Cycling Scenic West Virginia - Jim Ridge Loop

  • Dog Fork Road
  • Fishers Ridge
  • Jim Ridge
  • Bowles Ridge
  • Jim Ridge
  • Jim Ridge nearng Pleasant Valley.
  • Jim Ridge
  • Fishers Ridge past Kenna/
  • Fishers Ridge past Kenna.
Dog Fork Road1 Fishers Ridge2 Jim Ridge3 Bowles Ridge4 Jim Ridge5 Jim Ridge nearng Pleasant Valley.6 Jim Ridge7 Fishers Ridge past Kenna/8 Fishers Ridge past Kenna.9

Jim Ridge Loop


Jim RidgeLength: 43.8
Climbing: 3,150
Rating: 3.6
Climbing Per Mile: 62

This has always been one of my favorite Charleston area rides. The quiet country lanes along Fishers (Putnam Co.), Bowles, Jim, and Fishers Ridge (Jackson Co.) provides rolling terrain and great vistas. I call this area the plains of West Virginia. Not because the area is flat by any means, but the hill tops are about the same height. Usually the only traffic issues is the short stretch of road accessing Interstate 77. Of course, in order to enjoy the vistas from the ridges you have some climbing to do. Climbs at the end of Dog Fork to 34 and up to Bowles Ridge will test your climbing legs and the rolling ridges offer additional climbing..


This ride is in southern Jackson County and Northern Putnam County and just touching on Kanawha County in a couple places. .

Directions to start from Charleston: Take I-77 North to exit 116. From the exit ramp, take a right and an immediate left on Rt. 21. Go one mile and take a right at the end of the bridge on route 4/2 (Road to Rippling Waters Campground). Go 0.4 miles and park in the Fisher Chapel church lot on the right. An alternate starting place (especially if they are having church services) would be the Park-N-Ride at the exit.

PDF Map and Turn List

Ride with GPS file.

General Description

Start to Bibbie Ridge: Taking a left out of the parking lot, you take the next right onto route 21 which is a two lane striped road. Traffic is usually light, as I-77 takes most of the thru traffic. You head north on route 21 and pass under I-77 before arriving at the rural community of Goldtown. When you get to Goldtown, you will take a left on 21/37, Dog Fork Road. This is a narrow single lane paved road. Be ready to stop to let passing traffic (if you meet any) by. This follows Dog Fork up stream at a gentle incline for 4 miles before arriving at the first climbing challenge of the ride. This is a steep 0.4 mile climb up to Bibbee ridge that starts out at about 15 percent before settling down to 8-10 percent the remainder of the way.

Bibbie Ridge to Bowles Ridge : Arriving at the top of the climb on Dog Fork, you take a left on State 34, another two lane striped road. but you are only on it for 1,6 miles before you take a right onto Fishers Ridge, (Co. 21/37*). This is another un-stripped road and is an enjoy ridge ride that is overall down grade with some great vistas. At the end of the ridge, (about 17.2 miles from the start), you have a steep downhill, WITH A STOP AT THE BOTTOM! Arriving at the bottom, you take a right on Co. 5 and after about 0.3 miles you begin the second climbing test of the day, as you begin the ascent of Bowles Ridge. This climb also starts out steep and then eases a little, but is close to a mile long. Arriving at the high tension power towers is always a relief on this ride.

Bowles Ridge to Kenna: Topping out the climb, the next 12 miles are my favorite riding in the Charleston area. Rolling ridges on low traffic country lanes with great vistas in all directions. After climbing, you have a couple miles on Bowles Ridge and then you take a right at the intersection to continue on Co. 5, which is now Jim Ridge. Though you don't have any big climbs, there are numerous short steep ramps on the ridge, but opportunities to recover. I personally enjoy the ridge riding, to flat riding. After the ups and downs along the ridge, you have a long gradual downhill down Pleasant Valley to the intersection with Co. 21 again. You will probably encounter more traffic on this section of route 21, as people are accessing the interstate. Here you take a right on 21 for a mile and then a left on State 34 to begin an ascent toward I-77 that gradually gets steeper as you go. Passing under I-77 at the Kenna exit, there is an Exxon Station on the right where you can get water and food.

Kenna to Finish: Leaving the store, you have a short steep ramp to finish the climb on what is now Co. 19 (state 34 terminates at the interstate) , and you bare right at the top. You have a short down hill, another short climb, one more short descent and climb before arriving at the intersection of county 19/9, Fishers Ridge Road (there is a Fishers Ridge on both sides of I-77 that the route travels over). This is where the Optional Route diverges from main route. Taking a right on 19/9, you begin a few more miles of ridge riding. Pavement on this section is more patchy and needs more attention than other sections of the ride. Fishers Ridge has the same rolling terrain as the other ridges and when you get to about the 40 mile mark in the ridge, you begin the twisting descent of Fishers Ridge that comes out on Co. 21. Take a left on Co. 21, you retrace your route for the last 2.4 Miles to the finish.

Optional Route:

Fishers Ridge to Finish: Rather then taking a right Co. 19/4, you continue straight on Co. 19 for another 0.2 miles and take a right on Sugar Creek, Co. 42 in a dip in the road. Sugar Creek Road has several sections where the pavement is broken up across the road, the first on the downhill right after turning on to it. The road surface between these sections is pretty good. Sugar Creek Road is a narrow road, so be careful when meeting oncoming traffic. Most of the six plus miles you are on Sugar Creek, you will be descending to the Middle Fork of the Pocatalico River, as opposed to the rolling ridge riding of the main Fishers Ridge Route. Arriving at the bottom of Fishers Creek, you take a right onto Co. 42. This is a wider, but still an un-stripped country road. The surface is good the remaing 4.2 miles to the finish, with a couple small ascents around the Rippling Waters Campground (Private). You will arrive at the start/finish from the opposite direction of the start.

County 19/2 (Duddon Fork) offers an easier and a two mile shorter route back to route 21, but it has sections of VERY heavy pavement, and even a short section of gravel.

Items of Interest Along the Route

No items of significant interest along the route. Plenty of great scenery. Around the third week of October, you usually find some great Fall foliage on this route.

Water and Food

The Exxon Station at Kenna is the only reliable source of water/food on the route.


Charleston offers numerous lodging and dining opportunities.

Nearest Bike Shops:


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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