Mountain Biking in the Richmond Region

Mountain biker in Forest Hill Park tunnelMountain biking in RVA is a great way to get outside to get some exercise and fresh air in a beautiful setting.  And the variety of trails and terrain in our region gives riders of every ability the opportunity constantly explore and tackle new challenges.

Whether you’re a first-time dabbler, an experienced thrill-seeker, looking for an adventure with the whole family, or a seasoned rider, RVA’s got the goods!  Here’s Active RVA’s guide to the Richmond Region’s best mountain biking –

James River Park – City of Richmond

JRPS’s trails wind up and down the James River in the heart of the city. They tend to be intermediate to difficult trails. Bike directly to the trailheads or park and unload from one of several parking lots that service the park.

  • Dogwood Dell – A couple of miles of trail wind around the woods behind the Carillon with fun berms and zippy hills.
  • North Bank Trail – Near Texas Beach and Hollywood Cemetery, this challenging trail traverses the steep cliff on the North side of the James.
  • Belle Isle – This historic urban island features a beginners’ skill course to practice on before setting out for more challenging terrain, including the loop rock garden right nearby.
  • Buttermilk – A very technical trail full of rocks and obstacles. Favored for its grueling terrain.
  • Forest Hill Park – The tree cover and views in this park on the city’s south side are beautiful and offer some fun for beginners up to intermediate riders.
  • Powhite Park – Powhite is a short trail known for flowy drops and fun climbs.
  • Pony Pasture – At river level on the south bank, Pony Pasture is a small, snaky network of trails set into the foliage.  There are easy and more difficult paths ripe for exploring.

Pocahontas State Park – Chester

Just off Highway 288 in Chesterfield, Pocahontas rocks! Miles and miles of trails, most of them doubletrack, can be inviting to kids and people new to the sport. You can weave through the park’s 10+ loops for a full day of riding or dabble for a few miles before relaxing along Swift Creek or hanging with the kids at one of the many playgrounds.

Poor Farm Park – Hanover

Riders LOVE this park because it offers a little of everything – from tough climbs and log piles to creek crossings and tight twisting turns. Located just behind Patrick Henry High School off Highway 54 in Hanover.

And just a short drive away are…

York River State Park – Williamsburg

A 40 minute drive East from Richmond and 30+ miles of trails are yours! Including 15 miles of single track and ample beginner fire road trails, York River satisfies a range of cyclists and has great river views to boot!

Freedom Park – Williamsburg

In between the York and James Rivers, Freedom Park opens up 20 miles of single track and features a “Bunny Loop” trail for novice riders.

Go at your own speed.

Going fast is part of the fun of mountain biking, sure! But go at your own speed, picking trails suited for your skills and appetite for adventure. If you’re new to mountain biking, every ride is a chance to develop your skills. And veterans make a point of riding familiar trails to try new techniques all the time.

Impact & Upkeep.

Trails require a gargantuan volunteer effort to build and maintain, so do everything you can to minimize your riding’s effect on erosion and trail widening.

  • Abstain from riding when trails are wet.
  • Consistently ride only on the trail itself rather than riding on the outer edges or cutting through natural areas between sections of the trail.
  • Volunteer! To match your dirty bike, you can get your hands dirty too helping to build and maintain trails. Check out Richmond-MORE to get involved!

Want more info on how this whole “mountain biking” thing works? The International Mountain Biking Association has some simple “Rules of the Trail” you can read up on.

See you out there, RVA!