambitious riders can dedicate several hours to exploring the pockets of trails, but with so many options, just about every mountain biker will find something at her or his skill level.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From I-79, take Exit 99 to merge onto 119 N/US-33 E, which will merge with US-48 E. Use the right lane to take US-33 E/US-219 S/US-250 S ramp to Elkins, then turn left onto Old Rte. 219. Turn right onto Rt. 9/S. Stalnaker Run Road, which will turn into Cravens Run Road and then Stone House Road as it crosses Shavers Fork, then merge onto Shavers Fork Road. There will be spots to pull off the road to park for trails like Big Stonecoal Trail or Whitmeadow Ridge Trail. Choose a trail, any trail!

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Location

Monongahela National Forest

200 Sycamore Street
Elkins, WV, 26241
38.928695, -79.845355

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