Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route

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The Mid-Atlantic BDR (MABDR) is the eighth BDR route developed for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel.

MABDR is a scenic ride for dual-sport and adventure motorcycles that uses dirt, gravel and paved roads to wind through remote parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Starting in Damascus Virginia, and ending in Lawrenceville, Tioga County, PA, this 1,080-mile route, primarily uses forest roads and rural country lanes, to lead riders through the Appalachian mountains, majestic forests, bucolic farming landscapes, Amish country, and locations that played pivotal roles in early American history. 

Join us for MABDR film sreenings at dealerships and theatres across the country beginning February.

The  film is also available for streaming or download on Vimeo.

The route is presented by American Honda Motor Corp., Inc.  

Cross Country Cycle is the official dealership of the MABDR route.  

Backcountry Discovery Routes Currently in Development: 

California Backcountry Discovery Route South

California Backcountry Discovery Route North

North East Backcountry Discovery Route

South East Backcountry Discovery Route

Wyoming Backcountry Discovery Route

Montana Backcountry Discovery Route

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Backcountry Discovery Routes

Backcountry Discovery Routes Headquarters

Dancing Bear Bed and Breakfast (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

Family owned Bed and Breakfast in Damascus, Virginia. Located within walking distance of the Appalachian Trail and Virginia Creeper Trail.

Laurel Run Cabins (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

One and two bedroom cabins with large decks overlooking the river. All of the cabins have full bathrooms, kitchen, microwave, oven, coffee pot and Wi-fi.

LTD Vacation Rental Cabins (Petersburg, WV, MABDR)

5 cozy cabins with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor hot tubs, satellite TV, and full privacy from each other.

Poe Paddy Campground (Woodward, PA, MABDR)

Located at the junction of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek.

Antietam Creek Campsite (MABDR)

Just south of Sharpsburg, along Antietam Creek which feeds into the much larger and faster Potomac River directly adjacent to the campsite.

Smoke Hole Caverns Log Cabin Resort (Cabins, VA, MABDR)

Tourist attraction located in the Seneca Rocks/Spruce Knob National Recreational Area. Cozy log cabins and Cavern pool tours. 

Warm Springs Inn (Warm Springs, VA, MABDR)

 A landmark in Bath County since it was built in the late 1800's, this historical inn was established in the same building as the first courthouse and jail in the county.

Mountain Lake Lodge (Pembroke, VA, MABDR)

This 3.5 star hotel features an outdoor pool, sauna, restaurant, bar/lounge, and wireless internet access. 

Americas Best Value Inn (Marion VA, MABDR)

Standard three-star Hotel

Dancing Bear Bed and Breakfast (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

Family owned Bed and Breakfast in Damascus, Virginia. Located within walking distance of the Appalachian Trail and Virginia Creeper Trail.

Laurel Run Cabins (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

One and two bedroom cabins with large decks overlooking the river. All of the cabins have full bathrooms, kitchen, microwave, oven, coffee pot and Wi-fi.

LTD Vacation Rental Cabins (Petersburg, WV, MABDR)

5 cozy cabins with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor hot tubs, satellite TV, and full privacy from each other.

Poe Paddy Campground (Woodward, PA, MABDR)

Located at the junction of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek.

Antietam Creek Campsite (MABDR)

Just south of Sharpsburg, along Antietam Creek which feeds into the much larger and faster Potomac River directly adjacent to the campsite.

Smoke Hole Caverns Log Cabin Resort (Cabins, VA, MABDR)

Tourist attraction located in the Seneca Rocks/Spruce Knob National Recreational Area. Cozy log cabins and Cavern pool tours. 

Warm Springs Inn (Warm Springs, VA, MABDR)

 A landmark in Bath County since it was built in the late 1800's, this historical inn was established in the same building as the first courthouse and jail in the county.

Mountain Lake Lodge (Pembroke, VA, MABDR)

This 3.5 star hotel features an outdoor pool, sauna, restaurant, bar/lounge, and wireless internet access. 

