Grayson Lake/Deer Creek MTB
Grayson Lake State Park has official mountain bike trials, I know this because I have rode 'em. None of the following is on those trails.
Gloomy days means not a lot of folk out and about. I like that. I can sneak into the cracks for easy practice of no trail riding.
Winter pools are fun areas to explore this one had a path to the waters edge from the roadway, the tricks is to look for the biggest piles of trash to ride through for the most productive trails to get you down. The smooth sailing is ruined by a road fill that crossed the low water line. A little hike back to the road to continue onward for the destination - trails.
Right on the commute home makes Grayson Lake a good place to ride that gets me on the bike quickly and hit the woods. Deer Creek is a WMA with most of the apparent road damage caused by equestrians. The soft gravel road that gets you up Deer Creek is close to traffic, and leads to some honest to goodness 3-5 miles of neglected single track on the ridge.
Grayson Lake Gravel Grinder
Last epic of 2011 was supposed to be a 40 miler, but in true epic form it turned out to be just a tad over 50 miles. I had been doing some recon trips when I was down in Eastern KY and was turning up some fine gravel road sections. I have been driving past and traveling over an old railroad right of way of the EKRR for years thinking how cool it would be to ride a bike on that. Turns out in this short section of hardpacked, flat dirt road, there is three historic trestles in a row, right after what I will call a trailhead (that is just an "Y" intersection with parking off route 773) to begin this adventure with Jay W. my partner in adventure for the day.
photo: Jay Whitlatch
The rail trail is a flat and goes to a dirt track, and there is only about a mile of that before the old rail road surface changes to pavement. The first turn is onto Big Sinking Creek Road, look for a homemade sign indicating so. All the road signs have been stolen from their post for the first 20 miles. Big Sinking basically follows the Little Sandy River, but it is anything but flat. Repetitive, relatively short, steep climbs, that make it hard to establish a rhythm, can and probably will shred some legs if you let it. Just one mile long section of gravel, before you are returned to state route 7. Travelling south for about a mile and a halve we get the first views of Grayson Lake. After a bridge crossing and before the right turn onto Rattlesnake Ridge, there will be a guard rail gap and a gate. Past this gate will be a field that leads down to the closed off/old state route, it is a short long cut, neat little side bar, before the three or so road miles out Rattlesnake Ridge.
The third left and the only one with a stop sign at the time is Gimlett Road. I had never been out the road - only to what I believed was the other side. We made the turn to the headwall with confidence, only to get hollered at by a couple of locals "that's a dead end". I thought bullshit twice then turned around for maybe some intelligence. wrong. Man, I don't know what it is, sometimes I think they are just lying to you, or maybe they just don't know. They had horses and car-tired buggies, a person might think they took them some place. And you have to read between the lines, "yeh thars a house" - prompted me to ask " is everybody cool?" "Yeah thar cool" was the response, taking in full consideration that I was standing in the middle of a compound of single-wides each one crowned by every outdoor light fixture that could be scrounged from who-knows-where.
With the re-assurance of the coolness factor, we plodded up the headwall and bombed the other side. Hung the left turn at speed and rolled into the "dead end" and towards "house". More like a logging operation that you run from your home, but it is obvious that there is a road past the creek crossing. We set off the dog alarms but no one came to the door, as we slid silently by. After a few hundred yards of Kentucky slickrock you enter into the safety of state park property, this is the closest the route has to offer to trail with views of the lake again, this time with numerous waterfalls that could be seen and/or heard. Pretty much a straight shot as the road surface slowly turns back to civilization.
photo: Jay Whitlatch
Green, KY is half-way and a turning point to put the wind to our back for the second half the journey. The climbs are bigger but the grade a little more friendly which I think leads to being able settle a bit into a rhythm, unlike the hard choppy start. Brushy Creek Rd is the next to last climb, and the maybe the first road with a road sign. We missed it. A little gravel right hand turn that goes through somebody's yard. If you stay on pavement you'll be heading for banjo music and we all know what that means.
Wells Road was marked too, and we seen it, and made the turn for the last climb of the day and the day was getting late on this early Winter's day. We had been out there for over four hours covering a lot of unfamiliar ground. That doesn't bode well for the confidence (so I hear). After that effort of the longest and highest climb of the day I was glad to present something familiar.
Jay and myself had been here maybe a year ago, riding bikes, exploring around, and seeing no reason to come back. It was a little bit too horsey and land locked. So I was stoked to be able to include this little bit of ridge and old gravel roadway as a leg of the trip, as well to justify the mountain bike. A little blinky light action to bring us back safely, doubling up on the three rail road bridges in the process.
The start/finish location was chosen due to available parking, although it is not an actual parking lot, I do believe it is on state right of way. Plenty of space though and to be able to ride that section of old railroad with the sketchy bridges. Parking at the dam or near the turn off to the Api Su Ahts trailhead, is an option and would trim maybe 10 or 12 miles, but would add more of questionable state route 7. One has to decide for themselves the safety of any section of that road, most is bermed with long lines of sight, but some places aren't.
The numbers are around 5 hours total for 51 miles on what is supposed to a 41.40 mile loop around Grayson Lake. 10 mph is about what I was figuring, including a couple quick stop, for my 15.5" 29'r mtb with 1 32:17 gear and 1.9's @ 45 psi.
There are no food stops directly on route, so bring everything that you will need. There is the Bruin Market at route 409 & 7 that is easily assessable at about the 3/4 mark, if
The Short Grinder
Awesome Winter riding. One has to take advantage of it while you can. Beating the weather front getting ahead of the rain. Did the "short" loop - that is still like 3.5 hours. There is a lot of haulin' out there that I didn't really remember.
I wanted to get up to the fire tower for the sunset, and I got just that last glimpse before the orange left the western sky for the evening. Fire up the night light and pointed it downhill for home.
go on back
Barboursville FAT Tire Brethren
Beech Fork Association of Trails
bFAT is an informal group of riders who appreciate the land and ride for a healthy well being.
Beech Fork is mostly a single track trail that follows around the lake leading into a combination of creek bed, hill climb, and fast downhill back to the lake. Barboursville's Park has some nice runs from the top with numerous scenic overlooks from the sheer cliffs and steep drops. The flat single track that follows the river and comes out behind the lake - is where the real fun can begin or end. Click on the link at top of page - above left to see a map! The Kanawha Trace and Adahi Trails are 32 mile and 17 mile multi user trails crossing over private land. Check with the Tri-State Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for trail information and registration.
bFAT email groupo<----click here Become a part of an e-group forum that will let all subscribers communicate (free!). Send an e-mail with the word "join" in the subject or body and you'll get hooked up with other riders, to do fun group rides, get trail info and conditions, technical advice, etc.
The Race to the Colorado Trail
for more info administrator at bike bFAT