Blue Ridge Parkway – Skyline Drive Bike Tour (south to north)
ALL NEW 12-DAY ITINERARY, NEW ROUTING AND NEW ACCOMMODATIONS
THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE FOR CUSTOM GROUPS DURING JUNE, JULY AND AUGUST
Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) and Skyline Drive (SLD) are two of the iconic National Parks in the eastern US. While riding the parkways, we cover a distance of 625 miles and all the climbing you will ever want (61K+ ft) while being in the USA. Please know there is very little flat surface on these parkways. The road surfaces are good, there are no commercial vehicles allowed, and there are no billboards or even stoplights. The numerous overlooks show many different viewpoints and incredible scenery: mountains, ridges, and trees as far as the eye can see.
This roadway construction was started in the late 1930’s and was 99.8% completed in 1966. The final 7.7 miles were finally completed in 1987. The BRP was designed to connect the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains. It was built by contractors working with federal contracts, and help from members of the Civilian Conservation Corp.
In our new tour format and itinerary, we have added a few exceptional new stopovers such as the Inn at Little Switzerland, Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock, High Meadows Lodge in Sparta, NC, and Iris Inn where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets Skyline Drive. Our new lodging boasts exceptional food and great nearby amenities as well as nicely appointed rooms. We have kept the National Park Lodges of Pisgah, Peaks of Otter, and Big Meadows as well as our lodging in the great small towns of Lexington and Floyd.
We start the adventure at the entrance to the Smoky Mountains National Park and immediately head northbound on the BRP. Our first day is one of the hardest, with an 11-mile climb to the highest point of the motor road before we gear down at the beautiful Pisgah Lodge for the evening. The Graveyard Falls are a highlight the following day as well as a nice 15-mile descent into the beautiful upscale town of Asheville, NC.
We stay on the Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia for 469 miles, pass through 27 tunnels, and ride the most photographed site in NC — the Linn Cove Viaduct. Grab the opportunity to stop at some of the more than 200 Roadside Overlooks.
Skyline Drive will pick up where the Blue Ridge Parkway begins at mile marker zero in Waynesboro, VA. The Skyline Drive is 105 miles and we split this into two days of riding the ridgeline in Shenandoah National Park. We will continue to see some amazing scenery from a myriad of vistas and overlooks. We stay in our final National Park Lodge before making our way to the northern terminus in Front Royal, VA.
Intermediate – Advanced
35 – 81 miles daily
This tour originates in Asheville, NC and ends in Front Royal, VA.
- Pick up time is 2:00pm on the first day at Asheville Airport.
- Drop off time is Dulles International Airport, near DC, on the last day by 5:00pm.
- For advice on staying after the trip, please call the office.
If driving to the start of this tour, consider a one-way car rental to return home or back to your car. Shuttle service is not available.
MealsAll meals are included except for off-bike days.
All lodging is included
Highlighted Inns: Pisgah Inn; Peaks of Otter Lodge; Little Switzerland Inn; The Lodge at Big Meadows
- All lodging
- Transfers to and from the airport
- All breakfasts, dinners and picnic lunches on riding days
- Cocktail social hour on the 1st evening of each tour
- Van support
- GPS mapping
- 2 or more experienced guides
- Meals on off days
- 12% gratuity for guides, mechanics, volunteers and tour staff is not included, but greatly appreciated
- Offered as a custom tour in 2023.
Meetup for our Orientation and first dinner together.
Cherokee, NC – Pisgah Inn, Start of Blue Ridge Pkwy to Graveyard Falls (51.2 miles, 8725 ft)
Highlights: Shuttle to Pisgah Lodge, beautiful spot atop Pisgah Mountain for a wonderful dinner together at the lodge.
Accommodations: Pisgah Lodge (National Park Lodge)
Pisgah National Forest – Asheville, NC (34.9 miles; 2583 ft)
Highlights: Blue Ridge Parkway riding, 11 tunnels. Enjoy a nice evening out in downtown Asheville, my favorite small city in America. This vibrant downtown is packed with art, culture and dining opportunities ranging from upscale tapas bars to gourmet tacos. America’s largest private home, Biltmore, is located in Asheville.
