Mountain Bike the Box Turtle and Tall Oaks Trails
Rate this Adventure Virginia › Heritage Center Parking and Trailhead
Added by Barry Holloway
For great beginner mountain bike trails in a wooded environment or a place for advanced riders to get in some fun laps, it’s hard to beat the Box Turtle and Tall Oaks single track trails at Pocahontas State Park. Besides, it’s an easy 20 mile drive south of Richmond.
Box Turtle (marked with a green circle) and Tall Oaks (marked with a blue square) are part of the Morgan Trail system which both start and end at the same location. The 2.5 mile Box Turtle is rated as a beginner trail with smooth flow and easy climbs and descents. Tall Oaks, at 3.5 miles, is intermediate because of rooty sections, slightly steeper climbs, and a few small rock gardens and logs to cross. Both are ridden counterclockwise. Beginner riders who are comfortable on Box Turtle should have no difficulty with Tall Oaks. But, just in case, there are bail out points to shorten the loop. The highest point is only 230 feet and the lowest is 140 feet.
Enter Pocahontas State Park by turning onto State Park Road, from Route 655, Beach Road. Beyond the entrance station, proceed straight for over a mile to the first left for the Heritage Center and then an immediate right turn toward the back parking lot; park here. Bordering the south side of this parking lot is the Crostic fireroad. Once on your bike, turn right onto the fireroad and ride for half a mile before arriving at the Morgan Trail kiosk on the right. A bike maintenance station with an air pump and basic tools is located here. The trailheads are only a short distance past the kiosk.
Box Turtle begins by following the fork to the right. The trail is mostly smooth with great flow; there are the occasional roots and rough areas, but all can easily be navigated. Soon after starting, there is a right turn onto a black diamond trail; this is not for beginners, continue straight ahead instead. Not far beyond this is a short wooden bridge marking the start of what can be a very fast downhill; beginners will want to keep their speed in check. For a challenge, practice your skills on some large exposed rocks near the 1 ½ mile point. Box Turtle merges with Tall Oaks before leading back to the trailhead; follow the sign with a green circle and blue square.
Back at the trailhead, turn left to ride Tall Oaks. It is very similar to Box Turtle, but as mentioned, expect it to be rougher with steeper climbs and descents. Keep an eye out for small logs to hop, short rock gardens, and drops in a couple of tight turns. Along the way are several trails to the right; continue straight since these are for advanced riders and will be reviewed separately for those ready for more of a challenge.
After Tall Oaks, take another loop around Box Turtle for a quick cool down ride. Completing Box Turtle twice, Tall Oaks once, and the in and out on the fireroad amounts to 9.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 345 feet.
For a slightly more advanced trail, check this one out.
- Parking fees are $4 on weekdays and $5 on weekends. Virginia residents should consider a $66 “Naturally Yours Passport” which covers parking and admission to all Virginia state parks for one year.
- Trail maps are available at the entrance station
- Hydration pack and water
- Basic tools
- Spare tube
- Patch kit
- Air pump
- Mountain biking gloves
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