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The Best of W.Va. in Mountwood Park

By Staff | May 20, 2008

Once you hit the trails at Mountwood Park, you’ll likely see more white-tailed deer than other mountain bikers, even on a warm and sunny holiday weekend. That’s one of the beauties of this little known singletrack destination — plenty of leg room.

Start your ride with a climb up Copperhead Road and To the Moon, which will quickly acquaint you with the character of Mountwood trails, which are well made with plenty of climbs and forest shady enough that even the palest of riders can forego sunscreen. At the top of the ridge you’ll come to a large grassy clearing and find a little wooden stunt course built into a mound of dirt. Unless you’re on a mission to increase your tolerance for pain or are looking for a cheap and easy way to get yourself neutered, avoid it and tackle the steep and technical descent off the clearing and continue your ride through the forest. Drew Smithberger, of the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association, the group that started building trails here back in the mid ’90s, advises to not miss his favorite trail, Haystack: “It’s got the flow, top to bottom.”

There’s more to Mountwood than trees and trails. This area used to be full of oil wells, and you’ll find the surprisingly intact remains of wooden holding tanks (they look like giant whiskey barrels), some long-abandoned machinery with trees growing up through it, and the ruins of an oil magnate’s mansion.

Contact Attila at letters@graffitiwv.com