The proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area offers a network of 150 miles of trails for hunting, hiking, and horseback riding. Mountain bikers may ride on all trails except those in Wilderness areas.
Shenandoah offers trails that appeal to all levels of hikers from those who want challenging, long trails that may take several days to hike to those who prefer a short stroll in the forest. Two trails are of particular significance are:
The Shenandoah Mountain area is large enough that a backpacker can walk several days without crossing a road. Opportunities for this type of remote backcountry recreation are rare in the eastern United States.
Mountain Biking The Washington Post calls the Shenandoah Mountain area some of the best mountain biking in the Eastern United States. All trails within the proposed NSA would be open to mountain biking except for those in Wilderness areas. The proposed Wilderness area boundaries were drawn carefully to keep popular trails accessible to mountain bikers.
The Friends proposal calls for a boundary adjustment to Ramseys Draft Wilderness that would open the Shenandoah Mountain Trail to shared use.
The Friends proposal supports development of several new trails outside Wilderness areas that would enhance the mountain bike experience by providing more loops and easy trails.
Horseback Riding Nearly all trails are open to horseback riders, including those in Wilderness areas.
All trails in the Kelley Mountain-Big Levels National Scenic Area will be available for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
All trails in Laurel Fork Wilderness will be available for hiking and horseback riding.
A Special Note for Trail Maintainers
In the proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area, trail maintainers may use power tools, such as chain saws and weedeaters.
In federally designated Wilderness areas, power tools cannot be used in routine trail maintenance. For removing blowdowns, trail workers must use the traditional cross cut saw, ax and wedges. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club offers an annual Traditional Tools Workshop, where trail volunteers learn to use and maintain these tools. The USDA Forest Service, in cooperation with the US Department of Transportation Recreational Trails Program, offers a Trail Training DVD Series, detailing the safe use and care of hand tools for trail work. Maintaining hiking trails with hand tools is wonderfully satisfying work - and the cross cut saw always starts on the first pull.
Many of the trails in the Shenandoah Mountain area are currently maintained by hiking and mountain bike clubs. These clubs support the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain proposal.