VB mountain bike trail boasts challenging ride & quick construction timeline

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — If you’re looking for a new adventure on your bike, this story is for you! A new mountain bike trail in Virginia Beach is in the works, and developers promise it won’t fall flat.

Off Interstate 264 near the Oceanfront sits Marshview Park. It boasts an open area for picnics and play, four new dog parks, and soon a new mountain bike trail.

“It’s really unique in the sense that it’s five miles worth of trails with some great topography, which is really rare to this flat area that we live in,” said Ethan Cason, Recreation Specialist II with Natural Areas, Trails, and Waterway Access Sites for Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation.

Cason said Marshview Park was originally slated to be developed before the city bought it in 2010.

“So, there’s actually some, quite a few large ditches that were dug out with some soil spill over. So, you’ve got these big mounds followed by these big ditches next to it.”

So, Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation teamed up with non-profit Eastern Virginia Mountain Bike Association, or EVMA, to make the trail dream become a reality.

“It’s important from EVMA’s perspective, because so many of our riders live on the Southside, and we have one trail down there right now at Indian River for Chesapeake, but we had nothing in Virginia Beach, and one of the constant requests we get from our riders on the Southside is there should be something a little closer to where we’re located. So, Marshview fits that venue perfectly. It’s close enough to the Oceanfront that it also offers some tourism opportunities if somebody was interested in trying mountain biking, as well as mountain biking and hiking for the local residents,” said Mark Willmann, Vice President for Trails for EVMA.

Willmann says the Marshview Trail will really round out trails maintained by EVMA.

“We maintain, with the inclusion of Marshview now, nine different trail systems across six different municipalities including Hampton Roads and one state park. Marshview will include basically everything from the Oceanfront now, all the way to the outskirts of Richmond. Our northernmost trail is in New Kent County.”

Cason is thrilled Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation teamed up with EVMA for this project.

“With EVMA’s expertise, we’re going to be able to not only design these trail routes to really go up and down through these ditches and over these berms. but really give people different levels of difficulty, everything from easy to ride, flat, to some really good thrills coming up and over some of these berms, and some of them go right up against Owl Creek. So, you can get some really good views of the tributary there.”

Cason said the trails will also be multi-use, so hikers, it’s for you as well.

“There will be way finding signage, trail head maps, so people will know what kind of trail they’re on, that the difficulty is, how long the trail is, and what to expect. So, everybody who wants to use the trails will be able to.”

The timeframe for the project’s completion might be faster than you expect.

“The first phase is we’re designing, doing the layout of the trails, and that will be going on until October. The great thing is, right around the fall time is when EVMA will start putting their tools to work and actually implementing and building what trails we need to build. We’re doing two phases in the sense of about the first 75% of all the trails will be formulated and done by the end of this year, and by the spring of 2022 all the trails should be completely done. So, we’re really looking forward to that,” Cason said.

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