Motorcycle Loop ride near Floyd, VA

Motorcycle Loop ride near Floyd, VA

Downtown Floyd, VA

Downtown Floyd, VA

This motorcycle loop ride near Floyd, Virginia intersects the Blue Ridge Parkway at two points. You can do either half (north or south of the parkway) or the whole 34.3 miles.

The small and historic town of Floyd, Virginia is located about 5 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 160 miles into the 469 mile ride. Noted for it’s celebration of local music, the picturesque shops, and a few very good places to eat and stay, Floyd makes a nice layover on your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle tour.

Southern Virginia Countryside

Southern Virginia Countryside

This motorcycle loop ride gives you a nice taste of the variety of great roads found in the southern Virginia region which surround the town of Floyd. Rolling hills, pastoral farms, lazy rivers and streams predominate the landscape. You’ll find both relaxed cruising, tight and twisty climbs, and tiny little back roads sneaking through the hills. It’s an opportunity to slip into town and refuel your bike and belly, or make a spicy diversion off the relaxed riding of the park road.

Shooting Creek Road

Shooting Creek Road

Directions (clockwise):

Starting in downtown Floyd where VA 8 and US 221 cross, follow US 221 north 2.5 miles to reach Shooting Creek Road (VA 860).

Shooting Creek Road is a tiny back road which leads out through the farmland then into the woods as it traces along the waterway. If you watch for unpaved VA 690 at a sharp curve, you’ll see the Pine Creek Mill, a nice stop for a photo.

Pine Creek Mill

Pine Creek Mill

Shooting Creek Road crosses Franklin Pike then continues south to reach the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is poorly marked at the parkway. Cross the park road and continue south to reach VA 40.

VA 40 has both easy cruising and some very tight curves as it takes you east to Woolwine to meet VA 8.

VA 8 will take you north climbing to reach the Blue Ridge Parkway at Tuggles Gap. You’ll find both easy cruising and some exciting hairpins are you reach the crest. Pass under the parkway and continue back into Floyd.

Motorcycle loop ride map near Floyd, VA

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wayne busch - Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rider.com

Wayne Busch

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed, comprehensive, up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

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Blue Ridge Motorcycle Touring – Natural Bridge, Virginia

In general, I avoid the touristy sights on my motorcycle travels as I get my kicks from the road. It’s the hundreds of great motorcycle rides in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains I most enjoy, and that is best done with the kickstand up and the throttle open. I need a pretty good reason to park the motorcycle and go for a walk, and Natural Bridge, Virginia, is worth time the time to stop and see.

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The Natural Bridge, a Viriginia landmark worth seeing.

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The Natural Bridge Hotel, a historic landmark

Natural Bridge has been around for a long time. It was already a tourist destination when Thomas Jefferson visited. This 200 foot high natural arch started as a cavern millennia ago. Over the eons erosion collapsed the majority of it leaving only the dramatic and inspiring rock formation that has drawn thousands of spectators over the last few centuries.

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Natural Bridge Entrance and Gift Shop

This long history was part of the attraction for me. There are many early sketches and historic reports of the landmark displayed in the museum, it is part of our national heritage. This legacy though has come at the cost of commercialization of the natural attraction with manufactured ones added to woo the crowds and entice them to part with their dollars.

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I managed to escape the Dinosaur Kingdom

We passed on the wax museum, the butterfly room, and most all the other man-made enhancements designed to lure the tourist. I was particularly amused by the hook for the “Escape from the Dinosaur Kingdom” with a statue of a cowboy riding a dinosaur. Easy to pass on that one, I’m quite satisfied with the Flintsone’s version of pre-history. Yabba-dabba dumb, but I’ll bet the kids like it as well as the Haunted Monster Museum.

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The Indian Village re-creation.

We did walk the trail to view the re-created native indian village, but it pales in comparison to the main attraction.

We paid $18 a piece for a ticket that gave us partial access to all the attractions. All we really wanted to see was the Natural Bridge. It’s a short walk and worth the time, and while I we could have seen all the other kitschy stuff, I felt my money well spent avoiding it.

