Riding new trails is what mountain biking is all about. Having never been to Douthat State Park it seemed a Wednesday was the ideal time. Douthat has some of the best singletrack on the east coast hidden in the Appalachian mountains of south central Virginia near Clifton Forge. Andy Forron and I loaded our bikes in his Ford "Hillbilly" 250 and headed southeast from Fayetteville. It is about a two-hour drive and worth it for over 40-miles of trails and thousands of crushing elevation. The park also hosts the Middle Mountain Mama mountain bike race held every May and is revered as one of the hardest races in the East.
Wheels down at the truck we started up Beard’s Gap Hollow Trail passing over several swelled creek crossings until we hit Stony Run Trail to the top of Middle Mountain. Once at the top I recommend departing onto Tuscarora Overlook trail - which does connect back to Middle Mountain Trail - offering an awesome view of Beard’s Mountain and the Allegheny Mountain range. The overlook has an old cabin making it a worthy destination for a quick eat. After leaving the the top of the ridge the 6.8 miles of climbing of almost 3,000 feet is met with about the same miles in a screaming downhill with tight switchbacks. Brakes will be hot. The drop of elevation alone makes one want to hit repeat. There are lots of variations and being next to the George Washington National Forest miles are endless.