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The route has been designed to connect the eight Blue Ridge Heritage Project memorials in a way that utilizes gravel and lower-traffic scenic public roads near the outside of Shenandoah National Park’s boundary. Extra care has been given to avoid the busiest roads in this corridor (see Safety), but cyclists should be mindful of traffic at all times, especially during rush hours. The route has been developed prioritizing services at regular intervals, such as overnight lodging and camping options in addition to resupply points at country stores, supermarkets, and restaurants. 


The route is around 25% unpaved and follows stretches of greenways in various population centers, as well as passing near town parks and rest areas where possible. The unpaved roads on the 300-mile loop are all maintained by VDOT and are generally in good condition, although at times when new gravel is added to the road surface, riding can be rougher until the chunky gravel gets packed down. The route has its share of ups and downs with notable punchy climbs throughout. Cycling the route is more challenging than multi-day rail trail trips such as the C&O Canal or New River Rail Trail, on par with the TransVirginia Valley Route or riding in Loudoun County, but not as difficult as the TransVirginia Mountain Route or Rockstar Gravel routes (in terms of remoteness and rough gravel surfaces and fire roads).


Bikepacking the Hills & Hollows Route

Cycling in Shenandoah National Park

Cycling in Shenandoah National Park is permitted on the entirety of Skyline Drive and paved roads throughout the park. Bicycles are not permitted on unpaved surfaces in SNP, with the exception of a one-mile section east of Big Meadows bounded by a turn-around sign for bicycles. Single-file riding is required at all times (federal regulation), and VA state laws on bike light and brakes apply (official SNP biking rules).


The Hills & Hollows route offers cyclists a new way to experience the park: to see the park on a bicycle from outside its boundary. Historically, a series of dirt roads were used to pass through gaps atop the Blue Ridge, and many of these are still accessible for public use (outside of the SNP boundary, including bicycles)! In addition to the Hills & Hollows loop and Skyline Drive, eight of these historic roads are described as alternate routes or add-on experiences (see Alternates / Old Roads).


Route Maps & GPS Navigation

The Blue Ridge Hills & Hollows route, along with Skyline Drive and alternates are shown on Ride with GPS, which offers interactive planning maps and a companion mobile phone app with navigational on your trip.

All interactive  maps can be found on the routes page with more detail, and a list of all routes can be found in the RWGPS Collection. Viewing each route on Ride with GPS website offers enhanced basemap layers and viewing options.

Be sure to "pin" this route to put it on your bucket list and sync it to your Garmin or Wahoo cycling GPS. Various file formats can be exported via the "send to device" button.

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The buttons under the map show or hide types of route services

(Memorials, Lodging, Camping & Food).

Click on a route on the map to open it in RWGPS.

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Sample Itineraries

Blue Ridge Hills & Hollows
298.7 miles / 21,686 ft
Counter-clockwise direction starting in Stanardsville, VA and Elkton, VA


The following itineraries show multi-day trip plans for 3-6 days using hostels, AT hostels, and camping. Use the services spreadsheet to see distance intervals between overnight stops to create more options.


The Hills & Hollows route can easily be combined with Skyline Drive (105 miles, 9847’), either as an add-on after completing the full circuit, or by combining only with the east side (163 miles, 11,892’) or west side (136 miles, 9,800’) of the BRHH route. 

Note that it is not recommended to ride up Rt. 33 or Rt. 211 to access Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, as traffic can be heavy at times. If using these roads, consider exiting the park on them rather than entering (as time spent descending from Skyline Drive will be significantly shorter than time climbing up), and detour off them as soon as possible. These roads are less cyclist friendly after the first 2-3 miles off of Skyline Drive in either direction, where they flatten out and speed limits return to highway standards.

