Mountain Bike the Morel Ravine and Little West Virginia Trails
Rate this Adventure Virginia › Heritage Center Parking and Trailhead
Added by Barry Holloway
Pocahontas State Park is known for its miles of beginner and intermediate bike trails, but tucked into the Morgan Trail system are two gems for advanced riders. If you are ready to test your biking skills, travel 20 miles south of Richmond for all the fun.
Morel Ravine (marked with a red square) and Little West Virginia (marked with a black diamond and red square) are part of the Morgan Trail system which are both reached by riding the Tall Oaks (blue square) trail.
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.
Shortly past the kiosk, the trail splits; go left toward Tall Oaks. In about 50 feet, you’ll pass a trail to the right, this the exit of Morel Ravine which is marked with a “Do Not Enter” sign. Go about 50 feet further for the marked entrance. The fun begins immediately with a sharp banked turn to the right as the trail dives into the forest. If you’ve ridden other trails at Pocahontas, you’ll quickly see that Morel Ravine has longer rock gardens and many more and bigger logs to cross, some on an uphill for added difficulty. The highlight of the trail are the ravine crossings which start out small and end with steep halfpipes nearly 12 feet high. Several of them contain large roots which you won’t see until dropping over the lip into the ravine. First time riders may want to stop to scope them out first. This 2 mile trail ends at Tall Oaks soon after the last ravine crossing.
Back on Tall Oaks, turn right; you’ll bike for about 2 miles before arriving at Little West Virginia. There’s no mistaking the entrance where a large sign announces “Ride at your own risk”. It’s only a little over half a mile, but it packs in a lot. Rock gardens, both uphill and downhill, skinnies, ravines, drop offs, and non-stop log crossings allow only a few stretches to catch your breath before the next obstacle is encountered. The end of this trail feeds back into Tall Oaks and is followed to the main trailhead. An optional cool down ride is the 2 ½ mile beginner Box Turtle trail which starts and ends at this intersection, or turn uphill to the right to retrace your ride back to the parking lot.
For a more of a beginner/ intermediate trail, check this adventure out.
After riding these or any of the Pocahontas trails, I like to stop for a bite to eat back in Richmond. A favorite spot is Alamo BBQ for some of the best barbeque in town. Can’t decide what you want? Get the beef brisket sandwich with Texas caviar and a sweet iced tea or a cold Shiner Bock. All of the seating is outside, so don’t worry if you are a dirty, smelly mess. It’s in the historic Church Hill district just off of I-95 after crossing the James River.
- 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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