About This Blog

This Blog contains information on Gravel/Dirt road routes in Virginia , Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Also some links to Gravel/Dirt road databases (for planning your own route). Mainly close to the Washington D.C. Metro area. There will not be a lot of new posts. But the posts will be updated regularly. New posts will be added only when there is a new area needed to be added. I hope this will be helpful.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Great Info

Here is a link to online West Virginia County Maps.The maps show what is suppose to be gravel roads. I am working on another Google Map database from Preston, Monongalia, Tucker and Taylor Counties. http://goo.gl/maps/11Bpp Why a another google database? I find it easier to plan route routes looking at google maps. Why there? My Mother in-law lives near there. It will give me a better excuse to visit. I can't wait to check some of them out.

Here is a link to Charlottesville Bike Clubs website. https://www.cvillebikeclub.org/archive/cbc/maps.htm They have posted up some gravel routes around the Charlottesville area. Maps and Que Sheets, very nice.

Here is the link to the Virginia Dept. of Transportation's county maps. They are not online but they are cheap to buy. 5o cents each or $35 for the whole State. They are a little out of date, some of the roads they say are gravel are actually paved now. All the better reason to have a google map database for accuracy.VDOT County Maps


Monday, June 17, 2013

Wythe/Bland/Smyth Counties, Virginia. Gravel Road Database

This Database is near and dear to me. For most of you DC folks, it is not near. But if you ever find your way down to one of the most beautiful areas I have rode, you should check it out.

This database is a work in progress with a bunch of new colors for roads (for those who are familiar with my other Databases). I am putting the info out earlier then usual. I began using VDOT's county roads maps to help with discovering new gravel roads. I have found that the maps are chock full of mistakes. The roads may have been paved since the maps were published. So on roads I have never been on or can't remember being on, I am using google earth to help identify possible gravel roads. I have found a need to code them so people know they are not confirmed gravel roads.

Basically the color codes go like this:

Brown = Confirmed Gravel/Dirt by myself or other
Blue    = Unconfirmed but VDOT says it is gravel and looking at Google Earth, it appears to be. In   other words it is a good bet it is gravel.
Purple   = VDOT say it is, can't tell on Google Earth.
Red       = VDOT says it is, but is most likely paved
Green    = Forest or Logging Road (Adventure Time!)

I hope this helps and check back often. The roads will either be brown or removed. I ride there as often as I can.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fort Valley Area, Massanutten Mtn., Shenandoah County, Virginia

Saint Davids Church Rd, Fort Valley, Virginia
Photo By Peter Beers

Here are some routes centered around the Fort Valley, Virginia area. Fort Valley runs in the middle of Massanutten Mountain. This is a mountainous area with great long climbs and screaming downhills. Awesome gravel roads run through beautiful farm land in the valley. The valley is surrounded on all sides by the George Washington National Forest. Gravel roads climb up into the National Forest for a few ridge line dirt forest roads. This area is great riding but be forewarned, these routes are not for the out of shape rider or those who do not like to climb.

The Gravel Ring (all road) version. Route starts HERE
This route contains a mix of gravel and paved roads. It is approximately 74 miles long with 7400ft of climbing. There are long stretches of Gravel and long stretches of pavement. The first 25 miles is rolling valley roads before you hit the first long gravel climb, Crisman Hollow rd. Which is approx. 7 miles from the bottom to the summit. This is in my opinion is the easiest of the 3 big climbs on this route. Your are rewarded with a nice long screaming downhill. You will then roll on pavement till the next climb, Moreland Gap rd./FR 374. Pretty much all gravel except for a short bit at the beginning. This climb is approx. 6 miles to the summit. Still not the hardest climb on the route. Again you are rewarded with a screaming paved downhill, Edinburg Gap rd. The route then rolls through Edinburg to Woodstock on Rte 11. The Final Big Climb is on Woodstock Tower rd. I hope you saved some energy for this one. It is only 3.5mi. long but is the steepest of the big climbs. Lots switchbacks to fool you into thinking the climb is over. It is gravel with paved turns in the switchbacks. After you summit the climb you have a nice gravel downhill back into the valley. Then you roll about 5 miles back to the starting point. There are 4 water stops on this route. Check the link to the route for locations (they are also on the cue sheet). The first water stop (mile 23.5, Camp Roosevelt picnic area) is only turned on from mid May to late October. There is a close by alternative, Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp. The Second is a piped spring on Edinburg Rd at about mile 50. The Third is a Sheetz convenience store in Woodstock at about mile 58. The final water stop you will have to go off course at about mile 67 for about 2 miles. It is another piped Spring on FR 66. I suggest you only use this water stop for emergencies, the end of the route is only about 7 miles away.

