Almost every visitor to the Alleghany Highlands spends some time outdoors. Ideas for what makes a perfect day can vary widely. Some adventurers squeeze in as much adrenaline pumping action as possible from sunrise to sunset, while others find their zen in a day of fly fishing. All sound pretty amazing, and everyone is welcome to make their own “Uniquely Alleghany” outdoor fun.
In recent years, people have discovered some of the outdoor events in the Alleghany Highlands that are rapidly growing in popularity. Competitions like running, biking and triathlons appeal to athletes of all ability levels, including those who thrive on competition, as well as those who simply want to surpass their own personal best performance.
Our region is fortunate to have spectacular natural venues for outdoor events. For example, Douthat State Park is one of the first state parks in Virginia. Some park buildings and trails were built during the depression era by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Its trails are recognized today as some of the finest mountain biking terrain in the state. It’s the perfect place to host the Middle Mountain Momma race series. A few miles west, near Covington, is the Jackson River Scenic Trail. On any given day, walkers, runners and bikers are enjoying the views along this popular rail trail. For one weekend in June, the trail is the scene of the Jackson River Marathon. Not to mention Lake Moomaw, the George Washington National Forest and the miles or scenic back roads around the region — all perfect for races, rides and competitions.
The Alleghany Highland Outdoor Events Series
May 5, 2024
For more than 25 years, Middle Mountain Momma has attracted mountain bikers to Douthat State Park for an extraordinary day of fun and competition. As previously mentioned, the trail system at Douthat is considered to be one of the best in the state, offering challenging Civilian Conservation Corps-built singletrack trails unlike anything you’ve ever ridden! The event features four different races, ranging from 41 miles to 5.5 miles, which means there is an option for everyone in the family.
May 18, 2024
Centered in the historic Town of Clifton Forge, this event include a 5K fun run, a 5-mile paddle and a 10-mile bike ride. The event ends at The Historic Masonic Theatre with awards for top finishers in multiple age groups. Gather your biking, running and paddling friends and enter as a relay team.
June 8, 2024
This event has exploded in popularity in recent years. Experienced runners will appreciate that this flat and fast course composed of smooth crushed gravel is a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon. It’s also a perfect choice for first time marathoners thanks to a scenic course, a festive race-day atmosphere, ample hydration stations and outstanding race-day volunteers. In addition to a full marathon, there is a half marathon, 10K and 5K. All races begin and end at the Intervale Trailhead of the Jackson River Scenic Trail, located just north of Covington, VA.
June 29, 2024
A Gran Fondo is a European style, long distance cycling event or better translated as “big ride.” The Agony in the Alleghenies offers up one of the most scenic routes on the east coast full of beautiful mountain vistas, breathtaking waterfalls and nearly 10,000 feet of climbing! The event features options for cyclists of all abilities with four different race options, ranging from 30 miles to over 100 miles; there’s even a King & Queen of the Mountain race up the vaunted Warm Springs Mountain – Do you have what it takes to tackle the mountain? All registered riders will enjoy a pre-race “Rock the Block” welcome party at packet-pickup and lots of post-race festivities, including live music, food trucks, beverages, and massages from licensed massage therapists.
August 17, 2024
Lake Moomaw, located about 20 minutes north of Covington, is a pristine lake with undeveloped shoreline. The beautiful mountain views and cool, clear water makes this one of the most popular open water swims in Virginia. The race takes place at the southern end of the lake at Cole’s Point Beach. Space is limited. Register early.