BEGIN THE CROOKED ROAD and BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS LOOP
Rocky Mount/Begin the Crooked Road/Shooting Creek/Blue Ridge Parkway/Peaks of Otter/Smith Mountain Lake Loop
If you are interested in staying with us at The Claiborne House B&B and enjoying these Blue Ridge Mountains and Crooked Road, without having to travel the entire 469 miles of Blue Ridge Parkway, we have put together this inncredible ride for you including map. We provide our guests with off-street paved parking directly adjacent to the inn. Be aware that this does has some decent switchbacks in the higher elevations coming down.
Begin your day after a bountiful breakfast at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast
A) Head out from the end of our street on Route 40 W toward The Blue Ridge Parkway. Go past Ferrum College and continue on til you come to the infamous moonshine road “Shooting Creek Road” you will also be following The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail – see the signs along this trail with the BANJO. Follow Route 40 for about 27 miles through the rural Franklin County countryside.
B) Prepare for some white knuckle turns as you quickly climb from the foothills up onto the Parkway. This was an old buffalo trail that follows the river. When you get to the top you will come to the Blue Ridge Parkway – turn RIGHT onto the Parkway heading North. Go approx 5 miles and you will come to Smart View Recreation Area, which is MP 155 should you need a potty break, cool drink or to stretch your legs. Visit the old Settler’s Cabin as you enter this picnic area for fantastic views of the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge and beyond.
C) Now you are ready to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway – America’s Favorite Road. Turn RIGHT out of Smart View Rec Area heading North on the BRP. Enjoy this road as it meanders around the tops of these mountains. Make a note – off in the distance to the left you can see Buffalo Mountain in Floyd, an amazing rare ecosystem as well as a sidewinding ride await you should you venture that way.
D) Continue North on the BRP for 68 miles until you come to the PEAKS OF OTTER MP 86 ranger station or Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant. Both offer restrooms and cold drinks. Peaks of Otter Lodge serves a nice meal with a/c. The hike up Peaks of Otter is worth the time, 360 degree breathtaking views of the Thomas Jefferson Forest. There is a NPS shuttle should you need a lift back down.
E) From Peaks of Otter Visitor Center you will head East toward Bedford through the George Washington National Forest on Route 43/Peaks Road for 12 miles until you reach Route 122/Booker T Washington Highway. Take this SOUTH toward Smith Mountain Lake. Follow Route 122 South for approx 17 miles until you see the lake open up and you cross Halesford Bridge. You are no back in Franklin County and to your left you will see Bridgewater Plaza and Visitor Center. This is a lovely spot to stop for a drink/restroom/meal and to sit outside by the docks with water view. You are just 15 miles from Rocky Mount. (If you wish to extend the sight seeing, make a stop at the National D-Day Memorial while you are in Bedford)
F) From Bridgewater Plaza turn LEFT on Route 122/Booker T Washington Hwy and head South. You will pass Homestead Creamery for home churned ice cream and also Booker T Washington National Monument on the left (both are worth the stop). Go approx 15 miles til you come to a T junction and sign that says RIGHT to Rocky Mount Left to Gretna Turn RIGHT on Route 40. Head West on Route 40 go through Town and you will find yourself back at The Claiborne House B&B within 3 miles. Time to sit on the porch a spell and relax, then walk to local restaurants.