Cycling this 38-mile, paved Northern Neck route will lead you to the historic towns of Colonial Beach and Leedstown, as well as the birthplace of President James Monroe. Be aware that this route is all on roadways, and only experienced cyclists who are comfortable with traffic should venture onto Route 3 at the end of the loop.
Starting from the King George/Westmoreland County line, cycle to Colonial Beach at the widest point on the Potomac River. This small community was founded in the 19th century as the fishing and bathing getaway for Washingtonians coming by steamboat. Still a waterfront resort, this golf cart community is home to numerous art galleries and hosts a yearlong “Second Friday” Art Walk. The community has built an outdoor performing arts stage, Town Hill, where evening concerts, outdoor family movie nights and weekend events are held.
Hop back on your bike and cycle to the birthplace of the 5th U.S. President James Monroe between Colonial Beach and Oak Grove. Stop in to the new visitor center there and learn about the Northern Neck’s native son who was Secretary of State during the War of 1812. Later as President, Monroe set the cornerstone for American foreign policy through his 1823 Monroe Doctrine.
Carefully cross Route 3 (King’s Highway) onto Route 638 (Leedstown Road), which wanders through the countryside to Leedstown on the Rappahannock River. In 1678 community founder Edward Bray built a brick church, a ferry and a wharf on this site. In 1742, the town was home to the Leedstown Resolutions, which protested the Stamp Act and foreshadowed the Declaration of Independence.
From Leedstown, weave through Westmoreland County along Route 637 to Route 625/Horner’s Mill Road to Route 642/Baynesville Road and finally west on Route 3/King’s Highway to complete the loop. Be advised that Route 3 is for experienced, traffic-savvy cyclists as it is a 2-lane road with truck traffic
This loop is estimated to take approximately 3 hours, 20 minutes. For more information on attractions and accommodations in Virginia’s Northern Neck, please visit http://www.northernneck.org/index.htm.