Embrace the opportunity of a lifetime: cycle the Blue Ridge Parkway from End-to-End. High on the list of every rider, this 470-mile route is easy to follow. You simply start at Mile Post 0 in Virginia, and head south for 10 amazing days until you reach Mile Post 470. This remarkable national park unfolds in a continuous ribbon, without a single stop sign or traffic light along the entire way.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was envisioned as a unique kind of national park, literally a “managed museum” of American countryside. The designers intended not only the stunning panoramic views, but also close-up experience of rushing creeks, dense forest, verdant farmland, mills and cabins preserved from the time of the first settlers.
That attention to detail in the design, with variation between distant views and nearby details is a boon to cyclists — we are rewarded with awesome views at the top of the long climbs, and we’re entertained by beauty and history as we make those climbs.
The northern end of the Parkway connects to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and the southern end connects to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the North Carolina / Tennessee state line. You will travel through 26 tunnels, cross more than a hundred bridges, and climb… um, alot. The descents on the Parkway are generally not very technical, and the climbs are not very steep (usually 6 to 8%) but both tend to be long.
This tour is held in September, which means we’ll likely escape the highest temps of the summer heat, and be teased by the first glimpses of autumn colors. Evenings may be cool, but many agree that the weather in September along the Blue Ridge Parkway is as close to perfect weather as it comes.
The Velo Girl grew up on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, walking distance from Mabry’s Mill, which means you’ll be riding with her in a place she’s known and loved for a lifetime.
The end-to-end tour of the Parkway traverses a great variety of geology and terrain, but only twice does it skirt a city of any size (Asheville and Boone). Which means we will stay in small mountain villages and towns along the route, sampling regional food and enjoying the talent of local musicians.
Overnight accommodations will range from comfortable mountain retreat locations, to the sights and sounds of Asheville. Cycle the Blue Ridge Parkway is limited to 10 guests.
Day 1 – 30 Miles
We will meet you for breakfast in Black Mountain, NC at the Monte Vista Hotel. While you finish eating, we’ll load up the bicycles in our custom trailer. We’ll also review safety procedures and go over the general flow of the trip.
We’ll drive in the VGR luxury van to the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Staunton, VA. Upon arrival, you will have an opportunity to take a short spin covering the first 30 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This will give you a chance to check your bike (and your legs) before the riding begins in earnest. We’ll stay in a mountain-top resort with beautiful views.
Day 2 – 85 Miles
After enjoying a delicious breakfast at the resort, we will transport via van a short distance up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to pick up where we left off the day before.
This is a big day of riding and your legs will really be tested as you cycle 85 miles. You will pass through the first of many tunnels, make the climb to the Peaks of Otter and enjoy a sweet descent down into Roanoke VA, where we will re-fuel, recover, and stay overnight.
Day 3 – 50 Miles
What comes down, must go up again and climb you will… when leaving the Roanoke Valley behind. After breakfast at the hotel, we will climb Bent Mountain on our way to the charming mountain village of Floyd, VA.
You will see stunning views into the Roanoke Valley, and pass by historic Rakes Millpond. At the end of the ride, a short van ride will take you to the lodge in Floyd. Floyd is famous for its bluegrass music, art and local culture — which we’ll enjoy in the afternoon and evening.
Day 4 – 35 Miles
Today, the Velo Girl will take you down her memory lane as you ride past landmarks of her childhood. You will see sweeping views of Woolwine VA and Buffalo Mountain, pass by Mabry Mill and finish your day in Fancy Gap. A short van ride will return you to Floyd for one more night in this fun town, distinctive for having exactly one stop light.
Day 5 – 60 Miles
It’s time to cross the state line and enter North Carolina. You will tackle a long climb up to Doughton Park, before descending to Glendale Springs where our day will come to an end at Northwest Trading Post.
Tonight, the inn will be located just a couple pedal strokes from the end of your ride…ahhh. We will dine at the inn, so you will have plenty of time to explore the Northwest Trading Post, nearby shops, and see a Ben Long fresco in a nearby church.
Day 6 – 33 Miles
After a delicious breakfast at the inn, we will follow a short, but hilly route as we roll toward the town of Blowing Rock, and our rest day! You will have passed the half-way mark, so it’s time for a break.
Day 7 – Rest Day
Your day of rest will be spent in a resort nestled in Blowing Rock. You may choose to enjoy a spa treatment, take a short stroll into town to shop, or take a hike around Bass Lake and visit the Moses Cone Mansion. Laundry facilities will be available on the resort campus. Breakfast will be provided at the resort, and you will be on your own for lunch and dinner.
Day 8 – 63 Miles
You will be glad that you enjoyed the rest day, and are once again ready to ride when you return to the bike today. The route holds lots of thrills and challenges including riding across the Linn Cove Viaduct and passing Grandfather Mountain.
At the end of the day, you will have the option of climbing to the tallest spot east of the Mississippi River: Mount Mitchell stands at 6,683 ft. While not part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to tackle this climb.
Day 9 – 57 Miles
Get ready for one of the best descents on this tour, as we sweep down toward the city of Asheville NC. We will make a brief stop at the Folk Art Center before we begin the long climb up to Mount Pisgah. In between breathtaking views, you will pass through many tunnels.
Day 10 – 58 Miles
Much of the day will be spent riding along high ridgelines admiring the view from both sides. Today you will feel the altitude when you crest the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 431 and reach 6,053 ft. Then you will encounter a series of long, sweeping descents and looong climbs as you make your way toward Cherokee, and the final milepost. You’ve done it!
|Day 7 Rest Day|
All VGR tours, include support by the VGR luxury Sprinter van and trailer, with delicious and abundant food, iced drinks, and shade from the sun. Your bike never rides on top of a vehicle, but secure within our custom trailer. We carry spares, parts, and tools should there be a problem with your bike.
Unless otherwise stated, the cost of alcoholic beverages is not included in your tour package.