  • Day 1: Stanardsville to Sperryville (58 miles)

  • Day 2: Sperryville to Front Royal (52 miles)

  • Day 3: Front Royal to Luray (47 miles)

  • Day 4: Luray to Elkton (38 miles)

  • Day 5: Elkton to Waynesboro (49 miles)

  • Day 6: Waynesboro to Stanardsville (54 miles)

6-day Hotel

Starts in Stanardsville, VA
Averages 50 miles/day and 3614 feet/day

  • Day 1: Stanardsville to Front Royal (109 miles)

  • Day 2: Front Royal to Elkton (89 miles)

  • Day 3: Elkton to Stanardsville (103 miles)

3-day Hotel

Starts in Stanardsville, VA
Averages 100 miles/day and 7228 feet/day

  • Day 1: Stanardsville to Graves Mountain (30 miles),
    Camping and lodge options

  • Day 2: Graves Mountain to Flint Hill Hipcamps (42-51 miles)
    Camping and geodesic dome options

  • Day 3: Flint Hill to to Front Royal - AT Hostel (37 miles)

  • Day 4: Front Royal to Luray - AT Hostel (47 miles)

  • Day 5: Luray to Elkton - AT Hostel (35 miles)

  • Day 6: Elkton to Waynesboro - AT Hostel (50 miles)

  • Day 7: Waynesboro to Stanardsville (55 miles)

Some AT Hostels allow camping on site,

contact accommodations for details and availability.

7-day Hostel/Camping

Starts in Stanardsville, VA
Averages 43 miles/day and 3098 feet/day

  • Day 1: Stanardsville to Graves Mountain (30 miles)

  • Day 2: Graves Mountain to Flint Hill Hipcamp (43 miles)

  • Day 3: Flint Hill to Elizabeth Furnace (37 miles)

  • Day 4: Elizabeth Furnace to Elkton/Swift Run Campground (70 miles)

  • Day 5: Elkton / Swift Run Campground to Waynesboro (53 miles)

  • Day 6: Waynesboro to Stanardsville (55 miles)

6-day Camping

Starts in Stanardsville, VA
Averages 50 miles/day and 3614 feet/day

4-day Camping

Starts in Elkton, VA
Averages 75 miles/day and 5421 feet/day

  • Day 1: Elkton / Swift Run Campground to Waynesboro (53 miles)

  • Day 2: Waynesboro to Graves Mountain (85 miles)

  • Day 3: Graves Mountain to Elizabeth Furnace (94 miles)

  • Day 4: Elizabeth Furnace to Elkton/Swift Run Campground (70 miles)


When to Go

The best months to ride are April through October, with early spring and late fall days presenting the possibility of colder temps overnight or snow at higher elevations. Spring flowers usually peak in late April, and fall foliage reaches its zenith in October. Summer months bring warm weather–much of the route is shaded to offer relief from direct sun.

By car: The BRHH route begins in Stanardsville, VA, but is also easily accessible from various points around the loop. Major interstates I-66 and I-64 touch the route on the north and south points, and Rt. 33 connects Elkton (Rockingham County) and Stanardsville (Greene County) through the center of the circuit. Approximate driving distances are listed below from major population centers to their closest point in the loop. 


There is Amtrak train access in Charlottesville, VA (23 miles) and Culpeper, VA (31 miles).


By Bicycle: Any section of the BRHH 300-mile loop can be accessed by bicycle with careful route planning. Shenandoah National Park is best accessed directly by bicycle on the northern (Front Royal) and southern entrances (Afton Mountain & northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rt. 250), where cycling on roads to the park entrances are generally shorter and less busy than entrance stations on Rt. 33 (Swift Run Gap between Elkton and Stanardsville), and Rt. 211 (Thornton Gap between Luray and Sperryville). 

VDOT Parking lots that offer free, overnight parking in Stanardsville (east), Linden (north), and Elkton (west) are noted on the RWGPS route. If staying at a hotel or campground the night before starting your ride, ask about extended parking options.


