Timberline Mountain bike trail conditions?
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tgd
September 23, 2004
Member since 07/15/2004
585 posts
Anyone been to Timberline since the ATV race in August? Are the mountain bike trails still intact and rideable? I'm heading up this weekend and was thinking about doing some riding over there. Canaanman?
bawalker
September 24, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
When I was up there in July it looked like one of the trails was torn up pretty badly. If I remember right it was Lower Thunderstruck and had some really bad erosion areas.
tgd
September 24, 2004
Member since 07/15/2004
585 posts
The damage in July was probably from the first ATV race. The first week in August they hosted the Timber Crit MTB race at Timberline and from the reports I read it sounded as if they had cut some new bike trails, and that conditions were excellent on the course. However, that was before the second ATV race which was held mid-August. I haven't heard any reports since then.
Lietmotiv
March 11, 2005
Member since 12/31/2001
113 posts
I'm pretty sure that T-line isn't going to do ATV races anymore. I heard it from an associate in the know.

We'll see.
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johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
March 11, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Quote:

I'm pretty sure that T-line isn't going to do ATV races anymore. I heard it from an associate in the know.

We'll see.




If Timberline wants to continue attracting skiers to the resort, they should ditch the ATV races. They ruin the ski trails. It's penny wise and pound foolish to continue to damage ski terain with ATVs.
ski_guy_59
March 12, 2005
Member since 11/9/2001
221 posts
It is my understanding that they will continue.
tgd
March 14, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004
585 posts
If you check the timberline schedule of events for this summer on their website they are listing "Racefest III" for June 17-19 and "Racefest IV - Timberline 50" for 8/19-8/21. Both of these are billed as "Motorbike" races though the description of the events includes ATVs.

I stopped riding Timberline after the first ATV race last year. I found the ATVs and dirt bikes made most of their mountain bike trail network unrideable for several weeks due to the deep pits of mud and general erosion the races left in their wake. I saw Timberline managed to pull off one successful mountain bike race late last season - the "Timber Crit" - which featured some new trail; however, one of the guys in the bike shop there told me that the ATV promoter simply routed his race course to include everything marked as a mountainbike trail on the mountain, so I do not know if this new course survived the second ATV race there last August.

What has happened to the mountain biking at Timberline is really a shame because I thought the old trail network there had some really fun and challenging trails. I was able to ride over there from my place in Old Timberline and get a full workout of challenging climbs, decent singletrack, and gnarly downhills within a couple minutes of my house. Now, most of the decent riding involves loading my bike onto the truck and driving to a remote trailhead.

Overall, mountain biking in the valley seems to be in full retreat. First the Refuge closed a decent part of its trail network to bikes. Now Timberline's trail network (including the famous 24 hour race course is questionable. There is also a move to turn the Sods North and the Canaan Loop Road area into Wilderness Areas (which prohibit bicycling). Such a move would pretty much signal the death of Canaan as a mountain bike "Mecca" - and probably kill a decent amount of summer tourism up there as well. This trend is particularly ironic, because mountain bikers Nick Waite and Sue Haywood are the only true celebrity athletes from the area. Hell, Laird Knight who started the entire 24 hour race gig is from Davis. Nationally I know that mountain biking has been in decliune for several years; however, close to home here in NVA and southern Maryland the local mountain bike scene is really booming. Those who follow the local message boards are aware that DC area bikers frequently travel decent distances to hit hot spots like Gambrill, Elizabeth Furnace, Douthat, Snowshoe, Jim Thorpe, and Canaan for weekend road trips during the summer. The folks inject some needed dollars into the local economy that has to help ease the slow times after the ski slopes close.

I'm hopeful that mountain biking holds up and maybe even recovers some in the Valley. It gives me a full 3 seasons of outdoor fun (I don't count spring - too much melting snow, rain, and mud there while I am overrun at home with spring cleaning chores). I'm curious how other riders on this board feel about Canaan's future as a mountain biking destination.
SCWVA
March 16, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
I was up at T-line a couple weeks after the first ATV race. The trails were quite torn up. The 24hrs of Canaan course including the downhill was a mess. The ATV's had put huge ruts, dislodged a large number of rocks, and covered everything with mud. Did the sponsors of the race do any trail maintenance before or after the race? I doubt it. Being environmentally responsible is not high on the ATVer's priority list.

Mt. Biking in Canaan Valley in the future looks quite dismal. I have been Mt. Biking in the valley for nearly twenty years. You use to be able to camp at CV, Blackwater, or power company land (across the ricketty old bridge in Davis) and ride pretty much anywhere you wanted. It is now illegal to ride in large portions of the valley. There are a number of organizations that are promoting the expansion of the Wildlife Refuge/wilderness areas in the valley and throughout WV. On the surface this seems like a good way to keep this land from being developed, but what these organizations don't tell you is that Mt. biking will be illegal in these areas.

