South of Charleston, the 9,300 acre Kanawha State Forest has 25 miles of rolling, wooded mountain biking trails. It is home to one of the steepest descents in the East, the Black Bear Trail. Its pretty much near-vertical with rocks and roots. Other great singletracks include Davis Creek, Mossy Rock, Wildcat, Ballard, Teaberry, Pine Ridge, and Pigeons Roost.
To reach the trailhead from Charleston, follow US64 to Exit 58A. Head south on US119 for 1.2 miles. Turn left on Oakwood. Turn onto Bridge Road and then onto Connell Road. After 4 miles, turn onto Loudendale Road and follow into State Forest.
The following trails are available for mountain bikers throughout the year:
Ballard Trail-1 1/2 miles. This trail starts on Middle Ridge Road and ends near the shooting range. A rocky overhang makes this trail a technical challenge for bikers.
Black Bear Mt. Bike Trail- 1 mile. A steep challenging downhill trail from Middle Ridge Road to Pigeon Roost Trail. Look for the right hand alternative route around the steepest section spectator falls.
Davis Creek Trail- 2 1/2 miles. Fairly level trail beginning at the footbridge below the lake and following Davis Creek to Copperhead Rock below the stables. The trail can also be accessed from the forest office and the pool area. Easy with moderate sections.
Mossy Rock Trail- 3/4 mile. A moderate trail that goes from the head of Shrewsbury Hollow to Middle Ridge Road.
Pigeon Roost Trail- 3/4 mile. A moderate trail ascending Pigeon Roost Hollow up to the West Boundary Road.
Pine Ridge Trail to Dunlop Trail- 1 1/2 miles. This trail begins on the C-26 Gas Well Road and ends in Dunlop Hollow. Bikers watch for signs, #1 Store Trail and the northern portion of Pine Ridge Trail are for hikers only. Moderate with difficult sections.
Polecat Trail- 1 1/2 miles. This downhill trail splits off of Ballard Trail very close to Middle Ridge Road and ends at the road to the Shooting Range. Moderate.
Teaberry Rock Trail- 1 1/2 mile. The trail begins at Middle Ridge Road near gas well c-25 and ends into Davis Creek Trail. The Access trail splits off to Shrewsbury Hollow Road above pool area. Moderate with difficult sections.
Wildcat Ridge Trail- 2 miles. The trail begins on the west Boundary Ridge Road and runs between Polly and Dunlop Hollows descending into Dunlop Hollow Picnic area. Moderate with some difficult switchbacks.
Overall, Kanawha State Forest is the 5th most popular mountain bike trail of all 32 mountain biking rides in West Virginia.