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Cycling Shenandoah National Park

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Cycling Shenandoah National Park

Old 07-18-16, 01:42 PM
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Begemot50
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Cycling Shenandoah National Park

Hello forum. Long-time lurker, first time poster.

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for Skyline Drive in Shenandoah. I won't have the time to bike the length of the road, as I will be passing through and only have a day or so to see the park. Just trying to make the most of the time I'll have there.

Has anyone done the ride? Favorite sections? Sections to avoid? Safest ways to get on/off the drive? GPX files?
I won't be visiting for a few months, so time is on my side (at the moment, anyway).

Thank you, hive mind!
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Old 07-18-16, 01:57 PM
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Back in 2005, I biked from Luray, VA along 211 East to the Pinnacle's Overlook on Skyline Drive (2600 ft. of elevation gain) and back, roughly a 27 mile round trip. I did it fairly early in the morning, starting around 6am at which time traffic was light to non-existent all the way to the overlook. Coming back down was a lot of fun, holding ~40mph for several miles. The climb was fairly tame with no super steep sections, unlike the little, but steep hills I encounter around my home. I only had a basic computer with me back then so no fancy files to show but it's a ride I have always remembered and would like to do again, and preferably include more of Skyline Drive. I was with my then-girlfriend (now wife) at the time who stayed back at the hotel so I didn't want to be gone for too long as we planned to hike most of the day.
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Old 07-18-16, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Begemot50 View Post
Hello forum. Long-time lurker, first time poster.

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for Skyline Drive in Shenandoah. I won't have the time to bike the length of the road, as I will be passing through and only have a day or so to see the park. Just trying to make the most of the time I'll have there.

Has anyone done the ride? Favorite sections? Sections to avoid? Safest ways to get on/off the drive? GPX files?
I won't be visiting for a few months, so time is on my side (at the moment, anyway).

Thank you, hive mind!
I've been out there a few times (it's about 1.5 hrs from me).

Typically, I ride south on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Skyline Drive turns into this as it leaves the National Park). I prefer the BRP because there's no fee to enter, there's a bit less traffic during the tourist season, and the road is basically the same idea (beautiful views everywhere, lots of climbing).

Normally I park at an empty parking lot just off I64 in Afton, VA. Here-

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Af...!4d-78.8395137

I'll go south from there, usually 50-60 miles. There are also good breweries in the area for post-ride refreshment.

I've also ridden up to Skyline Drive from Sperryville (Thornton Gap), which is a bit north-

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sp...!4d-78.2261389

It's a pretty brutal climb by my standards, but the views are worth it.

I think the park entrance is $10 for a cyclist, and IIRC you can use the receipt to get back onto Skyline the next day as well if you're going to be in the area for a few days.

Honestly, anything on Skyline or the BRP is going to be spectacular. I haven't ridden out west or in Europe, but in my limited experience it's the best place I've ever been on a bike.

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Old 07-18-16, 07:40 PM
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I'll second jumping on in Luray and heading south however far you want to go. I actually grew up in the area but have been gone for years. Still most times home of leave from the Army I'd always find a day to spend up there from 211 in Luray to Rt 33 in Elkton. The whole stretch is really nice and you can't go wrong.
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Old 07-18-16, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Begemot50 View Post
Hello forum. Long-time lurker, first time poster.

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for Skyline Drive in Shenandoah. I won't have the time to bike the length of the road, as I will be passing through and only have a day or so to see the park. Just trying to make the most of the time I'll have there.

Has anyone done the ride? Favorite sections? Sections to avoid? Safest ways to get on/off the drive? GPX files?
I won't be visiting for a few months, so time is on my side (at the moment, anyway).

Thank you, hive mind!
Ridden parts of it, south and north from the Skyland Resort at mile 43, it's all very, very hilly. Nearly 8,000 ft of climbing if you ride the 75 miles from Front Royal to Elkton. The Skyland area is the highest point on the drive at +3,000 ft.

So bring your hill gears.

Anyplace is safe for access and the road is safe for bikes as most folks in cars don't speed on here, the limit is 35, which you can easily do downhill on a bike. And there are a lot of cyclists, so folks are used to them, roadies on day trips as well as touring cyclists.

No real need for a GPS track, it's an out and back with no turns unless you start in the valley and then it's an up to the drive and onto the drive. Pretty simple.

Watch the weather though, it's high up and gets cold as sin in the rain.
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