Accommodations: Sheraton Downtown (business casual)
Asheville – Little Switzerland (50.5 miles; 6504 ft)
Highlights: Blue Ridge cycling, Craggy Gardens, multiple tunnels, Crab Tree Falls, and Mt. Mitchell, if you choose.
Accommodations: Little Switzerland (upscale casual)
Little Switzerland, NC – Blowing Rock, NC (44.1miles; 4268 ft)
Highlights: Great riding on the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Linville Falls, the most viewed water falls along the parkway. Famous Linn Cove Viaduct was the last 7.5 mile section on the Parkway completed in 1987. This is 52 years after the start of the BRP. Grandfather Mountain is private property and the owner would not give the National Park Service permission to dig on his mountain. Thus, the suspended Linn Viaduct.
Accommodations: Meadowbrook Inn (upscale casual)
Blowing Rock, NC – Sparta, NC (70.9 miles; 7190 ft)
Highlights: Moses Cone Manor Museum, Arts and Craft center housed inside of the manor home to Moses Cone, the Levi Straus of the East Coast. Great quiet riding of the NC with spectacular views of Pilot Mountain and local Mayberry themed attractions.
Accommodations: High Meadows Inn (upscale casual)
Sparta, NC – Floyd, VA (76.1 miles; 5802 ft)
Highlights: Great quiet riding of the VA section of the Blue Ridge Parkway – 18 overlooks. Some of the quietest and most rural parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you ever get the opportunity, come back one summer evening to enjoy an outdoor music presentation at the Blue Ridge Music Center located at the state line. Specific stopping points are Mabry Mill and Rocky Knob Visitors Center and overlook
Accommodations: Pine Tavern (upscale casual)
Floyd, VA – Peaks of Otter, VA (81.7 miles; 7462 ft)
Highlights: Big climbs out of the Roanoke area of the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Due to heavy rains in Spring of 2020, we may still have a detour between mile post 112 to 136 to reroute us around a road-wash and land slide. On today’s route, you will be at the lowest and highest elevations of the Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, that means some hill climbing. Today you will be your last tunnel of the 469 miles of this beautiful scenic roadway – “America’s Favorite Drive”. Spectacular lodge setting at The Peaks of Otter National Parks Lodge.
Accommodations: Peaks of Otter Lodge (casual)
Buena Vista, VA – Peaks of Otter National Park Lodge (57.5 miles; 6557 ft)
Highlights: Falling Waters Cascade, 15 overlooks, spectacular views overlooking the Shenandoah Valley and great dining experience in Lexington.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn Lexington, VA Historic District (casual)
Highlights: The historic town of Lexington, VA. Horse capital of VA, Natural Bridge Park, Washington and Lee University, Virginia Military Institute. Do get lots of rest. The next two days are strenuous.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn Lexington, VA Historic District (casual)
Buena Vista/Lexington – Waynesboro, VA (54.2 miles; 4485 ft)
Highlights: The Blue Ridge Parkway was a Civilian Conservation Corp project started on September 11, 1935 for the purpose of connecting Shenandoah National Park to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There were 27 tunnels on the Blue Ridge Pkwy: one in Virginia and the remaining 26 in North Carolina.
Accommodations: Best Western / Iris Inn (upscale casual)
Waynesboro, VA – Big Meadows, VA (54.8 miles; 5544 ft)
Highlights: This is our first day of Skyline Drive with spectacular scenery at numerous overlooks and a wonderful dinner at the National Park Lodge. We have numerous crossings of the Appalachian Trail. Quiet and low volume traffic on very nicely paved roads. There is no commercial traffic and no billboards on Skyline Dr.
Accommodations: Big Meadows, National Park Lodging (casual)
Big Meadows, VA – Front Royal, VA (53.7 miles; 41.67 ft)
Highlights: This is our last day of Skyline Drive. We have numerous crossings of the Appalachian Trail. And your final breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley. Although you have over 4,000 feet of climbing today, you will feel as though you are coasting to the finish line with 7200 feet of descent.
Accommodations: No Planned accommodations. Shuttle service will be provided to Dulles Airport or your choice of nearby accommodations.
Pat yourself on the back! You have just completed 625 miles and 61,722 ft of elevation gain on these beautiful parkways.
Total Miles – 625
Total Elevation Gain – 61,722
Average daily riding mileage – 56.8 miles
Average elevation gain – 5611 ft