Building, Riding, and Maintaining Trails in Southeastern Virginia

    Freedom Park

    Freedom Park, Williamsburg VA

    Location:
    5537 Centerville Rd
    Williamsburg, Virginia 23188

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    Directions:
    From Interstate 64 take exit 234A to Route 199. From Route 199 take the Longhill Road exit. Turn right onto Longhill Road (Route 612). Follow Longhill Road until it ends at the park gates. Once inside the park gates, follow road to the parking lot.

    Google Map

    GPSTrailSource

    Description:

    Freedom Park boasts over 20 miles of singletrack trail including a beginner level Bunny Loop trail, a freeride trail, and several miles of multi-use trails.  Each trail has a different feel and its own set of unique features.  All bike trails are uni-directional singletrack trails, so please pay attention to the signs.  Helmets are required.

    Freedom Park is open daily from 7:00 AM to sunset.  Trails may sometimes be closed to bikes due to rain or dangerous conditions.  Call the park office for trail conditions and status.  Park Facilities currently include a park office, meeting room, museum exhibits, fireplace, restrooms, bike wash, botanical garden, the Go Ape treetop adventure, and plenty of parking.  Bring the family and make a day of it!

    Check trail maps at the park for locations of all trails.  Maps are available at the park office and the black mailboxes near the parking lot and trail signs.  Trails are sometimes re-routed and may have changed since you last rode them!  Carry a map and cell phone with you, plan your route, and pay attention to all signs, especially the emergency access points: orange posts with white numbers on red stars.  Always know where you are on the trail!  You may need to refer to the trail name and last emergency access point or trail feature that you passed.

    Report downed trees, trail damage, needed repairs, and any dangerous conditions to the park office or to trails@evma.org.

    Bunny Loop – for beginners

    The 0.71 mile Bunny Loop was built in 2013 for kids and novice riders.  The trailhead is marked with a big sign near the end of the parking lot closest to the Free Black Settlement cabins.  Though meant to be easy, there are some bumps, a few wooden bridges, and some small, easy dirt mounds that will introduce new riders to smaller versions of some of the features on Freedom Park’s intermediate-rated trails.  A short way into the trail a sign indicates options to the left or right.  Each fork takes an opposite direction but gets you back to the trail head in a total of 0.35 miles.  Ride both forks for different experiences.  Once novices have built some confidence on the Bunny Loop, try out Trails A-E.

    Trails A and B

    Trail A, the original mountain bike trail at Freedom Park, is 5 miles of hard-packed, fast, intermediate skill level singletrack.  The original layout was built in 2002 but has had several re-routes and improvements since then.  This is a rough-and-tumble, fun loop trail with plenty of short, moderately strenuous uphills and short, quick downhills through multiple ravines.  There are also some flat, flowy sections, several wooden bridges, and a few small dirt rollers and jumps.  There are two long downhills shortly past the halfway point.  Just past the 4 mile mark, look for the sign for a 5 foot drop (stay right for the 5′ drop, or left for a smaller, less steep 4′ drop).  Trail A ends at multi-purpose trail #2.  Turn left and continue downhill and cross the wide wooden bridge to the Trail C trailhead, or turn right and follow multi-use trail #2 and the signs back to the A trailhead and parking lot (making one left turn onto multi-use trail #1 along the way).

    Route tips and variations:

    • At 2.7 miles in you can continue straight on A, or turn right at the orange post for 0.25 miles of singletrack back to emergency access #9 and the parking lot.
    • At 2.86 miles in (shortly after a long wooden bridge and up a hill) you can bear left to stay on A, or bear right at the big sign for Trail B, which winds tightly through the trees for 1.7 miles before crossing multi-use trail #1 and linking back up with Trail A right at the top of everybody’s favorite downhill.
    • At 3.8 miles in (having followed A and bypassed B), shortly after the long downhill and ensuing climb, Trail A passes within about 20 feet and clear view of multi-use trail #1.  You can hop over to the multi-use trail and either turn right to ride the long downhill again, or turn left and follow multi-use trail #1 all the way back to the parking lot.

