motorcycle destinations

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in Virginia, United States

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in Virginia, United States

1. Introduction

Besides being the birthplace of famous U.S. presidents, Virginia or “the Old Dominion” is a popular spot amongst romantics and motorcyclists. The roads in Virginia carve through diverse terrain and notable regions including the Coastal Plain, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Appalachian Plateau. This state also has places of historical significance such as early English colonies along with battlegrounds from the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

This article will give you a preview of Virginia’s prominent motorcycle roads and destinations along with supplementary information on this state’s motorcycle laws and possible luggage options.

2. Best Roads and Destinations in Virginia

2.1 Skyline Drive

Distance: 110 miles
Time: 3 hours 14 minutes
Start: Front Royal
End: Waynesboro

Traveling through the center of Shenandoah National Park, you begin in Front Royal. You have the opportunity to visit the Warren Rifles Confederate Museum and the Virginia Beer Museum.

Before arriving at the Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal Entrance Station, you can take a trek up towards Dickey Ridge Trailhead.

As you curve southward on Skyline Drive, you will be able to get good views of the forests and mountains within the area by visiting the Shenandoah Valley, Signal Knob, Gooney Run, Hogwallow Flats, Range View, Little Devils Stairs, Hogback, Rattlesnake Point, Jeremy Runs, Thornton Hollow, Hazel Mountain, Jewell Hollow, Stoney Man, Franklin Cliffs, Naked Creek, the Point, the Oaks, Swift Run, Bacon Hollow, Eaton Hollow, Rocky Mount, Loft Mountain, Two Mile Run, Brown Mountain, Ivy Creek, Rockytop, Dundo, Riprap, Turk Mountain, Sawmill Run, Calf Mountain, and McCormick Gap Overlooks.

There are also hiking trails off the side of the ride you can travel up if you want to immerse yourself in the wilderness. Such examples include Fox Hollow Trail, Keyser Run, Neighbor Mountain, Stony Man, Whiteoak Falls, and Limberlost Trailheads. After you exit Shenandoah National Park, you will have arrived at Waynesboro.

2.2 US 250

Distance: 125 miles
Time: 2 hours 42 minutes
Start: Elkins, WV
End: Staunton, VA

Starting in West Virginia, you can check out the local restaurants in Elkins. Famous establishments include El Gran Sabor, C.J. Maggie’s, Jimbo’s Place, etc. Heading southward, you will eventually enter the northwestern section of Monongahela National Forest.

On the West Virginia portion of the route, you will pass by the Valley Bend Wetland Wildlife Management Area, Cheat Wildlife Management Area, Barton Knob, Gaudineer Knob.

After crossing over into Virginia, you will be able to catch sight of Sounding Knob Fire Tower, McDowell Battlefield, and Fort Edward Johnson.

Much of your surroundings will be forests and valleys with the roads hugging close to rocky creek beds. As you travel through the wilderness, there will be breaks in the rise and falls of the road when heading in the direction of the mountains and valleys.

Because of the erratic design of the road, you will have to be careful when encountering switchbacks, tight corners, and elevation changes. This route is recommended for experienced riders due to the surface of the route being well kept.

2.3 Back of the Dragon

Distance: 32 miles
Time: 58 minutes
Start: Tazwell
End: Marion

Within the general vicinity of Tazwell, you can take a stroll through Lincolnshire Park or take a look at the souvenirs of the Back of the Dragon Shop. Heading southward on the Benjamin Franklin Buchanan Highway, you will pass by a section of the Appalachian Mountains.

Cutting through the wilderness, you will be within sight of the mountains known as Big Walker, Brushy, and Clinch while circling around the edges of the valleys within proximity of the Appalachian Mountains. This route’s popularity stems from the 438 curves that motorcyclists navigate while going up and down rolling hills.

As you draw closer to your final destination, you will be able to check out Hungry Mother State Park, Hungry Mother Lake, and Mitchell Valley. While you are in Marion, you should check out the performances that are held at the Lincoln Theatre.

