The Gauntlet Loop

Roanoke

The rowdiest, most technical descent at Carvin's Cove.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
9.8 km
Ascent
359 m
Descent
359 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
360 m
High Point
684 m
Gradient
The Gauntlet Loop Map

The Carvin's Cove trail system is the undisputed mountain biking hotspot in the Roanoke region. The entire trail network is situated on land owned by the city of Roanoke. At 12,000 acres in size, "it is the second largest municipal park in the United States (behind South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona)," according to an article on Singletracks.com.

Description

Carvin's Cove offers 40 miles of singletrack and has "another 40 in the works," according to RootsRated.com. The trails are split into roughly two halves: the high trails that run up and down the mountain, and the lower trails near the base.

The Gauntlet is the rowdiest, most technical descent off the top of the mountain. Compared to the other trails, “the Gauntlet, on average, is much more open with much better flow, allowing you to conserve your speed and blast down the mountain!” according to an article on Singletracks.com "There are tons of corners to carve up towards the top, but as the trail descends it gets rockier and rootier, transitioning into a high-speed suspension testing zone. Drop the saddle and be prepared to rock on this trail!”

Since the Gauntlet is located on the east side of the ridge, it’s quite separated from the main Carvin’s Cove trailhead. There’s a smaller trailhead on this side that provides access to the Gauntlet, but in order to do a loop from this side riders must grind straight up the steep Trough trail… or more likely, hike-a-bike.

Sources: https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/trail-tuesday-carvins-cove-roanoke-virginia/ https://rootsrated.com/stories/is-roanoke-the-best-up-and-coming-mtb-destination-in-the-southeast

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Hike a bike
  • Roots
  • Gap Jumps
  • Tabletops
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area