Photo by @rosieladyblue
Spring is a beautiful time to experience the landscapes and vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. What better way to avoid garage rot than to take your bike on one of our Staunton-area motorcycle rides? With both major highways and scenic back roads, Staunton is convenient for motorcyclists who want to get somewhere in a hurry and those who want to take their time.
Plan to visit Shenandoah Harley Davidson to shop for some new gear or to attend an upcoming event.
Begin or end your tour in Staunton to take advantage of our many fine restaurants, lodgings, and things to do. Staunton is the perfect starting point for these area rides. See the Harley Davidson area rides page for detailed ride notes on these and more.
Crabtree Falls Loop
The ride to Crabtree Falls will stun. You’ll cruise down scenic Rt. 11, which was once one of our country’s important early roads, heavily traveled since Colonial times, but now a quiet alternative to the interstate. VA-56, the road to Crabtree Falls, switchbacks steeply up and over the top of the Blue Ridge, crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway and descending into Nelson County. Crabtree Falls is a great place for a picnic and to stretch your legs. It is one of the tallest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The falls are easy viewed and photographed from the trail. After the waterfall, continue on scenic VA-151 and VA-6. Consider stopping at one of the wineries in Nelson County to enjoy a glass and take in the view. You’ll travel back over Afton Mountain and pass Waynesboro, where you could shop or eat. If you’re looking for a beer, Basic City Beer Co. or Stable Craft Brewing won’t disappoint and should tide you over until you get back to Staunton.
The ride west to Monterey is best for experienced riders as there are many steep switchbacks as you work your way into the Allegheny Mountains. Your ride begins in the gentle farmland surrounding Staunton and then winds through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Plan a quick stop on top of Shenandoah Mountain to explore the .5-mile Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Site. After your history lesson, you’ll wind down into Highland County, Virginia’s own maple syrup country. This quiet area bustles for two weeks every March during the Highland Maple Festival. Otherwise, Monterey is a sleepy town and is considered welcoming to bikers. Catch a bite to eat and get gas, as there aren’t many options until much later in the loop. Beyond Monterey, you’ll go by the Green Bank Observatory, national radio observatory and science center that offers free tours and a cafe. Heading back to Staunton, you’ll ride through Goshen Pass where you might want to take a break to explore the rocks or cool your feet in the water. Consider stopping for a snack or to shop in historic Lexington, and tour the nearby Cyrus McCormick Wayside.
Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park
Just minutes away, Staunton’s location makes it the ideal starting point for a rides along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive. Follow I-64 to the top of Afton Mountain and decide whether you want to go north or south.
If you go north to experience the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, be prepared to pay an entrance fee. The Skyline Drive stretches for 105 miles and is the only public road through the park. The 35-m.p.h. speed limit provides a chance to enjoy the views and the almost 70 scenic overlooks. Lots of trail heads and some of the best hikes in the area beckon if you’re looking for some exercise after a day of riding. The park contains over 500 miles of trails for hikers of varying abilities You might also tour Rapidan Camp, the historic presidential retreat established by Herbert Hoover. And if you’re out after dark, park at an overlook and turn off your lights for incredible views of the night sky untainted by light pollution. Plan accordingly: there are only four entrances to the Skyline Drive, but each one has easy access to gas and food. Watch for wildlife like bear, deer, raccoons, fox, and birds!
Blue Ridge Parkway
If you head south along a portion of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, plan to stop at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center. The nearby interpretive farm offers a view into the lives of early settlers who lived and farmed the area. You can also grab a map or download a map that works even in areas without cell service.
The sweeping curves and beautiful vistas make this road popular with motorcyclists. Take advantage of the many scenic overlooks, photographic opportunities, and picnic stops along the Parkway. You’ll score views in all directions. There is no gas or food along the Parkway, but many roads access it, and most exits will be within a few miles of both. Stop at 215-foot Natural Bridge, one of Virginia’s newest state parks for some Americana like a Native American village, a wax museum, and a gift shop. The speed limit along the Parkway is 45 m.p.h. and motorcyclists must wear helmets. Keep your eyes out for pedestrians and wildlife.