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Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina

Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina

North Carolina is a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts, offering an array of scenic rides that showcase the state's diverse landscapes. From the legendary Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap to the serene views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, each route promises a unique and exhilarating experience. This article highlights the top 10 motorcycle rides in North Carolina, perfect for those looking to explore the Tar Heel State on two wheels.

Key Takeaways

  • North Carolina's motorcycle routes offer a blend of challenging curves, stunning vistas, and diverse terrains.
  • The Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap is a must-ride with its 318 curves in 11 miles, providing an intense riding experience.
  • Routes like the Cherohala Skyway and Blue Ridge Parkway are renowned for their breathtaking panoramic views.
  • Each ride presents unique characteristics, from the Diamondback 226's switchbacks to the coastal scenery of the Hellbender 28.
  • These rides not only cater to thrill-seekers but also provide opportunities to discover North Carolina's hidden gems and attractions.

1. Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap

1. Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap

The Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap is a premier motorcycle ride that offers an unparalleled riding experience. With 318 curves in just 11 miles, it is a mecca for motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts alike. The route's technical layout and scenic surroundings provide a thrilling challenge that is both demanding and rewarding.

The following table summarizes key information about the Tail of the Dragon ride:

Length Curves Location Notable Reviews
11 mi 318 NC - Cherokee/Graham/Clay Score: 603 (Orson)

Motorcycle enthusiasts often compare the Tail of the Dragon to other notable rides, such as the Arkansas Dragon and the Talimena Byway, for their scenic views and challenging routes. However, the Tail of the Dragon's unique combination of tight turns and beautiful landscapes sets it apart as an iconic route that is both exhilarating and picturesque.

The Tail of the Dragon is not just a road; it is a journey that tests the skill and spirit of riders, offering a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

2. Cherohala Skyway

2. Cherohala Skyway

The Cherohala Skyway is a renowned route that offers motorcyclists an exceptional blend of natural beauty and riding pleasure. Spanning approximately 163 kilometers, this scenic byway traverses through the captivating landscapes of North Carolina, providing riders with a serene escape from the hustle of everyday life.

The Skyway's elevation varies significantly, presenting riders with a series of sweeping curves and elevations that are both challenging and exhilarating.

Motorcycle enthusiasts often compare the Cherohala Skyway to the famous Tail of the Dragon, although the Skyway is known for its less aggressive turns and more forgiving nature. It is a must-ride for those seeking a tranquil yet stimulating journey through some of America's most picturesque terrains.

Below is a brief overview of the Cherohala Skyway experience:

  • Length: 163 kms
  • Starting Point: Tellico Plains, Tennessee
  • Ending Point: Robbinsville, North Carolina
  • Highlights: Scenic vistas, varying elevations, smooth road surface

Riders are advised to plan their trip with care, as there are no services directly on the road. This ensures an uninterrupted ride through nature, but also requires preparation in terms of fuel and provisions.

3. Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a quintessential motorcycling experience, winding through the Appalachian Highlands. Renowned for its scenic beauty, the parkway provides a serene escape from the hustle of urban life, inviting riders to immerse themselves in nature. With no services directly on the road, it's essential to plan for fuel and food stops accordingly.

The parkway's allure is not just in its uninterrupted natural vistas but also in the freedom to explore at one's own pace. Whether it's the pull of the open road or the charm of the surrounding hikes, waterfalls, and vistas, the Blue Ridge Parkway beckons to those seeking adventure and tranquility alike.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a testament to the splendor of the American landscape, offering a journey through the heart of the mountains that is as introspective as it is breathtaking.

For those looking to extend their journey, the parkway is complemented by a variety of attractions, such as the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine and Goat Farm, and the enriching experiences offered by local nature and wildlife areas.

4. Diamondback 226

The Diamondback 226 offers a thrilling experience for motorcyclists with its series of twists and turns through the picturesque landscapes of North Carolina. This route is renowned for its challenging curves and elevation changes, providing an exhilarating ride for enthusiasts seeking adventure.

Key Features of Diamondback 226:

  • Length: Approximately 38 miles
  • Location: Begins near Little Switzerland, NC
  • Highlights: Scenic views, sharp curves, elevation changes

Motorcyclists should be well-prepared before taking on the Diamondback 226. It is essential to ensure that your motorcycle is in top condition and that you are equipped with the necessary gear and accessories. Safety should always be a priority on such demanding rides.

The Diamondback 226 is not just a route; it's a journey that tests the skill and spirit of the rider. It's a must-ride for those who appreciate the combination of natural beauty and the thrill of the ride.

5. The Rattler

5. The Rattler

North Carolina's motorcycle routes offer a diverse range of experiences, from the tight turns of the Tail of the Dragon to the sweeping vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Among these iconic rides, The Rattler stands out with its own unique challenges and rewards. This route is a must-ride for those seeking to add an exhilarating chapter to their riding adventures.