    Trail B is an extension of A.  B is 1.7 miles by itself, and ridden together with A makes the A/B loop 6.2 miles.  B is about the same intermediate skill level but slightly more technical than A, with tighter twists and a few sharp downhill turns.  B is a nice change-up to A that will test your bike handling skills maneuvering through sharp-turning flat sections through the trees.  B links back up with A just before everybody’s favorite downhill on Trail A.  By taking the B extension from A, you only miss about 0.5 miles of Trail A (and one good downhill).

    Route tips and variations:

    • You can access B from the 2.86 mile mark on A, marked with a big sign.
    • You can also access B from the parking lot: just uphill from the Go Ape cabin, cross the grass field, enter the single track at emergency access #9, ride 0.25 miles to link up with A, and turn right at the orange post.  B will be about 0.15 miles ahead, well marked by a large sign.

    Trail C

    Originally built in 2008 but with new features occasionally added, Trail C is the EVMA’s premier freeride trail, boasting dozens of TTFs (Technical Trail Features) including dirt rollers, berms, skinnies, teeters, A-frames, table-tops, gap jumps, gravity pits, bridge drops, a log ride, a wooden half-moon, and more.  TTFs vary in skill level, are well-marked, and all have marked ride-arounds.  KNOW YOUR LIMITS and your bike’s limits before attempting TTFs. Always check out a TTF from all angles before you attempt it.

    Aside from the TTFs, 4.6 mile loop Trail C is just plain fun, boasting some moderate climbs, fast flat sections, views of Colby Swamp, and rides under the Go Ape treetop adventure, including directly beneath one of the major zip-lines.  Cross-country and freeriders alike will love this trail.  Trail C is rated intermediate skill level, but some TTFs are rated more difficult.

    Route tips and variations:

    • Trail C crosses multi-use trails several times and has multiple emergency access points, offering many starting, ending, and bail-out points.  Some of these accesses are good ways to quickly get to your favorite TTFs.
    • There are several forks in the trail with signs indicating one way to the TTF and one way to the BP (Bypass, or ride-around).  Both forks will keep you on the main trail.
    • The official trailhead is on multi-use trail #2 just downhill from the end of Trail A, at the end of a wide wooden bridge.  To get there from the parking lot, follow the signs toward Trail A.  Pass by the Trail A trailhead, then take your first right turn, following the sign for multi-use Trail #2 and Bike Trails C, D, and E.  At the bottom of the hill, cross the wide wooden bridge and look for the Trail C trailhead sign immediately on the left.  This will also be your ending point.  To get back to the parking lot, follow multi-use trail #2 back toward the Trail A trailhead, making one left turn onto multi-use trail #1.
    • Another good starting point is where Trail C crosses multi-use trail #3 near the edge of the grass field.  From the parking lot or paved park road near the botanical garden, cross the large grass field heading toward the wooden split rail fence.  Turn left onto the well-marked multi-use trail #3 into the woods and look for the yellow post on the left with a white “C” on a blue background.  This will also be your ending point.

    Trail D

    Trail D, originally completed in March 2010, has Freedom Park’s most overall technical cross-country terrain.  Many people consider D the most difficult trail at Freedom Park.  D is overall intermediate rated, but contains some tricky terrain  features described below.  D is 5 miles long, laid out in more or less a figure 8 with an inner loop and an outer loop separated by a wooden bridge.  It passes through hardwood and pine forests, often with sudden changes making for unique scenery.  D has plenty of short ups and downs, so compared to the rest of Freedom Park you won’t be on flat ground with easy pedaling for very long stretches.  Aside from having plenty of turns that require your concentration, the inner loop of D before you get to the second wooden bridge doesn’t contain the challenges that the outer loop does.  Around the 1 mile mark you’ll suddenly enter a pine forest and soon cross a wooden bridge, then suddenly cross right back to deciduous forest.  At 1.6 miles you’ll come to the second bridge.  Follow the well-marked signage to either bear right to cross the bridge on to the outer loop, or bear left to stay on the inner loop for another .7 miles back to the multi-use trail.  Over the bridge and on the outer loop be prepared for several sets of switchbacks – something that you won’t find much of this far east.  There are also several short but twisty and rooty uphill sections with sharp turns that will test your ability to simultaneously crank and maneuver your bike over uneven terrain at low speed.  Around 3.8 miles in you get a breather and chance to build some speed through a flat, flowy section.  At the 4.3 mile mark, just after a very tight, twisty downhill, you’ll return to the second bridge and back to the inner loop.  Follow the sign to the right once across the bridge to continue to the inner loop.  Another 0.7 miles to the end of the trail dumps you onto Multi-use trail #3 directly across from Trail E.  Keep riding E, or turn left and follow the multi-use trail 0.25 miles back to the D trailhead or further on toward the parking lot.

