Buena Vista - Blue Ridge Parkway north

This is a difficult and beautiful ride starting in Buena Vista. There is a long climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a very steep descent down into the community of Vesuvius.

The descent and ride long South River are along the famous Trans-America bicycle trail. It starts in Buena Vista and goes along the Blue Ridge Parkway, down to Vesuvius and back.

This is a difficult and very scenic ride with a long climb up to the Parkway, substantial hills along the Parkway, and a steep descent to Vesuvius.

START: Large Parking lot near Amish Cupboard 3225 Beech Ave. Buena Vista, VA 24416

PARKING: There is a large parking lot shared by several business.

DIFFICULTY/CHALLENGES: This is an advanced ride due to the overall amount of climbing and the distance. It’s roughly a 4 mile climb on Route 60 up the Blue Ridge Parkway averaging around 7%. The descent on Route 56 is very steep, over 20% in parts. BE VERY CAREFUL on both the ascent and descent.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has a 45 mph speed limit. Riders must be single file while on the Parkway. South River is very scenic and stocked with trout. On weekends there are often many people out fishing – watch for traffic and cars stopping at unusual spots.

DIRECTION: The route is laid out in a counterclockwise direction. It can be ridden clockwise if you really want to test your climbing abilities on Route 56.

FACILITIES ON ROUTE: Route starts in downtown Buena Vista with two opportunities for services on route. At mile 27.5, you can make a 0.37-mile detour north on VA 56 to Gertie's Country Store. At mile 40.8 you pass by South River Market, at the intersection of South River Road and Old Buena Vista Road. This is a long route with limited facilities along much of it.

WHAT WILL I SEE? This is an opportunity to ride of a portion of one of the most favored cycling routes in the world. There are some great vistas along the Parkway, both while riding and at the overlooks.

One thing to notice on this ride is the transition from the urbanized river bottom of Buena Vista, to the darker, forested foothills, to the rugged mountain tops – a wide variety of habitat and environments on a single, iconic ride.

Starts in: Buena Vista, VA, US
Distance: 45.2 mi
Elevation: +4052 / -4053 ft

Cue sheet

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