Thirty two miles and over three hundred curves, the Back of the Dragon is the premier riding road in the nation! Ideal for sports cars or motorcycles, this road offers the most spectacular views you can find in the Appalachians. Crossing three mountains in its course from Marion, Virginia to Tazewell, Virginia, the Back of the Dragon offers knee dragging curves, switchbacks, limited access (only one business on the Back of the Dragon, a convenience store where one can purchase Dragon Swag – otherwise the only access are private drives), and elevation changes that no other motorcycle route can offer. After becoming a Dragon Master, stop in a local dive for lunch or dinner and spend some time riding the hundreds of miles of great by ways Tazewell County has to offer! More information can be found here.
Wytheville, Tazewell, Galax, Marion
Southwest Virginia’s Premiere Motorcycle Trail
It would be a challenge for motorcycle riders to find a more beautiful driving trail than the scenic back roads of Southwest Virginia. Looping through the Blue Ridge Mountain range, The Claw of the Dragon is becoming one of the most popular destinations in the South for motorcycle enthusiasts.
Explore all of the Heart of Appalachia back roads, including Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise Counties, as well as the City of Norton. As of January, 2015, we’ve added several hundred miles of curvy, scenic roads to our Backroads Crooked Ridin’ map and challenge you to ride each and every one of them!
To get from Abingdon to Marion, VA, you have two choices. The first choice is to ride the super-slab I-81 26 miles north. The scenery is dull, and the absence of fun curves will give your rear tire a flat spot. The second choice is this ride. You’ll get to Marion, but along the 86 miles you’ll ride the best twisty and curvy roads in southern Virginia. Included with the second choice is a tour through the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area, several restaurants, the Virginia Creeper Trail, Grayson-Highlands State Park, and a chance to boast that you’ve traversed Hurricane Ridge on your bike! Points of interest: The Virginia Creeper Trail, town of Damascus, view of Mt. Rogers (at 5,729 ft., the highest mountain in Virginia), Grayson-Highlands State Park, Hurricane Ridge.
If the beautiful scenery and excellent road conditions of this adventure are not enough to satisfy your wanderlust, maybe two covered bridges will do the trick. Need more reasons to try this route? How about the Eastern Continental Divide, great food, abundant fuel, and close proximity to downtown Roanoke? Points of interest: Catawba Mountain, Eastern Continental Divide, Sinking Creek Covered Bridge, Links Farm Covered Bridge.
This ride leads you to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. Along the way, you’ll get a glimpse of what the brave young men of Bedford were fighting for. You’ll ride sweeping curves through rolling farm country, surrounded by beautiful mountains.
Today, the Roanoke Valley is home to nearly 300,000 people. With all the great scenery, restaurants, attractions, and a low altitude (which helps to moderate the cool winter temps), it’s no wonder Roanoke is a great place to live. It’s also a motorcyclist’s dream. On one side there’s an interstate highway, making for easy access, and on the other is the internationally acclaimed Blue Ridge Parkway.
The world’s most famous cities are known for their famous landmarks. Paris is known for the Eiffel Tower; London for Big Ben; New York for the Statue of Liberty; Marietta, GA for the Big Chicken. Now you can put Roanoke, the “Star City of the South” on that list, with its big neon star. This adventure takes you to the soaring elevation of Roanoke Mountain, then drops you down to the Mill Mountain Overlook with its famous Roanoke Star, before finally leading you down into the city center. In the center of Roanoke, you’ll find friendly people, interesting museums, great restaurants, and cool sights. This adventure ends at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Points of interest: Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke Mountain, Mill Mountain Park, Roanoke Star, Roanoke Zoo, Downtown Market, Transportation Museum.
Fancy Gap – Blue Ridge Parkway
This adventure is easy to find, fun to ride, and offers the most photographed scenery on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You and your bike will be transported back in time as you near Mabry Mill. At the Mill, you can tour a homestead from the 1860s, and stop for breakfast, lunch, or coffee. Once you turn off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the road becomes twistier and the scenery more diverse. You’ll ride through Tuggle’s Gap, over Lover’s Leap, and into Meadows of Dan, home to the motorcycle-only campground known as Willville. Points of interest: The Blue Ridge Parkway, Puckett Cabin, Groundhog Mountain Lookout, Mabry Mill and the Mabry Homestead (moonshine still, etc.), Lover’s Leap roadside overlook, and Willville Motorcycle-Only Campground.
Meandering like a giant serpent between Massanutten Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah River has attracted people to its banks for thousands of years. On this adventure, you’ll cruise through rolling farmland and small towns on gentle sweepers. Take a few minutes to get off your bike and check out the stalactites and stalagmites in Skyline and Luray Caverns. These two privately owned parks are worth the visit for anyone curious about the geologic history of the area. You won’t find any wicked twisties on this ride, only graceful curves. Points of interest: Skyline Caverns, Luray Caverns, Massanutten Mountain, St. Paul Lutheran Church, and the Coors Brewery.