    Route tips and variations:

    • Trails D and E make a great 8.7 mile loop, as Trail D finishes at the Trail E trailhead and Trail E finishes at the Trail D trailhead.
    • The inner loop has a few emergency access points in the first half mile, then none on the outer loop, and then a few once you cross the bridge back to the inner loop.
    • Trails D and E are also easily accessible from Jolly Pond Road.  Enter Freedom Park multi-use trail #3 from Jolly Pond Road just past Hornsby Middle School at the gravel drive blocked with a chain.

    Trail E

    Originally completed in March 2011, Trail E is a 3.7 mile loop of tearing-through-the-woods, intermediate skill level fun.  With relatively few technical requirements but several short climbs, E is a grip-it-and-rip-it kind of trail.  Just watch your speed on the turns so you don’t hit the trees – it’s easy to build speed on this trail but there are also plenty of curves to force you to moderate it.  There are a few natural dirt rollers along the way.  A section about half way in offers a chance to carry some speed for a while on a flat, flowy section.  Most of the climbing is shortly past the halfway point.  The trail finishes with a few tight, twisty sections before dumping you back onto multi-use trail #3 right at the Trail D trailhead.

    Route tips and variations:

    • Trails D and E make a great 8.7 mile loop, as Trail D finishes at the Trail E trailhead and Trail E finishes at the Trail D trailhead.
    • E has only a few emergency access points.
    • Trails D and E are also easily accessible from Jolly Pond Road.  Enter Freedom Park multi-use trail #3 from Jolly Pond Road just past Hornsby Middle School at the gravel drive blocked with a chain.

     

    York River State Park

    York River State Park, Williamsburg VA

    Location:
    5526 Riverview Road
    Williamsburg, Virginia 23188

    Directions:

    From I-64 take exit 231B onto Croaker Road (Route 607). Turn right onto Moss Side Lane after 1 1/2 miles. At the end of Moss Side Lane bear right onto Riverview Road. Turn left onto York River Park Road after 1 1/2 miles. York River Park Road ends at the parking lot and visitor center.

    Google Map

    GPSTrailSource

    York River State Park is a beautiful river front park that offers over 2500 acres of nature and history.

    The park is known for its delicate estuarine environment where fresh and salt water come together.

    Park Facilities currently include a park office, estuary exhibits, restrooms, a bike wash, two playgrounds, a small pond, archeological sites, and plenty of parking.  All trails at the park are designated equestrian, hiking, biking, or multi-use.  This park has lots to offer, bring the family and make a day of it! There is a required VA state park parking fee.

    Check trail maps at the park for locations of all trails.  Maps are available at the park office and at 2 trail kiosks along the back bone trail.  Trails are sometimes re-routed and may have changed since you last rode them!  Carry a map and cell phone with you, plan your route, and pay attention to all signs,.  Always know where you are on the trail!  In an emergency, you may need to refer to the trail name and last emergency access point or trail feature that you passed.

    Map pdf url:   http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/documents/yorkriver.pdf

    The park offers approximately 16 miles of designated single- track mountain bike trails, in addition to 15+ miles of double- track, multi-use trails.

    The Back Bone Trail is the main, multi-use fire road which runs east from the parking lot and offers access to all other park trails.

    The Black Bear Run Trail is a short, 2-way, single track trail which parallels the Back Bone Trail for about 1 mile and exits near the entrance to The Marl Ravine Trail. This is a quick warm-up trail that offers an abundance of roots and a several small hills.

    The Laurel Glen Trail is a short trail (about 1.3 miles) running counter-clockwise.  It offers some mild downhill’s and short climbs, as it leads to both the Bob Cat connector trail and the short Chesapeake Challenge Trail (.3 miles).

