12 O’Clock Knob

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The climb on 12 O’Clock Knob Road isn’t for the faint of heart, but you can brag about it to your friends once you’ve conquered it. Starting from Route 221 near Back Creek Elementary School, it’s a 4.5 mile ride with an elevation change of over 1,200 feet and a summit of over 2,500 feet. The road winds along Little Back Creek as you begin before making the climb up the mountain. It’s not one of the most scenic routes in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, but it is one of the more difficult. It also provides some nice solitude due to the lack of traffic. Another longer, more challenging option for this ride would be starting off W. Riverside Drive along the Roanoke River in Salem and making the climb up 12 O’Clock Knob Road from the opposite direction.