Claw of the Dragon Brochure

Page 1

Funding for this brochure provided by: Galax Tourism

110 East Grayson Street, Galax, VA

888-217-8823 • 276-238-8130 Visit Smyth County 276-646-3306

West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery

Downtowm Galax

Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Courtesy Galax Tourism

975 Tazewell Street, Wytheville, VA Intersection I-81/I-77 SW VA

877-347-8307 • 276-223-3355

Highlands Distilling Co.

Downtowm Marion

Courtesy Smyth County Tourism Association


nyone can ride the Claw of the Dragon, but do you have what it takes to Conquer it? The Claw brings to life all of the reasons a rider loves to ride, as this trek of road is the crowning jewel of Southwest Virginia’s back roads with it’s combination of thrilling open road and exhilarating twists and turns! The Claw of the Dragon is made up of multiple looped trails totaling over 350 miles which snake their way up, out and over several Blue Ridge Mountain ranges, including the highest elevation in Virginia. The Claw also features the heart-stopping action of the famous Back of the Dragon stretch on Virginia Route 16 that rolls through 260 curves and over three mountain ranges between Tazewell and Marion in only a 32 mile ribbon of pavement.

The trail travels through parts of seven Virginia counties and is easily accessible from Interstates 77, 81 or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Within the Claw’s loops a rider will find a variety of terrain including roller coaster like peaks, hair pin curves, corkscrew turns, switchback bends and rolling two lanes, enabling you to have an all-inclusive riding experience. Along with the thrilling adventure of the Claw, the trek winds

Courtesy Smyth County Tourism Association

through the breathtaking beauty of the Jefferson National Forest and several State Parks, boasting thick wooded forests, tumbling mountain streams and stunning scenic views. In multiple spots along the ride there is evidence of where the Blue Ridge Mountains got their name, as off in the distance the perfectly framed ridges almost blend in with the sky due to their soft blue-like hue.

MONTREAL 855 miles

DETROIT 562 miles

CHICAGO 659 miles



Downtown Marion is home to a thriving arts and music scene, with plenty of local dining options, from barbecue to brews. Take in a show at the Lincoln Theatre, the home of the nationally syndicated bluegrass music television series, “Song of the Mountains.” This beautiful facility is one of only three remaining Mayan Revival theaters in America. Right next door, the General Francis Marion Hotel is a favorite of riders, with its beautiful 1920s decor, and lounge area that was formerly a speakeasy. Stroll the quaint sidewalks of the historic district

• •

CINCINNATI 379 miles

BRANSON 802 miles

NASHVILLE 369 miles

BIRMINGHAM 435 miles


NEW ORLEANS 776 miles

• •

KNOXVILLE 186 miles GATLINBURG 180 miles

• PENSACOLA 681 miles


BOSTON 732 miles


RICHMOND 250 miles



CHARLESTON 126 miles

LEXINGTON 303 miles




LOUISVILLE 374 miles


NEW YORK 518 miles

CLEVELAND 371 miles



The Claw also offers a variety of unique attractions, delicious dining establishments and exciting entertainment venues within and along the trail. Stop in at Hungry Mother State Park to stretch your legs on the many trails while soaking up the incredible beauty of Hungry Mother Lake and take advantage of the free restrooms at the Welcome Center.


TORONTO 622 miles


to Sink

BALTIMORE 336 miles WASHINGTON, D.C. 299 miles



GREENSBORO CHARLOTTE 133 miles RALEIGH 137 miles 185 miles

COLUMBIA 228 miles


ATLANTA 372 miles


• • FL


I nto

MYRTLE BEACH 359 miles

CHARLESTON 341 miles

SAVANNAH 389 miles JACKSONVILLE 517 miles

ORLANDO 652 miles


MIAMI 860 miles

for unique shopping, and fuel up at Broad Street Coffee & Treats, or sample a craft brew at 36 Fifty Brewing. Heading south from downtown Marion, be sure to stop at Highlands Distilling Co. on Hwy. 16, for a tour of the distillery, then have a bottle of craft moonshine or bourbon shipped home.