    The Marle Ravine Trail is the original 6.5 mile, single-track loop at YRSP. This trail runs counter-clockwise and it is the most challenging trail at the park. The Marl Ravine trail offers challenging roots, switch backs, short, steep ascents, flowing descents, and 4 wooden bridge crossings.  A bail-out just before the 2nd bridge allows you to ride a much shorter loop (approx. 2.5 miles).

    The Bobcat Run Trail is a 3 mile lollipop-shaped trail.   The “lollipop handle,” which can be ridden in both directions, is accessed from The Laurel Glen Trail.  It connects to a counter-clockwise loop.  The loop has great natural flow and offers some challenging ascents and descents.  The “lollipop loop” can also be accessed from the Back Bone Trail just east of the Marle Ravine trailhead.

    John Blair Trail is the newest trail in the YRSP trail system. This bi-directional trail traverses eastward crossing the park’s existing fire roads, allowing single-track access to some of the most beautiful areas of the park.  This trail is still under construction and all signage is still rudimentary, but the first 5.5 miles was officially opened on June 8th of 2013.  Stay tuned as this trail gets fully developed.

     

    New Quarter Park

    New Quarter Park, Williamsburg VA

    Location:

    1000 Lakeshead Drive
    Williamsburg, VA 23185

    Directions to New Quater Park:

    From I-64 take exit 242A on to Route 199. After about a mile look for large green sign “143 Williamsburg” and take that exit bearing right onto Merrimac Trail heading toward Williamsburg. Turn right at the traffic light past the 7-11 Store (about 1.3 miles) onto Penniman Drive. Pass the school and take the next left onto Hubbard Lane. After about 1 mile+ turn right onto Lakeshead Drive. There is a green sign for New Quarter Park at the intersection of Hubbard and Lakeshead. Lakeshead Drive ends at the park (a little over a mile). If you park to your left the trail head is along the right of the tree line Across The field in front of you

    Google Map

    GPSTrailSource

    Description:

    Trail Level: Intermediate
    Trail Type: Singletrack

    This is another great trail built and maintained by the Eastern Virginia Mountainbike Association (www.evma.org). Part of the Confederate Defensive Line was on this property and there are three Civil War dugouts clearly visible in the first mile of the trail. Please respect the area’s history by not disturbing them. The trail is a 5.8 mile singletrack loop designed to be ridden counter-clockwise and is suitable for intermediate riders. Beginners will have trouble negotiating some of the tight turns and climbs, but there’s nothing dangerous to contend with. All the obstacles are either reasonable or have a ride-around. The first 3 miles follow the contours of a ravine which runs from the parking lot to the park entrance and there is barely a flat section in it – you’re going up or you’re going down! Most of the trail has good flow and sweeping turns, but there are some tight turns on downhill sections to watch out for. Once you know the trail you can carry your speed. Most of the climbing in this section of the trail is between milepost 2 and milepost 3. The second half of the trail returns to the parking lot closer to the treeline. There is less climbing and fewer sharp turns, but still enough challenge to hold your interest. The trail has an offshoot a little way past the 3 mile post. Go straight for a shortcut or turn right for more of a challenge. At the next split in the trail, go left for a large log pile, or right to detour around it. After a double switchback climb and an uprooted tree made into a smooth ride-over is about the only flat area of the trail. It’s fast and fun so make the most of it because there’s more climbing ahead. When you get to bumps like plow furrows you’re almost done. If you’ve missed riding at Waller Mill since Hurricane Isabel, you need to check out this trail.

     

    Wahrani Nature Trail

    Wahrani Nature Trails, New Kent County, VA

    Location:
    West Point, Virginia
    Directions from Peninsula:
    From I-64 take Exit 227. Merge right onto Route 30 heading towards West Point. After 6.6 miles turn right at traffic light onto Route 33. After 3/4 mile turn right into driveway at Wahrani Nature Trail.

    Directions from Richmond:
    From I-64 take Exit 220. Merge onto Route 33 heading towards West Point. Wahrani Nature Trail is on the right 3/4 mile past the first traffic light.

    Google Maps

    GPSTrailSource

    Description:
    Trail Level: Intermediate
    Trail Type: Singletrack

    This is a multi-loop bi-directional single track trail system, about 5 miles long, with interesting terrain and challenging technical features. It has more elevation change than any of the peninsula trails. Some sections of the trail system are designated for hikers only due to erosion concerns.

