Bicycling the Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers bicyclists 469 miles of picturesque travel across Virginia and North Carolina. Ranging in elevation from 649 to 6,047 feet, the road encompasses a variety of ever-changing weather conditions, regardless of season.
Bicyclists should exercise extreme caution and be prepared for significant distances between developed areas and services that vary by season. Planning such a trip is important and we suggest carrying plenty of water and high energy foods, clothing for safety and protection from adverse weather conditions, and some form of identification. The National Park Service recommends that cyclists make an honest evaluation of their abilities before beginning a bicycle trip on the Parkway. In some sections, you will climb as much as 1,100 feet in 3.4 miles.
Dirt roads and trails designed specifically for off-road bicycles are numerous in the four US National Forests that the Parkway travels through and in partner facilities such as Virginia?s Explore Park near Roanoke.
REGULATIONS & SAFETY
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, are prohibited on trails or walkways.
- Be sure your bicycle is in good operating 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.
- The bicycle operator 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 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. When cycling in a group, adjust your spacing to allow motor vehicles to pass safely.
- 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.
- 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 through tunnels. There are 26 tunnels in North Carolina and 1 tunnel in Virginia.