Choose your own adventure!
There are five base routes to choose from: 15, 35, 50, 70 and 90 miles, plus three optional climbs. You can stay in the valley and ride the rolling hills found on the base routes or you can add more challenge & distance by taking on the optional climbs. Between the five base routes and the three optional climbs, there are a total of 19 different route combinations ranging from 15 to 103 miles!
PLEASE NOTE: In order to continue on the 70 and 90-mile routes, you must reach the Pikeville rest stop by 10:00, which gives you 3 hours to ride 27 miles from the ride start in Dunlap (32 miles including the first climb). After 10:00 all cyclists will be redirected to return to Dunlap via the 50-mile route.
A great introduction to cycling in Sequatchie Valley with plenty of rolling hills and nice views of the valley & ridges. Because this route is short, there are no rest stops along the way (which is reflected in the low price for this distance).
15 miles & 800 feet of climbing
A solid mid-distance ride with great scenery and a legitimate climb in the middle. While the climb & descent are not overly steep or technical (less than 10% grade and no curves), the climb is still close to a mile in length and will make an impression! This route has two rest stops, Mile 12 and Mile 25 (without the Walden Ridge climb).
Without the WALDEN RIDGE climb: 35 miles & 2,000 feet of climbing
With the WALDEN RIDGE climb: 40 miles & 2,900 feet of climbing
The quintessential scenic survey of Sequatchie Valley running between Dunlap and Pikeville and covering both the east and west sides of the valley. This route has three rest stops, Mile 12, Mile 27 and Mile 40 (without the optional climbs).
With no optional climbs: 50 miles & 2,700 feet of climbing
With the CUMBERLAND PLATEAU climb: 55 miles & 3,700 feet of climbing
With the WALDEN RIDGE climb: 55 miles & 3,600 feet of climbing
With both the CUMBERLAND & WALDEN climbs: 60 miles & 4,600 feet of climbing
A beautiful route that takes the scenic 50-mile loop and adds a bonus 20-mile loop north of Pikeville, giving you a taste of the gorgeous riding on the north end of the Valley. This route has four rest stops: Mile 12, Mile 27, Mile 48 and Mile 61 (without the optional climbs).
With no optional climbs: 71 miles & 3,900 feet of climbing
With the CUMBERLAND PLATEAU climb: 76 miles & 5,000 feet of climbing
With the WALDEN RIDGE climb: 76 miles & 4,800 feet of climbing
With both the CUMBERLAND & WALDEN climbs: 81 miles & 5,800 feet of climbing
A journey to where the Valley and its namesake river start! It's a long ride, but the northernmost part of the Valley has some of the prettiest riding in the Valley, offering a different type of landscape as the east & west ridges converge to form a more mountainous environment. Be advised that there are some bumpy roads on the north end, but the scenery is well worth it! This route has five rest stops: Mile 12, Mile 27, Mile 47, Mile 66 and Mile 79 (without the optional climbs).
With no optional climbs: 89 miles & 5,300 feet of climbing
With the CUMBERLAND PLATEAU climb: 93 miles & 6,300 feet of climbing
With the WALDEN RIDGE climb: 94 miles & 6,200 feet of climbing
With the TOP OF THE VALLEY climb: 95 miles & 6,100 feet of climbing
With the TOP OF THE VALLEY & WALDEN climbs: 98 miles & 6,800 feet of climbing
With the TOP OF THE VALLEY & CUMBERLAND climbs: 98 miles & 6,900 feet of climbing
With the CUMBERLAND & WALDEN climbs: 98 miles & 7,200 feet of climbing
The Three Mountain Challenge! Not only does this route give you the full range of Sequatchie Valley scenery from Dunlap all the way to where the Valley starts, but it also gives you three seriously challenging climbs on the east, west and north ridges that border the Valley. This challenge is for experienced riders. The route has five rest stops: Mile 12, Mile 32, Mile 55, Mile 74 and Mile 93.
With ALL THREE climbs: 103 miles & 7,800 feet of climbing
Get rewarded for your effort! The finish line of each climb will be marked by a volunteer who will give you a ticket as proof that you made it to the top. Redeem your tickets back at our home base in Dunlap for commemorative prizes based on how many mountains you conquered!
The climbs are all out & back (UP & back), which not only allows you to continue on the base routes after conquering each climb (or skipping them altogether if your legs aren't up for it), but it also gives you a chance to scout out the descent on the way up. Pay attention to road surface conditions and sharp curves during the ride up.
Because the climbs will have cyclists going up and coming down, it is extremely important to stay in your lane. Please stay on the right side of the road at all times. Do not weave into the left lane on the way up and do not use the whole road on the way down! If you are unable to stay in your lane while climbing or descending (or at any point on the ride) this is not the right ride for you.
