Our friends at Localourist.com where they encourage you to “Live like a local and play like a tourist” have found a great mountain bike trail in our own backyard. Here is their article:
How about Mountain Biking York River State Park Laurel Glen / Bob Cat Run Trail?
by Localourist.com explorer and writer C. Bada
Why not? If you love to mountain bike and don’t consider yourself a beginner, this trail is for you! Mountain biking in York River State Park (YRSP – as locals call it) is a great way to spend an afternoon. There are plenty of trails at different skill levels but today let’s talk about the Laurel Glen MTB Trail to Bob Cat Run Trail.
First, York River State Park is a fee based park, so you will need to purchase a day pass or you can purchase an annual Virginia State park pass. The day pass is 5.00 and the annual pass is 75.00. Do the math – for our family – the annual pass (good for all VA state parks) pays for itself in the first few months of the year. But if you are not sure just do the day pass, and if you are a tourist to our lovely state…definitely the day pass.
Local tip: Virginia parks also have great family programs that are most often free – so check websites before you go as your family members that don’t mountain bike might still want to join you for the day and enjoy other parts of the park.
YRSP has many walking/ hiking and biking trails as well as equestrian trails. The park is about a 20 min drive from downtown Williamsburg at 9801 York River Park Rd., Williamsburg, VA.
Now on to today’s trail! Laurel Glen Trail to Bob Cat Run Trail is for skill level of intermediate. You do not need to be an expert but you will need to be comfortable riding a MTB through bumpy terrain and narrow trails.
This trail is a little technical (narrow/ step ascents and decents) If you take it slow with a low gear (easy) you will enjoy the trail. Just keep a watch for other MTBers. And…wear a helmet. The scenery is beautiful with all the little streams and gullies.
The Laurel Glen MTB trail to Bob Cat Run Trail is a little under 4 miles. Start your ride from the parking lot and take Backbone trail for about .5 mile to the start of this ride.
There is a sign that indicates Lauren Glen Mtn. Bike Trail. Follow the signs as you will switch from the Lauren Glen trail to the Bob Cat Run Trail about .6 of a mile into the trail. There will be a sign indicating the Bob Cat Run Trail – there you will turn right.
Initially the ride is relatively flat through to rolling hills. Once you turn right and head onto the Bob Cat Run Trail expect steeper ascents and decents.
The geography and terrain is beautiful. It is hard to watch the trail and take in the scenery. I suggest you stop periodically at the peaks and look down the gullies. Like the Marl Ravine trail it is a good representation of Virginia coastal plain forests.
There are three exits along this MTB ride that allow you to exit the trail system onto a larger path. Exit 1 is before you turn onto Bob Cat Run approx. .6 of a mile from the start. Instead of turning right towards Bob Cat Run; continue straight to the Lauren Glen Outer Limits.
The second exit will be approx. 1.25 miles into the ride and on the Bob Cat Run Trail. Here you will see a few trails fork and you will be able to see Backbone Trail on the right. Here you can exit onto a larger trail for a break. The third exit will be further down Bob Cat Run approx. .5 mile from the last exit. You will come across a signpost. Make sure to check both sides of the sign posts to get a good orientation. If you follow the John Blair Bike Trail sign -this will take you out to the multiuse trail. Once on that trail signs will direct you to the parking lot.
If you decide to stay on the Bob Cat Trail this is where a more challenging ride starts. There are steeper ascents and descents (all doable). The challenge is to keep from staring at the landscape and geography while paying attention to where you are going. From this last exit point you have about 1 mile until your next exit. It is clearly marked out so enjoy the ride. You will cross come back to the 2nd exit point mentioned above where a number of trails intersect. At this point I left the MTB trail system and rode the Backbone Trail back to the car parking area.
All in all you will have completed a couple of trails, seen some great sites and hopefully got a bit of a workout in.
See attached YRSP’s PDF Mountail Bike Trail Guide trail-guide-yorkriverbike.indd (virginia.gov)
You can visit York River State Park online before you visit them in person at 9801 York River Park Rd., Williamsburg, VA 23188. Here is their phone: 757-566-3036; and email: YorkRiver@dcr.virginia.gov
Looking for another trail to try…