Start at the lower end of Douthat Lake and roll out to main road. Take a left and enjoy a short warm up on pavement before turning left onto the Wilson Creek trail that gradually climbs its way to a road winding up to the cabins and guest lodge. Pedal steeply up the pavement to a hairpin turn.
Notice a trail sign on your right and head this way up Guest Lodge. Pass the first intersection on your right and then take a left at the next intersection onto Mountain Top. Continue the grinding climb up; there is a viewpoint that awaits. After checking out the dense forests surrounding Douthat, descend past an intersection with Mountain Side and then onto another intersection with Beard’s Gap. There is a small shelter here with a place to sit and rest before continuing.
Stay straight at the Beard’s Gap intersection on Brushy Hollow and climb again (thankfully a short ascent) to another viewpoint. Take advantage of another opportunity to rest before finishing the climb. Now it’s time for a much deserved, long descent. The trail is fast but has many switchbacks so be aware of your speed going into turns. Nearing the bottom of the valley, you’ll encounter eight rock-armored creek crossings before reaching the swing bridge over Wilson Creek. Bounce your way across the bridge and then roll out to Douthat Road.
Take a right and pedal just over half a mile to Stony Run. Take a left here and start the biggest climb of the ride. The grade is not steep at first but after the first intersection, the trail begins to ramp up. Stay straight at the next intersection with a horse sign and begin the real climbing. From here to the turnoff for Tuscarora Overlook you’ll experience several switchbacks through mature forest.
The best views of the park are available from the cabin at Tuscarora Overlook, the out-and-back should not be missed.
From the overlook continue up to Middle Mountain Trail where you’ll reach the high point of the ride. The last bit of the climb takes you into moss and lichen covered rocks and trees, a surreal landscape. Once you top out, Middle Mountain is a fast cruise across the ridge through the trees. You might feel like you’re riding through a scene from Lord of the Rings.
Take a right at the intersection with Salt Stump and enjoy and fast, rockin’ descent through big trees and dense forest. Continue straight through the first intersection and then bear right at the next junction.
Laurel View is a slightly downhill route over relatively smooth trail with a few roots and rocks traversing lower slopes.
At the third intersection, take a left to work your way to the start of the ride at the bottom end of Douthat Lake.
Local Trail AssociationBlue Ridge Off-Road Cyclists (www.roanokeimba.org)
Difficulty ratingBlack Diamond
Bike typeAM, XC
More Stats for Douthat State Park - IMBA Epic mountain bike route
Altitude min1,296 ft
Altitude start1,399 ft
Altitude end1,399 ft
Distance climb9 miles
Distance down8 miles
Distance flat912 ft
- Snow Packed
- Snow Covered
- Freeze/thaw Cycle
- Prevalent Mud
- Very Dry
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