The thriving town of Blacksburg, Virginia, is known for many things: Virginia Tech, modern art, a hip brewing and gastronomic scene, a lovely temperate climate, and easy access to the rolling hills and slew of outdoor activities surrounding the ancient New River Valley.
Area mudslingers, however, know it for something especially gnarly: top-tier mountain biking. Tucked away in the Jefferson National Forest, the Pandapas Pond Day Use Area and Poverty Creek Trail System offers a wide variety of riding just a short drive—or bike ride—from Blacksburg.
Variety is the name of the game at Pandapas Pond, and 19 trails provide more than 30 miles of mayhem across the mountain biking spectrum. Greenhorn beginners, downhill shredders, and technical gurus alike will have a field day on rolling singletrack, rough rock gardens, heart-stopping switchbacks, and soul-crushing climbs.
Trail difficulty is marked with International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)-designated signage and is well-posted at most intersections. The symbolism is equivalent to that of the ski world (green circle=easiest, blue square=intermediate, and black diamond=most difficult), offering a simple and recognizable hint at what riders should expect around the next bend. A "Muddy Trails Meter" at the Pandapas trailhead kept current by daily users even offers a glimpse of what to expect when the unfavorable weather has made things uncertain. If the slider is set to Poor, consider riding drier trails or gravel roads to prevent resource damage on muddy trails.
Originally written by RootsRated for Southwest Virginia.