2.4 The Nickel & Dime

Distance: 170 miles
Time: 3 hours 36 minutes
Start: Williamsburg
End: Williamsburg

Starting in Williamsburg, you can check out a mix of art and historical sites including the Muscarelle Museum of Art, the Governor’s Palace, and Great Hopes Plantation. Heading along the northern section of the loop, you will ride in close proximity to York River and York River State Park.

After you travel the length of Interstate 64, you will arrive in the state capital of Richmond. Here you can admire Robert E. Lee Memorial, Virginia War Memorial, and American Civil War Museum - Historic Tredegar.

While you travel southward on Interstate 95, you will ride alongside the James River. You will reach a bend and then turn east onto VA-10 which will take you all the way to Hopewell. Take a walk on Hopewell Riverwalk to get a closer look of the James River. There are places of historical significance including City Point History Museum and Grant’s Cabin.

Further along the southern section of the loop, you will pass by Chippokes Plantation State Park and Bacon’s Castle before finally making it to Smithfield. After you have departed from Smithfield, you will cross over the James River Bridge as you head towards Yorktown.

Once you have reached Yorktown, you can see remnants and establishments dedicated to this city during the American Revolutionary War. You can find the Yorktown Victory Monument, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, and a Grand French Battery.

2.5 Claw of the Dragon - Outer Loop

Distance: 236 miles
Time: 5 hours 35 minutes
Start: Whitetop Road
End: Whitetop Road

As you travel eastward on Whitetop Road, you will pass by Mt. Rogers and Grayson Highlands State Park. You will travel close to the Virginia-North Carolina border as you continue towards Ganax. Within close proximity to Ganax is the Blue Ridge Music Center and the Jeff Matthews Memorial Museum.

Heading northward on the right side of the loop, you can stop by the Pulaski Wayside Picnic Area if you are in need of a rest stop. You can also explore the town of Pulaski to find a place to eat such as Tuscano Pizza or Ginza Asian Fusion.

Traveling westward on the top section of the loop, a few notable roadside attractions include the Kimberling Creek Suspension Bridge and Lincolnshire Park. You will travel close to the Virginia-West Virginia border as you turn the corner at Tazewell.

Proceeding southward on the left side of the loop, you will eventually make it to Saltville. Within the vicinity of this town are the Museum of the Middle Appalachians and Salt Park. The rest of this route will take you back to the starting point at Whitetop Road.

2.6 The Twist - Jeb Stewart Highway

Distance: 34 miles
Time: 1 hour
Start: Damascus
End: Volney

Starting out in Damascus, you can take a leisurely stroll through Damascus Town Park before you decide to head out. You can also fill your stomach with grub from establishments such as Damascus Diner or 7 Trails Diner.

As you head eastward, you will head into the wilderness in between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. There is no shortage of hiking trails to climb such as Virginia Creeper and Appalachian Trails.

Traveling along the length of the route, the only place where you have the opportunity to refuel is at Whitetop Food & Gas. You will be able to spy Whitetop and Mt. Rogers in the distance as you travel close to the state borders of Tennessee and South Carolina.

2.7 Woodbridge to Seneca Rocks Loop

Distance: 359 miles
Time: 7 hours 37 minutes
Start: Woodbridge
End: Woodbridge

While you are still in Woodbridge, you can check out the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge or take a walk-through Veterans Memorial Park. As you head southwest on the Jefferson Davis Highway, you will pass by the Neabsco Boardwalk, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and Julie J. Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve.

After getting past Dumfries, you will head northwest towards the Virginia-West Virginia border. You will pass by Silver Lake Regional Park, Northern Fauquier Community Park, G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area, and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.

Passing over into West Virginia, you will continue all the way to Seneca Rocks before you begin to loop back towards the start. You will get the chance to explore the interior of the Smoke Hole Caverns and the wilderness in the Potomac Wildlife Management Area.

Heading eastward for the return trip, you will travel through Shenandoah National Park back in Virginia. Much of your surroundings will be rolling hills and farmlands when you are not navigating around mountains and forests. The road itself will have long sweeping curves, tight turns, and twisties to keep you on your toes.

2.8 George Washington National Forest Hills Tour

Distance: 74 miles
Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
Start: Lexington, VA
End: Marlinton, WV

If you have an interest in the American Civil War, you have the opportunity to learn about the Confederate general famously known as Stonewall Jackson. You will be able to visit the Stonewall Jackson Grave and Stonewall Jackson House.

