West Virginia’s New River Gorge has long been a destination for whitewater kayakers and rafters. Of late, the number of rock climbers arriving to the area is on the rise. Looking at tomorrow, plus five years, I’m betting mountain bikers will be the newest adrenaline-seeking enthusiasts to arrive to this rugged and raw rivers and mountains region of “Wild and Wonderful” WV. Oh, I forgot to mention Bridge Day!
With regard to MTB, I recently rode the newly-designed-by-IMBA-built-by-the-Boy Scouts stacked loop system called Arrowhead Trails. Opened in September 2011, some 13 miles of pure singletrack that has something for all riding abilities (minus the tech) is found just outside of Fayetteville. Here’s the cool thing: you don’t need to drive to it. You can get on the trails at the town park which connect to the Fayetteville Trail (3.3 miles of old school riding) which drops you out at the forest road that, in the time it takes you to take a pull from your hydration pack and catch your breath, lands you at the Arrowhead trailhead. Ride what you want there, then go back the way you came, and you have a solid 20 miler mtb ride without getting in your car. Go to Pies and Pints afterwards, and you’re having a great day!
To get your bearings on all of this, I highly recommend stopping in at Marathon Bicycle Company in downtown Fayetteville. Adam and Tom will be sure you know where to go, and they can map out longer rides into NRG, and point you to other rides in the area. Marathon is at the center of the discussion table for building more mtb trails in the area, including what will be 37 more miles of Arrowhead-like trails in NRG. That project is already approved.
In five years, NRG is going to be an mtb destination with 50 miles of purpose built trails. Add in that you can take a break from the pedals by running the whitewater, scaling the sandstone, or ziplining through the canopy, and you have an adventure destination that’ll keep you busy for a week.
(all photos courtesy of DWM Photography)