Bicycling the Parkway

A bicycle leans against a Parkway guard rail at sunset

Kevin Dobo photo

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers bicyclists 469 miles of picturesque travel across Virginia and North Carolina. However, the parkway was designed as a scenic leisure road for motor vehicles, and does not have designated bike lanes. Bicyclists should exercise extreme caution.

To assist in planning your trip, consult the parkway map and Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner.

Be Prepared For:
  • Changing weather conditions, regardless of the season
  • Long distances between developed areas
  • Camping, lodging and other services seasons and hours

 
Bicycling Regulations
  • Bicycle riders must comply with all applicable state and federal motor vehicle regulations.
  • Bicycles may be ridden only on paved road surfaces and parking areas.
  • Bicycles, including mountain bikes, may not be ridden on trails or walkways.
  • Bicycle speed must be reasonable for control with regard to traffic, weather, road and light conditions.
  • Bicycle operators must exhibit a white light or reflector visible at least 500 feet to the front and a red light or reflector visible at least 200 feet to the rear during periods of low visibility, between the hours of sunset and sunrise, or while traveling through a tunnel.
  • Bicycles must be ridden single file and well to the right-hand side of the road, except when passing or turning left.
  • You may ride and walk on closed portions on the Parkway when the gates are closed due to inclement weather, but use extreme caution, as there may be debris, ice or snow on the road, and patrols are less frequent. If a section is closed for construction, it is closed to all traffic, including bicycles and pedestrians.
 
Tunnel Bicycle Tunnel Sig

For Safe Bicycling

  • Wear a bicycle helmet. North Carolina law requires it for persons 16 and under and many Virginia counties do as well, but it's the safe thing to do regardless of your age.
  • Be sure your bicycle is in good condition. Carry a spare tube and tools for minor repairs.
  • Wear high visibility clothing. It sets you apart from the scenery and makes you more visible to motorists.
  • Temperatures vary greatly along the parkway due to different elevations. Wear clothing in layers.
  • Avoid the parkway during periods of low visibility. Fog and rain may occur unpredictably. Reschedule your trip for better weather or follow lower elevation routes until weather conditions improve.
  • Exercise caution when riding through tunnels. There are 26 tunnels in North Carolina and 1 tunnel in Virginia.
  • Carry plenty of water and high energy foods. Safe drinking water is available on a seasonal basis at all picnic areas, campgrounds, concession operations, and visitor centers. Water from streams and springs is unsafe for drinking unless you purify it.
  • Make an honest evaluation of your abilities before beginning a bicycle trip on the parkway. In some sections, you will climb over one thousand feet in just a few miles. Elevation gains for major uphill climbs along the parkway are listed further down this page.
  • When cycling in a group, adjust your spacing to allow motor vehicles to pass safely.
  • Carry a first aid kit.
  • Carry some form of identification with you.

 

Extended Trips

Some parkway campgrounds and services are located too far apart for convenient cycling.

Camping is permitted only at established campgrounds. In some areas, U.S. Forest service, state park, and private campgrounds are within easy distance of the parkway. However, many operate on a seasonal basis.

Food and lodging services are also available along and in communities adjacent to the parkway. Most operate seasonally.

Please contact a Ranger before leaving a motor vehicle parked overnight on the parkway.

 

Major Uphill Climbs Traveling Southbound

MILEPOST ELEVATION GAIN IN FEET
0 - 3.0 391
4.7 - 8.5 1,100
9.2 - 10.7 322
18.5 - 23.0 785
37.4 - 38.8 229
42.0 - 43.9 570
47.0 - 49.3 405
63.0 - 76.7 3,305
89.1 - 91.6 569
93.1 - 95.4 428
118.1 - 120.4 426
127.0 - 132.5 1,400
134.0 - 134.9 195
136.4 - 138.2 275
150.6 - 152.1 278
157.0 - 157.6 200
164.7 - 168.0 830
169.5 - 170.1 260
176.2 - 177.0 212
186.6 - 188.8 360
195.0 - 196.2 235
197.6 - 198.7 210
200.5 - 201.5 335
216.6 - 217.7 240
231.3 - 233.1 550
233.7 - 235.2 280
235.8 - 236.9 365
240.0 - 240.8 170
249.0 - 249.8 235
251.3 - 252.8 300
263.6 - 264.6 360
265.2 - 266.8 270
269.8 - 271.1 330
271.4 - 273.1 575
276.4 - 277.4 375
281.7 - 282.4 280
282.7 - 283.8 255
286.0 - 287.8 500
288.7 - 289.9 250
291.8 - 293.8 400
298.6 - 302.1 1,005
316.4 - 318.2 380
318.5 - 320.7 590
330.9 - 332.1 410
332.6 - 334.5 545
336.3 - 338.9 540
345.4 - 349.9 1,480
351.9 - 355.0 920
355.4 - 358.5 520
361.1 - 364.1 500
393.8 - 396.4 920
397.3 - 399.7 430
400.3 - 405.5 965
405.7 - 407.7 745
416.8 - 420.2 1,100
423.2 - 424.8 230
426.5 - 428.2 405
429.0 - 431.4 600
443.1 - 451.2 2,450
455.7 - 458.9 810
Total Elevation Gain Southbound 48,601

Statistics courtesy of Tom De Vaughn, Troutville, Virginia.

 

Major Uphill Climbs Traveling Northbound

MILEPOST ELEVATION GAIN IN FEET
469.1 - 462.2 2,240
461.6 - 458.9 1,000
455.7 - 451.2 1,480
443.1 - 435.5 2,020
433.3 - 431.4 475
426.5 - 424.8 325
423.2 - 421.6 250
415.6 - 413.2 385
411.9 - 409.6 400
383.5 - 376.7 1,135
375.3 - 364.1 2,535
361.1 - 358.5 540
351.9 - 349.9 565
334.1 - 341.8 530
339.8 - 338.9 260
336.3 - 335.7 215
327.4 - 325.8 290
325.0 - 320.7 1,210
316.4 - 312.4 520
309.9 - 306.5 460
305.6 - 305.0 200
295.8 - 293.8 555
291.8 - 289.9 275
285.2 - 283.8 400
279.6 - 278.8 270
276.4 - 273.1 910
269.8 - 268.6 315
268.1 - 266.8 380
257.8 - 256.8 200
248.0 - 244.5 495
243.8 - 242.9 270
242.4 - 241.5 300
240.0 - 239.3 160
238.5 - 237.2 270
220.8 - 220.1 205
215.6 - 214.0 260
210.6 - 209.4 220
199.4 - 198.7 165
189.4 - 188.7 220
175.1 - 171.9 575
168.9 - 168.0 185
159.4 - 157.6 389
150.6 - 149.8 226
140.1 - 139.3 229
136.0 - 134.9 285
124.6 - 123.1 320
121.4 - 120.4 265
115.0 - 113.0 280
106.0 - 103.6 500
102.5 - 99.8 820
93.1 - 91.6 374
89.1 - 87.3 634
85.6 - 84.7 230
83.5 - 76.7 1,490
63.0 - 49.3 1,852
46.4 - 43.9 627
40.0 - 38.8 331
37.4 - 34.0 951
13.7 - 10.7 563
9.2 - 8.5 222
4.7 - 3.0 300
Total Elevation Gain Northbound 48,722

Statistics courtesy of Tom De Vaughn, Troutville, Virginia.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

199 Hemphill Knob Rd
Asheville, NC 28803

Phone:

(828) 348-3400

Contact Us