Cycling this 38-mile, paved Northern Neck route will lead you to the historic towns of Colonial Beach and Leedstown, as well as the birthplace of President James Monroe. Be aware that this route is all on roadways, and only experienced cyclists who are comfortable with traffic should venture onto Route 3 at the end of the loop.
Starting from the King George/Westmoreland County line, cycle to Colonial Beach at the widest point on the Potomac River. This small community was founded in the 19th century as the fishing and bathing getaway for Washingtonians coming by steamboat. Still a waterfront resort, this golf cart community is home to numerous art galleries and hosts a yearlong “Second Friday” Art Walk. The community has built an outdoor performing arts stage, Town Hill, where evening concerts, outdoor family movie nights and weekend events are held.
Hop back on your bike and cycle to the birthplace of the 5th U.S. President James Monroe between Colonial Beach and Oak Grove. Stop in to the new visitor center there and learn about the Northern Neck’s native son who was Secretary of State during the War of 1812. Later as President, Monroe set the cornerstone for American foreign policy through his 1823 Monroe Doctrine.
Carefully cross Route 3 (King’s Highway) onto Route 638 (Leedstown Road), which wanders through the countryside to Leedstown on the Rappahannock River. In 1678 community founder Edward Bray built a brick church, a ferry and a wharf on this site. In 1742, the town was home to the Leedstown Resolutions, which protested the Stamp Act and foreshadowed the Declaration of Independence. While on Route 638, you can stop to visit the Ingleside Vineyards to rest your legs and enjoy a taste of Northern Neck wine.
From Leedstown, weave through Westmoreland County along Route 637 to Route 625/Horner’s Mill Road to Route 642/Baynesville Road and finally west on Route 3/King’s Highway to complete the loop. Be advised that Route 3 is for experienced, traffic-savvy cyclists as it is a 2-lane road with truck traffic
This loop is estimated to take approximately 3 hours, 20 minutes. To view a map of this loop and others in the Northern Neck, visit the Northern Neck Heritage Bike Route Network. For more information on attractions and accommodations in Virginia’s Northern Neck, please visit http://www.northernneck.org/index.htm.
Explore the easternmost portion of the Northern Neck, including the fishing village of Reedville, dozens of inlets, and a beach, on this 28-mile loop. For an extended tour on the Chesapeake Bay, hop on a cruise to the Tangier Island.
This loop begins in Reedville, founded in 1874 by Elijah Reed who moved his menhaden fishing operation from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay; today the ambiance reminiscent of a New England village is recognized as an historic district. From Reedville, on Routes 360/Northumberland Highway, take either Blackberry Road or Sunnybank Road to Route 352 to Sunnybank Road. Ride the free ferry across the Little Wicomico River to Ophelia (ferry operates Monday-Saturday). Take Route 644/Hacks Neck Road to Route 643 to Vir-Mar Beach public landing on the Potomac River. Double back on Route 643 on to Route 644 to Route 646/Folly Road at Gonyon. Cross Route 360, staying on Route 646, whose name changes to Brickyard Road, which winds back to Route 360 to Reedville.
To reach Smith Point–the most eastern location within the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail network–and a private campground where you can take a cruise to Smith Island, take Route 802 off of Route 652 where you will see the Smith Point Light in the Potomac River. On the return, just outside of Reedville, take Fleeton Road/Route 657 to the end of the waterfront community of Fleeton.
Reedville includes several restaurants, bed and breakfasts and cottage rentals, an ice cream shop and the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. Overnight stays in Reedville provide the time to take a cruise to Tangier Island, to Smith Island, and to explore other bicycling loops on the Northern Neck. To reach Point Lookout on the Maryland side of the Potomac River, part of the Tidewater Potomac Bicycling Route, the Adventure Cycling Association suggests that you hire a private fishing boat to ferry you across: Captain Danny Crabbe of Crabbes Charter Fishing has been offering this service to cyclists for years, but you will need to make reservations.
This loop is estimated to take 2.5 hours. To view a map of this loop and others in the Northern Neck, visit the Northern Neck Heritage Bike Route Network. For more information on attractions and accommodations in Virginia’s Northern Neck, please visit http://www.northernneck.org/index.htm.
Kinsale is a historic village on the Yeocomico River, a tributary of the Potomac River. The idyllic community is flush on the water, an historic landing for steamships, and the perfect starting point for an easy, scenic 30-mile tour by bicycle.
