Where country roads converge: 4 scenic cycles around the Greenbrier Valley
The Greenbrier Valley’s got trails so scenic, you’ll wonder if you’ve died and gone to mountain biking heaven.
The Greenbrier Valley region of West Virginia is nestled in the middle of all kinds of natural wonders. Within a short driving distance you’ve got White Sulphur Springs, Watoga State Park, and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Explore historic battlegrounds and picturesque mountains along the cycling trails.
1. Greenbrier River Trail
Ride up to 78 glorious miles on this classic rail trail along the Greenbrier River. This unbeatable trail is an experience in and of itself, traveling through some of the most remote areas in the state. A bonus: there are swimming holes galore— exactly what you’ll want on a hot summer day. There are so many scenic swimming holes and superb fishing spots to choose from, it can be tough to make a decision.
Park along Black Mountain Road (SR 66) and start at the northern trailhead near Cass. If you want to go for the harder excursion, the southern trailhead is at North Caldwell. Take I-64 East to exit 175 for US-60 W, stay on this road for just longer than 2.5 miles and continue on to Stone House Road (SR 38).
If you’re out the on trail for a multi-day adventure, stop for the night and pitch a tent at one of the camping options, or pull into one of the small towns along the way. Only camp in designated areas.
Note: A small section of this trail have been washed out in recent rains, but volunteers are working to clean it up. Check the trail’s Facebook page for updates.
2. Lewisburg, Alderson, Blue Sulpher Springs Loop
Looking for a challenge? This trail both begins and ends in Lewisburg and climbs more than 4,000 feet across 47 miles along paved roads. In the first section, go from Lewisburg to Sinks Grove and plummet into the landscape of rolling farmland. Ride on to Alderson via State Route 3 on a winding descent into the Greenbrier Valley proper. Once you’re there, you’ll be rewarded with a super fun portion of flat road. When you arrive in Alderson, follow the loop over a pedestrian bridge onto Route 12.
Continue on Route 12 and begin the climb towards Blue Sulpher Springs. Eventually, you take a downwards path towards Muddy Creek, and get ready for a series of 3 climbs. Once you get to Blue Sulpher Springs, check out what once was the 19th-century Blue Sulpher Springs Resort and walk through the remains of one of the only rural structures built in the Greek Revival style, with 12 columns and a square roof. Next, return to Lewisburg via Asbury by heading up Muddy Creek Mountain. Once you clear the trees, you’ll get a killer view of the valley.
Note: Look at a map for more specific directions and to avoid wrong turns.
3. Tour de Sinks
For a decent ride through the “sinks” that might not be quite as challenging, take the Tour de Sinks. You won’t have any major climbing, but there are short steep sections, and the whole area is rolling plains. Look for the characteristic sinkholes that create a unique moonscape— in fact, you’ll see more here than anywhere else in West Virginia.
Start at the New Lebanon ARP Church, looping around through the town of Sinks Grove to Vernon Church and back for a 29-mile ride. If you’re heading down here from up north, stop at a local bike shop for a map and turn-by-turn directions. Appalachian Bike Co., Greenbrier Outfitters, and Free Spirit Adventures are good options.
4. Cowpasture Loop
The Cowpasture Loop is a great choice for beginners because it’s not very grueling and is incredibly scenic, so the trek is just as easy on the eyes as it is on the body. Clocking in at 7.4 miles, Cowpasture Loop encircles the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, near Hillsboro. Cruise through dense hardwood forests and rhododendron-filled meadowlands. People use the trail more for hiking than biking, but mountain bikers are certainly allowed, and hikers are used to seeing them.
This post was last updated on March 16, 2022