My Favorite Local Ride
In the January, 1998 BTS I wrote about a favorite ride of mine, and several have asked for me to put the directions on the web. Well, here goes :)
Head out Rt. 7 from Washington DC (I usually take Georgetown Pike from the Beltway, though during any time but the early morning this may be somewhat congested.) After Leesburg look for Rt. 601, Mt. Weather EAC road. There is usually at least one State Revenue Collector on this stretch of Rt. 7 so keep the speeds reasonable :)) Another variation is to come out Rt. 50 to a right turn onto Snickersville Tpk. (road just west of Rt. 15 on the map below) up to a left onto Rt. 7 and then a quick left onto Mt. Weather Rd.
Take Mt. Weather Road south to Rt. 50 (watch at the end as it curves around to the right.) Make a left onto Rt. 50 heading east and after about a mile turn right onto Rt. 17 south. Note that the Ashby Inn is in Paris, the town at the intersection. If you want a stop for a nice sit-down lunch this is the place.
Follow Rt. 17 for a little over a mile to a right turn onto SR-688, Leeds Manor Road. This is a wonderfully windy road, and hosts several horse farms and a vinyard. After passing under I-66, turn right onto Rt. 55 West and follow into Front Royal. (You can also shave a few minutes by hopping onto I-66 here if you must :) Turn right onto 340/55 at the "T" intersection and then left onto Rt. 55 West. For those of you who hopped onto I-66, take 340 south a mile or two to a right onto 55 west.
Follow 55 west for several miles. At the (very, very small) town of Waterlick, turn left onto SR-678, Powell's Fort Rd. This road is incredible - it rolls its way through the valley sandwiched in between two long mountain ridges. Towards the end of 678 you will come to a "Y" in the road for 675/678 - you can go either way but if you go to the right you must then turn right onto 675 when 678 dead-ends a mile or so down the road.
Follow 675 up and over the mountain ridge (careful of the switchbacks!) to the top where you will find a true buena vista! (check out the BMWBMW Photo page for several pics!) Stop and have a look over Luray and the whole valley!
Continue down the mountain and after a quick left to stay on 675, over the bridge towards Luray. Hop onto Rt. 211 East and take it through Luray and back up into the mountains to Skyline Drive. Head north on Skyline Drive back towards Front Royal.
In Front Royal (again :) take a right onto Rt. 522 and follow back down to Rt. 211, which heads back up to I-66. You can also simply hop onto I-66 as well for a quick hop back to DC.
I hope y'all enjoy this as much as I have, remember to explore interesting roads, that is how this route came to be. If you find a few good ones, please let me know!
© 1995-2011, Ted Verrill