I had the opportunity to be out in Roanoke this past week for work and the great fortune of having my mountain bike with me (okay, so I guess there was a little planning there).
If you are a mountain biker with a desire for awesome trail and incredible beauty, you have to hit Carvens Cove AT LEAST once a year.
My favorite ride is to head out Hotel and up Bucks Rut; this is a brutal, technical climb with beauty to distract you from the pain.
Then, ride along the ridge trail for about 2.5 miles then down Hemlock Tunnel to Comet then to the four-way to decide how toasty I am...head back to the parking lot via Four Gorges or head out to lowlands (still some respectable climbing but nothing like going up to the top of Brushy Mountain).
Another ride I did included a 25 minute fireroad climb but first I hit the Four Gorges to get to the park. Then, down Jacobs Drop, and never was a more appropriate name (actually, Jacobs and Hemlock Tunnel are both wild and wooly descents - just be sure to keep your hands away from your brake rotors once you get to the bottom) for a trail.
One of the days was a truly bear-istic day. I encountered one bear going down Hemlock...I couldn't him due to brush cover but I heard him scampering, or tromping through the woods.
Then, at the end of my ride, I turned a corner in some flat terrain and there was momma bear and her 2 cubs...pretty exciting and about 40 to 50 meters off. They didn't hear me right away but when they did, the cubs were up a tree in no time and, surprise, momma bear took off in the opposite direction. She didn't go far and was definitely keeping an eye on me so I thought a hasty exit was probably in line so I scooted on down the trail
Below is a map of my rides and some signs that, don't seem to make the approval of some of the local wildlife; you make the call!
Just some "signs" that the "locals" might not be happy with these signs.
Maps of my rides over the last 3 days.