A small group of Black Goats went to Burning Rock Off-Road Park in Sophia, WV for Presidents weekend, from 2/17?2/19/2019. The Goats on this trip were Goatpunter (Kevin), Trail Steak (Luis), R3DLEG (Bill), Turkeyman (Richard Turkey) and Jeepride (Julio).
It is a solid +4 hour drive from NOVA down I-81 and west on I-64 with some good mountains to ascend. About an hour left to go, we had some mechanical issues with a leaking transfer case on Turkeyman?s TJ. Luckily, we had a couple of trailers and got him to the park where he replaced the seal. Unfortunately, internal damage was done, and that transfer case made everyone aware of it with horrible sporadic knocking sounds while on the trails, but the TJ kept chugging away all weekend.
There are over 10,000 acres of trails, and you can track your route using Maprika, which makes it easy to navigate even on your first visit. All the trails are very narrow, with the majority of the trails are labeled with numbers, which are the original trails for ATVs, dirt bikes and side by sides, and the few trails labeled with letters are for jeeps or full size vehicles and a little wider, but not by much.
Speaking with one of the guys that works there and since we were the only ones there that weekend, he warned us about the how narrow they were, but told us that we could go on any trail we wanted. Well, we took that literally and our persistence and maybe a little recklessness transformed many of those trails into Jeep/ATVs trails.
There is a huge section of active mining area that is off limits, but there are plenty of other open areas and trails. The map is well documented with many black and red trails, which we learned the red trails are single track trails for motorcycles.
Disappointingly, most of the trails, green, blue or black were mostly clay and mud, with very little rocks, which was what we were looking for. To top it off, it rained almost the entire weekend, which made the trails very muddy and slippery, but it was better than staying home and working!
We checked in early afternoon on Saturday to one of their cabins that sleeps 6. Both the trail pass with annual membership and the cabins are priced very cheap compared to other off-road parks. Anyway, we unloaded, aired down and went exploring right away starting with section 4.
From the trail head, we took blue #51 towards black trails # 90, 90A, 36 and 83. Ended up doing blue T backwards to make it more challenging. We then headed toward two black trails #84 and #94 that we were told would be very challenging. Turkeyman with his ailing transfer case bypassed them and went to meet us at the bottom of #94. Jeepride led the way with Goatpunter and R3DLEG/Trail Steak and climbed up #84. It looked very promising for the first 100 yards with a steep muddy and rocky trail, however it didn?t last long and turned into a narrow green/blue trail. At the top, we took a muddy #58 to the top of #94 and decided to walk down some of it since we were told that a couple had recently rolled their side by side at the hairpin turn on the steep decline. After inspecting the first 50 yards, we went down #94 with no issues doing 3 point turns at the hair pin turn.
We then went on green #15 to get to black 75, but this was just a very narrow trail along the side of the mountain. There were a lot of slippery decomposing leaves on this trail with tight turns and Jeepride got in a predicament sliding the driver?s side tires unto the edge of the trail with the slimy leaves and an even slimier dead log. Black Goats have developed really good recovery skills with R3DLEG and Turkeyman setting up Goatpunter?s winch cable to a snatch block on a tree up the mountain slope and then to Jeepride?s rear bumper to pull him back on the trail. The plan worked great and we were moving again within a few minutes. And being the first to be stuck, Jeepride was to buy the first round that night, which he still owes the group because we made it an early night back to the cabin.
On Sunday we started in section 2 looking for the red rock gardens on the map. We were told that there were a lot of rocks, and after what felt like numerous miles of green trails looking for the two rock gardens, we found them. The other rock garden could not be reached very easily from the trail due to the thick overgrowth, so we went back to the first rock garden we passed that we could get to from the trail.
Yes, there were a lot of rocks, however they were big, no huge, as big as the jeeps. Nevertheless, R3DLEG was determined to climb them! After surveying the boulders and finding a ?doable? line, R3DLEG made it up and over. It was Goatpunter?s turn and with his smaller tires gave it a good attempt, but ultimately backed out to avoid any damage. It was amazing how the holes between these rocks made 35? tires look tiny! Both Turkeyman and Jeepride decided to just be observers. Finally, R3DLEG with his courage lifted from the first conquest tried another line toward the end of the pile, however these boulders were very slick and even with his almost 40? tires had to withdraw. After lunch in an open area that was made from the mining tailings, we ran a couple of more trails looking for those elusive rocks, then called it a day.
Overall, it was fun being in the woods with friends, but not the rock trip we were hoping for. Besides Turkey?s transfer case, there was no breakages or damage, so it was a good weekend!
Here is the link to the Burning Rock Off-Road map: