In Harrisonburg, VA, cycling is a part of the culture! Harrisonburg is home to hundreds of miles of trails, heart-pumping downhill mountain bike races, and a dynamic cycling scene that was built from the ground up by a passionate, dedicated community of cyclists. Their efforts have led Harrisonburg to be designated an IMBA Bronze Level Ride Center, Bike Friendly Community, and one of 10 Best Blue Ridge Bike Towns (Blue Ridge Outdoors), earning its reputation as the cycling capital of the Shenandoah Valley. Experience the beauty of this welcoming, picturesque town and embrace the opportunities for adventure.
Road Biking & Gravel Riding
Harrisonburg’s bike friendly streets, shared use paths, and dense trail network have led the city to be named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
Within the city, a network of trails and greenways invite cyclists to explore. The Friendly City Trail spans two miles from one end to the other, connecting Hillandale and Westover Parks and numerous bike-friendly hotels, attractions, and restaurants in-between. Play a game of frisbee golf between rides or rest in the shade of a peaceful pavilion. The Bluestone Trail and Northend Greenway offer additional opportunities to ride, with conveniently placed maps, tools and racks at each of the trailheads.
With Harrisonburg as your base, cruise through smooth gravel roads past idyllic pastoral landscapes. Rolling hills, green pastures, and awe-inspiring views of the city await. A ride to the southwest part of the County will take you past Old Order Mennonite farms and horse-drawn buggies. A swimming hole in the middle of Dry River is an inviting space for riders to soothe sore muscles on warm summer days.
Cyclists who are ready for the challenge can climb to the top of Reddish Knob, one of the highest peaks in the County. At 4,300 feet, Reddish Knob provides 360-degree views of the ridges of the surrounding mountains and Shenandoah Valley below. In the fall, vibrant hues of orange and red foliage are on full display, enchanting riders. Meander back down the road to Hone Quarry Recreation Area, a popular hiking and fishing spot nestled in the shadow of Shenandoah Mountain.
Heart-Pumping Mountain Bike Trails
Hidden within the wooded areas of Harrisonburg’s Hillandale Park, The Rocktown Trails offer great opportunities to hone your mountain biking skills. This dense network of trails was designed in collaboration with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), which has designated Harrisonburg as an IMBA Bronze Level Ride Center. Ride through sweeping uphill climbs, sidewinding single tracks, and low drops, or test your limits at the thrilling downhill jump track. Trails of varying difficulty wind through the network, from easy green trails and moderate blue trails at the edges of the park to more challenging red and black trails towards the center.
Just seven miles east of Harrisonburg lies the Massanutten Western Slopes, a network of trails spanning over 800 acres. From beginner-friendly green trails to steep, black diamond descents, the wide variety of trails available make it an ideal spot for riders of all abilities. Tucked away within the Western Slopes is a Skills Kitchen, where you can improve your mountain bike skills and practice daring jumps on the pump track. Before you go, be sure to pick up a trail pass from the kiosk at the base of the trailhead. All trail fees support the mission of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC), which works to maintain the trails and build exceptional riding opportunities for riders across the region.
To the west, the George Washington National Forest boasts hundreds of miles of singletrack trails through lush, forested mountain slopes. Take Aim Cycling, an experienced guide service based in Harrisonburg, VA, is one of only a few in this area to be permitted to take cyclists into the National Forest. Join the crew on a thrilling “roller coaster ride” through the Tillman West Trail, or work with them to plan a custom trip that is perfect for your skill level, interests and season.
Exciting Annual Events
Harrisonburg is also known for its popular cycling events for riders of all skill levels. Ride through tight turns, off-camber sections, and gravel climbs at the Rocktown Cyclocross, a celebration of cycling in the Shenandoah Valley. A free pint of bubbly craft beer and liege-style Belgian waffles await at the finish line. Cruise past idyllic pastures, restored mills, and Old Order Mennonite farms on flowing gravel roads at the Shenandoah Valley Century Ride, Harris Roubaix, or Bike Shenandoah. The Shenandoah Valley Century is the oldest ride in the Shenandoah Valley. Test your limits at Massanutten Yee-Ha!, a downhill mountain bike race set on one of the toughest courses on the East Coast, or traverse over 800 acres of trails through the Hoo-Ha!, an enduring cross country mountain bike race. Traveling with kids? The annual Youth TryAthlon is a fun way to introduce them to running, biking, and swimming.
At any one of these events, you may find yourself riding along one of Harrisonburg’s elite cyclists. Jeremiah Bishop, a pan-American gold medalist and internationally recognized cyclist, is the host of the highly-anticipated Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. Ride over 100 miles on winding dirt roads and steep climbs, bike into the George Washington National Forest over rugged mountain ranges, and back into Downtown Harrisonburg featuring 11,000 feet of climbing. Ring the Swiss Glocken bell upon your finish and celebrate with other cyclists over a smorgasbord. The race has been hailed by Men’s Journal as one of America’s Top 10 Gran Fondos.
Harrisonburg residents Abe Kaufman and David Landis, top American finishers at the 2022 Tour Divide, and Amanda Presgraves, third place finisher at the XTERRA Off Road Triathlon, have also shared the podium with national and international champions. They often participate in local cycling events, building the city’s cycling culture and welcoming new cyclists into the city.
Basecamp for Bikes & Brews
After a full day of riding, stop by one of Harrisonburg’s five craft breweries or cidery. These beloved local establishments have a strong tradition of friendly service, exciting events, and award-winning libations. A continually changing tap list and locally sourced ingredients add variety to the flavors you will experience here. Each of Harrisonburg’s breweries are within biking distance of each other, making it easy to begin your journey on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Simply pick up a Beerwerks Trail passport at one of the participating breweries, obtain eight stamps, and receive a free t-shirt!
Each May, Brothers Craft Brewing partners with VA Momentum and the Shenandoah Bicycle Coalition to include the cycling community in its monthly Run, Sweat and Beers event, providing an avenue for cyclists to participate in a lighthearted ride through downtown Harrisonburg and discounted brews at the brewery. In April, the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival welcomes cyclists to enjoy music performed by local and national bands, food trucks, and craft brews from over 80 breweries.
Friendly, Knowledgeable Outfitters
As you explore Harrisonburg’s craft brewing scene, be sure to check out the city’s vibrant downtown, a center for the arts, culture and entertainment, and a basecamp for Harrisonburg’s active cycling community. Walk, bike, drive, or scooter down bike-friendly streets to internationally-inspired restaurants, independently owned boutiques, and friendly, knowledgeable bike shops like Shenandoah Bicycle Company, Rocktown Bicycles, or Bluestone Bike & Run.
Shenandoah Bicycle Company, located in the heart of downtown Harrisonburg, provides a laid back, inviting environment for cyclists to gather. Just outside of the shop, a shaded garden patio overlooking Blacks Run is host to PULP, an acai and smoothie bar offering nutritious organic smoothies, pesto sandwiches, and flavorful acai bowls to help you fuel your next adventure. Nearby, Rocktown Bicycles offers bike maintenance clinics and lively cookouts throughout the year to build community and support budding bicyclists. Just south of downtown Harrisonburg near the Friendly City Trails, Bluestone Bike and Run offers a full selection of gear as well as a full-service shop, proudly servicing bikes of all brands. Their passionate, knowledgeable team provides a personalized experience for cyclists of all levels.
With its thriving community of cyclists, friendly, knowledgeable outfitters, creative craft breweries, and endless miles of trails, Harrisonburg is Virginia’s basecamp for bikes, brews and adventure!