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Valley River Loop

As promised, here’s the first installment of a series of posts reviewing rides from the impossible to get guidebook Road Bike the Smokies by Jim Parham.  On page 24, if you are following along in your copy (oh yeah, that’s right. It’s impossible to get. Sorry), you’ll find an easy 15 mile loop.  The Valley River Loop is surrounded by an impressive stand of rugged mountains and features some of the flattest roads you will find in Western North Carolina.  The few climbs you’ll encounter are short and are in the first few miles of the ride.

This ride starts and finishes at a nice rest area on the outskirts of the small town of Andrews.  Heading out of town alongside the meandering Valley River, past large open pastures of cows, horses and sheep, this ride is very picturesque.  Crossing over to the other side of the valley, the ride’s character changes to more commercial farm land, a mental health center (where I work, lucky me) and if you find small municipal airports interesting, a small municipal airport.

This is one of my after work rides and even as sunset is obscenely early these days, I can do this ride and still make it home for dinner at a reasonable hour.  Parham rates this as an easy ride, doable by a beginner in 1.5 to 2 hours.  Visitors to the Smokies who are coming from flatter parts may find this a more comfortable ride.  You’ll get tremendous views of the mountains without having to suffer the trauma of actually riding in the mountains. 

Thanks for reading, Jack

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Categories: Road Bike The Smokies
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