Trail Snapshot

Trails Biked:

Yellow Loop

Distance:

12 miles

Outdoor Travels Rating:

3.5 out of 5 bikes

Thumbs Up

  • Close Proximity to Morgantown and easy access.
  • Variety of terrain and trail styles; color coded loops provide varying distances.
  • Nice detailed map supplied at park entrance.
  • Trails are very well marked.

Thumbs Down

  • Long uphill slog on paved road to reach trailhead.
  • First 1/3 of ride is not much to write home about.

Nuts & Bolts

Location:

Preston County, WV in the mountains of northeastern West Virginia. Closest major town is Morgantown, WV, home of West Virginia University.

Directions:

Take the Hazelton exit of I-68 (Exit 29). Proceed 3 miles south on Rt. 5/18 to Big Bear Lake.

Trails:

Four distinct loops, ranging from 8 miles to 21 miles each. Trails are marked with color coded arrows. Each loop has varying degrees of difficulty to match your riding abilities.

General Information:

Trails are open January 1-October 1; Fee is $5 per rider a day; Season pass can be purchased for $30; Large color map included in fee; Children under 6 free; Helmets and personal safety equipment required; All riders must sign a release of liability form.

Activities:

Archery, basketball court, mini-golf, tennis, volleyball, horseshoes, snow mobiling, cross country skiing, hiking, biking, camping, swimming, boating, water skiing, fishing, and water slides on 35 acre Big Bear Lake.

Nearby Attractions:

West Virginia University, Cooper’s Rock State Park, Youghiogheny Lake, Deep Creek Lake, Cheat Lake, Lakeview Golf Course, and Wisp ski resort.

Admission:

$5 per rider.

Camping:

25 wooded sites. All sites have electrical hookups. There's a modern comfort station nearby with drinking water and dump station. There is a country store for your camping needs centrally located. Cost is $15/person per night. Those 15 years and younger stay free. Holiday and special event weekends cost more. Cabins are available for $59-69 per night.

Contact:

Big Bear Lake, Rt. 3 Box 204, Bruceton Mills WV, 26525, phone 304-379-4382, www.bigbearwv.com, email bigbearlake @bigbearwv.com.

Maps and Stuff

Trail Map

Area Detail Map

Useful Links

Trail photos

Lots of great photos to give you a good idea of what riding here is like!

Gearing up for the ride

Dana checks his pack

Man this bike is heavy

Hitting the single track

Rocky trail

Local foliage and rider

Open section of the ride

Nice single track

Riders in the disatance

Customary map check

Jeff heads down the trail

There are rocks ahead

Christopher flies by

And keeps on going

Jeff takes a break

Tree farm

Another view of the trees

Christopher keeps climbing

Rider's silouette

Dana cleans the rocks

As does Jeff

Your guess is as good as mine

Flat smooth single track

Jeff and Christopher barrelling down

Jeff riding by Big Bear Lake

Mountain Biking

Big Bear Lake

Bruceton Mills, West Virginia

Sweet trail system near Morgantown offers enjoyable loop rides

08/2006 – by Jeff Cobb, Outdoor Travels

When you’re choosing a place to mountain bike, you can’t go wrong with picking a trail system that’s the site of a big national race. That usually indicates you’ll find good facilities, good signage, up-to-date maps, and some wicked good riding.

Such is the case with Big Bear Lake, a recreational area spread over 1,000 acres in the beautiful woodlands of northeastern West Virginia. The park is host to the “24 Hours of Big Bear” race each June. Granny Gear Productions sponsors six 24 hour races across the country each year (West Virginia, Utah, California, Vermont, Georgia, and Missouri).

The West Virginia race used to take place at Canaan Valley, moved to Snowshoe for a year, but now seems to have found a permanent home at Big Bear Lake. The 2006 race was a wild success, and 2007 race is planned for June 9-10.

Due to the hard work of a dedicated group of local mountain bike riders, the trails at Big Bear Lake are well designed and well maintained. A key factor that certainly ups the enjoyment meter at Big Bear is the layout of the trails, which feature four distinct color-coded loops that range in mileage from 8 to 21 miles. This allows a rider to pick a route that best suits his fitness level and riding skills.

When you check in, you receive a clear, up-to-date, easy-to-read map. The trails are also very well marked with colored arrows on signs and trees. This allows even the most directionally challenged individuals to navigate the trail system without getting lost.

You’ll enjoy the variety of riding experiences you’ll have on the trails. It’s almost as if the trail designers tried to take everything that’s good about West Virginia mountain bike riding and incorporate all those characteristics into one place. The ODT riding group chose the Yellow Loop because it had a good intermediate mileage factor (12 miles) and had a variety of features, including a few climbs, large embedded rocks, tight tree-hugging slaloms, challenging rock gardens, and a few off-the-saddle downhills.

Big Bear is not a state park, so there’s different vibe. Not bad, just different. It’s geared more towards family entertainment, rather than just showcasing the natural environment or attracting trail enthusiasts. There’s mini-golf, water slides on the lake, and a video game room. They allow snow mobiling in the winter. And if your inner hillbilly is dying to get out, you can partake in the country music hoe down at the Big Bear Community Center every Saturday evening. Yeehaw!

But although there are plenty of other entertainment options at Big Bear other than the trails, the place draws more mountain bikers than anything else, especially with 25,000 students located just down the road at West Virginia University. Be prepared to pay $5 each at the gate, and to sign a waiver form that clears the owners in case you break your neck.

 
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