Distance/driving time to BRHH loop:

  • Stanardsville (East)

    • Culpeper, VA (Amtrak): 31 miles, 37 min

    • Charlottesville (Amtrak, CHO airport): 23 miles, 38 min

    • Richmond, VA: 86 miles, 1.5 hours

  • Front Royal (North):

    • Winchester, VA: 26 miles, 34 min

    • Washington, DC (Amtrak, IAD, DCA airports): 70 miles, 1 hour 15 min

    • Baltimore, MD: 110 miles, 2 hours

    • Harrisburg, PA: 140 miles, 2 hours 15 min

    • Morgantown, WV: 160 miles, 3 hours

    • Philadelphia, PA: 210 miles, 3.5 hours

    • New York City: 300 miles, 5 hours

  • Elkton (West)

    • Harrisonburg, VA: 17 miles, 30 min

    • Staunton: 35 miles, 50 min

  • Waynesboro (South)

    • Staunton: 15 miles, 23 min

    • Charlottesville (Amtrak, CHO airport): 28 miles, 30 min

    • Roanoke, VA: 100 miles, 1.5 hours

    • Blacksburg, VA: 125 miles, 2 hours

    • Norfolk, VA: 187 miles, 3 hours 10 min

    • Greensboro, NC: 175 miles, 3 hours

    • Winston-Salem, NC: 200 miles, 3 hours 20 min

    • Raleigh, NC: 210 miles, 4 hours

    • Charlotte, NC: 266 miles, 4 hours 20 min

    • Asheville, NC: 330 miles, 5 hours

    • Knoxville, TN: 350 miles, 5 hours


Getting There & Away, Parking

Bikes & Gear

What type of bike to use:

The BRHH is a hilly mixed-surface road route connecting the best dirt and gravel roads in the area around Shenandoah National Park. The best bikes to use for this route are either gravel bikes or road bikes with wider tire clearance. Mountain bikes are also suitable although slower (suspension not necessary). The unpaved roads are generally in good condition and non-technical in nature, maintained by VDOT for the use of motor vehicles, and make up 25% of the total route distance.


The ideal bike would have these characteristics:

  • Gravel tires: width of 35mm-45mm

  • Low gearing: less than a 1:1 ratio of smallest chainring to largest cassette ring. Some climbs reach 10-15% grades for short stretches.

  • Reliable, strong brakes (disc preferred): With steep grades downhill, make sure your brakes function well.

For carrying multi-day gear, consider a lighter bikepacking setup with soft frame bags to minimize weight. Traditional touring setups with racks and panniers are well-suited for this route as roads surfaces are generally in good condition.


For extensive information on preparing for a bikepacking trip and suggestions on bike setups and gear, check out the Bikepacking 101 Handbook on

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Overnights, Food, Resupply

Where to sleep, eat, resupply

The route offers a variety of overnight accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, cabins, and Appalachian Trail hiker hostels (that also host bikepackers). AirBnB and Hipcamp also offer a variety of lodging and camping options; many require a two-night minimum, but cyclists are welcome to contact hosts directly to explore single night options.


The resupply spreadsheet shows route services (lodging, camping, food) in order of their appearance in the route with mile markers for both directions, starting and ending in Stanardsville, VA. 


Appalachian Trail Hiker Hostels

These hostels are primarily for thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, but also welcome  bikepackers riding through the area. Be sure to call ahead to ensure availability, especially outside of the spring-fall hiking season.

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) maintains a network of 45 cabins; many of which are located near the BRHH route ($40 annual membership fee required for most, modest rates especially on weekdays). Some require a short hike to the cabin.


Camping is also available throughout the route, although campsites are less frequent than indoor lodging options, and generally more sparse on the eastern side (see camping areas below and Suggested Itineraries for 4 and 6-day trip ideas): 



The following locations have resupply in the form of a country store, convenience store, supermarket, or cafe at the minimum. Larger towns with an asterisk* have more services including a supermarket, although some are not directly on route. The longest gap between food resupply directly on route is 41 miles, from the 619 Market after Front Royal to Luray (Fort Valley general store is halfway between this gap, 1.7 miles off route). 


