You may have noticed from the recent batch of bike First Impressions that have been popping up on this site, the staff recently embarked on a little trip to focus solely on a $2,500, six-bike test for the upcoming February issue (Dirt Rag #175). Our chosen location was the Stokesville Lodge in Virginia, just outside of the bustling college town of Harrisonburg.
The area is famous to a large part of the right hand side of the country for more than just exceptional riding: it boasts upwards of 500 miles of amazing singletrack, is home and training grounds to Sho-Air/Cannondale pro Jeremiah Bishop and NoTubes’ Sue Haywood and on top of that the Stokesville campground behind the lodge is home to the legendary Shenandoah Mountain 100 race.
As good as the camping is with its vast network of trails right out of you tent flap, it’s never been open to the public for anything other than the race on the last weekend in August and the Virginia Mountain Bike Festival in late May. Much to the delight of many, we found out that this is about to change, likely as soon as this summer.
On our first afternoon there we climbed up to a point called Lookout. It’s a fun, two hour tour and Chris Scott, lodge owner as well as promoter of the 100 joined us for this first ride as our guide as well as for those over the next few days. During this time I got a change to ask him about the upcoming changes that will result in what he’s calling the Stokesville Campground Ride Center
Most people only know the camping area from your race. That may change soon.
The Mountain 100 has always used the Stokesville Campground as its Start/Finish and camping area, so has the Virginia Mountain Bike Festival put on by the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition. It’s been a dream and ambition of mine to somehow obtain the campground property behind the lodge and rehab it back into a fully operational campground year round.
What do you envision?
Making the campground a great place for cyclists, families, and friends to come and ride their bikes. What better place to have a trail system where you wouldn’t have to ride anywhere but right out of your campsite from the Stokesville Campground property? Over the past 10-plus years I have been waiting for the right time to really dive into my dream, as well as the dream of a great number of other individuals. So that’s when we came up with the idea of a cooperative type of purchase of the grounds. We made a lot of calls, emailed people about being investors in the Stokesville Campground Ride Center and with all the time and energy we were able to get enough investors to purchase the grounds. So, the campground is owned by a number of individuals that share the same idea, passion, and excitement as I do to see this area get built up and reopened as a great riding getaway. Now the work is really starting.
When can we camp there?
The campground can be used anytime right now. We aren’t open yet for people to just roll in looking for a site but if they were to give us a call or email we are more than willing to get them set up with a site. We plan on having the campground open year round sometime this year. We still have some work to do on the grounds along with some other small projects.
We are looking to add a great trail system on the campground property. Trails will have flow, jump lines, and of course sections for the kids to party on so that mom and dad can sit back and relax at the campsite. Also, we’re working on putting in a pump trail that would be accessible from the lodge and campground.
Finally, we’re working on getting the historic Depot House at the entrance of the campground open for room rentals. We have started the Depot House renovation and look to have it possibly open sometime in the summer. We are also currently open to wedding/social events for both the lodge and campground.
For reservations and more information go to stokesvillelodge.com.