Distance: 33.9 mi
Total vertical climb: 3,100 ft.
Feet climbing per mile: 91
Location: This loop ride is in central Pendleton County, taking in the county seat of Franklin in the south and touching Upper Track at the northern end. Franklin and Upper Track are good locations for doing the route. Starting in Upper Track, gives you more assurance of finding a store open in Franklin for a mid ride break and refill.
You can add a few miles to this ride by going out to Co. 12 when taking US 33 out of Franklin, and heading up Troublesome Valley. This adds 3.2 miles on route 33, which can have traffic at times and part of it is climbing.
PDF Map and Turn List
Facebook Slideshow of route.
General Route Description
This loop travels mostly through farm country and some forest. Definitely not flat, but most of the climbs are long, but not severe.
Route 33 leaving Franklin can have high speed traffic. Taking the shorter route, gets you off of Rt. 33 at a fairly flat ride out of town. Going on to Troublesome Valley involves a climb on route 33 before turning onto Co. 12.
After turning off of US 33, the next few miles will be on rural back road with little traffic until you loop back to US 33 again. Co. 1 (Kiser Gap Road) has more shade than Co. 12 if the weather is hot. You travel uphill for about 6 miles before descending 6 miles to Upper Track. Crossing the South Branch of the Potomac River, you arrive at US 220.
The route goes left here on US 220, however you may want to detour right here for about a quarter mile in Upper Track, where there is a general store. This is a local store, not a chain, and may not be open on Sunday.
Going left on 220 for only 2/10 of a mile, before turning onto Co. 8. Co. 8 starts out passing through a narrow gorge before opening up into a wider valley. The valley is mostly farms and provides little shade.
You will pass the trout hatchery on the right and can probably get some water here if necessary. You will follow Co. 8 to US 33, with the exception of a short diversion down Co. 10 and Co. 10/1. These just take you back to Co. 8. After the long climb up Co. 8 you reach US 33. Taking a left on 33 you have along downhill roll into Franklin. This part of 33 does not have as much traffic as the part out of Franklin, plus you will be rolling at a higher speed on this downhill section. Arriving at the US 220 intersection, you take a right for the last mile to the finish.
Items of Interest
About five after turning onto Co. route 8 near Upper Track, you will pass the Reeds Creek Fish Hatchery. If the gate is open, you can go in and view the fish in the tanks. You can probably also obtain some water here if there are staff around.
The Cunningham Clevenger House in Upper Track is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is 2.4 miles off the bike route, but if starting in Upper Track, would be worth checking out.
Lodging and Camping
The Tourism link below lists several bed and breakfast and cabin rental opportunities in the county.
There are restaurants in Franklin. It is a charming little village that you will want to take a little time to explore.
The listing of routes on this site is not a guarantee of the safety of the route. Cycling has inherent risks and riders skills vary. Traffic conditions vary by time of day, season and local events. Road conditions can vary and change and may change dramatically over one winter season. Riders need to ride within their capabilities and be alert for road hazards and traffic at all times.
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