Twin Mountain Off-Road Adventure

CORE is always looking for new places to legally wheel and explore. Last fall three of us did an exploratory run at Twin Mountain in Williamsport, WV. We had a great time, so a larger CORE make a trip to Twin Mountain on June 4th 2016.
The park is smaller than Rausch Creek or Anthracite, but was an hour closer, i.e., 2.5 hours from DC, rather than 3.5 hours for the PA parks. It was also clearly in very beautiful country. Seven trucks made the trip:

Members/guests going to Twin Mountain:

  • Andrew and Cherie Taylor (President and Secretary) – 2012 Nissan Xterra,
  • Robert Rixham (Vice President) & Fred Granruth (Treasurer) – 2000 Toyota 4Runner,
  • Mike O’Grady(Member) – 2001 Khaki Nissan Xterra,
  • Sam L. (Member) – Black 2012 Jeep JK,
  • Bill Fay (Guest) – Yellow (2015) Jeep JK,
  • John Doyle and friend Calvert (Guests) – Black 2016 Jeep JK.
  • Shane O’Neal – Black Nissan Xterra.

Entrance to Twin Mountain.

We all were coming from different directions, so we met at Wendy’s in Manassas and caravanned from there. Twin Mountain is two hours from Manassas. The ride is quite straightforward and very beautiful. It’s just straight out 66 to 81. South on 81 to WV55 and then another 40 miles into the mountains. You do want to gas up before you get too far into the mountains. The park is located at 39o11’35”N, 79o0’37”W. (39.1930556, -79.0102778).

Quick driver’s meeting before hitting the trails!

The park is still being developed. The owner John Bradshaw met us and agreed to be our trail guide for the afternoon. John was great. Like I mentioned earlier, this is not the biggest park I’ve ever been to. John probably has no more than 10 miles of trail in total. The trails are very good and different from what we usually drive. They cut back and forth across the mountain. There was no simple dirt-road driving, except the driveway into the park. There are trails at all levels of difficulty from green to red. There is a lot of bush driving. You really feel like you’re in the deep woods, not on a groomed trail, although the trails are probably the best marked that I’ve ever driven. They even indicate how the trail might differ under different weather conditions, e.g., green when dry, blue when wet. There is not a lot of rock crawling at this park. The mountain trails put you in some tough off camber situations. Nothing too scary or likely to hurt your rig other than some pin stripes, but situations where you really have to concentrate on your driving skills. These trails made me feel like I was getting some very good practice driving under different situations and becoming a better off road driver because of it.

The weather to forecast to be stormy, but the rain held off all day. The trails we quite wet and we got a lot of recovery experience. We got effectively a graduate level course on the use of MaxTrax under a range of conditions.

Carefully crossing the bridge.

We had a great time winding through the mountain trails. The log bridges John has built over the creek are particularly fun and challenging. It took a fair amount of finesse to get each of us properly lined up to cross one of the harder bridges. Once over the bridge you had to gun it to make it up the steep muddy track on the other side. Once everyone was up that hill we set about going up the next long muddy hill. What looked like an easy ride turned into a multi-hour pile up. John went up the hill and got stuck half way up. Out came the Maxtrax again, and we needed 4 to help him get his Land Rover further up the hill. He got stuck again, this time within winching distance of the top, so we went to winch him up to discover his solenoid had died. Tracey went off to get another Land Rover to winch from the top and eventually we got John up the hill. As he navigated around the top of the hill he managed to break something on his front axle! As John, Tracey and Shane worked to winch him up the hill and off the trail, and turn the other Land Rover around, the rest of us got to work getting Sam and myself up the hill. Sam got stuck in the same spot as John had, but we moved the Maxtrax a bit and got him up. Next I tackled it, and with a little more speed made it to the top (and past the strategically placed Maxtrax’) in one pass.

Mike made it up the muddy hill.

Around this time John and Tracey were finishing the the Land Rovers and so did a final run back to the field. Next Sam and I made it up there. Once we were out of the way everyone else made their way up the hill, with only 1 more vehicle getting stuck, Fred driving the 4Runner, in the same spot as the others. Eventually though we all made it back to the entrance field! It had taken over 3 hours to run about a mile of trail thanks to the muddy conditions!

Playing in the obstacle course!

Back in the entrance field there is also an area that has been set aside with obstacles and water hazards. It’s not like the big mound at Rausch Creek where people pull up at wild angles for a photo op. This is more a training area. A fun training area, but definitely designed to help you improve your driving skills.

There is a very nice camping area with very nice toilets (with showers!). Very nice meadow to camp in with a large communal fire pit and picnic tables.

Overall, all of us were impressed and had a great time. John Bradshaw was great and willing to help anyway he could to make it a day to remember.

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Photo Album: 06/04/16 Twin Mountain

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Trail report written by Mike O’Grady. Pictures courtesy of Cherie & Andrew Taylor, Sam L., Shane O’Neil, and Bill Fay.

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