Tour of the Virginias, 6 days, Southern VA - Clarksburg, WV (Originating in Northern VA-DC), $1,200
WHAT: MOUNTAIN BIKE / HYBRID RAIL-TRAIL TOUR approximately 237 miles.
WHERE: Southern VA and West Virginia (Originates and terminates with shuttle from Washington, DC area).
WHEN: Format last used August 1-6, 2014. This format involves longer shuttles and omits the scenic railroad included in the seven day format.
WHO: OPEN TRIP.
TERRAIN: Level to 3% grade. Packed dirt and crushed stone surfaces, sometimes including packed railroad ballast. 6-8 feet wide. Mountain, hybrid or cyclo-cross bicycles required.
RATING: Easy. When we speak of rail-trails, people can expect that these trails will have gentle or level grades and wide rights of way suitable for bicycling. With bridges over streams and tunnels through hills, rail-trails also offer clear and easy means to negotiate geographic obstacles. Where selected trails change elevation significantly, we have chosen to ride the trails in the downhill direction. Daily distances are easily adjusted to meet varied individual fitness levels.
LIMIT: 14 or 25 cyclists.
Tour of the Virginia's is not hard. It uses rail-trails, smooth and flat or with mild grades, even though we are riding through a beautiful, scenic mountain region. The trails for this trip are interesting, and varied. The scenery is outstanding, and the distances moderate.
Day 1: The trip begins with charter transportation from near Washington Dulles Airport in Washington, DC's Virginia suburbs, to southern Virginia, departing at 5:00 p.m. and arriving in southern Virginia late evening, where we over-night for tomorrow's riding.
Day 2: Following a hearty full-breakfast, We shuttle from to the New River State Park trailhead in Pulaski,, VA, and spend the second day on the New River State Trail, where we ride alongside the New River to Galax, VA. Mid-way along the trail, we pass a trail highlight, Shot Tower in the Shot Tower State Park. At the end of the day, you can ride a few blocks to the night's hotel in Galax, and choose to look arond town, or just relax. We finish the night with a group dinner.
Day 3: Following continental breakfast, shuttle to the start of the Virginia Creeper Trail at Whitetop Station, VA, where you whisk downhill to Damascus and on to Abingdon, crossing more than 40 trestles in 34 miles and enjoying lunch on the trail, on this mostly downhill ride. In Abingdon at the end of the day, we will have a group dinner, and you may relax, explore town, or sit around the hotel pool.
Day 4: After continental breakfast, another shuttle transports you to the start of the Greenbriar River Trail in WV, where you spend day the day riding the southern section of the trail. You will enjoy riding alongside the peaceful Greenbriar river, known to present deer, bear, and other wildlife viewing for trail users. The trail traverses lush farmland, as well as Watoga State Park and one highlight of this section is the Droop Mountain Tunnel, which lets you know that you are riding into the steep mountain region of West Virginia. Enjoy shopping in Marlinton, or just poking around the small mountain town, before we have a group cookout and overnight at the Old Clark Inn, the town's premier lodging accommodation, right alongside the Greenbriar River.
Day 5: You continue on the Greenbriar River trail, to complete the northern section between Marlinton and Cass, have lunch and visit some of the Cass Railroad museums if you arrive early, before shuttling to Thomas, WV to ride the 10 mile Blackwater Canyon Rail Trail 2,000' downhill to Parsons. No trail seems to match the grand views of and into a steep mountain canyon, like the Blackwater Canyon trail does. When we're done riding for the day, we'll finish the drive to Parkersburg, WV, where we will overnight in the luxurious Blennerhassett Hotel, a fabulous historic hotel built in the 1890's, and decorated with antiques.
Day 6: On our final day, we tackle the North Bend Rail Trail, a fascinating 70 mile gem in western West Virginia, that showcases 13 tunnels, each of unique architecture and character, and a number of trestles. This day may be shortened after the most scenic parts and tunnels have passed, depending on group comfort and desire. As a linear trail, easily accessed by support, perhaps the stronger cyclists will ride the entire 70 miles in our allotted time this day, while others ride the planned distance of 60 miles. Upon reaching Wolf's Summit, we will load up for the return to Washington, stopping for a quick dinner option, and returning about 10:00 p.m.
35-60 miles per day, with shuttle options to shorten daily distances.
The support vehicle will shuttle participants between the daily endpoint and the next day's starting location on most days, and will also meet riders at pre-determined support points along the trail during the day. Daily transport is generally under an hour, except the drive down, drive back, and drive between Cass and Parkersburg, WV, which are longer. Trip meals are provided and are included in the trip cost.
See Frequently Asked Questions at the "FAQs" link, for answers to common questions.
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