On New Year’s Eve, Lucaca and I decided to check out a ride listed on Mtbproject.com as Mineshaft via Bobblet’s Gap. It started with a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Bobblet’s Gap parking area, which would be our starting point for the day.
Upon arrival, the temperature was 32 degrees, but the wind was howling making it feel way colder. We put on and/or packed all of the layers we had and hit the trail.
The route starts with about a mile of downhill along the Glenwood Horse Trail before reaching the singletrack entrance of the Mineshaft section, which is a hard right and starts out very steep. A blessing in disguise, the hike-a-bike up that section helped warm us up. Upon reaching the switchback, it turns back to the left and levels off and the fun begins.
For several miles, the trail follows the contour of a narrow gauge railway bed that was used to mine iron ore during the Civil War era.
The loop we followed required a fair amount of road riding, both paved and dirt, and the last 5+ miles is uphill before passing the Mineshaft trailhead and returning to the parking area.
In all, it’s just shy of 13 miles with about 1800 feet of elevation gain, and most of that is on the road. Even with all the road riding, I would do this route again. However, I would recommend parking at the Pico Rd parking area, getting the climb out of the way first, and finishing with miles of wonderful, mountain singletrack and an awesome descent.