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Old 10-28-2010, 10:36 PM   #1
error cooled OP
anything but asphalt
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Oddometer: 1,205
Talking The Blue Ridge Trail....... a work in progress

The Blue Ridge Trail

COMPLETED in mid 2011 / Updated for 2014.

Distribution of the file(s) is on hold.

Background and Goal:

Create a route that transects western Virginia from North to South on dirt roads, gravel roads, National Forest Roads, Jeep Trails and when necessary lightly trafficked secondary state and county roads. The route will allow the rider to return to his origin via the scenic, paved and easy going Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive at a leisurely pace.

The route is to be constructed so that it exclusively uses publicly accessible roads and trails so that the rider can travel without worry of gated roads or private property.

Emphasis in route construction will be placed on scenic quality as well as historical and interesting landmarks.

The route will be designed to accommodate dual sport motorcyclists with a moderate level of skill. Ideal motorcycles will be dual sport models in the 250cc - 800cc range. The route will also be of interest to those with high clearance 4x4 vehicles. You will need a street legal vehicle to ride this route.

The northern terminus will be within the vicinity of Front Royal, VA while the southern terminus will be in the vicinity of Damascus, VA.

Total mileage will be around 300 Miles +/- 50. [EDIT: See current mileage totals below]


I am constructing the route over the winter of 2010/2011 during my free time. I will be using many resources for the route including personal experience, knowledge from locals, printed maps, Government agencies and GIS data.

Map Data for construction:

- ARC GIS Data provided by the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
- ARC GIS Data provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
- Hard copy county maps from the VDOT.
- GWNF / JNF Motorized Vehicle Use Maps.
- USGS Topo Quad 24K Maps
- National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps: 773, 786, 787, 788, 789, 791, 792, 792 793
- Delorme Virginia Gazetteer

Other sources for data:

- Historical notes from various published sources
- Geo-Tagged Photographs
- Internet Forums / Ride and Trail Reports
- Input from local Jeep and Trail Riding Clubs

Route Validation:

I hope to validate the route during the Spring and Summer of 2011. I intend to travel the route myself with friends and other locals to make sure the digital data reflects the conditions on the ground. I will also be looking for enthusiastic and trustworthy folks to also test the route and report back findings.

Distribution of route:

This is going to be a labor of love. Once validated on the ground I will be distributing the route in a GPX file with multiple tracks of less than 500 points. You will need a Garmin mapping unit capable of reading tracks to use the route such as a 60CX, 276C etc [62/78 Series are my recommendation now + Montanas]. My hope is that people can use the route wisely, tread lightly and link it up with other noteworthy routes such as the TWVT and TAT. I do not intend to charge anything for the data but may set up something for donations to organizations that keep our trails open such as the Blue Ribbon Coalition and the Northern Virginia Trail Riders.

In closing...

So wish me luck. If any one wants to contribute anything to this shoot me a PM. I would love to hear from people that want to make sure a "can't miss" road or landmark get included. Any questions, comments or concerns feel free to post them here. This will be a work in progress.

The Laboratory:

Spring 2012 Update

The route has been distributed to over 100 folks and many have had a chance to go out and enjoy the road less traveled in Virginia. I had a chance to cover just about every mile in June of 2011 and have been making updates as necessary.

Total Mileage Breakdown is as follows:

Red: County/ State 2 Lane (20% gravel/dirt) - 353 Miles Total
Orange: Forest Service (80% Two Track, Gravel Dirt, 10% Rougher Jeep Roads, 5% Single Track, 5% paved) - 363 Miles Total
Green: Connectors to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive - 110 Miles Total
Blue: BRP and Skyline Drive (100% Paved and scenic) - 311 Miles Total
Yellow: Scenic Detour / Bypass (50% Gravel / 50% Paved - State Roads) - 157 Miles Total

There are also 20+ public campgrounds included in the file and gas way points for every 50 miles or so.

Here are a collection of photos from myself and others of the route. I encourage people to post up their experiences and photos here in this thread.

BlueThunder's Photos:

Slip210's Photos:

Am.E's Photos:

Rave's Photos:

Do not try taking a loaded GSA on slick single track, unless you are a boss

RuralGold's Photos:

Damon Fever's Photos:


Big Todd's Photos:

Honda XR600R
The Blue Ridge Trail - Virginia via gravel, dirt, two track and backroads.
USFS Motorized Access in Virginia - Protect your dual sporting access in the commonwealth.

error cooled screwed with this post 01-15-2015 at 02:18 PM
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