Americas Best Value Inn (Marion VA, MABDR)

Standard three-star Hotel

MA1 Damascus to Newport Marathon Gas

Hyper awareness is your friend at the outset of this MABDR adventure: May we suggest some good shut-eye followed by a double shot of your favorite type of caffeine? Get your motor running on Chestnut Mountain Road next to a waterfall, one of many that pool from nearby Valley Creek. Don’t let the lovely meandering route through Jefferson National Forest and along the flanks of Mt. Rogers dull your senses, the cinder-sized gravel has a tendency to berm up on both the center of the road and on the shoulders (not unlike a lot of the unpaved roads in Virginia and West Virginia). There is a scarcity of truly scenic vistas on many roads in the Mid-Atlantic States - happily you can enjoy a bathroom break at every top natural beauty spot on your journey. Make sure to hit up the overlook at Skulls Gap - the views are eye-popping! Once in Marion, check that your eyes are firmly back in their sockets lest the residents think the Zombie apocalypse has arrived on motorcycle. Sightseeing around the old historic quarter is well worth the time, as several buildings are ancient (by US standards), more than 200 years old. Upon leaving Marion, enjoy a fun game of hopscotch dancing back and forth from narrow paved county roads and along the edges of landowners’ homesteads, to tight-n-twisty mountain roads that swing from ridgeline to ridgeline. Wyrick Trail is an especially narrow two-track that balances atop any number of the area’s higher escarpments. Countless timber cuts along the route may have been felled to make way for power lines, but provide long and unobstructed views of the countryside. The Appalachian Trail crisscrosses the MABDR at numerous points, including the Brushy Mountain Outpost, a small grill and market where hungry hikers and bikers can restock. Dismal Creek Campground, a few miles up the road, is the perfect little campground for another great night of sleep. Fueling stops are few and far between in the Appalachians. Keep your eyes peeled for the Marathon Gas Station in Newport, Virginia (7891 Virginia Ave). Gas up your bike – and yourself - before moving on to the next segment of your trip.

MA2 Newport Marathon Gas to Covington

Sure you were “Born to Run,” but consider stepping into Johnny Castle and Baby’s dancing shoes for a spell. Soon after kissing Newport goodbye, you’ll be guided to the iconic Mountain Lake Lodge via Mountain Lake Road (VA-700) and site of the beloved cheesy movie, Dirty Dancing. As they say, it’s hip to be square - we say, “Stay the night!” This high-country stone lodge simply oozes charm and offers amenities to satisfy royalty. But freedom beckons, even to the high-born: escape on your motorized steed pointing it north toward the West Virginia state line atop verdant tree-lined dirt roads. White Rocks Campground is close at hand for those who don’t identify with the princess or the pea. Now that you’re securely in West Virginia, look for the Potts Valley Rail Trail that overlays an abandoned corridor of the Norfolk and Western Branch Railroad. This 4.5 mile hiking and (mountain biking) route is popular with outdoor buffs and historic train enthusiasts – and a good excuse to stretch. Tub Run Road is a highlight! It’s a slim, super snaky and slightly technical dirt trail that has enough turns to make you feel like - well - Baby. Other jaunts of note are VA-311, a short paved segment, and Red Brush Road, a dirt ride. Red Brush is drier and brighter than Tub Run, but marked by ruts that require undivided attention. There are numerous camping opportunities in the area as well as lodging options in Covington.

