Virginia's Scenic Byways

Scenic Byway

The free map, Scenic Roads in Virginia, can be ordered online.

About  The Map

Virginia’s Scenic Roads map features the many scenic byways across the Commonwealth.

While the map includes information about all regions of Virginia, the current edition focuses on northern Virginia and features highlights from scenic roads in that area. 

Three renowned America’s Byways are found in the Northern Virginia region, including Skyline Drive, a National Scenic Byway in Shenandoah National Park.

In the eastern part of the region near Washington, D.C., is Mount Vernon, the home of our nation’s first president.

It’s located on George Washington Parkway, an All-American Road.

There are many Civil War battlefields to explore along The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, a National Scenic Byway.

Middlesburg and Upperville, in the heart of “Horse and Hunt Country,” were close to the conflict during the Civil War.

Today, the towns are known for their charming bistros, stylish boutiques and gracious inns.

Great Falls Park is only 15 miles from Washington, D.C., and affords visitors view of the narrow gorge where the Potomac meets the fall line, creating spectacular rapids.

Nearby is Route 193, Georgetown Pike, the first road to be designated a scenic byway in Virginia back in 1974.

There is much to see and experience along scenic byways in the Northern Virginia region and across the state.

Order the map online, pick one up at Virginia’s staffed welcome centers and safety rest areas, or request one from Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Details

Designation

Per Virginia Code, "Virginia Byway" means those highways designated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) pursuant to articles §33.2-400 and §33.2-405 through §33.2-408. 

The Virginia Outdoors Plan, from the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR), identifies roads that have been considered as having intrinsic qualities of Virginia Byways for many years. 

In addition, there are other roads that meet the criteria for designation.

Criteria

A segment of road must substantially meet these criteria:

  • The route provides important scenic values and experiences.
  • There is a diversity of experiences, as in transition from one landscape scene to another.
  • The route links together or provides access to scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, natural and archeological elements.
  • The route bypasses major roads or provides opportunities to leave high-speed routes for variety and leisure in motoring. Landscape control or management along the route is feasible.
  • The route allows for additional features that will enhance the motorist’s experience and improve safety.
  • Local government(s) has / have initiated zoning or other land-use controls, so as to reasonably protect the aesthetic and cultural value of the highway.

Steps

  1. Anyone can request byway designation, but local government(s) must adopt a resolution of support.
  2. Upon receipt of a request and historical documentation from an interested party / local government, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and DCR collect information on local zoning laws, traffic volumes and accident reports before evaluating the roads.
  3. Based on a joint review according to the criteria, the DCR director recommends qualifying roads for consideration by the CTB.
  4. Before the CTB acts, VDOT offers the local government the opportunity to hold a public hearing. If a public hearing is requested, VDOT’s Local Assistance Division and DCR provide assistance.
  5. After the public hearing, or if no hearing was requested, the CTB officially designates the byway(s) at their next scheduled meeting. Subsequently, signs are posted, and changes are made to the appropriate maps.

More Information

Carolyn France, 804-786-2586

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page last modified: Sept. 27, 2018