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of the

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area Courtesy Smyth County Tourism Association

Blue Ridge Parkway Access Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Downtowm Galax LoveWorks Courtesy Galax Tourism

Big Walker Lookout

Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

British Motor Club on the Claw Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

The charming town of Galax provides an ideal break from the road, with it’s rustic downtown, rich history and a variety of dining, shopping and entertainment options. A visit to Old Cranks Motorcar Museum & Ice Cream Shop is like taking a trip back in time with examples of some of the earliest automobiles, vintage clothing and memorabilia on display. Main street offers shoppers a range of unique treasures including specialty jewelry, gourmet foods, wine, natural body care products and much more. After enjoying downtown’s delights, stop in Creek Bottom Brewing Company, one of the many dining opportunities located in Galax, to sample one of eight year-round craft brews or one of the several seasonal options to compliment your wood-fired brick oven pizza and smoked wings. Wrap the night up with a visit to the Historic Rex Theater which serves as a live music venue, prominently featuring bluegrass and old time mountain music.

Cruising on the Claw

Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

At the heart of the Claw sits Wytheville which serves perfectly as a central location to begin each day’s ride, rest your head at night and experience a one-of-a-kind getaway. Whether you prefer hotel accommodations, a cozy bed and breakfast, a secluded cabin in the woods or something a bit simpler, Wytheville has just what you’re looking for. After a long day of riding enjoy Wytheville’s unique downtown dining or one of the other dozens of local restaurants, even dinner and a show at the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre. After dinner enjoy locally crafted beers and entertainment at Seven Sisters Brewery or Seven Dogs Brewpub. Wytheville’s historic revitalized downtown district provides multiple museums, specialty shops, boutiques, cafes, parks and our LOVEworks display, all of which are within walking distance of each other.

Rex Theatre

Courtesy Galax Tourism

While traversing the trails in and around Wytheville a rider can also find several stop opportunities that allow for one-of-a-kind experiences. Climb the 100 foot tower at Big Walker Lookout & BW Country Store, enjoy the Flying Flowers Butterfly House at Beagle Ridge Herb Farm, interact with animals from six different continents at the Fort Chiswell Animal Park or visit West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery to learn how wine is made. From beginning to end, the Claw makes a rider desperate to soak in every detail of the road and ride, as it offers so much for the senses to get lost in! If you are a rider in any sense of the word, whether your choice of travel is a motorcycle, sports car, or other vehicle, get lost in this beautiful land for a day or two and sink YOUR Claws into these Curves!

Back of the Dragon

Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Big Walker Mountain Curves Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Dining on the Claw

Courtesy Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Stop for some New York style pizza and a slice of frontier-style history in Hillsville when hitting the Galax Loop. Soak up the surrounding beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway as you browse the many unique shopping opportunities in Cana and Fancy Gap. Take a break from the road with some slow smoked BBQ and your favorite flavors of craft brews in downtown Galax.

n w j Attraction " ) Have a world famous hot dog and

W Interstate Exit Y TV H I E L L E " )

see the “Big Pencil” on the 89 Wytheville Loop. Unwind after a day’s ride with drinks on a rooftop, dinner in a historic home or live music at a local venue in Wytheville’s charming downtown. Venture into the Blue Ridge “Outback” on a safari or learn about the history of making ammunition in Fort Chiswell. Fill your senses with an aromatic lavender farm in Cripple Creek or the taste of freshly baked sourdough bread and pies in Rural Retreat.

Fanc y Gap Hwy

Troutdale Hwy

S. Main St





Whi t etop





The Marion Loop also includes some of Smyth County’s most jaw-dropping sights, including Virginia’s two highest peaks, Mount Rogers (#1) and Whitetop Mountain (#2). The loop continues through the adorable towns of Chilhowie and Saltville, a must-see for history lovers. In downtown Saltville, the Museum of the Middle Appalachians offers an overview of this fascinating town’s 30,000 year history, from woolly mammoths to the jet fuel that sent Apollo 13 to the moon.




check out handcrafted " ) Interstate furniture and savor specialty meats and cheeses in the community of White Gate. Keep an eye out for glimpses of untouched nature and the local wildlife on Little Creek Highway and stop for a one-ofa-kind experience with a side of ice cream on Big Walker Mountain in the middle of the Jefferson National Forest.

. of theDragon



While traveling along the Bastian Loop, stop for a bite to eat and visit a brewery in the town of Tazewell. Enjoy a variety of Amish prepared food and baked goods inside Burkes Garden and step back in time to a reconstructed indian village in the loop’s namesake of Bastian.

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