Shenandoah County is a great destination for anyone who loves to cycle—either on the roads or out on the trails. Located 90 miles directly west of the Washington DC metro area, and nestled between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, it is a true valley steeped in Agricultural heritage and stunning views.
Interstate 81 runs directly through Shenandoah County and its predecessor, Route 11, also known as The Old Valley Pike is the main artery that takes you through the center of six small and charming historic towns filled with great restaurants, shops and galleries. A bike ride anywhere off of the old valley pike promises beautiful rolling hills, pastoral farmland and often tree- canopied two lane roads. On the eastern edge of the Valley, The North Fork of the Shenandoah River winds lazily along the length of the Massanutten Mountains.
The best places for road biking are generally the roads off of Route 11. A map of the county will show many alternatives that parallel the highway, and with mostly paved back-roads, you can create an itinerary to stop at farm breweries, wineries, farmers markets, berry farms and a covered bridge. For mountain biking, Bryce Resort offers a bike park where their ski lifts will haul your bike up the mountain offering a thrilling downhill experience. For the hardcore enthusiast, there is also a continuous off-road mountain biking trail which spans the length of Virginia’s Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains from Strasburg to Damascus. It links eight major trail systems in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, and consists of primarily single tracks, covering 480 miles and climbing 65,000 feet.
Shenandoah County is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are plenty of other ways to get outside and enjoy the mountain air. With 178 miles of trails throughout the George Washington National Forest in Shenandoah County, hiking is big, as is horseback riding and OHV. For those who enjoy the water, The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is great for a quiet paddle or float. The flow of the river tends to be low and lazy so expect to float approximately 1.5 miles per hour. Seven Bends State Park is the perfect place to put in at the south entrance and take out 3 miles down river at the north entrance.
While there are no bike outfitters or specific outdoor stores in Shenandoah County, we do have unique accommodations tailored to bicycle enthusiasts. The Hopewell House Bike and Bed is a twist on a traditional B&B which culminated from the owners’ love of people and bicycling. They offer accommodations for folks who wish to come to the Shenandoah Valley to ride the beautiful back roads. There is ample storage for bicycles and even a small shop for “on your own” minor repairs. A hearty breakfast is served to fuel a day’s ride and guests do not have to own bikes as they offer to pick up rental bikes for a small fee. Cyclists may also enjoy camping or glamping at a number of different sites throughout the county.
During your stay, there are plenty of locally owned restaurants and shops within each of the small towns as well as two local breweries. Outside of the towns there are two farm breweries, both with terrific food options and friendly home-town atmosphere. Also out on the backroads are eight different wineries with tasting rooms and wonderful scenery. Family favorite activities include: Shenandoah Caverns, a great place to stop and cool down underground, Route 11 Potato chip factory where you can see the chips being made and take home a snack. Duckpin bowling is another great activity to be indoors and experience a bit of 50’s nostalgia.
For more information about our biking trails and to request an outdoor recreation guide and map visit:
Be sure to take lots of pictures on your adventure and tag us!
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All photos courtesy of Shenandoah County