A side trip to Natural Bridge, Virginia is an easy and pleasant ride from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Exit near the James River Visitor Center on US 501 (milepost 63.7) or VA 130  a couple miles north (milepost 61.6, and the better ride). Follow Us 501 / VA 130 to Glasgow, turning right on VA 130 to pass through the small town for another 4 miles or so. Don’t worry, you can’t miss it when you arrive.

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View of the other side of the Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge, Virginia

The Natural Bridge and other scenic attractions nearby are found on Map #1 of the 6 map Blue Ridge Parkway series of motorcycle pocket maps by America Rides Maps. Don’t miss all the great motorcycle rides in this area.

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Great rides Near the Start of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
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Motorcycle Friendly Places – Paint Bank General Store, VA

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Morning at the Paint Bank General Store, Paint Bank, VA

Though it’s only 1/2 hour west of Roanoke, the tiny hamlet of Paint Bank on Highway 311 sits like a jewel surrounded by rolling green hills and pastoral country that makes the busy city seem a million miles away. This is spectacular motorcycle riding country and bikers flock here to enjoy the long winding rides through narrow valleys which lead south towards Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Pembroke. The beautiful wilds of West Virginia lie just over the western horizon, and the roads north twist and turn through forests teaming with wildlife.

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A for-real General Store! Cool!

Jackie and I came in from the north on VA 615, a ride through woods so wild we had to cruise with care to avoid all the critters in the roadway. Deer and turkey were abundant, a slew of painted turtles awaited their doom on the pavement, a fox, hawks, and all sorts of other animals either watched us pass or darted off into the greenery as we approached.  We paused in Newcastle for a rest, then pointed our wheels west on 311 to make the curvy fabulous climb and descent over Potts Mountain into the valley to arrive at scenic Paint Bank.

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The lunch crowd has arrived!

Eager to get on to the next curvy climb we stopped at the Paint Bank General Store for a potty break and to top off our tanks, but as the noon hour approached we soon abandoned our ride into West Virginia to return to the Paint Bank General Store, lured back by the promise of tasty locally raised buffalo burgers in the inviting and charming rustic setting of the Swinging Bridge Restaurant.

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The buffalo burgers were great!

In the short time we’d been gone the parking lot at the Paint Bank General Store had been taken over by motorcycles with the same ambitions as us and more arrived every few minutes. “Motorcycle parking only” signs lined the periphery of the  lot and the crowd of bikes spilled over to fill the remaining space. Some milled about on the porch, others hosed the bugs off their chrome with the convenient hose, but most found their way to the restaurant to enjoy the food and comfortable atmosphere.

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Bikers flock here for lunch

The Paint Bank General Store – A unique place in a beautiful setting with gas and good food surrounding by outstanding motorcycle rides and biker friendly. What more do you need?

Paint Bank General Store

Swinging Bridge Restaurant

Paint Bank info

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Great food, wonderful riding, the Paint Bank General Store and Swinging Bridge Restaurant was one of the highlights of our Virginia motorcycle riding

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Great food in a fun and relaxing atmosphere at the Swinging Bridge Restaurant located in the back of the Paint Bank General Store.

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
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Motorcycle Touring – Sights: Spectacular Roadside Waterfall in VA

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Falling Spring on US 220 north of Covington, VA

Located about 4 miles north of Covington, Virginia, Falling Spring has been an attraction referenced as far back as Thomas Jefferson. It’s an easy to locate, well marked pull off on this curvy section of US 220 (a.k.a Sam Snead Highway).

Jackie and I passed through here Sunday on our motorcycle ride as we explored the wealth of great motorcycle roads west of the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a popular rest stop for bikers who flock to ride this great section of US 220 north of Covington. After revisiting Sam Snead Highway I’ve decided it should be upgraded on my America Rides Maps. I currently show only the portion south from the falls as being a great ride, while in truth the entire section from VA 39 south is outstanding. As much as I’d like to give it my top rating, due to the traffic load I can only feel right listing it as a “Good Connector” road.

For the casual cruiser who’s just out to enjoy the ride through the spectacular scenic countryside it’s a superb motorcycle ride. For those looking for a more spirited approach to the twisty sections, of which there are plenty, you’ll want to ride this one during the off hours and preferably during the week.

This roadside waterfall and the surrounding great motorcycle rides in the area are found on map #1 of The Complete Blue Ridge Parkway 6 Map Series from America Rides Maps.

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
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