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Roanoke Mountain Biking & Cycling Itineraries

Sample Mountain Biking & Cycling Itineraries for Virginia's Blue Ridge

Want to go for a ride when you visit Virginia's Blue Ridge but you're not sure where to start?

We've put together some sample itineraries to help get you on your way to enjoying the great roadways and trails in the region!

The following itineraries offer ideas based on mountain biking or road cycling to suite your preference, though they can be combined if you have a bike that can handle either surface.

There are also three different options based on the skill level of the rider to help accommodate you and anyone riding with you.

Mountain Biking

Carvins Cove Mountain Biking


Easy - Virginia State Parks & Local Fire Roads

The Virginia State Parks in the region are the perfect spot for leisurely mountain bike rides in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Fairy Stone State Park, and Claytor Lake State Park all feature trail networks that are easily accessible and provide beautiful scenery. There's also the convenience of onsite campground and cabin rentals, water activities, and State Park programming for a complete adventure. 

For a more rugged ride, take advantage of the fire roads that are part of our local park systems and national forest land. Happy Valley and Brushy Mountain are two fire roads at Carvins Cove, the most popular spot for mountain biking in the region. Happy Valley is a fun ride that offers views of the reservoir and leads to the beautiful Enchanted Forest.

Following your time at Carvins Cove, chow down at great local restaurants like Veranda Bistro, Hollywood's Restaurant & Bakery or The Homeplace.

Learn More: Easy Mountain Biking Trails in Virginia's Blue Ridge >


Intermediate - Explore Park

Located at Milepost 115 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Explore Park offers over 9 miles of moderately difficult hiking and mountain biking trails.

Get more familiar with the region with a visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, which is located inside the park. The proximity to the Roanoke River also makes the park a popular spot for fishing and paddling.

Many of the mountain biking trails are loop trails that range from .5 miles to 3.0 miles. When combining the various trails that are conveniently located near each other, you can create a great day of mountain biking that can test your skills while not taking you too far from your comfort zone as a rider.

Following your Blue Ridge Day at Explore Park, head over to the Town of Vinton for beers at Twin Creeks Brewing Company and few delicious slices at New York Pizza.

Learn More: Mountain Biking at Explore Park >


Advanced - Carvins Cove & North Mountain

Take Route 311 north from Interstate 81 Exit 141 to reach two of the most epic spots for mountain biking in Virginia's Blue Ridge - Carvins Cove and North Mountain.

You can reach the Bennett Springs parking area of Carvins Cove via Route 311, and this is the launching point that leads to many of the most iconic rides in the trail system, including Rattlin' Run, Hi-Dee-Hoe, The Gauntlet, and OG.

Travel a few more miles north on Route 311 past Catawba Mountain and you'll reach the parking area for North Mountain, also known as Dragon's Back. A steep climb and rocky ridgeline ride will put your skills to the test.

Conquer these trails and you'll definitely have earned a few post-ride beers. Nearby local options include Parkway Brewing Company, Ober Brewing Company, and Olde Salem Brewing Company

Learn More: 10 Epic Mountain Bike Trails in Virginia's Blue Ridge >


Road Biking

Roanoke-Valley-Greenways-Biking


Easy - A Day on the Greenway

Spend the day enjoying the Roanoke River Greenway. This scenic section of the Greenway system winds along the Roanoke River and is an easy, enjoyable ride.

Roanoke Mountain Adventures and UnderDog Bikes both offer bike rental services and are conveniently located on this portion of the Greenway.

The Roanoke River Greenway is approximately 9 miles in length and it also links with the Mill Mountain Greenway and Tinker Creek Greenway. Download map.

For entertainment, take some time to visit Black Dog Salvage or explore the nearby charming Grandin Village, which features a wide assortment of restaurants.

You could also enjoy a craft beer at the Wasena City Tap Room or do some climbing at the River Rock Climbing Gym - both located along the Greenway.

Learn More: Cycling on the Greenway >


Intermediate - The Springwood Loop

The Springwood Loop is a 33.2 mile paved, loop-trail course in Botetourt County that provides the opportunity to enjoy rural farmland, charming small towns, and the beautiful James River.

Begin the loop on Main Street in Historic Fincastle. Travel northeast on Route 630 as it becomes Springwood Road. After approximately 9.5 miles, Route 630 will cross over the James River and then you will reach Route 43.

Turn right on Route 43 and travel south until you enter the Town of Buchanan. This is roughly halfway through the loop and is good place to rest and enjoy a meal. Check out the retro look and delicious burgers at the Buchanan Fountain & Grille.

Take Main Street/Route 11 south out of Buchanan and travel approximately 2.4 miles. Then, turn left on Route 640.

Continue on Route 640 as it winds through Botetourt County for approximately 10 miles. Then, turn right onto Route 11 South/Lee Highway and travel less than 1/2 mile before turning left to re-connect with Route 640/Brughs Mill Road.

Head north on Route 640 for 3.5 miles and turn right on Route 602/Muse Road.

Travel north on Route 602 for 1.3 miles until it comes to an end at US 220. Turn right on US 220 and then take the first right on Route 1202/S Church Street.

Go 1/2 mile and you'll reach your starting point at Main Street in Fincastle.

You can also download this PDF map that was created by the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club to help navigate the loop.

Learn More: Biking in Botetourt County on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail >


Advanced - Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway

Make the most of the incredible ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a day trip from Roanoke to the Peaks of Otter Lodge. This out-and-back ride would be approximately 70 miles and feature numerous scenic overlooks and challenging changes in elevation.

Connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 120, where the road connects with the Mill Mountain Parkway. Travel north for approximately 35 miles on the Parkway until you reach the Peaks of Otter at Milepost 86.

Popular overlooks along the way include the N&W Railroad Overlook at Milepost 106.9, Quarry Overlook at 100.9, Great Valley Overlook at 99.6, Iron Mine Hollow at 96.2, Harvey's Knob at 95.3, and Headforemost Mountain at 81.9.

Learn More: Biking the Blue Ridge Parkway >


Looking for more riding options in Virginia's Blue Ridge? Check out our pages on Mountain Biking and Road Cycling. You can also see our page with guides and additional resources to help you plan your adventure.

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