Mountain biking Massanutten’s Western Slope in Virginia
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I first heard about the mountain bike trails on Massanutten’s Western Slope in Virginia when I was putting together my Bike Parks in the US guide. Ever since, for some reason, I’ve been drawn to checking it out.
Massanutten is a small resort in northern Virginia known for the most vertical drop in the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland areas. During the winter, it operates as a modest ski hill, and in the summer it transitions to a lift-served bike park.
But on the other side of the resort – the western slope – is a whole other playground. Massanutten Resort has partnered with the Shenandoah Valley Bike Coalition (SVBC) to build and maintain dozens of miles of singletrack trail that can be accessed by pedaling or via a bus shuttle on the weekends.
I got to spend one full day riding the Western Slope and I’m SO glad I made it a stop on my way out to Arkansas. The trails are a blast and there’s a little bit of everything for every rider from rocky tech to fast, smooth flow tracks.
Read on to learn more about the Western Slope trails at Massanutten and start planning your trip!
Massanutten Western Slope at a Glance
Massanutten Western Slope Trail Map
Important Things to Know
Mountain biking at Western Slope is awesome, but there are a few things to know before hitting the trails:
How to get there & where to park
The Western Slope trails aren’t actually really near the Massanutten Resort. Instead, they’re located about a 20-minute drive north and on the other side of the ridge. Don’t make the mistake of driving all the way up to the top of the ridge on the Resort side only to find that there’s a gate at the top. You have to go around.
The drive out there is really windy and feels like you’re heading off into the boonies! It’s beautiful, though, so take your time and enjoy it.
There’s a large parking area at the base of the Western Slope with toilets. There’s also a nice big grassy meadow with a pavilion to hang out at in between shuttles or laps.
>> Directions: Western Slope Parking Area / 4360 Happy Valley Rd, Keezletown, VA 22832
Watch a video of my day at the Western Slope
Shuttle or pedal?
That is always the question, isn’t it? I opted for the $50 all-day shuttle pass and I was really glad that I did. It’s almost a 1,000 ft climb to the top, so if you want to explore all of the Western Slope (or as much as you can), you’ll either need an e-bike or pay for the shuttle.
The shuttle runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from roughly Mid-March through early November depending on conditions.
Hours vary, so be sure to check the Massanutten Website for updated information.
Theoretically, the shuttle runs every hour on the hour, but they try to accommodate riders as best they can. When I rode, there were only two of us shuttling, so we basically were shuttled on-demand, which was awesome.
For pedalers, keep in mind that you still need a pass to ride the Western Slope. Day passes can be purchased here.
Also, be aware that there is no dedicated climbing trail. Uphill traffic stay alert and downhill traffic stay in control.
What to expect
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I rolled up to ride. Would the trails be machine-built or natural? Would there be man-made features like drops and jumps? How technical would the ‘advanced’ trails really be?
While I don’t want to spoil all of the surprise, here are a few things to expect at Massanutten’s Western Slope:
The best 4 runs
Here are, in my opinion, the four best trail link-ups on Massanutten’s Western Slope.
1. Special K & More
2. Ravine Traverse
You can actually camp in the parking area at the base of the Western Slope. You need to call Massanutten Resort to get approval.
There are toilets, but no potable water.
What about the bike park?
You may have heard about the Massanutten Bike Park, which is separate from the Western Slope. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when I visited and the Resort is doing some trail work this summer (2023) so several of the trails are closed.
It looks like a great family-friendly bike park, though!
I really enjoyed my day at Massanutten’s Western Slope in Virginia. The two hosts and shuttle driver were awesome and it just had a great, laid-back vibe.
Even if you choose to pedal, you’ll have a lot of terrain to choose from and if you visit in spring (like I did in April), the Eastern Redbud blossoms and wildflowers will make your visit even more memorable!
Looking for more great east coast riding? Check out these awesome destinations:
Have you mountain biked the Western Slope of Massanutten? What did you think? Did you pedal or shuttle? Is this a place you’d like to visit? Leave a comment below!
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