While the climbs won't be timed (just finishing them is enough to warrant a reward!), we did match the finish of each climb to an existing Strava segment for those looking to clock their climbs.
The Sequatchie Valley owes its striking scenery in large part to the two massive ridges that form its borders, the Cumberland Plateau on the west side and Walden Ridge on the east side. For Cycle Sequatchie we've chosen climbs that allow you to go up each side of the Valley, as well as a climb where the two ridges come together to form the northern end of the Valley (what we call the Top of the Valley).
While the climb at the north end of the Valley is somewhat manageable, the climbs up the east and west walls are exceptionally challenging, with double-digit grades for extended sections. Climbing gears & disc brakes are highly recommended. If you're not used to tackling long climbs or descending steep grades, please think twice before attempting them.
If you're looking for a climb with more moderate grades (less than 10%) as well as a straight, non-technical descent, consider riding the 35-mile route, which includes close to a mile of climbing as it crosses over a ridge in the middle of the Valley (College Station Mountain).
2.2 miles (4.4 miles up & back) / 1,000 feet of climbing.
Available for the 50, 70 & 90-mile routes.
The climb up the Cumberland Plateau on the west side of the Valley is on Lee Station Mountain Road, a narrow backroad that works its way up the ridge through a dense tree canopy. The road is super steep, with plenty of double-digit grades, including some sections that hit 20%! If you're not comfortable going up - and coming down - steep grades, this is not a climb you should attempt. But if you're looking for a true test of your climbing and descending skills, this will give you all the challenge you need! Because this road is narrow and does not have a yellow line, it is imperative that you stay to the right side of the road at all times. Do not attempt this climb if you are unable to climb steep grades without weaving back & forth.
2.6 miles (5.2 miles up & back) / 800 feet of climbing
Available for the 90-mile route.
If you travel far enough north in Sequatchie Valley you'll eventually reach the point where Walden Ridge comes together with the Cumberland Plateau to form the northern border of the Valley. This convergence is not only where the Valley begins, but it's also where the Sequatchie River starts - from a cave! You can see this unique feature at our Head of Sequatchie rest stop. The driveway for the rest stop is about a quarter of the way up the climb. If you're going to do the entire climb, we recommend completing the climb first and then stopping at the rest stop on the way down. The climb up the ridge at the Top of the Valley is on Old Highway 28, a road that is seldom used since the construction of the new highway on the west side of the Valley. While there are a few short sections that reach double-digit grades, the climb generally stays in the 4-8% range, making it ideal for a steady cadence rhythm to the top of this beautiful tree-lined climb!
2.5 miles (5 miles up & back) / 900 feet of climbing
Available for the 35, 50, 70 & 90-mile routes.
The climb up Walden Ridge on the east side of the Valley is up Pitts Gap Mountain Road, which is a quiet wooded road with some nice views of the Valley below where the power lines cut through the trees. The climb starts off with an easy warm-up before tilting up sharply and then stays in the 7-14% range the rest of the way. This consistently steep grade coupled with a rough surface make the descent a challenge as well. Good gears, good brakes and conservative riding (both going up and coming down) are keys to completing this challenge!
All turns for all routes will be marked on the pavement with orange arrows before, at, and after each turn. If there is no arrow at an intersection, that means continue straight. We will also have supplemental signage at tricky turns and where the routes diverge. That being said, always keep an eye on the pavement markings in case someone lifts our signs.
Bring your cell phone on the ride! We will provide you with a phone number to call if you need assistance, and we will do our best to support you during the ride with well-stocked rest stops and multiple roving SAG vehicles. However, we can’t be everywhere at once. You should still come prepared with the tools you need to fix a flat or do your own minor repairs, just as you would on any long distance ride.
Rules of the Road
- You must wear a helmet to participate in this ride.
- Avoid using earbuds while riding, as awareness of your surroundings at all times is crucial to your safety as well as the safety of those around you.
- Keep an eye out for vehicles while riding and be considerate to vehicles trying to pass. We've avoided the busier roads with our routes, but all roads will be open to traffic.
- Obey all traffic laws, which means stopping at all stop signs and traffic lights.
- Ride no more than two abreast.
- Ride on the shoulder or in a bike lane whenever possible.
- If you need to stop while riding, please get completely off the road.
- Control your speed on fast descents by feathering your brakes, and always brake before entering sharp turns (as opposed to a sudden hard squeeze in the middle of a turn).
- Communicate with other cyclists when riding as a group. When turning, signal with your hand and tell everyone which direction you're turning. Announce when you're slowing down or coming to a stop. Call out hazards in the road.
- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line without zig-zagging, and ride at a consistent speed without sudden accelerations or decreases in speed.