Four Days of Canaan
Come explore the Allegheny Mountains of Canaan Valley, West Virginia, where mountain biking was established east of the Mississippi. Ride the dirt trails and gravel roads of a national wildlife refuge, national forest, two state parks, and more. Enjoy scenic vistas, rivers, waterfalls, and the quaint town of Davis in this area known locally as “a little bit of Canada gone astray” and made famous in mountain biking lore by the 24 Hours of Canaan race.
We’ll feel away from it all as we ride, passing through the occasional small West Virginia town like Elkins, Parsons, and Davis, but spending the majority of our time on quiet backroads and trails, following the landscape with the sounds and sights of nature. Even through four short days, we’ll create strong bonds with our fellow travelers and look forward to touring again.
"Our leaders had their 'stuff' together; great organization!"
Day 1. Canaan Valley, West Virginia, 11 miles
We'll meet together as a group for the first time in the beautiful Canaan Valley Resort State Park on a high plateau in the Allegheny Mountains. Take some time today to ride the twisty, flowy trails rolling through the woods on a sanctioned interscholastic mountain bike race course, which is perfect for novice-level technical riders and make sure that your setup for our long weekend adventure is good to go!
Day 2. Canaan Valley to Elkins, 60 miles
Today's ride, which has 1,000 feet more decent than climbing, starts on quiet, paved country roads with open vistas. Moving onto dirt roads, we'll head into the ecologically diverse Monongahela National Forest, which is home to an abundance of tree and bird species and a variety of animals. Riding a lightly trafficked, grassy rail trail through open meadows, we'll make our way into Elkins, home of the Appalachian folk music Augusta Festival. Before getting to the campground for the evening, consider a stop at a brewpub in town.
Day 3. Elkins to Blackwater Falls, 41 miles
Today's ride follows dirt roads that twist and wind along the Shavers Fork, a renowned trout-fishing river. After passing by the small town of Parsons, we'll ascend the beautiful Blackwater Canyon taking us to Davis. Once an old logging town, Davis is now revitalized with a Bohemian twist and a great place to wander around. We'll camp near the Blackwater River and have the opportunity to take a short walk to the Blackwater Falls, one of most iconic attractions of any state park in West Virginia.
Day 4. Blackwater Falls to Canaan Valley, 59 miles
On our final day together on this off-road long-weekend tour, we'll twist and turn on gravel roads and dirt trails through the national forest and the wetlands, forests, and grasslands of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Look for black bears, eagles, and the reclusive, endangered Cheat Mountain salamander who spends its entire life in a 48-square-foot territory. We'll splash through stream crossings, soak in expansive mountain vistas, and recall the great time we had together, knowing we'll want to come back and explore more.
Know before you go
For those looking to fly to the start of the tour, please note that the nearest airports are 2.5–3.5 hours from our starting location, and commercial shuttles are not available. Airport vehicle rentals and coordination with other participants may be an option for those not driving directly to the tour start.