Pocahontas Self-Guided Night Mountain Biking Rules

Winter months mean shorter days and less time to ride our wonderful trails.  Under a special agreement with the Park, riders can keep riding after dusk as long as the following rules are followed.  Please help keep this opportunity available to everyone by living within the rules. Night ride season begins the Monday After Labor Day and runs through the first Sunday of May each year.  Rides must conclude by 9pm and all cars out of parking areas by 10pm.

  1. We’re pleased to announce night riding will be allowed every day of the week starting September 3rd 2017 through the fall and winter with the exception of trails closures due to official announced closures or due to wet trail conditions. To monitor for official and weather –related trail closures please check FOPSP.org. Please follow trail closures and use common sense. If you are leaving tracks do not ride.
  2. By default, use of the park after sundown is illegal and subject to fines.  Night riding is available under a special use permit obtained by the Friends of Pocahontas State Park. The special use permit can be revoked if participants fail to follow rules and common sense.
  3. Riders are required to print out, complete and sign a night riding permit (see below) and to display the permit(s), one per rider, in their car window.  Permit will not be available or provided by the Park or Staff. This helps the park rangers know who is riding and who may be lost when inspecting lots for permits and parking.  If you fail to display a permit don’t be surprised if a concerned law enforcement officer is waiting for or searching for you when you finish your ride. Riders accessing the park by bicycle may post their rider permits on the kiosks at these parking areas (critical you retrieve permit when you leave the park).
  4. Night riding without completely filling out and displaying a waiver is illegal and subject to fine or a park ban.
  5. Breaking the permit or park rules voids the permit.
  6. Riders are allowed to only ride the Swift Creek and Lakeview trail systems and connecting forest roads/trails.
  7. Riders must park and access the trails from the parking lot just beyond the Welcome Station at the main entrance of the park off Beach Rd. (10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield, VA) or from the Loop Forest Trail lot off Courthouse Rd. (7298 Courthouse Rd, Chesterfield, VA).
  8. Please be safe.  Riding is being allowed and expanded this year because people rode conservatively and respectfully last year.  If there are accidents or rule violations the special use permit may be revoked.
  9. Ride safe, ride in groups, pay the parking fee, follow the rules, be self-sufficient and enjoy this privilege.
  10. Equipment – minimum of two separate light systems required. Lighting must be powerful enough to illuminate trail for riding and robust enough for mountain bike use. Helmet and handlebar mounted systems are recommended. Spare battery is also recommended. Bicycle should be well maintained and ready for a ride. Cell phone is also mandatory.

The permit rules are (quoting from the permit form below):

  • Fill out this form and place it on your dash or in your driver’s side window (one form per rider) 
  • Limit rides to the Lakeview & Swift Creek Trail Systems (riders may traverse from one to the other using the Swift Creek Bridge and connecting trails)
  • Ride only in the signed direction 
  • Carry a cell phone in a waterproof cover
  • Carry no fewer than 2 high intensity lights per person
  • Ride in groups of two or more
  • Carry either a physical trail map or a smartphone with trail maps (suggest “MTB project” app) 
  • Park only in the Front Parking Lot or Loop Forest Trail Parking Lot (paying the normal fee)
  • Return to your car no later than 9:00 pm 
  • Leave the Park no later than 10:00 pm