Calling on all road riders, trail chasers, gravel grinders, and greenway lovers. No matter your speed, discover all that these seven Blue Ridge biking destinations have to offer. Use this guide to plan for future trips when we can all be together again. Please check with locations prior to travel to make sure it is safe to visit.
Allegany County, MD
Situated among the Appalachian Plateau and Allegheny Mountains and bordered by the Potomac River, Allegany County is a scenic biking destination in the ‘Mountain Side of Maryland.’ A convenient drive from major regional cities, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, you will find plenty to do in your saddle and off.
A quarter of Allegany County is preserved as public land, giving riders plenty of options to choose from. Bike the trails around Lake Habeeb, known for some of the bluest water in the state, at Rocky Gap State Park. Hang out on the park’s beaches or take a boat out on the water for a change of scenery. Green Ridge State Forest offers more than 80 miles of trail for hikers and bikers to discover. More experienced riders will enjoy the Green Ridge Mountain Biking Trail, a 12.5-mile circuit made up of mostly singletrack.
Additionally, two internationally recognized trail systems meet in Allegany County to give you countless riding options. Head north from Cumberland, Md. on The Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile rail trail that finishes in Pittsburgh, Penn. Or take the C&O Canal Towpath 184.5 miles south to Washington, D.C. on one of the most visited National Parks in the country. October 2020 marks the 170th Anniversary of the completion of Paw Paw Tunnel and the 50 miles of the C&O Canal to Cumberland, Md.
If you are looking to rent a bike or need a quick tune up, Cumberland Trail Connection is conveniently located where the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal meet. They also offer shuttles along the two trails. Get Out and Play! Outfitters has something for everyone, from kayak and canoe rentals and shuttles to guided adventures, archery, and escape rooms.
When you are done on your bike, check out the other trails in the area for a refreshing taste of the mountains. The Ice Cream Trail features eight stops with menus full of sweet treats, including seasonal, homemade ice cream flavors and specialty sundaes. Drive the Mountain Maryland Tap and Pour Craft Beverage Tour for a roundup of the area’s best wineries, breweries, and distilleries. After a long day outside, grab a glass of your favorite drink while you enjoy the mountains of Maryland.
Get away and ride all day in Allegany County, the ‘Mountain Side of Maryland.’
Shenandoah County, VA
Nestled between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, bike the rolling hills and pastoral farmlands of Shenandoah County, Va. Route 11, known as The Old Valley Pike, takes you through six small, historic towns filled with restaurants, shops, and galleries. Discover farmers markets, berry farms, a covered bridge, and the North Fork of the Shenandoah River as you bike the backroads.
If you are looking for trails, take the ski lift up the mountain at Bryce Resort for a day of downhill riding. Backcountry experts will love the Virginia Mountain Bike Trail, a continuous off-road mountain biking trail linking eight major trail systems in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The trail covers 480 miles and climbs 65,000 feet on mostly singletrack.
Finish your adventure with a stop at one of the five breweries or eight wineries in the area for a refreshing drink and views of the mountains. At the end of the day, check into the Hopewell House Bike and Bed for a twist on the traditional bed and breakfast with ample storage for bicycles, pick up bike rentals, and a small shop for “on your own” minor repairs.
Bryce Bike Park, VA
Just two hours west of Washington, D.C., get away to Bryce Bike Park in the mountains surrounding Basye, Va. Since the park’s inception in 2013, Bryce has been growing its reputation as a well rounded mountain biking destination for all skill levels. The mountain offers 10 lift accessed trails ranging from beginner to advanced. Gravity Logic, the company behind the initial design, made a return to Basye this spring to help the park expand into new terrain off the backside of the mountain and plans to return in the fall to continue with the expansion project.
With Great North Mountain looming in the distance, the area has something for those who enjoy exploring backcountry singletrack over the lift accessed terrain. Even if biking isn’t your thing, the area boasts a network of local hiking trails. Or take the hour long drive across the valley for a day in Shenandoah National Park. When the heat becomes too much to bear, Lake Laura provides a refreshing reprieve from the sun just a couple miles from the main resort facilities. Cap off the day with a refreshing beverage and meal at the base of the mountain in the Copper Kettle or venture over to the Basye Brew Hollow.
Rockingham County, VA
In the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, bounded by two magnificent mountain ranges and the impressive Shenandoah River, Rockingham County, Va. is a must see destination that boasts diverse biking opportunities, a thriving cultural scene, vibrant and inviting small towns, numerous historical attractions, and farm-to-table dining opportunities. Situated just two hours from D.C. and minutes from the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park, its central location makes it an easy destination for a day, weekend, or week-long trip.
The area is designated a “Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists for its mix of family-friendly road riding and challenging mountain biking. The George Washington National Forest is the crown jewel of the region with several hundred miles of backcountry trails and trail projects that have been built and optimized for mountain biking. Make sure to check out Narrowback Mountain, Lookout Mountain, and Wolf Ridge trails while you are out there.
