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Douthat State Park is a "Mountain Biking Disneyland"

Did you know: Douthat State Park was named one of the nation’s 10 best by Outside Family Vacation Guide? It is one of the original six Virginia State Parks. Nestled in Virginia’s Western Highlands, Douthat features some of Virginia’s most outstanding scenery.

Got trails? We have over 40 miles of trails at Douthat State Park!

Got trails? We have over 40 miles of trails at Douthat State Park!

Douthat State Park has over 40 miles of trails ranging from easy to difficult. You also have your choice to hike, mountain bike or horseback ride!

When you arrive at Douthat State Park you can stop by the Main Office to pick up a trail map. You’ll be greeted by our friendly staff who can help guide your destination.

If you are feeling ambitious go with a difficult trail like Blue Suck Falls (open for hikers and mountain bikers).  This trail is 3.01 miles and has an awesome reward– a waterfall. This trail is best in the spring after the rains!

Blue Suck Falls in the spring.
Blue Suck Falls puts on a show in the spring

From there you can continue on and travel to Tuscarora Overlook. This is a long hike, but the view is definitely worth it! There’s an old cabin at the top once used as a fire lookout during the construction of the park in the 1930s.

What a view!
What a view!

If you’re not interested in waiting until spring (to hike Blue Suck Falls) for another more strenuous hike choose either Mountain Side or Mountain Top Trail. Mountain Side (open for just hikers) may be a little easier hike. 

Mountain Side Trail has an impressive view of the 50-acre Douthat Lake
Mountain Side Trail has an impressive view of the 50-acre Douthat Lake

Mountain Top (open to hikers and bikers) is, well, you guessed it, on top of the mountain. This trail goes straight up and not for the beginner or novice hiker! Mountain Side is 1.23 miles and Mountain Top is 2.4 miles.

Entrance to Beard's Gap Trail
Entrance to Beard's Gap Trail

There are several trails with switchbacks like Beard’s Gap Trail (open to hikers and bikers) right behind the Main Office at Douthat State Park. This trail is 1.21 miles and connects to Brushy Hollow Trail. Mountain biking on this trail up would be a killer on my legs. 

I’ve been told most downhillers really whip their bike around switchbacks. They’ll lean the bike into the turns (keeping the bike loose under their bodies) and drive their hips down in order to keep the wheels on the ground. 

Heron Run is the exact opposite – it’s easy!

This trail is nice and easy for the family and extends around the 50-acre lake. For smaller children this one would be a great trail as it is only 0.73 miles and for hikers only. You’ll enjoy being by the lake the entire hike!

Top of Douthat's dam on Heron Run Trail
Top of Douthat's dam on Heron Run Trail

Walking the trails around the lake is great for families and pets alike!

Walking the trail around the lake is great for families and pets alike!

If horseback riding is your cup of tea, then make a longer trip out of it and camp with your horse in the new Equestrian Campground – Beaver Dam Campground. You will need to provide your own hay and water bucket. A horse stall is $9 per night and a camp site is $30 per night.

There are 14 (12x12) covered stalls along with 14 camping sites at Douthat State Park for Equestrian camping
There are 14 (12x12) covered stalls along with 14 camping sites

There are six miles of horse trails inside the park, which connect to the Alleghany Highlands Multiuse Equestrian State Trail. The horse trail is considered moderate.

I.M.B.A (International Mountain Bicycling Association) as a page devoted to Douthat State Park, click here. They share: 

"The highlight of any ride is the climb up to the Tuscarora Overlook cabin, where one can look back on the 1,500 feet of elevation gained climbing out of the park valley. Other must-do trails include Middle Mountain, Brushy Hollow and Beard’s Gap."

MTB Project ranked Douthat as: "EPIC" and they said:

"Douthat State Park (pronounced "doubt-that") is a gem in the Appalachian Mountains of south central Virginia. The park encompasses more than 4,500 acres and, in addition, is surrounded by the George Washington National Forest, offering many opportunities for backcountry exploration. Within the park boundaries, you'll find over 40 miles of trails to match whatever level of challenge you choose.
For what the Douthat Epic lacks in mileage, it more than makes up for in elevation. The park is essentially a tasty bowl of singletrack connecting the park from bottom to top." 
A recent mountain bike rider said:
“A hearty mix of rocky and fast singletrack characteristic of the Appalachian mountains.”
— Leslie Kehmeier on May 28, 2013

Singletracks Bike The Net offers real reviews and photos here, and said:

"Staff VERY mt. biker friendly!!!!!!!!! Hs been called the Mountain Biker's Disney Land, and is just a great place to camp, ride and swim!" 

A reviewer from Virginia Beach wrote:

"The best way to get the most out of this park and the trails is to rent a cabin and stay for two or more days. ...then take all 40 miles of it in at once!"

GPS Trail Source: offers a mountain biking trail map and more here
Pete Eshelman of shared this video "Mountain Biking at Douthat State Park" with us on East Coasters Bike Shops:

Riding on Top of the Mountain trail at Douthat State Park:

For general park information click here, contact the park office at 540-862-8100 or e-mail Douthat State Park. Douthat is located at 14239 Douthat State Park Road, Millboro, Va. 24460. 

For more information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Customer Service Center at 800-933-PARK or click here.

Cabins can be booked through the Customer Service Center at 800-933-7275, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or on line 24/7. 

Published: 02/25/2014

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