The Blue Ridge Trail....... a work in progress

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by error cooled, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. error cooled

    error cooled anything but asphalt

    Joined:
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    The Blue Ridge Trail

    COMPLETED in mid 2011 / Updated for 2014.

    Distribution of the file(s) is on hold.


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    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]

    Construction:

    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:

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    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:

    <small><small>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

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


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    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.

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    BlueThunder's Photos:

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    Slip210's Photos:

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    Am.E's Photos:

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    Rave's Photos:

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    Do not try taking a loaded GSA on slick single track, unless you are a boss
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    RuralGold's Photos:


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    Damon Fever's Photos:


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    ClutchCargo55:


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    Big Todd's Photos:

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    #1
  2. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
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    badass monitor setup :super

    Holler if you would like any mapping help. I am a cartographer :shog
    #2
  3. advridgerunner

    advridgerunner RESIST WE MUCH !

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    Chesapeake AND Bedford Co. VA
    looking forward to this!! thanks for the effort
    #3
  4. woods wizard

    woods wizard Been here awhile

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    Welcome to No.Va...expect delays
    This will make me want to get my 450x plated even more.
    #4
  5. rctr

    rctr Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    richmond va
    great idea!
    #5
  6. niceviewbehindbars

    niceviewbehindbars out enjoying the vu

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    :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb
    :lurk
    #6
  7. rob feature

    rob feature Domain Ranger

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    :lurk


    subscribed!
    #7
  8. mpowers

    mpowers Been here awhile

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    Va Bch
    +1!
    #8
  9. screamin injin

    screamin injin FUBAR

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    Yes, good idea.
    #9
  10. OleGrumpy

    OleGrumpy TFM/ODS Proficient

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    Oh yeah, I am an innocent by-stander!
    #10
  11. error cooled

    error cooled anything but asphalt

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    Location:
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    Thank you all for the :lurk and the :thumb.

    HBN - I appreciate the assistance I may look to you for some help on a few massive ARCGis MDB files I have. Also - the monitor setup is a must have for anyone doing some serious route planing. A vertically oriented 1900x1200 monitor really makes the big picture come together.

    I will post updates here as the BRT evolves. I am extremly excited to have a sweet route to ride come this spring :wink:.
    #11
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    4,578
    in.

    like that LC, i think there were only a couple years where they had the 3x.
    #12
  13. NVTS

    NVTS stupid hipster dufus

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Big Lick Virginia
    This is ambitious given the Forest service's inclination to close roads as they see fit without notice. Shoot me a message when you get nearer the Roanoke area and the www.twinvalleyriders.com can lend a hand in confirming the state of the gates. NVTS
    #13
  14. badguy

    badguy Susan

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    almost southern MD
    Awesome :super

    Maybe I can help scout or something...but I'll probably need a GPS unit first.
    #14
  15. lostmarbles

    lostmarbles Long timer

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    man this look like a great idea let me know when you like some one to ride it and give you feed back i'd be happy to :ear :clap
    #15
  16. troutwhisperer

    troutwhisperer Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Central Va
    Great idea! I live in Western part of Amherst County, so if you need someone to check and/or scout public access in this area let me know.
    #16
  17. nxdirtbag

    nxdirtbag Commuter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    :clap
    We did a ds ride from Speedwell(?) to Damascus and back a few years ago and it was a great trip.

    I don't know how much help I can be, but I am in Roanoke, VA and will stay tuned to see how it goes.
    #17
  18. error cooled

    error cooled anything but asphalt

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Arlington, Virginia
    Big thanks again to those interested in the route.

    In addition the support from VDOT and the GWNF/JNF I have also gotten the local library helping me out with historical maps. Simply put the inclusion of historical Virginia Department of Highway Maps from 1947 and 1969 add a tremendous amount of good waypoints into the mix.

    I will keep you all posted - the first 1/3 of the route will be completed soon.
    #18
  19. intothenew

    intothenew Briar Patch Navigator

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    Almost Heaven
    Maptech has some online historical maps that might interest you. Let me know if there is anything I can do.
    #19
  20. Flip756

    Flip756 n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3
    I'm in Roanoke and will volunteer however I can. I used to run off road events for Land Rover Roanoke. Unfortunately my seat time off road on two wheels is limited but I can offer my knowledge and maps (mostly paper) of the trails that can be run in lifted and stock SUV's.
    #20