This is my favorite downhill in WV. It is super fast, and can be supers cary. Penalty for failure is quite extreme. Going downhill, it starts with some loose rocks on a rather shallow but fast single track. A few overhanging branches and sometimes a fallen tree provide for some mystery here. This goes for about 1/4 mile where you can get some great speed even on the loose rocks. It flattens out briefly at a gas well where it is usually very wet and people usually fall over trying to cross the narrow muddy part between the water holes. Then it's back t the fun. It turns into more of a wide single track and overhanging branches and leaves let the mystery of "what's up ahead?" to the rider. Again, good speed and some out of the saddle sprints can be had here. Not much room for passing. Another couple of short, steep loose rock sections cause you to be very aware of the large, hard, unmoving trees and the dropoffs to your right.
In and out of narrow and wide sections. Great, loose but fast corners, and a few raised, flat rocks provide for some good air toward the bottom. There is a point about halfway down the hill that the loose rocky sections turn back into a nice wide fire road where you can pass your buddies. (Watch out for washed out ruts all along the trail though. They'll trap you and suck you into a fast, road rash filled, slide along the ground).
This is where the opportunity for some air comes in. Not big air, but when you're going full tilt, it feels really good. A sharp, fast right hand turn at the bottom usually takes you through a muddy water filled puddle. It's really shallow, so you can peddle through it and get ready for a really short, out of the saddle, big ring climb if you still have the speed. Then it starts back to a shallow but fast desent toward the bottom. A few more
air-portunities and a couple more fast turns. You'll usually hear some shooting, because this takes you right past the shooting range.
Always a great rush to know that you or your friends may witness a rider at 30 mph getting blown off their bike. What fun!! Once you near the bottom, be sure to apply your brakes before getting split in two by the gat at the bottom.
It's such a great downhill. Full suspension really comes into play here, but I ahve been passed by plenty a great hardtail rider onthis one, and the speeds can get up toward 35 mph in places. Always be aware of riders coming up the trail, too.
Its a nice, but intimidating climb. An experienced, moderately fast rider can climb it in 20-25 minutes. Getting to the bottom takes about 10 minutes, because you'll be tempted to stop at a couple places to talk to your friends and share the experiences on the way down. IT's a great rush!
As you're coming into kanawha State Forest, park at the first gravel area on the left. ride the gravvel road up past the shooting range and the gate to hoffman is right there, if you want to climb it. To go down it, ride the gravel road about 1/2 mile to the first fire road on the ride, whcih is Middle Ridge. About a mile and a quarter for the first climb and then the fire road goes for another 4 miles, up and down sections as wel as Middle Ridge Trail, which is a series of great single track sections criss crossing Middle ridge Road. Go past Black Bear and about 1/4 mile down on the right is the start of Hoffman Hollow. hang on!!
Summary: Don't know what the other guy was thinking, but this is not a scary downhill at all or even a single track. A good rider can go up this climb in 12 minutes. It is an old gas well road that climbs the side of the hill. It is pretty pitchy and can get steep in a few sections, most can middle ring it. It is a graveled surface.
Recommended Route: If you won't to go straight to the trail, park in the first lot near the forest sign. Ride out that road until you get to the shooting range and then you'll see the green gate.
Other recommended trails in the same area: You should ride down Ballard then up to the top. Take a right and go down Black Bear or follow the ridge and hit the Middle Ridge Singletracks.
Summary: What a great, fast, scary way to end the ride. Always been my favorite downhill, mostly because I know it so well. You'll just wish it were twice as long when you get off of it.
Recommended Route: I pretty much described it as best I could in the description part, and the way to get ot it is there to. You can also get there by taking a left at the top of the gravel road that goes throught the main part of the forest. You'll start the climb and go throught the right hand gate. About 1/4 mile up the road, goes to the left, (don't go stright, or you'll end up in Iowa). Another 1/4 mile and the trail is on the right. It's unmarked, but pretty easy to see.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Kanawha State Forest is full of some really great trails, many of which are reviewed here. Check out Wildcat Ridge, Teaberry rock, the infamous Black Bear, and lots more.