A biking trip to Rockingham County wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Massanutten Resort. As one of only two lift-accessible mountain bike parks in the state, the lower and upper lifts take riders up the mountain so they can enjoy the rocky terrain on the way down. Additionally, the Western Slope Trails offer more than 30 miles of a dense trail network. Bikers of all abilities should take advantage of the progressive trails from beginner to advanced. Experienced riders should check out the Massanutten Ridge Trail for excellent views of the mountains and resort.
Stop by Mole Hill Bikes in Dayton for all of your bike needs while in town, including accessories and repairs, or the Elkton Appalachian Trail Outfitters for any gear you need to stay happy and healthy out on the trail.
Fill the rest of your visit with kayaking and tubing the river, exploring the natural wonders at Grand Caverns and Endless Caverns, and sampling a taste of the local scene, including farm fresh eateries and craft drinks. At the end of the day, rest up at one of the historic bed and breakfasts, quaint inns, or Massanutten Resort before another day outside. With over 177,000 acres of National Park and National Forest land, you are sure to find something new every day of the year when you discover your next adventure in Rockingham County.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge
Find an adventure that fits your speed when you visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, the only IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center on the East Coast. With over 400 miles of mountain biking trails, riders of all abilities can experience America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital.
Start off at Mill Mountain Park in Roanoke’s city limits, one of the best urban parks in the country. Make sure to view the iconic Roanoke Star while you’re at the top before riding ten miles of intermediate and advanced trails down the mountain. Beginners will enjoy exploring Franklin County’s Waid Recreation Park, including several ADA accessible trails, winding paths along the Pigg River, and a jump line trail. Take your riding to the next level at Falling Creek Park with a skills loop and pump track to hone your technique.
You could spend a few days riding the multi-use, singletrack trails at Carvins Cove. Less than ten miles from Downtown Salem, there are more than 60 miles of fire roads, cross county singletrack, and downhill trails to keep you entertained. For some backcountry riding, head to North Mountain in the Jefferson National Forest. Known locally as “Dragon’s Back,” ride the ridge of the mountain on challenging singletrack.
After a full day of riding, visit Downtown Salem to kick back, relax, and try some local craft brews. Located just off Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail, Parkway Brewing Company offers a rotating selection of beers brewed and bottled right in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. There’s a little bit of history in every glass at Olde Salem Brewing Company and something for every beer drinker to enjoy, particularly those with a penchant for sours.
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, discover nine miles of trails by the Roanoke River at Explore Park. While you’re there, check out additional paddling, camping, and ziplining opportunities for a full day of adventure. If you’re looking to explore the whole area, the Roanoke Valley Greenways offer more than 30 miles of paved trails connecting public parks, the river, and downtown destinations.
No matter what kind of terrain you’re looking to ride, stop by Roanoke Mountain Adventures for bike rentals while you are in town. Or rent a kayak, tube, standup paddleboard, or crash pad for a different mountain adventure. Downshift Bikes & Brews is your one stop shop for all things bikes, coffee, and beer in Downtown Roanoke. They recently started offering e-bike rentals for those looking to get around the city.
Giles County, VA
Tucked in southwest Virginia with easy access from major cities and interstates, Giles County, Va. is a biking destination for cyclists of all skill levels. Road cyclists, mountain bikers, competitive riders, and leisure riders can all find their adventure in Giles.
In the fall, the roadways and surrounding mountains burst with colors enticing you to explore this small Americana hometown. Ride the Bluefield Century Loop for one of the flattest and fastest routes in the region or take on the Elgood Loop for long, steep climbs and switchbacks. Check out the New River Valley Bicycle Association for more information on the best places to ride in the area.
For some off road riding, follow the Mary Ingles Trail along the New River through an undeveloped area. Mountain bikers will find more than 20 miles of technical singletrack and accessible doubletrack at Mill Creek Nature Park, plus three waterfalls and a native trout stream, in addition to another 22 miles of trail at Mountain Lake Wilderness.
When you’re done on your bike, Giles County offers 37 miles of the New River Water Trail, 62 miles of the Appalachian Trail, 92 square miles of Jefferson National Forest, and five small towns to enjoy.
Russell County, VA
Russell County, a rugged and mountainous area of southwestern Virginia, is one of the most beautiful and biologically rich areas in the world. Discover all the county has to offer as you bike the TransAmerica Trail along Route 80. While the full bicycle route is more than 4,200 miles from Astoria, Ore. to Yorktown, Va., you can enjoy a slice of backroad riding in Russell County.
When planning your trip, be sure to stay at the Biker Hostel in Elk Garden, provided by the Elk Garden United Methodist Church. Here, bikers can rest, spend the night, and enjoy the quiet, beautiful stillness that Elk Garden offers. Bikers are welcome to enjoy whatever is in the kitchen and the cabinet. Park your bicycles under the picnic shelter and prepare your sleeping pallets wherever you feel comfortable, inside or out, with a cold shower located behind the parsonage. Don’t forget to sign the bikers’ log as one of the thousands of cyclists who comes through the county on this route.
When you’re done on the bike, experience the biodiversity southwestern Virginia has to offer at one of the wildlife management areas or preserves in the area, including Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area.