Moreland Gap/Woodstock Tower Route starts HERE.
This is a shorter version of the Gravel Ring. Basically the same but it is 56 miles long with about 5300ft of climbing. Water stops are in the same places described  above (check link and cue sheet for locations). This route has two big climbs on it instead of three. You will climb the east side of Massanutten Mountain on Moreland Gap rd. instead of the west side. The Climb is approximately 6 miles and mainly gravel.The nice thing is you still climb Woodstock Tower Rd in the best painful direction.

More Routes to come, Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Michaux State Forest Gravel Road Database

Here is a link to a database map of the gravel, dirt and some double track roads in Michaux State Forest, Pennsylvania. It is being compiled with help from Brett Weiser (Friend and Michaux Native). Not 100% complete as no map of mine ever will be. I will update it when needed. But you can put some nice routes together as is.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Smyth County Virginia

Pugh Mountain Road, Smyth County, Virginia

Here is my first attempt at a route completely in Smyth County Virginia. I do have to say this turned out nice. According to the VDOT map, Smyth County does not have a lot of gravel roads. I was worried if this was going to be a waste of time.This one is only 38 miles long but with approximately 4700 ft of climbing, it is plenty long enough. It has 20 miles of gravel/dirt roads (54%) and 18 miles of paved and tar and chip roads (46%). Once you get away from Atkins/Marion this route is beautiful country, mountainous and National Forest riding.
This route, Atkins/Sugar Grove/Glade Mountain starts in Atkins at the elementary school on Rte 11. The first 7 miles are paved and you are in the land of the trailer home. Then you turn on Pugh Mountain rd which starts out paved then turns to dirt a little ways up. Pugh Mtn rd is a 2.1 mile 747ft nice climb. Then this road shoots downhill for 2.8 miles into a beautiful valley. On the way down the road changes from dirt to gravel then pavement at the very end. It has several banked turns which makes the climb up worth it. The route then turns towards Sugar Grove. You hit 2 short gravel roads before hanging left and heading up Hwy 16 (Sugar Grove Hwy). Shortly after you get on Hwy 16 the only water stop is on you left, Shirley's Market. You climb up and hit Nick Creek rd which is a nice climb. You are again rewarded with an awesome curvy paved top notch downhill. You then hang a right on Glade Mountain rd. *Special Note* just after the intersection with Mulberry Lane at mile 20.3, there are private property signs. I got permission 2 years ago to go through from the owner. I do not know if the road is really private or not. But the owner claims a short section is. So please stop and ask permission to go though. Don't worry if he says no. Go back to the intersection and go right on Mulberry Lane. This road will take you back into Atkins. Hang a right on Rte 11 Lee Hwy. The elementary school where you started is on the left about a 1/4 mile or so. Glade Mountain road is a 3 mile 1050ft forest road climb, Nice! At approximately mile 26 be sure and go left onto Forest Road 86. If you hit a gate around then, go back you missed the turn. Follow Forest Rd 86 (which is a nice up and down forest road) for about 9 miles before hitting Denzle Lane and Kiawana rd back into town.

Again, the only water stop is at mile 15.3, Shirley's Market. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Michaux State Forest, Pennsylvania

High Rock Rd., Franklin County, Pa.

These routes are centered around Michaux State Forest in Franklin, Adams, and Cumberland Counties, Pennsylvania.

Michaux is a great place to ride gravel roads and even better mountain bikes. But this blog is about gravel grinding. Check out Mountain Bikes of Michaux for rides and singletrack info. If you come to Michaux be prepared to climb. The roads vary from well maintain gravel roads to double track forest roads. For these routes a cross bike or sturdy touring bike with 28mm tires or fatter are the best tool.

Southern Michaux Grinder 38 Miler Forget the cue sheet on this one. Download the GPX file and use a GPS to navigate. Several roads do not have signs so the cue sheet will not help. This route starts on Rattlesnake Run rd. off of Mentzer Gap rd. You can park at Caledonia State Park at mile 15 on the route but that is the only water stop on the route. Plus Rattlesnake Run Rd. is the closest place to start if you are coming from the DC area. Park on any of the small pull offs along Rattlesnake Run Rd. Don't let this route fool you. It may only be 38 miles long but with approximately 4500ft of climbing it is not walk in the park. After a short warm up the climbing starts. District Rd gets steep after Carbough Reservoir but you are rewarded with a nice downhill. After the downhill you will come to the first of two gated forest double track sections, New Baltimore rd at approx. mile 13.4. It does not last long before it turns into a gravel road. The Second gated forest double track road is at mile 17 Corls Ridge Rd. It is a steeper double track climb up to the top of a nice ridge with views. This double track road is a little more then a mile long. You have another shorter climb on Snowy Mountain rd before you bomb down Swift Run rd. Which is a fantastic 3 mile downhill. Then it back up Staley Rd for a 3 mile climb. Save a little energy for the end. Mentzer Gap rd is steep in sections. Be aware there is local traffic on Old Forge and Mentzer Gap roads at the end of the route, nothing major. The Gravel/Pavement ratio on this one is 87% Gravel (33 miles) and 13% Pavement (4.8 miles). One water stop on this one at mile 15.

