This page provides a summary for cycling and climbing by bike the top climbs in West Virginia. Biking up some of the best climbs in West Virginia, including the Top 10:
Cycling West Virginia - The Mountain State.
West Virginia’s motto is Montani Semper Liberi, Latin for "Mountaineers are Always Free." West Virginia is the Mountain State, in reference to the Appalachian Mountains that run through it, and is known for its many mountains and rolling hills. Thus -- the perfect destination for a PJAMM Cycling adventure. The three bike climbs in West Virginia that are ranked hardest on our list are summarized below.
#1 - THE HARDEST BIKE CLIMB IN WEST VIRGINIA
Cycling Spruce Knob
Ride 11.6 miles gaining 2,918’ at 4.7% average grade.
This extraordinary ride takes us to the highest paved location in West Virginia (and, with a brief hike, to the highest point in the state). At 4,863’, Spruce Knob is also the highest peak in the Allegheny subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. The Spruce Knob bicycle climb is located within the Monongahela National Forest (921,000 acres, includes much of the Potomac Highlands Region), within the Allegheny Mountains.
Spruce Knob is the hardest bike climb in West Virginia.
“Very likely the most difficult overall climb in West Virginia, Spruce Knob is a fairly long ascent that takes you to the highest point in the state. Be ready early on this one as it has a sting over its opening miles. Quite isolated as it is located toward the center of this mountainous state, the road almost immediately reaches double digit grade as you head up the ridge. Solid 9-12% slope gets one warmed up quite quickly and you catch your breath as well. Around mile 2.5 the two lane road squeezes down to a wide single lane and thick woods close in as well as a grade ease. From this point the grade remains stout for another half mile and then eases further. From here to the top you ride over mostly shallow variable slope and through a few switchbacks. The trees only part in a few places along this stretch of climbing. At mile 9.8 turn right to get the very top of the mountain. This finishing stretch contains more stout grade in places along with long views toward the very top. The grade eases just before the summit among spruce trees which is the top section of a parking area with restrooms. There may be a bit of traffic on the road on good weather weekends but not enough to ruin the climb.” (This quote provided with the approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 100.)
WEST VIRGINIA #2
Cycling Reddish Knob, Virginia - #2 Virginia Top Bike Climb
Ride 8.9 miles gaining 2,740’ at 5.7% average grade.
This climb begins in northwestern Virginia and ends on its border with West Virginia.
“Reddish Knob is a challenging and scenic ascent up to the very top of Reddish Knob Mountain in western Virginia. The road is narrow over part of the route and the grade is shallow to start but gradually steepens as you ride west. Eventually you pass a dam on your left. Beyond the dam the climb averages 7% grade and at a big switchback at mile 6.8 the road gets very narrow (only one vehicle can pass at a time in places) as it enters thick trees. There are several short flats in this section before a steeper stretch just prior to the top which greets you with 360 degree views. Reddish Knob is also an interesting descent as well.” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (By Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 118.)
The term “knob” refers to a prominent rounded hill or mountain.
This is a pleasant climb, most scenic during fall colors.
WEST VIRGINIA #3
Cycling Snowshoe Drive East
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 climb is ranked third hardest 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 ranked #3 in the state.