MA3 Covington to Moorefield

Set several early alarms on your smartphone, ‘cause you’re about to embark on the longest day of the bike tour. Head northeast from Covington and get your jollies on early, too. You won’t need to be on full alert – yet – this stretch of road is milder than yesterday afternoon’s. And just like that, you’re smack dab in the middle of the George Washington National Forest, which, combined with Jefferson National Forest, means you’re about to savor the largest swath of public land in the Eastern U.S.! Allow this big bad beauty to wash over you while you soldier onward. Turn west toward historical Warm Springs, VA, as soon as you reach VA-39. The crystal-clear water that bubbles up to the surface from deep underground has been luring folks for generations, like Thomas Jefferson, who frequented these healing waters to alleviate his rheumatism. Legend has it that a Native American Indian discovered the pools after traveling far and wide – just like you. He was said to have been instantly rejuvenated – just like you? Thank heaven you just bathed in the fountain of youth: north of Warm Springs the roads are far twistier than any previous ones you’ve confronted – you’ll be cruising up and over mountain upon mountain and ridgeline after ridgeline that seem to go on forever. The best part of your day may just come at the end of the day: the riding ranges from narrow, hypnotically flowing one-lane blacktop, to constricted canyon-lined byways. Smoke Hole Canyon is especially thrilling given the pulsing South Branch of the Potomac River. Technically speaking, this segment ends in the town of Moorefield. We prefer to crash out at the Smoke Hole Resort, less than 20 miles south of town. *** Pressing phone calls should be made in Warm Springs, as you can expect to be out of cell phone range for the remainder of your ride. Outside of Warm Springs, your best bet for food and fuel is Brandywine, WV.

MA4 Moorefield to Shepherdstown

Although most of this segment is characterized by highly entertaining hours of skinny (and skinnier) modern-day paved mountain trails, you’d swear you’ve entered The Twilight Zone every time you get off of your bike to take a breather. Atypical historic points of interest dot the route, like Horn Camp Schoolhouse - the family that owns it lives to share the authentic structure and bygone experience with those who chance by. Another sideshow, literally impossible to miss, is the Oldtown Low Water Toll Bridge, one of the last few private toll roads operating in the 50 states. You have no choice but to stop and pay the whopping fee of $.50 to get to the other side. Even better, the operator pops out a long-handled steel cup out of the tollbooth window to capture your coins. Best of all, you’ll most likely hear, “You’ve just made my day!” as a way of thanks. Further up the road lies the Oak Barrel Café and Grocery, a quaint throw back and the place to fill up your tank and your belly and stock up on camping provisions for an overnight stay at Antietam Creek Campground on the banks of the mighty Potomac. The bloodiest single day in American military history occurred in the Civil War at Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland. Be sure to visit the on site museum, at the very least. Depending on how strongly you feel the lingering energy, you may run back to your bike instead of taking your time walking the fields where obscene numbers of Confederate and Union soldiers fell.

MA4Alt Antietam Hapers Ferry Bypass

Much of the morning is paved pleasure, a fortunate turn that allows for ample time visiting Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. A significant Union army camp, headquarters site, and logistical supply base during the Civil War, it also served as the largest surrender point of Confederate forces at that time. Though shrouded by sad history, Harpers Ferry is captivating today for a host of boutiques offering unique artisanal crafts and culinary delights. The town lies at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, the meeting point of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Back on your bike again, you’ll soon hit South Mountain Creamery, a worthwhile quick stop with wholesome and tasty food fresh from the Amish working farm located here. In view of your daylong seductive journey through time and eats, you may not have yet realized that the surrounding landscape mirrors your passage out of the darkness and into the light. The backdrop has morphed from thick groves of deciduous conifers and pine to wide open rolling fields with bucolic small farms and sprawling cattle ranches. The canopy tightens once more upon entering Michaeux State Forest, and the road regains a speedy, yet wonderfully flowy two track. Look out for the occasional bar ditch - life truly is an mix of shadow and radiance. The town of Mt. Holly Springs lies at the end of this segment. This way station is rife with Civil War history and offers yet another great stopover if you haven’t had your fill.

MA4Ext Antietam Battlefield Loop

On to Pennsylvania, the land of ‘Liberty, Virtue and Independence!’ The lay of the land is similar to Virginia, with a whole lot of escarpments waiting for you to explore. Translation: a whole lot of elevation changes from the ridgelines to the valleys only a few thousand feet below. After all of the sightseeing the last couple of days, you’ll love zipping past tree after tree after tree. This area comprises all manner of outdoor recreation including stand out Tuscarora State Park. Here you’ll have the freedom to stop -or not - to picnic, fish or simply take in the fantastic views across the lake. New Germantown is a particularly scenic village halfway along this segment. You’ve got liberty and independence covered on your bike. Lacking virtue? You can absolve your sins – at least for today - inside the simple old Fairview Church outside of town. While you’re at it, don’t forget to thank God for Pennsylvania: the state utilizes smooth-as-a-drum rollers to compact its dirt roads after grading them, a welcome change from the days of dicey, gravel-ridden corners ridden earlier in the trip.

