This route is brought to you by Molly Cobbs, one of our 2022 Route Ambassadors and gravel enthusiast from Sharpsburg, MD
Photo Credits: Molly Cobbs
There are many interesting details and fun points of interest along the way. For example, you’ll see stone spring houses, polo fields, barn murals, old cemeteries, and Mt. Weather Emergency Operations Center.
This route is packed full of history! You’ll be biking on some of Virginia's oldest roads, many of which were established in the 1700s! (Check out this article about how cyclists are working to save Loudoun County’s Historic Gravel Roads.) In addition, you will see thriving and well-preserved historic properties all along the route.
There are miles and miles of lichen-covered stone fences/walls and expansive views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
Car traffic is very light on all of the gravel sections.
There is a short section on Beaverdam Bridge Road that is closed to motorized vehicles due to an unmaintained creek crossing. The crossing is hardened and is easily passable by bike when it's dry. (Avoid after a heavy rain.) The road is in good shape on either side of the crossing and it can be walked or ridden, depending on your comfort level. See photo. A detour route is provided, if needed.
The only place to refuel and get supplies and water, The Philomont General Store, is early in the ride at mile 10, and they only accept cash. Be prepared to carry what you need for the remaining 30 miles.
Do this ride if you have a great appreciation and love for historic properties, and you enjoy biking on rolling terrain past horse properties with picturesque barns and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
The Philomont General Store (at approximately mile 10) is the only re-supply option. The Philomont General Store accepts CASH ONLY and is closed on Sundays.
Indoor restrooms are available at the Philomont Community Center (Also at mile 10) Monday-Friday until 6PM. After hours or on weekends, there is a porta-potty in the park behind the Community Center (Local hint: It is hidden behind a shed).
I rode this on 700cx38mm wheels/tires and it was the perfect choice. Vittoria Terreno Dry is my preferred tire for these roads.
For every ride, I love my full-fingered HandUp Gloves. They're comfortable, protective, and work flawlessly with smart screens!
If you are looking for suggestions to get good local food/drinks, here are a few:
In the last four miles of the loop (and just before the gravel ends), enjoy the views and a glass of wine at Otium Cellars winery.
In Purcellville, Happy Creek Coffee is a great option for pre-ride caffeine and snacks.
Post-ride, Monk's BBQ is a short hop away and offers good food and a great selection of local brews!
The community of Purcellville was settled in the late 1700s. Today, it is the western terminus of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, a very popular 50-mile paved bike path connecting rural Loudoun County to Alexandria, Virginia (just outside of Washington, D.C.). For more information, check out the Visit Loudoun County website.
The suggested ride start/end location is Loudoun Plaza shopping center. The shopping center offers ample parking and is easy access to restrooms (McDonalds, gas stations, etc.), if needed.
Molly grew up in central Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and started mountain biking in high school. In college, she fell in love with endurance sports, outdoor adventure, and the American west. Ultimately, a lifestyle of adventure and endurance pursuits defined her 15+ years of living all over the west and in Alaska.
In 2018, Molly moved back east to be closer to her family and her roots. Exploring mid-Atlantic gravel has been essential to cultivating her “sense of place” on the East Coast and rekindling the adventurous spirit of her wild western days.
Her coolest adventure?
An 8-day ski traverse of Denali National Park supported by dogsled team.
Her proudest accomplishment?
Finishing the Coeur d’Alene Ironman (her first Ironman) in well under 14 hours.
Her next goal?
Finishing strong at the 2022 Gravel Race up Spruce Knob in West Virginia.
Her day job?
U.S. Forest Service - Molly has worked in Federal land management for more than 20 years.
Ice cream, puppies, naps, and funky “free!” finds on the side of the road.