The Parkway Loop - Cycling

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About

Summary

The Parkway Loop is a Western North Carolina classic, and will test the lungs and legs of any cyclist.

Written by

Park Baker

Distance

65.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

0.1 miles

Difficulty

5 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

5 hours

3-6 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

No

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

This epic road ride is a Western North Carolina classic, and will test the lungs and legs of any cyclist. Climbing to the Blue Ridge Parkway requires a method all its own, and the descent back down is hairy. There is nothing like cruising on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it feels like you are flying. 

What Makes It Great

You will be riding through a few tunnels on this route, so a blinking light is required on the Parkway. It doesn't hurt to have a front light too. That said, the weather can change quickly that high up. It's not uncommon to leave town when it is 80 F and have it be 50 on the parkway. Getting caught in a storm on the Parkway will leave you cold, so bring a jacket.  There is a lot of descending on this ride, eyewear is recommended. 

From Brevard, pedal out US 64, and make a left onto Country Club Rd. Take this to the intersection of Island Ford Rd, and make a left. Stay on Island Ford for about a mile, and make a right on Walnut Hollow Rd. Take your next right on Hannah Ford and cruise along the river until you roll into Rosman. 

When you reach the intersection with Calvert Rd, make a left, then another left onto Old Rosman Hwy. Stay on this road until you come into the town of Rosman and roll past the high school. After the high school make a left onto Old Turnpike Rd. Old Turnpike will put you back on US 64, where you make a right, then a left onto NC 215, Blue Ridge Rd. 

NC 215 will be a rolling 15 or so miles until you reach the last eight or so miles. Then they climb, switchbacking up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a gas station about half way up, but little cell reception. When you reach the Parkway, take the entrance ramp to it, and then make a left onto the Parkway, heading North. From here, it will be a rolling 20 or so miles on the Parkway through tunnels, and past amazing views to the east and west. 

Your first turn on your right will be yours, this is NC 276 and will take back into Brevard. Be careful on this descent, many people have gone down crossing the yellow lines, and be wary of traffic coming up the hill. Guys on sport bikes use this climb to really test their skills and are often on the wrong side of the road. When you get back to the main entrance of Pisgah National Forest, make a right at the light. At the next left, the bike path crosses the road, and will take you back into town. 

Who is Going to Love It

This route is about 65 miles, and it is not easy, so make sure you are in shape for the distance and the climbing (these roads are used by the elite for training)!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To get started in Brevard, pedal out US 64, and make a left onto Country Club Rd. See the description above for full route.

See NatGeo Map #780 for more directions and information.

Location

The Parkway Loop

Pisgah National Forest
Brevard, NC, 28712
35.233447, -82.734292

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