Mountain Biking Coastal Virginia

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Map of Virginia

Coastal Virginia offers a variety of mountain biking opportunities in an area framed by the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay to the east and Interstate 95 along the western edge. If you assumed that coastal trails would be flat, you'd be partially correct but possibly very surprised. Although the bike paths at York River State Park and Newport News Park are pretty flat, others in the same area, such as the Marl Ravine Trail at York River State Park and Dogwood Trail at Waller Mill Park, are characterized by short but very steep ascents and descents.

Starting from sea level along the coast, the land rises to an elevation of approximately 300 feet above sea level at the start of the Piedmont. A less obvious but geologically significant western border between the coastal region and Piedmont is the Fall Line. This line runs roughly along the same path as Interstate 95 and marks the zone where streams over time have created rapids and waterfalls as they flowed from the harder sedimentary rock of the Piedmont across the softer, erosive sedimentary rock of the coastal region.

There is more variation among ecological communities within this single region than in any other in Virginia. The processes of shaping and reshaping the sea-land interface are ongoing and can be seen at First Landing State Park and False Cape State Park. The accumulation and shifting of sand is the most dynamic of all physiographic processes, and one in which nature is determined to have its way despite the best, and very expensive, efforts of individuals and coastal governing bodies intent on maintaining a status quo among the forces of wind, water, and land.

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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