Bucket the Snail riding a bike

Family biking on the VA Kids Trail offers city sights, mountain scenery, easy outings and challenging terrain. Even the youngest family members can enjoy the adventure. Review these bike safety tips and then try one of these trails.

Family Biking on the Kids Trail

Bike riding is a fun, healthy family activity. There are family bike adventures for all ages and skills. Parks and rec departments provide “greenways” winding along urban nature pockets. Virginia State parks have miles of “multi-use” trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. The C&O Canal Towpath runs through the Harpers Ferry area of the Kids Trail. There’s also the W&OD Trail in western Loudoun County. And mountain bike enthusiasts find their thrills at a four-season resort.

Bike Safety Tips

Before you start pedaling, take a few minutes and review these bike safety tips. The Number #1 tip – wear a helmet, because children do imitate their parents. Here are a few others from safewise.com:

  • Know the weather forecast, dress appropriately and don’t forget sunscreen.
  • Be visible – from clothing to front and rear bike lights.
  • Ride with a buddy and carry a patch kit, cell phone, ID, and some cash.
  • On the road, ride with traffic – never against it and behave like you’re in a vehicle while you’re on your bike. Know the biking rules of your state.
  • Remember to fill and take your water bottle.

Where to Go Family Biking

There are so many ways to enjoy a bike ride on the Virginia Kids Trail. Bike the Valley does a terrific job breaking down the Shenandoah Valley region. You’ll find road routes, greenways/paths, gravel routes and mountain biking. Traillink.com  is another valuable resource. And we’ve come up with a few family bike rides on the VA Kids Trail.

Winchester Area Bike Rides

Family Biking at Sunset on the VA Kids TrailThe Green Circle Trail in downtown Winchester connects historic, recreational, educational and natural points of interest. Or test your trail riding skills at Sherando Park in nearby Stephens City. Find 14 miles of multi-use trails at Shenandoah River State Park. Make a morning of trail riding, then enjoy a picnic lunch by the scenic river. 

After biking around Winchester, head north to Harpers Ferry or east to Leesburg for more family-friendly bike routes and trails.

Harpers Ferry & Leesburg Area Biking

Bavarian Inn VA Kids TrailCombine biking and a history lesson with a ride around the Harpers Ferry area. Explore Shepherdstown and pick up the C&O Canal Trail. Since it’s mostly flat and shady, it’s great for families. Head east and visit the historic town of Harper’s Ferry. You can ride around town, but if you want to visit the National Park, you’ll need to stow your bike. Guests at Shepherdstown’s Bavarian Inn Resort will find bikes as part of the amenities.

Many of Virginia’s best bike paths are part of the rails-to-trails conversion system. The W&OD Trail starts in Arlington and ends in Purcellville. This is a popular trail, so be ready to share with other outdoor enthusiasts. Next door neighbor Sky Meadows State Park has nine miles of scenic riding. Kids can also enjoy the Children’s Discovery Area.

Mountain Biking at Massanutten Resort

Family Mountain Biking Massanutten Resort VA Kids TrailWhat’s the toughest part of mountain biking? Going up the mountain, of course. So take the climb out of the equation with resort mountain biking. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned rider, Massanutten Resort’s Mountain Bike Park near Harrisonburg has adventure for any level. Those new to downhill mountain biking have their own chair lift while advanced riders can take a separate lift to more challenging trails. 

Massanutten is also gaining a reputation in XC (cross country) mountain biking. The Western Slope of Massanutten Mountain is home to XC biking with 30 miles of trails. Winding through wooded terrain, these paths are for serious riders.

More Family Biking

While you’re in the Harrisonburg area, check out the town’s mountain bike trail system at Hillandale Park. Rocktown Trails offers three levels of singletrack trails with a half dozen loops. And if you head south to Lexington, you’ll find the Chessie Nature Trail. It parallels the Maury River for seven miles from Lexington to Buena Vista and runs along a rail line and canal towpaths.

Biking with KidsLooking for more family biking adventures? The towns of Staunton and Waynesboro offer easy access to biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway for more experienced riders. And you’ll also find family-friendly greenways. Charlottesville is a “Bicycle Friendly Community” designated by the League of American Bicyclists. All city buses have bike racks. Try the Saunders-Monticello Trail or the hidden singletrack gem in Mint Springs Valley Park.

Lynchburg’s Parks & Recreation Department oversees several trails in the “City of Seven Hills”. Try a ride on Blackwater Creek Trail. The RiverWalk multi-use trail gives a tour of the city along with Percival’s Island. And Roanoke Valley Greenways connect you to the Star City’s parks, downtown district and Roanoke River.

Biking is not only great exercise, it gives the whole family a chance to be together and experience new things. So pump up the tires, grab your water bottle, and get rolling on the VA Kids Trail.

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