Any season is the perfect season if you’re an avid cyclist. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet … you get the picture. Roll on along Virginia’s most popular bicycle routes and enjoy the beauty of now.
HIGH BRIDGE TRAIL | BURKEVILLE TO PAMPLIN CITY
Photo Credit: Kyle LaFerriere, @laferriere.photography
At 31 miles long, this rail-to-trail is a beautiful stroll through small communities with the namesake High Bridge being the cherry on top. Finely crushed limestone makes for an easy, pretty level ride.
TIP: Stop for lunch in Farmville. Walkers Diner and Charley’s Waterfront Cafe are steps from the trail.
VIRGINIA CAPITAL TRAIL | RICHMOND TO WILLIAMSBURG
Photo Credit: Big Orange Frame
Connecting the Commonwealth’s past and present capitals is the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail. You’ll love its paved surface, the bridges, fences, cornfields, and other nice details along the route.
TIP: Check out the interactive Trail Map to pin down parking and restrooms. For lunch, consider Cul’s Courthouse Grille. It’s a mid-way point offering delicious specials.
NEW RIVER TRAIL | PULASKI TO GALAX
Photo Credit: Henry Saint-Jean
A rail trail, New River Trail meanders 57 miles through four counties while paralleling the river for which it’s named for 39 miles. It’s a multi-use trail, welcoming to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians.
TIP: Download the Trail Guide to identify parking, camping, restrooms, and points of interest. Get sidetracked for a little while to enjoy lunch in Wytheville. We hear there are “world famous hot dogs” there.
VIRGINIA CREEPER TRAIL | ABINGDON TO WHITETOP
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson
If you want to, the Virginia Creeper Trail can be all down hill. Now that is my kind of cycling. The 34.3-mile rail trail is beautiful in every season, and is a multi-use trail open for horseback riding, cycling, and hiking.
TIP: Connect with a bike service to ride the route backwards. Whitetop Station to Alvardo Station is down hill.
HEART OF APPALACHIA BIKE ROUTE | BURKES GARDEN TO COEBURN
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson
Serious cyclists will love this 128-mile route comprised of roads, rail trails, single-track trails, and more. Make it a “bucket list” item and backpack your way through it, from Burkes Garden to Guest River Gorge in Coeburn. Take a little more time and explore the additional 40 miles of side trails, which lead to beautiful places like Russell Creek Falls and The Pinnacle at Big Cedar Falls.
TIP: Be prepared. This is a fairly self-sufficient adventure. RideWithGPS.com Route Map
COLONIAL PARKWAY | JAMESTOWN TO YORKTOWN
Photo Credit: Beth Furgurson
This historic 23-mile drive is beautiful as fall colors appear in early November. It’s a fantastic route for leaf peepers and history lovers alike, as the 17th century comes into view with connected destinations like Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.
TIP: Be aware that motorists share the Parkway. Bicycles and pedestrians are not allowed through the Williamsburg tunnel. More Information
MOUNT VERNON TRAIL | ARLINGTON TO MOUNT VERNON
Photo Credit: Dayo Kosoko for @visitalexva
Winding from George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island, this 18-mile paved multi-use trail connects to four other trails, including the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail. Presidential pedaling indeed.
TIP: Pop into The Chart House in Old Town Alexandria for a diverse menu of lunch options. It’s also a great place from which to people watch.
WASHINGTON & OLD DOMINION TRAIL | ARLINGTON TO PURCELLVILLE
Photo Credit: Christopher Hunter Photography
At 45 miles long, the paved W&OD Trail is a popular route of transportation for residents commuting on bicycles. From Purcellville in Loudoun County into the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington, it’s a gem of a rail trail with plenty of Civil War history for those who care to learn a bit more.
TIP: This trail can get pretty busy, so if you are coming on a weekend be prepared to face the crowds.
TOBACCO HERITAGE TRAIL | BROADNAX TO SOUTH HILL
Photo Credit: Kelly J. Mihalcoe
The Tobacco Heritage Trail is a regional endeavor to create a multi-use trail system for hikers and cyclists. Various segments are already open for your exploration and enjoyment.
TIP: The web map displays trailheads, parking, and towns. Know before you go.
U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE 76 ON THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY | AFTON TO MONTEBELLO
Photo Credit: Scott K. Brown
Who has the most miles of the U.S. Bicycle Route System? Virginia, of course, with 838 miles. Bike a section of it when you enjoy 25 miles USBR 76 as it shares the road with the Blue Ridge Parkway in Nelson County.
TIP: Hit a triple when you hike part of the Appalachian Trail. It parallels and criss-crosses this same segment of road for about 10 or more miles.
Is there any trail I can reasonably follow on a bike with 20” tires. They’re mainly for city but it’s just more convenient for keeping in the car
The Virginia Capital Trail, running from Richmond to Williamsburg, is fully paved and suitable for city bikes!
Thank you for the insight!
I’m planning a 3-day trip with friends. Serious road bikers. Where should we base from?
Consider staying somewhere like Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County and cycling along the Blue Ridge Parkway! https://www.virginia.org/bikeblueridgeparkway/
Does anyone know if the High Bridge Trail is road bike friendly? Or would a mountain bike/hybrid be a better choice for this trail?
its gravel, Hybrid reccomended
I’d go with a hybrid. I road it with my mountain bike and found that to be slow-going, but it’s a little too rough for my road bike.
I absolutely loved the peace and beauty of the capital Trail between Jamestown and Richmond right in the heart of the colonial district. Well done lots of families and hard-core cyclists getting their miles in sharing the trail.
Also, some idea of level of difficulty and whether it’s hilly or flat is very important to me.
An important (and quick/simple) piece of information to include in each trail description is the surface type. You note it in some of them (paved, limestone), but it’s a critical piece of information for most road bikers, whose bikes are not suitable for unpaved trails.