Railroad Grade Road

North Carolina

23 Reviews

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Railroad Grade Road Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Ashe
Length: 10.8 miles
Trail end points: Railroad Grade Rd/US 221 (Fleetwood) and Todd Railroad Grade Rd (Todd)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 8413427

Railroad Grade Road Description

The Railroad Grade Road is a 10-mile road built on an old railroad grade that was once part of the Virginia-Carolina Railroad (Virginia Creeper).  This part of the Virginia Creeper line was abandoned due to the railroad company losing money running a line down to Todd, NC. In addition to walking and biking, travelers can enjoy some relaxing tubing downriver as the south fork of the New River runs parallel to the trail. Another attraction is the old Todd General Store, listed on historic landmark registers and located on the Railroad Grade Road. Patron can grab drinks, food, as well as rent bikes. The road is very narrow so some caution will need to be used. 

Parking and Trail Access

Parking available at Todd Store

Take 221 South towards West Jefferson and turn on NC 194 to go to Todd Railroad Grade Rd on left.

Railroad Grade Road Reviews

Excellent Course

The rail to ROAD conversion provides an excellent asphalt surface for road bikes. We train a lot out on the roads in SC and found this 20 mile course (10 miles out and back) so enjoyable. While we experienced local road traffic, drivers were very courteous. We never felt unsafe and saw several other riders. When we come back this way we will definitely does this again.

Great for Experienced Road Riders

This is the only flat road in the area. I ride here whenever I visit the Boone area. It is a great road for experienced cyclists who are comfortable sharing the road with traffic which is usually not very heavy. Like others have said it is not a good place for casual riders looking to get away from the road.

The pavement isn't perfect but it is just fine for racing bikes.

Not a Dedicated Bike Trail; This is a Narrow Highway

Would not recommend this trail for biking. Although the scenery is beautiful, you can’t see a lot of it. You spend most of your time looking for car traffic coming both ways.

Stay Off This Road

I'm a local. This is NOT a trail. This is a road. A road with no room to meet a bike, much less another vehicle. People live, work and travel this road so if you must bike it, please SHARE the road. I really hate that this road is on this list because it is NOT SAFE. The Virginia Creeper trail located 30 minutes north of us is much better for biking and walking.


Too many cars

This has the potential to be a good place to ride, follows along the New River. However, it is a one lane road, and there are a lot of cars. Many cars are going fast and do not slow down. Definitely no place for kids to be riding. Be sure to get permission to park, we got permission to park and still got questioned. Virginia Creeper from Damascus is a much nicer ride, and no cars. We won’t go back to Todd or Railroad Grade Rd.

Nice Ride

Wonderful,easy paved ride. Great for ebikes. Pavement is somewhat uneven in some spots, but still enjoyable. Encountered some vehicles, everyone was nice & considerate. Awesome food at Riverview restaurant, worth the stop

Great Biking

Went on a Sunday morning, very minimal traffic. Great view next to river. Flat, cool breeze and excellent views. Saturday during high season may be a bit more traffic with river tubing. All in all excellent and I will be doing it again this week.

Easy ride with beautiful riverside scenery: avoid 3/4 mi between Hwy 21 and Fleetwood

Note: this is a public road and not a 'rail trail' where cars are prohibited.
We started at the intersection of Hwy 21 and Railroad Grade Road on the Fleetwood side, mid-morning on a Tuesday. We parked off the side of the road as there was no designated parking area here. We should have driven on about 3/4 mile to a gravel lot across from the Fleetwood Post Office and parked there (assuming that is allowed). The first 3/4 mile from the intersection with Hwy 21 is very steep downhill, narrow, with blind curves... not the safest conditions for bicycles; also some traffic. It was quite an ascent at the end of our return trip. Next time we will avoid this section.
Railroad Grade Rd. branches off to the left about 1/4 mile past the Fleetwood Post Office. Here the road becomes 'unimproved', which means it is chip seal without any painted lines. I would call this the trail road. I saw at least one previous review that mentioned heavy traffic. We did not encounter heavy traffic on this section of the road during our ride... car or bicycle. The riverside scenery is beautiful. We were particularly impressed with a large Christmas tree farm. There is a gradual incline to Todd but hardly noticeable. We would definitely do this ride again.

High traffic road

Based on the previous reviews, I thought the traffic would be minimal. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I wanted to cut our run short due to the volume of traffic and little to no shoulder. There were tons of vehicles heading in and out of the drop points for the tubing on the river. People were whizzing by us despite the 35mph (which is still too fast for this road). The road is fairly exposed with no shade and there isn’t anything along the way like a store or gas station to replenish fluids. We started and Todd and hoped there was a convenience store or something in Fleetwood, but to our dismay there wasn’t. I would NOT recommend this route for running or biking.

