Spkldoe and me took a notion to explore North Mountain between Clifton Forge and Lexington, VA. Beiní as how the 1200 XTZ is perfectly suited for this terrain, we decided to loop south and approach the North Mountain summit from the east. We slabbed I-64E out of WV to Low Morr and after a brief caffeine fix, chose a south bearing along the twisties of Rich Patch Road to Roaring Run and then due east to the James River, the violent folds in the exposed rock layers and the Narrow Passage Road at Eagle Rock. Most riders see the Narrow Passage as a gateway to the BRP at Peaks of Otter, but the Parkway was not our quarry this day. Instead after just a few easterly miles towards Buchanan, we turned north 20 miles on the Blue Grass Trail, paralleling the Blue Ridge, over Paint Mountain to the outskirts of Lexington at Collierstown on Kerr Creek; visiting the historic Oxford Church along the way.
Circling back west and after a sightseeing detour to Lake Robertson, we began a winding ascent to the top of the world on North Mountain along Turnpike Road aka SR 770. I cannot begin to describe how steep the drop off the side is just to your right as you ride up the mountain. Suffice it to say that one only needs to look over once to get the idea that perhaps looking over while underway is NOT a good idea. The payoff comes when you pass the few breaks in the trees on the power line right of way that runs up the east face and pulling over affords absolutely dazzling views of the Kerr Creek Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond. At the intersection with Top Road FR447 we ran along the northerly backbone of the mountain and descended along Scenic Drive to the West Midland Trail and closed our loop back into WV.
We highly recommend considering this route should you find yourself out and about in the Lexington, VA area. Though we will modify the loop to take in a reach of the BRP and splurge a little on the tasty buffet at Peaks of Otter, Spkldoe and me are definitely going back for what will be an incredible fall leaf peeper run and we extend an open invitation to all who might like to tag along.
We posted a ride video to whet your appetite. It is set to a soundtrack called Romeo and Juliet by one Mr. Mark Knopfler and that alone is worth the virtual journey.
Bluegrass Trail Passage to North Mountain