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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. Copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved Copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved