Dirt Rag Dirt Fest is the creation of a pair of mountain bikers looking for a place of their own to enjoy a little dirt biking. It began back in 1991 when the owners of Dirt Rag Magazine funded a mountain bike weekend with just a dozen riders and a small group of trails. After they realized how much fun it was, they decided to make it an annual event, and it has been going on at the Pennsylvania site since.
In 2017, they started a new venue in West Virginia, which has been a huge success. For dirt bike lovers and those who just like to watch to those who come to camp and hang out, the Dirt Rag Dirt Fest has grown to attract thousands. Besides riding, you can also check out the newest in bike products and even try out some of the new bikes coming out soon.
For West Virginia Dirt Rag Dirt Fest, experts and newbies from around the country get together in Bruceton Mills at the Big Bear Lake Trail Center to enjoy playing in the dirt and meeting new friends. You’ll be able to learn from some of the experts at the skill clinics, take the kids for a ride, and enjoy live music and great food. With over a dozen trails and more than 50 miles of track, you are sure to find a trail you love.
Whether you want a ticket to camp for the whole weekend or just come to the main event on Saturday, you can expect to pay anywhere between $20 and $200. Food, beer, and other refreshments are a separate cost as are any other items you want to purchase at the event. RV drivers usually purchase an Event Pass with Onsite Camping for RVs, while companions may need to purchase a standard Event Pass with Onsite Camping.
Thirty minutes from Morgantown to the west and about two hours from Charleston to the southwest, you’ll find Rag Dirt Fest at Big Bear Lake Trails in a northeastern corner of West Virginia. Just off of I-68 and about an hour east of I-79, the trails are out in the middle of a big patch of wooded wonderland, but the roads are straight and nicely groomed.
If you have a camping ticket, the parking is first-come, first-served but there is plenty of room for everyone who reserved a spot on the Airstrip Campground. If you camped elsewhere and drove to the park, you will have no trouble finding a parking spot right off County Route 9/5, also seen as Alaskan Boulevard. Talk to the Dirt Rag Dirt Fest planners for more information on vehicle size restrictions.
The trail center offers shuttle service to registered ticket holders around the park as well as from the nearby campgrounds to the festival. The shuttles run every hour the weekend of Dirt Fest, but they can sometimes be delayed. You can also call a taxi or use a ride service app.
Big Bear Lake Trail Center has a limited amount of camper and RV campsites available so if you want one, it’s best to reserve it way ahead of time. All sites are primitive with no hookups or water. The campground is located to the east of the trails on the airstrip near the vendor area. Parking is first-come, first-served.
Big Bear Lake partners with the Dirt Rag Dirt Fest and allows RV and tent camping within a stone’s throw of the Dirt Fest at Beaver Creek Village. If onsite camping is full or you prefer to be in a separate location, this may be an option to consider. Amenities include full hookups, a picnic table, and fire ring. Modern restrooms, hot showers, and a lake are also within walking distance. Within a few miles, you can also find several other campgrounds that offer amenities such as full hookups, restrooms with showers, playgrounds, and pavilions.
The park offers free shuttle service to those who have a paid admission ticket or wristband. Although many people you see will be on a bike, a lot of them are also getting around on foot, which is just as effective since it is not that big of an area. The shuttle service from the campground to the event is a nice advantage for those camping on site or nearby in Bruceton Mills. Strollers and wheelchairs are allowed, but no motorized equipment or vehicles such as golf carts or OHVs are allowed.
West Virginia is hot in July. After all, it is summertime. Pack t-shirts, shorts, and tank tops mostly. Or you may prefer a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt and some jeans to keep the sun and mosquitoes at bay. Pack comfortable tennis shoes or hiking boots as well since you will be walking around in the wooded areas. It is a cycling event in the mud; be prepared to get dirty and wet if you plan to demo or ride while attending Dirt Rag Dirt Fest WV.
This is a rain or shine event so bring an umbrella even if it doesn’t look like rain is coming. You can always use it to keep the sun off of your skin. To carry your water, snacks, and other needs, bring a backpack that is lightweight but big enough to carry what you need. You may also want to bring a camera to capture the action. If you plan on riding, be sure to bring a helmet and any other items that help you enjoy a good mud adventure.
Two things you definitely need to have in July are sunblock and bug spray. Deep in the woods of West Virginia, you are likely to see some hungry bugs, especially after the sun goes down. You can also bring a first aid kit for minor injuries or scrapes. Pack a hat and sunglasses as well to protect you from the sun’s rays.
Although you may enjoy eating some of the delicious food from the food trucks at the festival, you may also want to cook at your campsite. No open fires are allowed at the campground, so you will have to use a camp stove or power up your RV stove with your generator. If you need any last-minute items, Bruceton Mills and Morgantown both have grocery and convenience stores.
From pizza to burritos, you’ll find a wide variety of eating places in and around Dirt Fest. In Bruceton Mills, you have your choice of sit-down restaurants as well as fast food joints with drive-thrus. If you want to have a beer or glass of wine with your meal, there are a couple of bar and grill locations in town as well. Morgantown has a larger variety where you can find seafood, sandwiches, and even a Hawaiian restaurant.
The West Virginia Dirt Rag Dirt Fest always has a bunch of fantastic vendors promoting their MTB wares. You will even be able to test ride some of the dirt bikes coming out and be able to familiarize yourself with the companies that make them. Some of the vendors that have been at previous Dirt Fests include Take Aim Cycling, Endless Bike Company, Shimano, Yeti, Scott Sports, Kona, MTBparks.com, Trailhead Coffee, and many more.
You may not see them, but they are there. Security staff at Dirt Fest WV are there if you need them. You may be subject to search any time while you are there if security deems it necessary. If you have an emergency and do not see anyone close by, it is best to call 911. Remember that cell phone signals may be spotty, so you may need to work with other guests in the event of an emergency.
The weather in Bruceton Mills in mid-July can be hot. But it may not be as hot as some of the places across the nation. The average highs range from 85 to 90, while the lows can be anywhere from 62 to 65. In past years, it is not unheard of for the highs to reach the upper 90s and the lows to drop into the upper 50s. Remember to check the weather forecast before packing and heading out to the festival.
For minor injuries, the first aid tent is available to the public all weekend in the main expo area on the airstrip. However, should you need a hospital, the closest one is in Morgantown on Medical Center Drive about 30 miles from the park. If you have an emergency and cannot locate anyone, do not hesitate to call 911.