The Kinsale Museum has visitor information and exhibits on the history of town; in addition to the history as a port, the area was the scene of a naval engagement during the War of 1812. In addition to the museum, you can also visit Port Kinsale Marina and Resort. From Kinsale, it’s a short ride to Sandy Point and a grand view of the Potomac. Retracing your path on Route 718, turn right onto Route 749 and then onto Route 663; here you begin a loop on Virginia “600” roads to explore a landscape defined by water. Just before your return to Kinsale, you come upon the Vault Field Vineyards to the south where you can stop and enjoy a glass of wine before finishing your ride.
This loop will take approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes. To view a map of this loop and others in the Northern Neck, visit the Northern Neck Heritage Bike Route Network. For more information on accommodations, events and attractions, including the Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington, visit http://www.northernneck.org/index.htm.
Beginning and ending in the historic town of Heathsville, this 32-mile bicycling loop explores a landscape shaped by water, forestry and farming. Begin your tour at Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern, which includes the Tavern Restaurant (call for lunch and dinner hours), a blacksmith shop, and craft guilds. Leaving Heathsville, take Route 634/Spring Road near St. Stephen’s Anglican Church past Clark Mill Pond to Coan Wharf Landing, a former steamboat landing for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Doubling back on Route 634, take Route 629 in Northumberland County to Route 637. For a short side trip, take Route 604 to Bush Mill Stream State Natural Area Preserve and stop for short walk on the forested trails. Complete the loop on Route 779 back to Heathsville.
Founded in 1648, Heathsville is the county seat of Northumberland County, named for native son John Heath who represented Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives. Near the Tavern, on Back Street, tour the historic jail and the Historical Society visitor center, and visit the several antique, thrift and gift shops.
The Heathsville loop will take approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes. Another site to visit in the area is Robert E. Lee’s childhood home, Stratford Hall. For more information on attractions and accommodations in Virginia’s Northern Neck, please visit http://www.northernneck.org/index.htm.
This loop is the shortest of the Northern Neck loops at 16 miles, but it also one of the most historic. It passes by Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthplace and family home, Stratford Hall, and passes through a former steamboat landing.
From Route 3/King’s Highway eastbound outside of Westmoreland State Park, take Route 214 to Stratford Hall Road. Time permitting, bike into Stratford Hall and take a tour of the Georgian Great House, birthplace of Robert E. Lee. Make sure you see the gristmill. There is a visitor center, a dining room for lunch fare, and gift shop.
Leaving the gate at Stratford Hall, turn left onto Stratford Hall Road/Route 609 along winding roads. Turn left on Route 622 to Currioman Landing, which is on Currioman Bay on Nomini Creek, allowing a pleasant waterfront vista. There is a gravel parking lot, fishing pier and boat ramp. No facilities, or fees.
Cycle back Route 622 to Panorama Road that goes into Montross, the county seat of Westmoreland. The Westmoreland County Museum is at 43 Court Square near the courthouse. The oldest museum in the Northern Neck was established to display Charles Willson Peale’s 1768 portrait of William Pitt, the British Parliamentarian behind the repeal of the Stamp Act. Montross has a coffee shop, restaurants, shopping, banks, and a pharmacy.
Ride near St. Stephen’s Anglican Church past Clark Mill Pond to Coan Wharf Landing, a former steamboat landing for the fleet of steamboats that plied the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Doubling back on Route 634, take Route 629 in Northumberland County to Route 637. To extend this ride, take Route 604 to Bush Mill Stream State Natural Area Preserve. Complete the loop on Route 779 back to Heathsville.
This loop is estimated to take 1.5 hours. To view a map of this loop and others in the Northern Neck, visit the Northern Neck Heritage Bike Route Network. For more information on attractions and accommodations in Virginia’s Northern Neck, please visit http://www.northernneck.org/index.htm.
This scenic bicycle trip through Virginia’s Lower Potomac reveals the region’s 400-year maritime history. The trip includes an afternoon hike in a nature preserve to see the Chesapeake Bay’s tidal reaches as they were discovered by settlers. Along the way you can watch the sailboats come and go and stretch your legs with a stroll through charming villages.
What you will see: Scenic views of sailboats on wide tidal creeks, artifacts of the earliest days of Colonial America.