MA5 Shepherdstown to Mt Holly Springs

Amish country is surely akin to Luddite heaven. Lucky! you get to travel in the ‘way back machine’ to a time and place when a horse and buggy were the only method of travel and life was simpler and less urgent. Small, quaint hamlets and extraordinarily well-kept farms and homesteads dot the valleys as far as the eye can see. Please show respect by slowing down and giving both man and beast a wide berth – we are all fortunate whenever, and wherever, we can experience an easier pace for a while. Your digital devices could use a vacation, too. Get that easygoing vibe really going at Greenwood Furnace State Park early into the itinerary. Greenwood Lake practically begs passersby to take a refreshing dip and there are bathrooms and showers. Feeling super relaxed now? The park campground is top notch. Food options are sparse but Couch’s Grocery has some provisions just up the road. The ensuing dirt section, through Bald Eagle State Forest, will snap you back to attention. Ravens Knob Road is highlighted by a steep descent complete with embedded rocks, ruts and switchbacks. Poe Paddy State Park is a welcome respite at the end of the slope and offers a lovely campground and picnic area. From here to the end of the segment get ready for the fast and gravelly woodsy trails, including Flat Hollow, an expert option. If you feel flat or your nerves are shot from the drop down into Poe Paddy, opt for the fine looking main trail. Make sure to fuel up at Harvey’s Food Mart in Hartleton before continuing onto section eight.

MA5Ext Harpers Ferry Loop

Welcome to the northern end of the MABDR and the southern edge of New England, home of legendary fall scenery that lures people from parallel universes, like Japan. Honestly, an autumn trip yields groves of changing trees with almost surreal colors competing for attention, everywhere you look. Add in covered bridges and fire-engine-red barns and you’d swear you’re in a landscape puzzle. Remember to pick up your jaw once in awhile lest it drag on the dirt roads you’ll be riding on most of the day – not a pretty picture. Expert riders will be glad to know that there is ‘’driveable’ trail on this leg. Fair warning: Though short, it’s a slender two-track through woods that is punctuated with deep ruts and big rocks. There is a high potential of finding mud, too! Woolrich, one of the oldest sportswear companies in the U.S. is nearby in the town of – yep, you guessed it – Woolrich, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1830, the company’s original store and factory is still located here. Take a tour and spring for that article of clothing that may need replacing as your tour winds down.

MA6 Mt Holly Springs to McVeytown

You’ll want to relish every single minute on your bike today, the last stage of an amazing route that will transition from reality to memory all too soon… the state line of New York is a scant 70 miles away. But enough of the maudlin sentiment, midway through this final segment you’ll reach the so-called Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Colton Point State Park on the west rim of Pine Creek Gorge. Dig deep and truly live for the moments on the fleeting lookout loop that is Colton Road. Sweeping, commanding views lead eastward, into Tioga State Forest. You’ll quickly learn why the campground here is so popular – hmmm, it’s not such a bad idea to put off the real world a little longer. The final 35 or so miles is a pleasurable trek across dirt tracks and county paved roads, and in and out of small farms and clusters of trees, reminiscent of southern Pennsylvania a long and short three days ago. This journey ends in the border town of Lawrenceville, New York. Congratulations, you did it - 1,093 miles and five states later, you’ve reached the end of the MABDR! Time to start planning another trip…

MA7 McVeytown to Hartleton

MA7Alt Flat Hollow EXPERT

MA8 Hartleton to Cedar Run

MA8Alt Driveable 4x4 EXPERT

MA8Ext Colton Point Observation Loop

MA9 Cedar Run to NY Border

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MABDR FAQ

Below are answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions about the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route.

MABDR Packing List

(This packing list serves as an example and is not intended to be a complete list for your backcountry riding needs. Feel free to customize this list to work for you.)

MABDR Lodging