Top 5 Motorcycle Routes Near Washington, D.C. - Riders Share (2024)

Sep 14, 2021

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Top 5 Motorcycle Routes Near Washington, D.C. - Riders Share (1)

Washington, D.C. is the epicenter of our nation. As the political center of the U.S., it’s filled with history. But monuments aren’t the only thing to see if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast in the D.C. area. Beyond the city lies the quiet concentration of the open country road and the breathtaking beauty of monumental mountain passes. Make no mistake—a visit to Washington, D.C. is a golden opportunity to ride top-notch motorcycle roads.

Transform your typical trip to America’s capital by renting a motorcycle through Riders Share and escaping to nearby Virginia and Maryland. Travel along any of these five choice motorcycle routes for an unforgettable time.

1. Woodbridge, VA to Seneca Rocks, WV and Back

Two-day trip — 323 miles

Tackle one of the most beautiful and adventure-packed routes during the Woodbridge, VA to Seneca Rocks, WV and Back ride. This route takes you out of D.C., into the Virginias as you traverse fun-filled mountain roads.

Experience the rolling hills, farmland, mountains, and streams of the Potomac Highland Region. This isn’t a sea-level ride—you’ll be traveling along the ridges of the Allegheny mountain range. There are several vistas, overlooks, and stopping points where you can view the headwaters of the Potomac River and its tributaries. With steep rock walls and lookout points, Seneca Rocks is a must-see and a fantastic place to picnic, camp, or go rock climbing. Also check out the Monongahela National Forest or the Smoke Hole Caverns, the largest Ribbon Stalactite in the world. Several side trips look particularly beautiful in the fall, including Lost River, Cass & Green Bank, and Smoke Hill Road.

This route promises tight turns, twisties, sweeping curves, and long bouts of pure cruising. Coming back to Virginia from Seneca Rocks, you’ll pass through three mountain ranges, making for a very twisted road. The mountain passes along this portion of the route are the most exhilarating. One of the passes features a 120-degree switchback paired with an immediate 30 to 40-degree climb. The curves and switchbacks from Franklin to Brandywine are also worth writing home about. Highway 33 East gets congested with traffic from time to time up until Harrisonburg. You’ll have no reason to complain about the road quality.

There’s plenty of little towns with mom-and-pop eateries and gas along the way. Seneca Rocks has a motel, so you can stay the night before making your return trip back to Virginia. If you’re looking for a place to stay closer to nature, the cabins in the town of Cabins, West Virginia are another option.

2. Charles County Loop Along The Potomac River

One-day trip — 56 miles

Try a shorter riverside road in the east with the Charles County Loop Along The Potomac River.

The western portion of Charles County is very rural. There are lots of back roads and unobstructed views of the Potomac River. Chapel Point State Park and Smallwood State park are quaint spots to get off the motorcycle and stretch your legs. If you’re in rural areas like these, for their history, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Along the loop is St. Ignatius Church of La Plata. Erected in 1641, it’s the oldest continuously active Catholic Parish in the U.S.

Expect challenging twisties and sharp turns along the Charles County Loop. Obey traffic signs. Road quality is passable and the roads have been paved recently.

Rural routes like these don’t feature many gas stations. Fuel up before you tackle this loop. Grab some grub at the Port Tobacco Marina, where good food, drink, and music is in abundance.

3. Sterling - Front Royal - Charles Town Loop

One-day trip — 133 miles

The Sterling - Front Royal - Charles Town Loop will give you a little bit of everything—suburban, rural, and mountain roads.

This loop is for the sightseer who prefers a varied selection of vistas. Sterling, Virginia is a stylish suburb of Washington, D.C. These quaint houses soon give way to tree-lined roads and sweepers. Once you enter West Virginia and reach Charles Town, expect flat-open country roads. As you leave Charles Town on Route 9, you’ll run through gentle curves and climb some mountains.

This loop is an ideal way to escape the city. The roads are in good shape and perfect for cruising. Traffic is minimal, something that can't be said for the suburban roads of D.C.

There’s plenty of small-town charm and amenities to go around. Stop by a locally-owned restaurant and shop if the fancy strikes you. The Apple House Rest on John Marshall Highway in Linden serves an excellent pork sandwich. They also serve breakfast all-day long.

4. The Middleburg to the Plains Loop

One-day trip — 25 miles

The Middleburg to the Plains Loop is the perfect ride for the motorcycle enthusiast looking for a relaxing outing on the Virginia plains.

Unlike the previous loops on our list, it doesn't run through Virginia and West Virginia’s mountains. Instead, it runs through farmlands and vineyards with horizons facing these mountains. It’s worth a look for those attracted to Virginia’s small-town charm.

The portion of the route south from Middleburg presents some nice twists; the section of road on the return north is a straighter shot. Road quality is excellent between Middleburg and The Plains. You’ll only have to watch out for gravel, a pothole or two, and the occasional blind turn. The low speed limit (35 to 45 mph) keeps this ride relaxing and the twists easy to navigate.

There are a few small general stores along the loop. If you’re looking for something more substantial, The Plains is a good place to do some eating and shopping.

5. Manassas to Middleburg

One-day trip — 30 miles

The Manassas to Middleburg motorcycle route is a superb sunset ride and a wonderful way to end your journey around our nation’s capital.

This loop takes you through Virginia’s answer to Texas Hill Country. Instead of mountain vistas, you’ll see massive farms and plantations as you ride through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Beautiful horses and gorgeous houses populate the rolling hills. Park your motorcycle at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville to stretch your legs, have a picnic, or stay the night in a cottage.

Straightaways and winding, twisting roads are the name of the game on this route. The sweeping curves on The Plains section offer some of this route’s best riding. Much of the ride consists of two-lane back roads; Waterfall Road (one lane) is the sole exception. All these roads are well-maintained and mostly smooth. You may notice bumps and pits near the shoulders. Speed limits vary between 35 and 70 mph.

With its bevy of cafes, restaurants, and places to park, Middleburg is the ideal stop for motorcyclists passing through Virginia’s rural roads. You’ll usually see a few motorcyclists grabbing an ice cream or a drink at Red Horse Tavern. The rest of the route is relatively empty, and amenities are sparse. We recommend stopping at the 7-Eleven in Woolsey, at the corner of Sudley and 15, before you get to Waterfall Road. The next stop is a ways off, in Middleburg.

It’s hard to see how any of these routes can disappoint the eager rider. If you’re a nature-lover, you’ll find Virginia’s granite mountains more impressive than the monuments in D.C. If you’re fond of peace and quiet, the back roads of Maryland will serve as the very best medicine.

Top 5 Motorcycle Routes Near Washington, D.C. - Riders Share (2024)

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