Cycling Snowshoe Drive East, West Virginia
Ride 8.3 miles gaining 2,563’ at 5.3% average grade.
This is an incredibly fun and scenic bike climb. We start our climb in the Cass Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and rightly so. The climb is along a light to moderately travelled highway surrounded by forest that is exceptionally beautiful during fall colors. The finish is at Snowshoe Resort, a ski mountain.
This is the third hardest bike climb in West Virginia. The last 1½ miles before a flat run to the finish averages 10.4%. Do not let the fairly tame 5.3% average grade fool you. There is a -1.9% two mile descent beginning at mile 4.3 that knocks down what would be a much higher average grade. The 4.3 miles before the descent averages 7% and as noted the 1½ miles to just short of the finish average 10.4%. This is a tough climb and is justifiably #3 in the state.
PJAMM Adventure App and stats at climb start.
“The east side approach to the Snowshoe Ski area is a Jekyll and Hyde climb. The first few miles along Route 66 are over solid grade and a narrow road but little traffic. Through a tunnel of trees for the most part, at mile 4.4 the grade flattens and descends a short distance. At mile 5.8 turn right toward the Snowshoe Resort to continue. After a short continuation of shallow/flat riding the grade rears up to a double digit and you must negotiate one of the steepest miles in the region through a few stacked switchbacks to get to its unmarked top at the growing Snowshoe Resort. There are excellent views of the surrounding mountains within this section. This is a challenging climb to high altitude (for the eastern United States).” (This quote is provided with approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 101.)
The climb begins just after the train depot at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.
From the state park website:
“Take a trip back to an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of everyday life. Trips to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park are filled with rich history, unparalleled views and the sights and sounds of an original lumbering town. The park’s 11-mile long heritage railroad and authentic company town are some of the state’s most popular tourist attractions” (read more here).
The gift shop and restaurant adjacent to the train depot are a fun place to visit.
And . . . load up for the climb ahead. 😋
Cass is just before climb start.
This was a company town founded in 1901 for the Est Virginia Pulp and Paper Company.
First third of the climb.
Middle third of the climb.
Final third of the climb.
Drone video towards the end of the climb.
Last few bends before the finish.
PJAMM Adventure App near climb finish.
Snowshoe Ski Resort is just down the road from the finish.
That’s a wrap!