Great Ride

Great ride. Some cars but most respectful of bikes. Parking somewhat limited, but River Girls Fishing Co. was most kind and helpful!

fantastic ride

Beautiful , scenery with cooler mountain temperatures and rail road grade along a mountain river. A must ride if your in the Boone area and want a joy ride in the mountains.

It's absolutely beautiful, but it's still a road

This trail is a secondary road that travels alongside the New River. This is the only reason I gave it 4 stars. The road is flat, which is odd for the NC mountain area. I went on a Monday and it was pretty quiet, but you will see some vehicles.

Beautiful ride

Worth the drive for this scenic ride through the.country. Ride the trail on a weekday and the traffic was fine. Don’t forget to eat the sticky buns at Todd Mercantile Store.

Railroad Grade Road Bike Trail

I really like it.

Todd to Brownwood and back over the mountain on Castle Ford Road

Where else can you ride 20+ miles in the mountains on a level road? I started at Green Valley Park on Big Hill road about a mile out of Todd. Very nice park and plenty of parking. It is about a mile ride into Todd from here. Then you can ride for 10+ relatively level miles on Railroad Grade Road. There is some vehicle traffic on the road. So ride on the right and signal your turns, and you will get along just fine with the vehicles.

If you want a little hill climbing exercise on the way back, turn off on Castle Ford Road at Todd Island Park. There is a one mile climb over the mountain, then back down in the New River valley up stream from Todd. Take River Road to Big Hill Road. These roads are relatively level with light vehicle traffic and continue the scenic views of the New River that you see on Railroad Grade Road.

A great ride through the Mountains.

Scenic River Ride!

We just biked 5 miles of this from Todd General Store. The roads are generally sparse for traffic, but traffic does pick up after 3 p.m. There is a little off-road area called Todd Island with a bridge also. Nice ride, easy and generally flat. There is a mild incline on the way back toward the store, but nothing strenuous. Peaceful trip!

Easy Ride

This trail is an easy paved ride. Started off 221 and rode to Todd in 45 min, then on to 194 to West Jefferson. now THAT was a ride, up the mountain, then down fast. Enjoy a short ride to 221 to Todd, or start in Todd and ride out and back. General store and Bakery, as well as a park in Todd make it a good half day outing.

Great, Easy Mountain Trail

My girlfriend and I drove over to Todd and biked this trail over the weekend. We rented bikes from the wonderful people at River Girl Fishing Company (located in the old depot at Todd) and biked to Fleetwood and back. It took us a little over two hours, including a short stop in Fleetwood. We had a great ride. Nice cool temps and very little traffic to speak of. The South Fork of the New River was filled with paddlers and tubers.

This is a really great ride. Very scenic and pretty much flat for the entire distance. Would definitely recommend this trail, especially if you in the Boone area (only 11 miles away).

Beautiful Scenary

We did not know if we could make a full 20 miles, so we chose to park midpoint at I believe Brownwood?Anyway we parked at a restaurant which had recently closed down Our first jaunt was to Todd, NC Nice ride but on this particular Sunday, there seemed to be a lot more motorist than I thought there would be. Still a nice ride overall to Todd NC Once we made it back to Brownwood we rode to Fleetwood Not as many cars on this stretch. I personally enjoyed it more because of less traffic and the folks tubing on the New River. Overall a fantastic place to bike. Flat trail but will give you a workout too! I would suggest lowering the speed to 25 People would be less likely to drive fast like some were today

Great Biking!

first time there. Started at the end opposite of Todd and had my husband drive to Todd General Store to wait for me and our teenage son. Beautiful scenery with the lazy river, people tubing, fishing, etc. Next time we will probably start at the General Store and ride out and back as others seemed to do. A little bit of cars passing by (like 10-15 cars in 10.8 miles), but quite a bit of bikers so felt like drivers were mindful and drove around with caution.

Worth the trip!

My wife and I recently purchased bikes and have been exploring trails found through the help of TrailLink.
This trail deserves 5 stars, but because we have some reservations about sharing the road with motor vehicles, I rated it with 4. The scenery on this trail at times is breath taking! If you enjoy casual biking and beautiful scenery, this one is definitely worth the trip to Todd, NC!

Todd to Fleetwood

My husband and I drove from Boone, it took about 25 minutes. The bike trail is a flat road, Railroad Grade Road. It follows the New River, one of the oldest river systems on earth. We biked from Todd to Fleetwood. The most scenic areas were the first two thirds of the way from Todd. We saw many cyclists and there weren't many cars on the road from 10:30 to 2:00 on a Sunday.

July 4th 2015

My wife and I drove up to ride on this trail. It has amazing views and also a great work out! We started at the Todd's General store and rode all the way to Fleetwood(20mile ride). I would highly recommend coming up to ride this trail. Some parts are narrow but nothing to be concerned with at all. Enjoy!

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