Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, nestled between the majestic Appalachian Mountains, Harrisonburg is the region’s outdoor adventure capital. With access to the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park and numerous trails, parks, and waterways, the city is a nature lover’s paradise. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Harrisonburg each year to attend events such as the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Festival, Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Grand Fondo or the Rocktown Rambler, while thrilling activities keep adventurers engaged throughout the year. Harrisonburg holds the distinction of being an IMBA Bronze Level Ride Center™ and is home to nationally recognized cyclists.
Serving as the hub for all of these activities is the city’s vibrant downtown district, a designated arts and culture district of Virginia, Virginia’s premier culinary district, and the award-winning community of Main Street. Harrisonburg is home to James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University, offering world-class entertainment and unique attractions ranging from a magnificent arboretum to an exciting planetarium. There are over 200 restaurants, 6 craft breweries and plenty of boutique accommodations in Harrisonburg. The city’s International Festival, which features food, music and culture from around the world, is an enduring tradition that celebrates the rich diversity of this unique and welcoming community.
Climb the Burg
Saluted by National Geographic Society as one of The 10 Best American Cities for Mountain Biking, Harrisonburg is the perfect getaway for a thrilling adventure. Located in the shadow of the Alleghany and Massanutten Mountains, Harrisonburg offers a diverse mix of peaceful county trails, bike-friendly city streets, twisty trails and challenging mountain bike courses, plus outfitters and guides for you take you where you want to be. Harrisonburg represents all types of cycling and levels and cyclists. Cycling is part of the culture!
Harrisonburg hosts many cycling events and nationally recognized cyclists. Jeremiah Bishop, an internationally renowned cross-country mountain biker, Pan American gold medalist, calls Harrisonburg home. You can see its influence in the national prominence of the city’s cycling events. His annual Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, launched in 2010, was ranked by Men’s Journal as one of America’s Top 10 Gran Fondos. It covers approximately 107 miles and features 11,000 feet of climbing. Other popular cycling events include: Bike Shenandoah, Shenandoah Valley Century Ride and Harris-Roubaix.
Come see for yourself why the driving is so beloved, the roads cherished and the experience relaxed and friendly. The IMBA recognizes Harrisonburg as a Bronze Level Ride Center™ thanks to numerous green, blue and red loops. Harrisonburg is the cycling capital of the valley.
Hike on and off the Appalachian Trail
Harrisonburg offers the perfect base camp for hikers, nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg is only a short drive from the Appalachian Trail, spectacular Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. A favorite hiking area for locals, Shenandoah National Park has over 800 km of trails, including 160 km of the Appalachian Trail. Some trails lead to a waterfall or viewpoint; others go deep into the forest and wilderness. Harrisonburg is delighted to have 19 local parks and the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum to share with locals and visitors. From George Washington Forest in the west to Skyline Drive in the east, the area offers plenty of hiking opportunities. Not sure where to take a trail? Check out some of our favorite trails below or contact our visitor center for more information.
Experience world-class fly fishing
From mineral-rich spring streams in the George Washington National Forest, to vast lakes and impoundments, to the largest rivers and tributaries that meander through the Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg is close to hundreds of miles of waterfront. The area surrounding the ‘Burg is one of the most densely populated trout in the Mid-Atlantic, making it a popular destination for anglers. Mossy Creek, Virginia’s most famous fly fishing spot for brown trout, is just 20 minutes from Harrisonburg. The Shenandoah River, famous for its beauty, is accessible by several entry points within 30 minutes of the city and is widely considered one of the best smallmouth rivers in the world.
Harrisonburg is host to a variety of well-anticipated annual fishing events. Each February, join anglers from across the Shenandoah Valley for Iron Fly, a lightweight fly tying competition hosted by Mossy Creek Fly Fishing Company. In March, catch some of the best fly fishing films in the country during the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T), a traveling roadshow offering an evening full of action, camaraderie, raffles and door prizes.
Adventurer by nature
After a long day on the river or trails, relax at one of Harrisonburg’s five craft breweries or cider houses and chat with the owners about your adventures. Enjoy a pint of I’d Rather Fishing Beer (Three Notch’d Valley Collab House), an easy-drinking lager brewed especially for anglers, or a glass of Dry River Reserve (Sage Bird Ciderworks), an original cider local that bears the name of one of the most popular waterways in the region. Fishing, hiking and biking are part of Harrisonburg’s culture, and many locals are eager to swap stories and there are plenty of outfitter shops to meet your needs. Come discover why Harrisonburg is known as the Adventure Capital of the Shenandoah Valley.