Skyline Drive – Blue Ridge Parkway Bike Tour (north to south)
Spring Edition 2022
Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) are two of the iconic National Parks in the US. They cover a distance of 574 miles, and all the climbing you will ever want (59K+ ft) while being in the USA. Please know there is very little of flat 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 tour is joining the Epic Appalachians tour on the Spring Adventure. We will meet up with this group in historic Gettysburg, PA. Our two days of riding will be in the scenic hills of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. The Skyline Drive is 105 miles and we split this into two days, with an overnight at The Lodge at Big Meadows. The second day on Skyline Drive will take us to the southern terminus outside of Afton, Virginia.
The Blue Ridge Parkway picks up where Skyline Drive ends. The BRP is 469 miles from Virginia through most of North Carolina to Cherokee, NC. This roadway construction was started in the late 1930’s and was 99.8% completed in 1966. The final 7.7 miles was 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.
As we begin the adventure on the BRP, we will continue to see some amazing scenery from a myriad of vistas and overlooks. Staying in National Park lodges, visiting Lexington, Virginia (the horse capitol of Virginia, and the home of Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute. We will have the opportunity to climb Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains at 6683 ft. We will end this tour by riding up to Pisgah Lodge and returning to Asheville to catch our flights home.
Intermediate – Advanced
35 – 81 miles daily
This Spring tour originates in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and ends in Asheville, North Carolina.
- Pick up time is 2:00pm on the first day at Dulles International Airport, near DC.
- Drop off time is: Asheville Airport on the day after our ride completes anytime before 2:00pm.
- For advice on staying after the trip, please call the office. Our owner lives near Asheville.
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
- 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
- June 10 – 24, 2022 (North to South)
- 15 Days | 15 Nights
Meet up day in Gettysburg. Enjoy the day in the battlefields by vehicle, walking, or bike. Group Dinner.
Gettysburg, PA – Harpers Ferry, WV (61 miles; 2452′ elevation gain)/p>
Highlights: Today we gain two more states: MD and WV. We travel more back roads through farmland and around the battlefields of Boonsboro and Gettysburg. We do travel through the city of Frederick, MD, but try to stay on more residential and farming roads which parallel the new interstate and highway systems. We use part of the C&O Towpath to make our way into downtown Harper’s Ferry.
Accommodations: Quality Inn located in Historic District (casual)
Harper’s Ferry, WV – Front Royal, VA (51.5 miles; 2900′ elevation gain)
Highlights: Scenic riding in the valley along the river in Shenandoah National Park.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn (casual)
Front Royal, VA – Big Meadows, Skyline Dr (56.5 miles; 7480′ elevation gain)
Highlights: This is the first of the “Big” riding days. Here, we start the Skyline National Parkway with spectacular scenery at numerous overlooks and a wonderful dinner at the National Park Lodge.
Accommodations: Big Sky Meadows Lodge National Park (casual)
Big Meadows, VA – Waynesboro, VA (64.5 miles; 4573′ elevation gain)
Highlights: This is day two of Skyline Drive. 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. We take Skyline to its terminus where the next morning we start our venture southbound on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus (casual)
Blue Ridge Parkway entrance – Buena Vista/Lexington (58.5 miles; 5796′ elevation gain)
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 are 27 tunnels on the Blue Ridge Pkwy: one in Virginia and the remaining 26 in North Carolina. Today you will take on the first 45 miles of the 469 miles of this beautiful scenic roadway – “America’s Favorite Drive”.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn Historic District
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.
Buena Vista, VA – Peaks of Otter National Park Lodge (57.5 miles; 6557′ elevation gain)
Highlights: Falling Waters Cascade, 15 overlooks, spectacular lodge setting at The Peaks of Otter National Parks Lodge. 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.
Accommodations: Peaks of Otter Lodge National Park Service (casual)
Peaks of Otter, VA – Floyd, VA (79.5 miles; 6823′ elevation gain)
Highlights: Big climbs out of the Roanoke area of the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Due to heavy rains in Spring of 2020, we will have a detour from mile post 112 to 136 to reroute us around a road-wash and land slide. Specific stopping points are Mabry Mill and Rocky Knob Visitors Center and overlook.
Accommodations: Pine Tavern Lodge (casual)
Floyd, VA – Glendale Springs, NC (102 miles; 9226′ elevation gain)
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. Cross into NC. 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.
Accommodations: New River Inns and Cabins
Glendale Springs, NC – Linville Falls, NC (60.7 miles; 6376′ elevation gain)
Highlights: Great riding on the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Linville Falls, the most viewed water falls along the parkway. Moses Cone Manor Museum, Arts and Craft center housed inside of the manor home to Moses Cone, the Levi Straus of the East Coast. 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: Linville Falls Lodge (rustic)
Linville Falls, NC – Asheville, NC (67.7 miles; 7709′ elevation gain)
Highlights: Blue Ridge cycling, Little Switzerland, multiple tunnels, Crab Tree Falls, and Mt. Mitchell, if you choose. 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, NC – Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Inn (50.4 miles; 6943′ elevation gain)
Highlights: Blue Ridge Parkway riding, 11 tunnels, beautiful spot atop Pisgah Mountain for a wonderful dinner together at the lodge.
Accommodations: Pisgah Lodge (National Park Lodge)
Pisgah Inn to Cherokee, NC to the terminus of the Blue Ridge Pkwy (51 miles, 5518′ elevation gain)
Highlights: Shuttle back to Asheville Sheraton for our last night together. Choose to stay longer or catch a flight out of Asheville in the morning.
Accommodations: Quality Inn located in Historic District (casual)
Leisurely breakfast and some souvenir shopping before catching a lift to the airport.
Pat yourself on the back! You have just completed 780 miles and 72,353 ft of elevation gain on this southern segment.
Total Miles – 780
Total Elevation Gain – 72,353
Average daily riding mileage – 65mi
Average elevation gain – 6029 ft