Riding Near Boone
A favorite place for a leisurely bicycle ride
in north-western North Carolina is a local access
highway named Railroad Grade
Road that runs between Fleetwood and Todd, a distance
of 10 miles. The road, as
its name implies, is built on an old railroad grade
and is practically flat -- not one hill to climb! It
is paved, but too narrow to have a center stripe; in fact, it is
so narrow in places that when two cars meet one has
to pull halfway off the road.
This road goes through a valley right by the South Fork of the
New River, which has been declared the first of the nation's
American Heritage Rivers. Someone once told me "When I rode
this road the first time I thought it was the most beautiful
place I had ever seen in my life!"
As usual, the world has found this area. We understand
that a petition has been given to the state to widen
the road, which will (in our opinion) ruin it as a good
bicycling road. As it is now if you ride during the week,
and particularly during months that are not prime vacation
months, you will seldom see a car.
Directions: On your North Carolina map find US 421, the
area between Boone and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fleetwood
is on US 221 just west of the Blue Ridge Parkway
and Todd is on NC 194 out of Boone.
To find the
Railroad Grade Road at Fleetwood left turn off Highway 221
just past the school (don't know the name of the country
road). This takes you down into the little village
where the Post Office and Church is located. Go past
these landmarks and turn left on Railroad Grade Road.
About a mile and a half down on the left,
across the road from Fleetwood Falls Realty,
there is a parking area.
At Todd, on NC 194, there is a parking area near the
Country Store -- look for the red caboose just west
of the Church.