Blue Ridge Parkway Ride | Boone

Blue Ridge Parkway Ride | Boone

Blue Ridge Parkway Ride – Boone:  Cycling in the High Country is known for its steep climbs, fast descents, and incredible vistas in between. The Hwy 221/Blue Ridge Parkway 50 mile loop is a quintessential High Country ride that provides cyclists with fast corners, a mix of great views with dense forests and long climbs. Multiple pull offs along both roads offer cyclists a chance to catch their breath, rest their legs, and take in a variety of astounding views.

Overview of the Ride

The cycling loop through 221 and the Blue Ridge Parkway offers an incredible mix of natural beauty, historical sites, and quaint mountain towns. The route provides a challenging yet rewarding experience with its significant elevation changes and varying terrain, making it a must-do for road cycling enthusiasts.

Key Points of the Loop:

  • Starting Point: Boone, NC
  • Key Locations Along the Route: Blowing Rock, Linville
  • Total Distance: The loop covers approximately 100 miles, but distances can vary depending on exact routes and detours.
  • Elevation Gain: Expect considerable climbing, with total elevation gains easily exceeding 10,000 feet over the course.
  • Difficulty Level: Challenging. It’s best suited for experienced cyclists due to its length and elevation profiles.

Detailed Route Description

Boone to Blowing Rock (via US-221)

  • Distance from Boone: Approximately 10 miles.
  • Starting from Boone, head towards Blowing Rock on US-221. This stretch isn’t just a great warm-up but also offers stunning vistas and a relatively gentle introduction to what lies ahead.

Blowing Rock to Linville (via Blue Ridge Parkway)

  • Distance: Roughly 22 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • After enjoying Blowing Rock, merge onto the Blue Ridge Parkway heading south towards Linville. This section highlights what makes the Parkway one of America’s most scenic roads. With numerous overlooks, take your time to soak in the views of the lush valleys and rugged peaks. Keep your eyes open for the famous Linn Cove Viaduct, a marvel of engineering that hugs the mountain side.

Linville to Boone (Return Loop)

  • Distance: Varies, but plan for at least 30 miles to find your way back to Boone.
  • Completing the loop from Linville back to Boone can involve a few route choices. For a direct return, head back the way you came, enjoying the Blue Ridge Parkway from a new perspective. Alternatively, for more exploration, venture through local roads that wind through the mountains, offering new sights and challenges.

Cycling Tips & Safety

  • Weather: Mountain weather can be unpredictable. Pack layers and be prepared for sudden changes, including rain or cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
  • Road Awareness: While the Blue Ridge Parkway is known for its beauty, keep an eye out for car traffic, especially during peak seasons (fall and summer weekends). Early morning rides can offer quieter roads.
  • Supplies: Services can be sparse along certain stretches. Carry enough water, snacks, and a repair kit to handle basic mechanical issues.
  • Wildlife: Be aware that this region is home to wildlife including deer and bears. Always keep a safe distance and store your food appropriately during stops.

Where to Stop

  • Blowing Rock: This charming mountain town offers great spots for coffee, meals, and breathtaking views. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the actual Blowing Rock, a unique rock formation with mythic origins.
  • Linville Falls: A short detour can take you to Linville Falls, a stunning three-tiered waterfall in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area. It’s a perfect spot for a rest and a photo op.
  • Local Eateries & Shops: Boone, Blowing Rock, and Linville host a variety of shops and restaurants catering to outdoor enthusiasts. Explore local cuisine and maybe find that perfect cycling souvenir.


Embarking on a road cycling journey through the 221 and Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, Blowing Rock, and Linville offers more than just a physical challenge; it’s an immersive experience through some of North Carolina’s most storied and picturesque landscapes. Each pedal stroke carries you through history, natural beauty, and the quiet resilience of the Appalachian Mountains. Whether you’re here for the cycling, the scenery, or both, this loop promises to be a memorable adventure.

The Adventure Collective

The Adventure Collective publishes a series of outdoor adventure sports guides to adventures in Asheville, Boone, Brevard, Chattanooga, Charleston and The Great Smoky Mountains.

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