Embarking towards the northwest, the entrance to the George Washington National Forest will be the small community of Goshen. As you approach, you will pass by Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve and Goshen Wildlife Management Area.

Winding through George Washington National Forest, most of your surroundings will be forests and rolling hills with small rivers accompanying you along the sides. Because of the wilderness, the road is windy, twisty, and subject to changes in elevation.

2.9 The King George Ride

Distance: 22 miles
Time: 31 minutes
Start: Falmouth
End: Berthaville

Starting in Falmouth, you will come close to many recreational areas including Falmouth Beach, Saint Clair Brooks Park, and John Lee Pratt Park. The first couple of miles have sweeping curves and twists before the road eventually flattens out. You will encounter a few small towns as you travel along the White Oak Road including the titular White Oak which hosts the White Oak Civil War Museum.

Transitioning to Caledon Road, your route will draw closer to Potomac River enough that you should be able to make out its watery surface glinting in the distance. Most of your surroundings will be farmland, open fields, forests, and quiet countryside.

The final leg of the trip will take you along the edges of Caledon State Park. Keep your eyes peeled as you can be surprised by blind curves and sudden switchbacks if you are not paying attention. You will arrive at the end of your journey in Berthaville.

2.10 Crabtree Falls Road

Distance: 22 miles
Time: 38 minutes
Start: Steeles Tavern
End: Massies Mill

If you are looking for a place to rest or to drop off any extra items you do not want to bring for this route, there are a few establishments within close proximity of Steeles Tavern. You can find lodging at the Mangus House or the Osceola Mill Dining & Lodging.

Entering into the Blue Ridge Mountains, notable roadside attractions that you will encounter along the way will include Tye River Gap Recreational Area, Crabtree Meadows, Crabtree Falls, Pinnacle Ridge, and the Appalachian Trail - Tye River Bridge.

Upon exiting the wilderness, there are places along the side of the road where you can sample fresh produce such as Silver Creek & Seamans’ Orchard or Silver Creek Orchard. As you arrive at Massies Mill, you can take a leisurely stroll at Tye River Park to relax after your long ride.

2.11 The Middleburg to The Plain Loop

Distance: 27 miles
Time: 43 minutes
Start: Middleburg
End: Middleburg

While you are still in Middleburg, you should take the opportunity to try out the local cuisine at establishments like the Upper Crust, Red Horse Tavern, or Wild Hare Cider Pub. Heading west on John S. Mosby Highway, you will come across Mt. Defiance Historic Park which was once the site of the Battle of Middleburg.

Heading southwest on Atoka Road, you will encounter plenty of farms on the side of your route including Hai Sai Barn, Merry Chase Farm, Salem Oaks Farm, and Brown Hall Farm.

The return trip as you travel eastward on Highway 55 and then turning northward on Highway 626 is largely uneventful which is perfect if you are looking for a leisurely ride. The road stays relatively straight with only a few twists and turns, but you should make sure to look out for loose gravel on the surface.

2.12 The NOVA Loop

Distance: 77 miles
Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Start: Warrenton
End: Warrenton

Starting in Warrenton, you can visit the Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail if you consider yourself a history buff. If you would like to experience a short train ride, you should be able to board the Warrenton Branch Greenway.

As you travel southeast, you will pass by Weston Wildlife Management Area and Warrenton Antiquarian Society. As you curve along the bottom side of the loop, you will be able to catch sight of Kelly’s Ford Battlefield and the Graffiti House which are close to Elkwood.

During the return trip between Ammisville and Jeffersonton at the northwest corner of the route, you will be able to see Covey Lake, Spillman Park, and Hillcrest Memory Gardens along the side of the road.

Most of your surroundings will be rolling hills, flat farmland, and sparse pockets of trees as the road navigates around them with long sweeping swerves and erratic twists. This is recommended for both novice and veteran riders due to the relaxing atmosphere and being easy to maneuver on.

3. Motorcycle Laws in Virginia

3.1 Virginia Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Virginia is a state that follows a universal motorcycle helmet policy. This requires motorcyclists of every age to wear a motorcycle helmet whenever they are operating their vehicles.

