Blackwater Falls SP
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3 users
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SCWVA
May 14, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Is it still legal to ride Mtn Bikes in BWSP? I'm talking about single track trails like Plantation, not the fire roads. Hoping to make a trip up to the Valley in the next month or so.
tgd
May 14, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
All the trails in the National forest area surrounded by the Cannaan Loop Road (including Plantation) are outside the BWSP boundary and open to mountain bikes. Within BWSP I believe only Dobbin House and Davis Trails are open.
SCWVA
May 16, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
tgd,

Having raced on Plantation Trial on a number of occasions, I had always thought that since you would pass the BFSP lodge during the start of the race or if you started on the Rt. 32 side you would end up on the Canaan Loop road and you would say "Hey this is the fire road near BFSP". I had always ASSumed that you were riding in BFSP, not the NF. I guess the lack on oxygen during the races you don't think to clearly!

Plantation Trail is alot of fun even if you've had a lot of rain. I remember hearing that convicts did the trail maintenance and they are the ones who brought in all the crushed stone! Any thruth to this?
tgd
May 16, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
You know, I have not ridden Plantation yet. I usually get up to Canaan with my non-MTBing family (wife and 4 yr old) so I tend to ride alone and stay closer to our place at Tline so if I run into problems I can radio for help. I'm planning to get some of my riding buds from NVA up to the Valley this summer and hitting the Plantation is at the top of my list. I've heard the nightmare stories about the rocks but have no idea of their origin. I have a duallie but my buddy rides HT - do you think he should try to rent a DS bike from BW Bikes before taking on that trail?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 17, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,922 posts
I hiked about half of the Plantation Trail over the weekend. For birding, it was amazing. I saw about 6 different warbler species included several Black Throated Blues, a Blackburnian, and several Canada Warblers.

Unfortunately, the mountain biking crowd, of which I am a part of, is tearing the heck out of the trail. The weekend was fairly dry and yet huge sections of the trail consist of nothing but gear deep mud pits. Because of the Laurel and rhododendrons, it's nearly impossible to hike or cycle around these eroded sections. It's gotten so bad that there is some evidence that the Forest Service is trying to move the trail, but I'll have to see it to believe it.

The great thing about Plantation Trail from both a hiking and cycling perspective is that you are never more than a few miles from the Canaan Loop Road, so if you need to bail, you are just a short connector trail away from a main forest road. Plantation Trail is also fairly level (not much altitude change), so it is goo for distance hiking and cycling. I hiked 16 miles on Monday. The birds were so great that I could not stop.
SCWVA
May 17, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
John,

Plantation trail is almost always muddy. My experience with Plantation Trail dates back at least 15 years. Well may be it's been 20 years. Damn I'm getting old. Some sections are like riding through a melted milk shake, but the trail had a hard bottom and was very rideable. Other sections were bogs, but they had(?) walkways or boards that you could walk/ride on to get through the real muddy sections without doing much damage. I don't know if the walkways still exist, as it has been a few years since I have ridden Plantation. But it does sound like it is need on some maintenance. May be Blackwater Bikes can put something togther as Plantation Trail has been a main stay for the Canaan Valley Mt. Biking community.

tgd, Plantation is pretty technical and has lots of rocks, slick roots, and mud. If you are looking for smooth fast single track, this isn't the trail. We use to ride it with rigid frames, so full suspension is not a must.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 18, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,922 posts
It looks like the Forrest Service might be trying to re-align the trail. There are a lot of markings on trees just to the south of the trail, and they do not seem to be leftovers from bike races.

The trail system on the backbone is a real gem. I love it. For easier mountain biking, it's fun to take the Canaan Loop Rd all the way to the state park and then come back on 32.

I also like A-Frame rd for easy stuff.
SCWVA
May 25, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
John,

Did you take any pictures of the trail or the birds while you were on Plantation? I'd love to see them.
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