Backroad Cycling & Mountain Biking
The Shenandoah Valley is receiving national attention for biking and beer, with cities in the area winning Best Beer Town in the Blue Ridge, Top Ten Mountain Bike Towns, Best Biking Community, and host to Top Cycling Events.
In Harrisonburg, do some urban riding on the new Bluestone Trail, a paved path that takes you through James Madison University and Purcell Park, or hit the mountain bike trails at Hillandale Park for miles of well-marked biking trails with various difficulty levels. Bike lanes and paths criss-cross the city, making it easy to navigate on two wheels.
Check out the new Mountain Bike Park at Massanutten Resort and the Western Slope trails. The four-season resort has been hosting downhill mountain bike races since 1989 and the bike park is a nice addition to the already popular cycling options in the area. The park uses to chairlifts to service the four new trails, all with varying levels of difficulty. The Western Slope trail system is on private property, so you must purchase a pass online to access it. The money goes to the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition who built and maintains many of the area trails. The pass is well worth the investment to experience the stacked loop system offering something for every skill level – casual gravel roads, steep trails, flowy trails, berms, rocky sections, and ridge riding.
Staunton has fun, twisty riding at the Montgomery Hill Park Trails. With nearly 5 miles of singletrack, short climbs and minimal obstacles, these trails are a good way to find your groove.
In the nearby George Washington National Forest, you’ll find Narrowback Mountain Loop, a 13-mile trail with ridgeline riding, rocky sections with alternate lines, and one crazy, memorable descent off the mountain. While there are dozens of great rides in the area, Narrowback is widely regarded as one of the top three rides in the state. Don’t miss it.
Bike shops in the area are the best resources for road riding routes. The beautiful back roads take you past farms, over streams and through some of the most scenic areas on the east coast. Major races like the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo – hosted by professional, local cyclist Jeremiah Bishop – bring in hundreds of riders for special events, challenging rides, and family fun. The Massanutten Hoo Ha is a cross-country and enduro race that also pulls in crowds.
The rural roads of Augusta County are some of the best for road biking. A favorite ride, the Staunton Polyface Ride at 23.4 miles, takes you through some local Staunton neighborhoods and out to Joel Salatin’s infamous Polyface Farms. You’ll ride through farmland, past creeks and ponds and have some amazing views of the Alleghany Mountains.
The 15.8-mile Goshen Pass Ride in Rockbridge County meanders through the countryside past the Virginia Horse Center and into Goshen Pass, a magnificent mountain gorge. Breathe in the mountain laurel, listen to the rushing whitewater, and stop for a picnic on the way. A curvy and beautiful ride.