Recommended Tire Size
Ride from DC to Damascus to cross Virginia in 565 miles on mostly unpaved country and forest roads, double track and rail trails. Explore Virginia’s best backcountry riding on this new gravel bikepacking and touring route focused on rideable, non-technical, unpaved terrain intended for multi-day trips carrying overnight gear. The route traverses a variety of challenging climbs in remote areas of VA’s beautiful mountains, national forests and public lands.
The concept of the TransVirginia Bike Route (TransVA) was homegrown in the Harrisonburg, VA bike community, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, which has been transforming the valley into a cycling destination for all types of riders. The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition has supported the initiative along with a variety of local businesses, bike shops, and tourism offices. The route is inspired by the many miles of dirt and gravel roads in the National Forests and beautiful countryside of the Shenandoah Valley and extends that experience to encompass the diverse landscapes and communities of Virginia, with its fascinating natural and historical sites.
The route aims to be an accessible travel experience for motivated cyclists in the style of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, filling a unique space between pavement-only road touring and technical singletrack trail bikepacking. Get out into nature, crossing the great state of Virginia, without worrying about cars for some of the best riding on the East Coast. The route is not technical; no need to be a hotshot superhero mountain biker or have top-of-the-line bikes and gear! The TransVirginia is poised to become an iconic East Coast bicycle adventure setting the stage for the fast-growing sector of gravel bikepacking.
Logistics are straightforward with plenty of water, country stores, camping options, as well as hotel/B&B options for those who prefer to ride more comfortably. Only 1-2 miles of true hike-a-bike out of 565. There’s plenty of elevation change, but reasonable grades are rideable with multi-day gear on the proper setup.
Multiple TransVirginia route options to match your style and goals were created after the original in 2018 (now known as the “Mountain 565“): the less rugged the Valley 535 (2020) and DC-H’burg 400 Loop (2023) routes.
A great website at Transvirginia.org will motivate and equip potential riders to put the TransVirginia on their bucket list and gain the info and confidence to get themselves on the route. GPX and digital maps are available for free, as well as amenity listings of services along the way, itineraries for various riding styles, and trip reports from other cyclists.
Ridden and Tested: The route is based on popular routes from local cycling communities, and has been tested and ridden multiple times, gaining rider support, stakeholder buy-in and enthusiastic followers on social media ahead of its larger-scale launch. Grand Departs have been taking place annually since 2018.
- Paved: 39%
- Smooth Gravel: 50%
- Rough Gravel: 9%
- 4×4 Road: 1.5%
- Singletrack: 0.5%
Be sure to check out the POIs in RideWithGPS and Resupply/Overnights sheets for each of the various routes; they are a wealth of planning information.
If the TransVA “Mountain” 565 route feels like too great of a challenge, check out the Valley 535 route (great Yo-Yo), and the DC-Harrisonburg 400 Loop (simple transportation logistics) options for something even more approachable.
David Landis created and stewards this route. Here is a little about David in his own words:
My family and I live in the Shenandoah Valley in Harrisonburg, VA, which is about 40% of the way down the route starting from DC. From town, we can see Shenandoah Mountain riding from the western edge of the Valley. For the local bike community, riding from home up into the mountains is what makes riding here so amazing. High points like Reddish and Flagpole Knob are our gateway into the million-acre George Washington National Forest connecting hundreds of unpaved roads that roll over the mountains into West Virginia. The TransVA follows and crisscrosses the state line for much of its length, a natural extension of those high mountain dirt road riding that characterize the finest bikepacking Virginia has to offer.
I’ve been developing hiking and cycling routes for over 15 years, a passion and career path that I fell into while living in the Middle East after an extended period of international travel. After a decade overseas, I returned to my hometown in Virginia and began exploring the area by bicycle, seeking roads that stretched farther into the vast public lands and forests in the region. In 2017 I toured the Great Divide, which sparked the idea to start mapping a similar route across Virginia to highlight the great riding in my backyard and create an experience that would connect diverse communities across the state.
David has offered to be available to answer questions if you are planning a trip on this route. We encourage you to be respectful of Route Stewards time though and to review publicly available materials first before reaching out with questions.
Please also get in touch with any updates on route conditions that may be relevant to other riders.
Please submit your questions and comments on the route via the contract form below.
This route traverses the traditional lands of the Cherokee, Manahoac, Monacan, Moneton, Tutelo and Yucci people.