South River Road
This is a ride to use when you want a tiny bit of climbing and descending at the beginning and end, but are really looking for lots of flat stretches and little traffic for sprinting practice or a casual stroll with great views.
- 0.0 Turn right at the north end of the Maury River Bridge onto County 631 (the Old Buena Vista Road). The Maury River will be on your right the next mile or so and you’ll pass by the sewage treatment plant. After the first mile or so you’ll enjoy a gentle ascent and descent.
- 1.6 At bottom of descent, you’ll pass under the double underpass for I-81. A bit further, you’ll have a short ascent, brief descent, then a longer ascent.
- 2.9 Crest of second larger descent with nice views backward toward Lexington.
- 3.8 Following descent. You’ll come to a dangerous stop sign. Make a sharp right-hand turn, continuing on Old Buena Vista Road.
- 4.3 Intersection of Old Buena Vista Road (it continues straight past Mountain View School) and County 608 (the South River Road) which goes off to the left. You have two options:
- South River Road Flats. Take a sharp left onto the South River Road. You can follow the South River Road for many miles, in fact all the way up to its junction with Highway 56 at Vesuvius (at which point you can wither turn left, West, and go 1.7 miles to US11 and follow it back (south) to Lexington
- Or turn right (east) and make a brutally steep climb up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then follow it back (south) to US60 West which leads you back to Lexington.
I wouldn’t encourage either of the above, very ambitious loops unless you’re really in shape. The South River Route proper is , however, just what you’re looking for if you want a nice, smooth, reasonably low on traffic, almost flat (but watch for the occasional dog) route for fast pedaling.
Significant mileage points up the South River Road (with 0.0 mi at its intersection with the Old Buena Vista Road) are as follows:
- 1.1 The community of Riverside (with a country market or two).
- 2.8 The community of Cornwall.
- 3.0 Railroad overpass.
- 6.0 Community of Midvale.
- 7.2 Red Hill Road goes off to left. (After 2-3 miles, it runs into US11 in the town of Fairfield, and you can take US11 South back to Lexington).
- 8.5 Community of Marlbrook.
- 10.8 Nature Camp Trail Road goes off to right.
- 11.5 Railroad Track crossing (active!) The tracks will parallel the road for the next couple of miles.
- 13.3 Town of Vesuvius and junction with Highway 56.
This is where you can
Backtrack to Lexington
turn left (West) on Highway 56 and join US11 after 1.7 mile (and then it’s another 16.6 miles back to the Maury River Bridge at the northern end of Lexington). * return via the Blue Ridge Parkway to Buena Vista, and thence Lexington. * The Old, Safe Way to Buena Vista. This is a reasonably pleasant, slightly rolling, unfortunately a bit overpopulated route to Buena Vista, a safer alternative to US60. The total mileage via this route, Lexington-B.V. is 8.6, as opposed to 6.5 on US60.
From junction of County 608 (South River Road) and Old buena Vista Road (0.0 begins again here), continue straight on the Old Buena Vista Road:
- 1.6 Old Buena Vista Road becomes Longhollow Road (which passes through some of Buena Vista’s affordable residential areas).
- 3.4 Buena Vista City limits and Longhollow Road becomes Catalpa at 40th Street. Follow Catalpa Street to Rockbridge Road at 34th Street- that’s another .4 mile.
- 3.8 Turn right down Rockbridge Road.
- 4.3 Junction with US60 (fast food, lots of commerce, and US60 West goes back 6 miles to Lexington).