For key resupply locations, consider calling ahead to verify open hours as they are subject to change, especially in rural areas. It’s fair to assume water bottles can be refilled at resupply points along the route. Filter or purify water from natural sources. 

  • Mile 0: Stanardsville*

  • Mile 13: Wolftown - Country Store

  • Mile 16: Pratts (off route) - Sheetz

  • Mile 30: Syria / Graves Mountain - Country/camp store

  • Mile 35: Etlan - Country Store

  • Mile 58: Sperryville - Country Store & Restaurant

  • Mile 68: Washington (off route) - Convenience Store

  • Mile 91: Hume Ruritan Park (water only)

  • Mile 101: Linden - Convenience Store

  • Mile 109: Front Royal*

  • Mile 116: 619 Market - Convenience Store

  • Mile 133: Fort Valley Country Store (1.7 miles off route)

  • Mile 157: Luray*

  • Mile 169: Stanley*

  • Mile 195: Elkton*

  • Mile 202: McGaheysville/Massanutten - Convenience Store

  • Mile 222: Grottoes*

  • Mile 243: Waynesboro*

  • Mile 251: Rockfish Gap Country Store (Rt. 250)

  • Mile 260: Crozet*

  • Mile 265: Whitehall - Convenience Store

  • Mile 281: Mission Home Bakery (closed Sundays)

  • Mile 288: Dyke - Convenience Store

  • Mile 298: Stanardsville*


Bike Shops, Outfitters, & Shuttles

The only bike shops located directly on the route are in Waynesboro and Crozet, with various shops 15-25 miles off route in Culpeper, Warrenton, Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Charlottesville. Outfitters on route are in Front Royal and Waynesboro.

Shuttle services for cyclists may be possible by utilizing Appalachian Trail hiker shuttle drivers. See section on AT Hiker Hostels above for contact information.

Safety Considerations

Cycling carries inherent risks, and riders should assume these risks and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and pleasant trip. 


The Hills & Hollows route follows a variety of roads open to motor vehicles, both paved and unpaved. Crashes with motor vehicles pose most serious risks to cyclists. Bright clothing and front/rear lights greatly improve cyclist visibility to vehicle drivers, especially in dark or foggy conditions. Lights are also essential for riding through the dark 4,264-foot Blue Ridge Tunnel (mile 274), which the route uses to cross the Blue Ridge on its southern end.


While the majority of the roads on this route are quiet backcountry roads, a few short sections follow more trafficked roads (see below) to connect to services or link smaller roads. Be especially vigilant on these larger roads, particularly at the beginning and end of the work day and during peak tourism times. On remote gravel roads, be mindful that drivers may not be expecting to see a bicycle!


On the east side of the route, be extra mindful of traffic on Rts. 810, 230, 231, 522 east of Sperryville, and Rt. 55 west of Linden. On the west side between Front Royal and Luray, avoid any temptation to take a shortcut on Rt. 340 as it is a high speed highway with limited shoulders and frequented by large trucks (the main reason the route goes farther west through Fort Valley).

Make sure your bicycle is well maintained with adequate braking power and durable tires; try out your setup thoroughly before attempting this route. Have your local bike shop service your bicycle if you have any uncertainty.


Be mindful of loose dogs that you may pass who could be aggressive. Dogs tend to have an instinct to chase but often will slow down if you stop and stand your ground (with bike between you and the dog). Usually dogs lose interest after the opportunity to chase has ended.


Look out for deer suddenly darting across roads, especially on fast descents, blind corners, and during dawn and dusk. 


Hunting Season is generally November into January, and varies across locations in Virginia. Be mindful on public lands during this season and wear bright colors (George Washington National Forest in Front Royal-Luray area of the route, and Wilderness Management Areas on the east side of SNP).

Some sections of the route lack cell phone coverage, so plan accordingly by taking enough food, water, and supplies. Coordinate meeting points assuming you will not be able to communicate by phone.

View links to additional resources on historical context of the area.

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