The types of motorcycle helmets accepted in Virginia are three-quarter and full-face helmets. Both models have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, were manufactured by the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute, and provide both ample protection and visibility.

As you pick your motorcycle helmet, check that they meet the following requirements and are designed with the appropriate features:

  • Has a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • Can be fitted around your head snugly
  • No visible signs of damage
  • Has a face shield with no scratches (Full-face helmet only)
  • Requires separate eye protection with no scratches (Three-quarter helmets only)
  • Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant
  • Gives you a clear, peripheral view
  • Can be fastened with a neck- or chin-strap
  • Allows airflow without fogging up
  • Can allow you to wear sunglasses or goggles underneath

3.2 Virginia Motorcycle Passenger Laws

Virginia does not have a minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers. All motorcycle passengers must be wearing protective gear while they are seated behind you.

You are only allowed to transport a passenger on your motorcycle if it is fitted with the following equipment: a designated passenger seat and footpegs.

The passenger seat can either be fixed to the side as a sidecar, at the rear as a separate saddle, or at the back of a large driver’s seat.

Characteristics to look for in potential passengers are individuals who listen to directions, follow your movements, cannot be carrying packages in their arms, are wearing protective attire, and can reach the footrests.

3.3 Virginia Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

In Virginia, you are required to conduct yearly inspections to check if your motorcycle is still satisfying the safety and equipment requirements. It is imperative you provide maintenance if the primary components are becoming worn out, damaged, or faulty. A motorcycle needs all of the machinery to be working for it to function at optimal capacity.

You need the following minimum requirements fitted to your motorcycle for the vehicle to meet the safety requirements in Virginia. They must be working at optimal capacity to help you quickly avoid obstacles, improve your visibility to other drivers, and increase awareness of your surroundings:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Front & Rear Brakes
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • Taillight
  • Break Light
  • Turn Signals
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Rearview mirrors

3.4 Virginia Lane Splitting Laws

In Virginia, any motorcyclists that are caught lane splitting will be penalized by local law enforcement. You cannot ride on top of the dividing lines in between traffic lanes, ride in between adjacent rows of stopped vehicles, nor attempt to overtake a larger vehicle in front of you while both of you are traveling in the same lane.

On the other hand, you are entitled to make full use of the whole space within the lane you are currently traveling in. You also can lane share with another rider so long as both of you do not exceed staying apart two abreast and consent to this beforehand.

4. Motorcycle Luggage for Virginia Motorcycle Tour

Though you will get the most enjoyment out of your Virginia motorcycle tour navigating the roads with their sharp turns, long distances, and steep elevations, you cannot take a motorcycle everywhere you may want to go. There are establishments, natural sites, and monuments which can only be reached by going on foot. For these excursions, you may want to take easy-to-carry belongings if you are interested in making new memories, purchasing items, or just want to be comfortable.

Listed below are the Motorcycle luggage options you can choose from. All of them have zippered and/or mesh pockets, are made of durable and weather-resistant materials, and come with an installation guide for easy mounting. They differ in terms of design, color, size, and placement position to offer you diverse choices:

5. Parting Words

Virginia will always be open to motorcyclists looking to spend quality time with their vehicles and who have a love for adventure. While it is best to travel during the warmer seasons, there is never truly a bad time to take your motorcycle to Virginia. Because there is no rush to get to Virginia, you can take the time to prep your motorcycle, gear, and information.

Whether you are an out-of-state tourist or local resident, becoming familiar with Virginia’s motorcycle laws will ensure that you avoid any unpleasant run-ins with the police. Examining your motorcycle to make sure it is in good working condition will help you reach your destinations on time without any mechanical mishaps.

As Virginia has no shortage of motorcycle roads, it is possible to research and find other exciting routes to travel on within Virginia. Whether covering a long or short distance, they may have roadside attractions that pique your interests. Or perhaps you are more interested in navigating the twisties, swerves, and switchbacks as a way to test your riding skills.

Remember to act responsibly as you handle your motorcycle and remember to make the most of your experience as you set out on a Virginia motorcycle trip.

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