Canaan Valley use to be the mecca for Mt. Biking and has been promoted quite heavily in the past. I use to go up to the valley 3 or 4 times a summer to ride, but with all the closures it is not worth the drive. I guess the economy in WV is so good that they don't need any tourism $.

Mountain Biking is not a crime.
tgd
March 16, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004
585 posts
I noted that the ATV Race promoter - Paul Koontz - has the 2 Timberline races listed on his calendar for this summer. He also lists Timberline as one of his race locations. They advertise that his race series is the cheapest ATV/Motorsports series in the region - I guess so, just show up tear up the venue and leave the mess for the resort to cleanup later (or not).
kwillg6
March 16, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005
2,020 posts
Wow, I didn't get up to the valley enough to see the damage left this summer. It's a shame that Mtn Biking is on the decline in the valley. It used to be so much fun when my son was younger to go for rides of an hour or a day. Now, with Doc selling off to Fish and Wildlife, I have to go bandit and poach the old trails illegially. The ATV thing is very destructive as is the attitudes of their enthusiasts. This is another example of t-lines skewed sence of business savy.
tgd
May 9, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004
585 posts
Well, we spent this past weekend at Timberline. Managed to get out on the mountain bike and do a little exploring at the resort. As I feared, the trail network is still a mess. A lot of good singletrack and fireroads on the lower half of the mountain are marred by deep ATV ruts and hoof post-holes. The ATVs churned up so much mud that the trailbed remains very soft - even where dry. Some singletrack sections of (I believe) the Salamander, Timber and Sidewinder trails are about a 4x4 wide now. Though the trails were a bit more rideable than last summer, they are not enjoyable anymore. The trails that were not part of the ATV race badly need some maintenance - brush and logs cleared and new signage. The backside grind up FS80 was in great shape - the entire road was re-graveled recently, and the rocky trails up top next to the Sods were fine.

My recommendation is to avoid the Timberline MTB trails altogether. Next trip I will probably cut straight across Winterset to FS80, take that up to the Sods, and tackle the Non-Wilderness part of the Sods behind the Timberline HOA property.
fred
May 9, 2005
Member since 12/23/2004
59 posts
yeah, I also checked out the trails at timberline and found the same thing. Earlier I read the article with the interview with timberline general manager - Blanzy. When asked about the mountain bike trails being ruined by the motorcross races and four wheelers, he replied, "we monitor the course vary closely". Then why were trails all torn up from motorized vehicles? I don't think I'll be going over there to bike much this summer.
canaanman
May 10, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
With the destruction you just have to know where to ride. Sidewinder used to be wicked from the top of OTW to the base of the mountain... used to be... don't know how it is now.

That and the trail(s) from the base of OTW are wicked.
ubu
May 11, 2005
Member since 05/11/2005
40 posts
Quote:

Next trip I will probably cut straight across Winterset to FS80, take that up to the Sods, and tackle the Non-Wilderness part of the Sods behind the Timberline HOA property.




So the chunk of DS above Timberline HOA is legal riding territory? I thought all of DS was wilderness??
tgd
May 11, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004
585 posts
Nope - the Northern Sods are still National Forest - for now. When you come north across the backside of Timberline where FS80 degrades into a jeep trail, the DS Wilderness is off to the right and timberline to the left. If you continue north, past the left turn back to T-line and past the trailhead for Big Stonecoal and Breathed Mountain trails just a little further north you pass the Wilderness boundary and enter National Forest - legal mountain biking country. There is a lot of riding up there - I have only explored a little so far. I'm looking to find a reasonably dry traverse to Bear Rocks this Summer.

The Northern Sods is being considered for Wilderness status. I would think there is a pretty decent chance they will eventually be added to the DS Wilderness. I really enjoy Wilderness areas like the Sods and Otter Creek - but the whole ban on mountain bikes is simply unreasonable and that alone keeps me from supporting further wilderness expansions.
canaanman
May 11, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
I have to throw my 2 cents in...

There is a sweet logging road system that will lead you from that ridge above the HOA to Davis. You don't even have to cross the Blackwater... simply ride up along a feeder stream and around it's headpoint then back down into Camp Road 70 and Davis. All in all from Timberline, you're looking at a 40-50 mile ride. And that's just to Davis... I suppose you could ride to CR 70, have your gear dropped off, spend the night, then ride back to Timberline the next day... what a trip.
ubu
May 12, 2005
Member since 05/11/2005
40 posts
Wow, too cool. So if I bike up the backside of Timberline HOA into the Sods, any tips on finding the logging road? I've never biked in canaan before, but just bought a place in old timberline and am looking forward to exploring around.
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