There are more than 2,500 miles designated as scenic byways in Virginia, many of which are located within the Roanoke Region. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Salem Bike Route and Scenic Route 39 in the Alleghany Highlands are among some of the more popular routes on this list.
People travel from all over the world to experience the incredible riding. A temperate climate and access to miles of lightly traveled roads are just a few of the reasons why the Roanoke Region is quickly becoming known as a cycling mecca. Plus, the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail passes through here.
We also recommend this list if you want to follow the path less traveled from the Virginia Backroads Gazetteer:
Scenic Route 39 carries you up steep mountains and along deep gorges through the Alleghany Highlands. You’ll come upon the Virginia Horse Center and Goshen Pass, then you can enter the George Washington National Forest and the town of Warm Springs. As you continue on Route 39 toward the West Virginia border, you’ll pass the Hidden Valley and Blowing Springs recreation areas, with opportunities for camping, hiking, and fishing.
This route is great from either direction. You’ll have a wonderful time along the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as Alleghany Springs Road. The sound of the rushing river along Alleghany Springs is refreshing!
“America’s Favorite Drive,” the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway is also known as much for cycling as it is for driving. It meanders from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
Mileposts, beginning with zero at the northern terminus and ending with 469 at the southern end, dot the parkway and serve as landmarks. The parkway follows the Appalachian Mountain chain and provides some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, ranging from 650 to 6,000 feet in elevation. Scenic overlooks, historic structures, walking trails, and waterfalls are just some of the highlights along the parkway.
Roanoke is located at approximately milepost 120.
An iconic Blue Ridge Bike Club ride. See who can get to the red mailbox first is the goal. A fast ride down the hill awaits you once you get to the top.
This ride is great for those wanting to work on their group riding skills. The pace is usually steady but there is plenty to see and there is time to chat at the store in Buchanan before you regroup and return to town.
You’ll see a beautiful cross section of Roanoke and Franklin Counties on this route. The views from the Blue Ridge Parkway are terrific!
The Salem Bike Route is an 11.2-mile, round trip course designed for all ages and skill levels. It begins at Longwood Park in Salem, and includes several miles along the Roanoke River.
A typical byway drive in Southwest Virginia would be Route 52 north out of Wytheville. You can stop at Big Walker Mountain Lookout for a breathtaking view. Then follow Route 42 southwest to Route 16. Going south will take you to Mount Rogers. North on Route 16 takes you toward Tazewell and Burke’s Garden.
Spring Summits is you and your friends against the beautiful mountains around Roanoke, Virginia. The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club wants you out on your bike so that you can be healthy and enjoy what the area has to offer. You’ll see familiar sights as you participate in Spring Summits but you can also ride new roads, see new things and have new experiences with your friends. (Spring 2016 points can be accumulated March 20-June 20.)
Recommended Routes to Ride All 10 Summits
The Springwood Loop is a 33.2-mile, round-trip course designed for all ages and skill levels. You can start the loop from Fincastle or Buchanan and explore the back roads, scenic farmland, and the James River in Botetourt County.
Challenge yourself at the Blue Ridge Bike Club’s annual Artie Levin Memorial Ride, or take on the route on your own at any time. There are several distances but this is the longest and most challenging. Old Catawba Road is the toughest climb on this route.
This is the ride that the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club is most proud of! It shows off what makes cycling in Roanoke special. It has a variety of terrain that is challenging yet yields spectacular scenery no matter the time of year you ride here.
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