Blue Ridge Bliss - Virginia
A perennial favorite, our Blue Ridge Bliss tour includes a beautiful route through Shenandoah National Park. On this very special bicycle tour, you’ll explore 332 of the very best miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, often called “America’s Favorite Drives” — they should be nicknamed “America’s Favorite Bike Tours!”
Among the most popular units of the National Park System, the Parkway and Drive twist and turn through a rural landscape of dark forests, sun-dappled fields, and mountain meadows surrounded by rustic split-rail fences. We’ll spin past historic farmsteads and lodges and through the many valleys known locally as “hollers,” all the while taking note of these roads’ fascinating engineering. Immerse yourself in Appalachia’s singular mix of flora and fauna and its unique and venerable mountain culture. Join us for Blue Ridge Bliss!
Grab some friends and join today! Each rider in a group of 5 or more will receive a 15% discount. Learn more...
"The ride route, the leaders, and other riders were all great. I truly enjoyed all aspects of this trip."
Day 1. Fancy Gap, 0 miles
After gathering in Fancy Gap, Virginia, our group will be shuttled to Front Royal, where our adventure will begin at the northernmost entrance to Shenandoah National Park. Tonight you'll relax at Skyline Ranch Resort as we prepare for six days of blissful Blue Ridge riding.
Day 2. Front Royal to Big Meadows, 58 miles
Your ride today will take you to the highest point on Skyline Drive (3,680 feet) as well as past such descriptive overlooks as Skyland, Pinnacles, Hawksbill, Stony Man, Panorama, Hogback, and Signal Knob. We'll spend the night at Big Meadows Campground on Skyline Drive, where you are likely to see dozens of deer grazing in the high meadows.
Day 3. Big Meadows to Waynesboro, 61 miles
Today's ride will twist and turn -- and climb and coast -- along Skyline Drive through a pastoral landscape of endless mountain views, with the added colorful June touches of blooming Catawba rhododendron and mountain laurel. As on other days, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled for a variety of birds and wild critters. If you're lucky, you may even spot a black bear or a mountain lion. You'll end the day by going up and over McCormick Gap (2,455 feet) and the reward of a three-mile descent, exiting Shenandoah National Park through the Rockfish Gap South Entrance.
Day 4. Waynesboro to Monroe, 69 miles
We'll start today on a climb, and also at Milepost 0 of the Blue Ridge Parkway! After a quick 3-mile ascent, we'll ride the ridge most of the day as we stretch into the southern reaches of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The day will end on a high note: Whites Gap scenic overlook (2,567 feet) will be a nice place to stop and take in the sights before embarking on a 12-mile downward cruise that ends at 649 feet above sea level, the lowest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We will camp just past the James River Visitor Center.
Day 5. Monroe to Vinton, 54 miles
From the valley of the James River, we'll wake up and stretch our legs with a brisk 13-mile climb up to the highest point on the parkway in the state of Virginia (3,950 feet). We'll continue south toward the famous trio of mountains known as Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Apple Orchard. We'll find ourselves soaking in the magnificent vistas as we reach Great Valley Overlook, and are again rewarded with a six mile descent into camp for the evening.
Day 6. Vinton to Floyd, 50 miles
We'll enjoy another fabulous day of finding our way through a rolling landscape of homesteads tucked against low hills, trickling streams, grassy knobs, and distant farmhouses. Characterized as our easier day of riding, the parkway drops down into the Roanoke Valley. Riders looking for a challenge can add up to 10 miles of serious climbing to take in the view of the city from Roanoke Mountain or the Mill Mountain Star, the world's largest freestanding, illuminated man-made star, constructed in 1949 at the top of Mill Mountain.
Day 7. Floyd to Fancy Gap, 46 miles
For those hardier riders, a side trip to the Music Center 13 miles south of Fancy Gap will make for a more challenging day of riding, adding 26 miles for a 69-mile day. Today, approximately a half mile off route, you might want to take a detour off the parkway for a tour and a taste at the popular Chateau Morrisette winery. At Milepost 176.1, arrive at Mabry Mill, one of the most photographed spots on the Blue Ridge. Here, at a restored gristmill/sawmill/woodworking and blacksmith shop, old-time mountain skills are demonstrated by docents -- basket weaving, seat caning, spinning, and more. Finally, we'll pass the 1892 Mayberry Trading Post (could this be where Andy got the name for his fictional town?).
Know before you go
Please consider the terrain and potential weather conditions when preparing for this amazing mountain region tour. You can expect substantial climbing (3,300-6,700 feet per day; 30,504 feet total).
The weather in June is generally very pleasant, but the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive can experience unexpected extremes, including high winds, and temperatures in the 30s.
Information for eBike riders:
Because every rider, eBike, road condition, and elevation profile is different, it is ultimately up to the participant to judge best whether their battery will last through each tour day. We recommend using pedal assist in its lowest setting or off when not needed to maximize battery range. Bringing a second battery is also recommended. They can be carried by staff on our fully supported events, but will need to be carried by the participant on our inn-to-inn trips.