    Upper County Park

    Upper County Park, Toano VA

    Location:

    180 Leisure Rd, Toano, VA 23168

    Directions:

    From I-64 take Exit 227 (Toano) to Route 30 South heading towards Toano/Williamsburg. After about 1/3 mile turn right onto Old Stage Road, just before the gas station and McDonalds’s. After about 1/3 mile, turn right onto Leisure Road. Follow Leisure Road into the park.

    Google Map

    GPSTrailSource

    Description:

    The Upper County Park trail is a 3.7-mile loop within the 75-acre Upper County Park in James City County, Virginia. The trail begins near the end of the cul-de-sac at the end of the park entrance road. Look for the mountain bike trail signs. The trail is on the left of the chained-off gravel road that leads back into the woods. Much like other trails in the area the loop contains many quick climbs and descents through ravines that surround the creek and bottomland areas adjacent to the park. The route is somewhat technical with tight turns and off camber sections. There are, however, fast stretches that use the terrain for banked turns. One downhill contains four turns that take you from side to side in a small ravine much like a bobsled course. Although shorter than other nearby trails maintained and constructed by the Eastern Virginia Mountain Association (EVMA), the trail is no less demanding. In fact, aerobically it is one of the more challenging. Many of the climbs come one after the other with few flat areas to recover. This trail requires attention. You will find it hard to take you hands off the bar to grab a water bottle or even your hydration pack hose. The trail sees little use, so expect a few sticks and branches and a narrow tread through the will blueberry (lowbush) which covers much of the forest floor along the trail.
    The trail was designed to be ridden clockwise but can be ridden in both directions. In fact, counter clockwise seems to require more climbing and it will take you a bit longer to complete a loop. You can also ride the trail in a figure eight since there is a cross over near the mid-way point. Also, if you are riding clockwise, look for a bailout near the 3-mile point. The bailout drops you in on an old gravel road that makes a loop through the woods starting near the trail entrance. The gravel road was part of the old campground that previously existed at the site. In fact, you will see electrical boxes for the old campsites along sections of the trail.
    In the summer, after your ride, plan to cool off in the park pool. While there is no fee for park admission or riding, a fee is charged for use of the pool. Other amenities at the park include children’s playground equipment and an outdoor basketball court. Pavilions are also available for a fee. Next time you ride, take the family. They can enjoy the pool and playgrounds.

    Harwoods Mill

     

    Scenic Picture of EVMA Member's Mountain Bike on dock at Hardwood's Mill park in Yorktown, Va.

    Harwood’s Mill Park – Yorktown, Va. (Member Submission)

    Location:

    Newport News, Virginia

    Directions:

    From Interstate 64 Take J Clyde North Exit, drive down a while, left on Oriana. Parking lot is on the left, trail is a little further down across the street.

    Google Map

    GPSTrailSource

    Description:

    Trail Level: Trails for all skill levels
    Trail Type: Singletrack
    Harwoods Mill consists of 3 trails of increasing difficulty. Trail Notes:Three single-track loops connected by fire roads. Loops are labelled Beginner, Advanced and Expert but the middle trail (Advanced) is harder than the “Expert.” A tad over 5 miles if you ride all three trails. Some ups and downs, some tight turns but no really steep climbs or any technical sections that’ll challenge an experienced rider. Great trail for beginners or just to get a bit of a workout.

    Indian River Park

    Indian River Park, Chesapeake VA

    Location:

    2001 Rokeby Ave.
    Chesapeake, Virginia 23320

     

    Directions:

    From I-64:  Exit at I-64 at Indian River Road (Exit 286A).  Turn Left onto Providence Road.

    Option 1: Turn left at College Park Blvd, turn right at Paramount Ave. On street parking, entrance is on the right.

    Option 2:  Turn left at military Hwy.  Turn left at Rokeby Ave, off street parking on the right at 2001 Rokeby Ave.

     

    Google Map

     

    GPSTrailSource

     

    Description:

    Trail Level: Trails for all skill levels
    Trail Type: Singletrack

    Mixed multi-use trails, single track, double track, BMX.  Levels for all skill levels.  About 9 total miles of looping trails with a variety of options as far as distance and optional off-trail excursions.

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