Enjoy and stay tuned for more routes in the area.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gravel Metric and Double Metric Centuries

Oatlands Rd. Oatlands, Va. 

This Post will be for Metric and Double Gravel Centuries. They will not be shorter then 100k and will be within a kilometer or 2 longer.

LoFauq Metric Century This one starts at Loudoun County High School and heads south into northern Fauquier County. It is not an easy Metric. There is a lot of climbing in this one. Nothing big just a ton of short, sometimes steep ups and downs. Bull Run Mountain Rd is the longest climb at aprrox. 4.5 miles long. This route goes on some awesome gravel roads like Oatlands Rd, Rock Hill Mill Rd. and Burrland Ln. I suggest you either do this one in the Spring when things are blooming or in the fall when the leaves are changing. The Gravel/Pavement breakdown is approximately 68% Gravel (42.5 miles) and 32% Pavement (20.2 miles). The Pavement is mostly at the beginning and the end of the route. There is approximately 5,700 ft of climbing in this on. Save a little energy for the last climb at mile 56. It is short but it can hurt. There are 2 water stops. The first is at mile 36.6 in Middleburg. There is a good swanky coffee shop called Common Grounds on the left on rte 50. Also a Safeway grocery store a block further down. The Second is the Philomont General Store at mile 45.5. They have great Country Ham on a Roll. Nice and salty, it hits the spot just before the last push to the finish.

Stay Tuned More To Come.......

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mount Weather Gravel Grinders

                                              Morgans Mill rd., Clarke County, Virgina

Here are a few options for hitting the Roadie famous Mt. Weather with a twist. Most people are unaware there is a more brutal gravel road climb up the backside of the Mountain. Morgans Mill Rd. has some steep grades making you wish you had a compact crank. Seriously, unless you are a Mountain Goat, a cross bike with a compact crank will be the proper tool.

These routes start in Round Hill, Va at Woodgrove Park. You do not go far before you hit gravel on Williams Gap rd. Then the route turns to pavement as you climb the mountain on Rte 7 for 1.6 miles at Snickers gap. This is a fairly easy climb. You will drop down the other side make a u-turn and climb back up part way to Ebeneezer rd. Ebeneezer rd. starts out paved then turns to gravel. It is an up and down beautiful road. You then come to the intersection with Morgans Mill rd. Turn left and start climbing. The first section of this climb is steep, real steep. Hang on because you will get a break before the last steep section up to the Mt. Weather Emergency Operations Center. The Climb is only 2.6 miles but it is a tough one. You will hang a right on Blue Ridge Mountain Rd. After a little up and down you will bomb your way down to Rte 50 then into Paris Va. to Rte 17. Then the routes take you on Carr lane, a hidden gravel jewel. The 49 miler and Metric century routes will split at the intersection of Delaplane Rd. and Rectortown Rd.

 49 Miler This route will follow the description above till the intersection of Delaplane Rd. and Rectortown Rd. Then it will take you into Upperville for food and water if needed. Then back on some Classic Loudoun County Gravel Roads. You will ride along the base of Mt. Weather for a while before heading back to Round Hill. This route is approx. 55% gravel (26.5 miles) and 45% paved (22.5 miles) with approx 4592ft of climbing. There are 2 water stop options. The first is at mile 24.5 at Sky Meadows State Park. You have to go off route and climb up for water. If you can, wait till the second water stop at mile 31. There is a Barbeque Joint in Upperville on Rte 50 on your left and a gas station/convenience store on right. They both are as you head out of town. Bring plenty water if you plan on doing this in the middle of summer. You will be sucking it down on the climb.

Metric Century 63 Miler This route also follows the description above till the intersection of Delaplane Rd. and Rectortown Rd. You will break off and hit some very nice gravel roads with short sections of paved roads in Fauquier and Loudoun Counties. This extension of of the 49 miler is for those people that want a longer nice ride. This route is approx 63% gravel roads (40 miles) and 37% paved roads (23.3 miles) . With approx. 5703ft of climbing. There are 3 water stops on this route. The first is at mile 24.5 at Sky Meadows State Park. Remember you have a climb to get to the water. The second you will have to go off route for 3/10th of mile at mile 39.5 and head into Upperville to hit the gas station or Barbecue joint described in the 49 miler's description. The third stop is at mile 54 at the corner of Airmont rd and Snickersville Turnpike. There is a convenience store there. I have never stopped in, I just have ridden by it. Have fun!