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The George Washington & Jefferson National Forest ride planning thread

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I hope this is the right area of the forum.

My intent is to create a thread where like minded adventure and dual sport riders who enjoy riding in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest can plan and organize riding together or even sharing a camp. These forest offer 1.8 million acres of public land that include lakes, ponds, swamps, rivers, creeks and more. 1.02 million acres of that is undeveloped, granting us a lot to explore! Included in that is 3000 miles of forest roads. Win! :ride: If you haven't ridden there, it really is a beautiful place to ride, and I recommend giving it a shot. Many of the forest roads are graded pretty well and would be easy for a novice rider. I have explored and found a few roads that get rougher and are considered "jeep trails", but I navigated them on a fully loaded, street tire wearing R1200GS Adventure; so they're definitely "doable" on smaller machines. If you'd like to learn some more about the forest, check out the Forest Service's page at:


So, maybe start it with an introduction, and folks can make some new riding buddies. A few things to include may be:

1) What you ride

2) Age/Location/Distance from GW & JNF entry

3) Camper or day rider

Guess I'll start.

I live in southern Maryland were the riding, in my opinion, isn't always ideal. I hardly ride to base because of how aggressive and fast folks drive up MD5/301. (I work at Andrews AFB ) There are very few areas to ride of pavement, so I often find myself heading south to cross in to Virginia and then riding west to enjoy the mountain air and less aggressive drivers! Because it's a 3 1/2-4 hour ride out there, I often camp at least one night. Last year I left work a few times Friday afternoon to ride out there and camp just inside the forest, ride all day Saturday exploring and return home that evening. They usually allowed me to log a solid day of 250-350 miles depending on my pace. I started building a new camping set-up this year that involves hammocks (all those hammock campers finally convinced me that I need to give it a shot). I ride a KTM 1190 Adventure R, but grew up riding on dirt so I'm pretty comfortable off road. Actually, I prefer the gravel to the tarmac when I ride.

We're experiencing a freak snow storm now, so I can't tell exactly when I'll be riding next but I will post on here every time I plan on heading out there and anyone is welcome to join.

Thanks and ride safe!


GWNF - Sign - 10MB Resized.jpg

Edited by michdave
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  • 2 weeks later...


Alain aka Dakrider here from Nottingham, Pa I would be very interested in scouting the area with like minded riders.

I could take off on Friday as well and scout the area and return on a Sunday night.

I ride various adventure motorcycles and I'm skilled enough to do those kind off rides, I'm not a dare devil, I ride conservatively. If I'm correct do you have to get a day pass to ride/use the National Forest? How many people in this off-road adventure group ride would be comfortable?

Well let me know when your planing to head out and ride as I'm planing my riding season now.



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Good morning Alain,


I don't have any exact dates set yet, but as things warm up a bit, I will start planning some!  I've been speaking with another fellow via XLadv who is interested in riding together as well. He's on a smaller bike, so him and I (because we live close) have discussed us actually trailering there, and setting camp up on the outside edge (near Harrisonburg, VA). To do that, I would have to get register for a camp site, but as far as riding in the GW & J NF, all of the fire and access roads are opened to plated and registered street vehicles. So if you have a plate and your bike is registered for street use, you are good to go! No more permits required.


I've ridden and camped out there numerous times and have never had an issue. Normally I'll run into some hunters here and there, who almost always smile and wave. Locals who have always been really nice, and occasionally a few Jeeps or other off roaders playing around on the roads. All of them have been pretty good about letting bikes pass by and saying hi.


As far as camping off the bike goes, I've learned to go a bit deeper into the woods just because local kids tend  to wander out and about at night; kids being kids. I've never had an issue but you'll hear them sometimes hooting and hollering in the distance. My motto just has been, "out-of-site, out-of-mid" and I leave no traces of where I've been. I'm pretty adamant about taking out what I brought in and not trying to destroy or trash anything.


Sort of the same goes for riding, I love riding off road and exploring. I twist the wrist when it needs to be or occasional for fun, but I try not to ride like a butt-head around other drivers/vehicles, hunters, or horse riders. I guess I have the mindset that we are all ambassadors for our sport. If you're nice and courteous, folks will see you in a better light as opposed to the guys tearing stuff up and making a bunch of noise. Unfortunately I have seen a bunch on groups trying to shut down road/trail use for motored vehicles so I try to convince anyone I don't know that most of us are good folks who care about conserving our forest as much as the next guy.



But, that got long winded!  Thanks for reading and responding!  As soon as I have a good weekend I can get out and the weather looks as if it's going to play along, I will post it here and try to get some folks out there!  With the limited responses and audience, I don't think we'll run into an issue of having "too many" people. If you have a date that you would like to come down, post it here as well and I'll see what I can do about making it happen on my end!


Thanks Dakrider

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