The Rattler, known for its serpentine twists and turns, is a test of skill and endurance. It is a ride that demands attention and respect, providing an experience that is both demanding and satisfying. The route's reputation has grown over the years, attracting riders from across the country who come to experience its notorious curves.

The Rattler is not just a road; it is a journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes North Carolina has to offer, with each bend in the road presenting a new vista or challenge.

While the Tail of the Dragon boasts 318 curves in 11 miles, The Rattler offers a different kind of thrill. It's a longer ride that combines technical riding with the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Riders who have conquered other notable routes, such as the Ozello Trail in Florida or the scenic rides in Vermont and Argentina, will find The Rattler to be a worthy addition to their list of memorable rides.

6. Moonshiner 28

The Moonshiner 28 offers a journey through the heart of the southern Appalachian mountains, providing a ride that is rich in history and natural beauty. This route is a favorite among motorcyclists for its challenging curves and stunning scenery.

  • Starting Point: The ride begins in the town of Walhalla, South Carolina, and stretches for about 103 miles to its end near the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap, North Carolina.
  • Key Attractions: Along the way, riders can explore various attractions such as waterfalls, including the picturesque Mingo Falls, and historical sites.
  • Riding Experience: The road's surface is well-maintained, making it suitable for all types of motorcycles. Riders should be prepared for sharp turns and elevation changes that provide an exhilarating experience.
The Moonshiner 28 is not just a road; it's a passage through time, where each curve and vista tells a story of the land and its people.

For those seeking to immerse themselves in the local culture, stops like the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Asheville offer a taste of the region's craft beer heritage. The route's proximity to other iconic rides, such as the Hellbender and the Cherohala Skyway, makes it an essential part of any motorcycle tour in the area.

7. Devil's Whip

7. Devil's Whip

The Devil's Whip, a notorious stretch of road in North Carolina, is a must-ride for motorcycle enthusiasts seeking a thrilling experience. This route, known for its sharp curves and steep inclines, provides an adrenaline-pumping journey through the picturesque landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Devil's Whip is not just a road; it's a rite of passage for riders who dare to take on its challenging twists and turns.

Motorcyclists should be well-prepared before attempting this ride, as the road demands respect and skill. Below is a list of essential considerations for those planning to conquer the Devil's Whip:

  • Preparation: Ensure your motorcycle is in top condition and you are comfortable with its handling.
  • Safety Gear: Always wear appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, gloves, and protective clothing.
  • Weather Check: Be aware of the weather forecast, as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains.
  • Riding Skills: Brush up on your cornering and braking techniques to navigate the route safely.
  • Buddy System: Ride with a friend or group for safety and assistance in case of an emergency.

Remember, the Devil's Whip is as beautiful as it is challenging, offering riders an unforgettable experience amidst North Carolina's natural beauty.

8. Copperhead Loop

8. Copperhead Loop

The Copperhead Loop offers a thrilling ride through the heart of North Carolina's mountain scenery. This route is renowned for its challenging curves and breathtaking vistas, making it a favorite among motorcycle enthusiasts.

  • Distance: Approximately 77 miles
  • Starting Point: Little Switzerland, NC
  • Highlights: Sweeping curves, elevation changes, and picturesque views

Motorcyclists can expect a variety of terrain on the Copperhead Loop, from tight switchbacks to gentle sweeps that showcase the natural beauty of the region. The ride is as venomous as its namesake, with roads that demand respect and skill from riders.

The Copperhead Loop is not just a ride; it's an experience that encapsulates the spirit of motorcycle adventure in North Carolina.

Safety should always be a priority on this route. Riders are encouraged to be fully prepared for the dynamic conditions they may encounter. The Copperhead Loop is a testament to the allure of the open road and the camaraderie found within the motorcycle community.

9. Mount Mitchell State Park Ride

9. Mount Mitchell State Park Ride

Ascending through the enchanting forests of North Carolina, the Mount Mitchell State Park Ride offers a serene and mystical journey to the highest peak east of the Mississippi. The ride is not only a feast for the eyes but also a delight for motorcyclists seeking a tranquil escape into nature.

The route to the summit is well-paved and accessible, making the climb a doable adventure for riders of all levels. Along the way, the magical woodlands provide a backdrop that is both captivating and restorative.

The panoramic views from the top are nothing short of spectacular, offering a vantage point that is unparalleled in the region. The experience of reaching the summit is often described as magical, with the journey itself being as rewarding as the destination.

Visitors have consistently rated the park highly, with reviews reflecting a 4.5 out of 5 bubbles rating. The park's allure is not limited to its natural beauty; it also serves as a testament to the stunning landscapes and adventure that North Carolina has to offer, rivaling the experiences found in Georgia, Illinois, and Idaho.

10. The Hellbender 28

10. The Hellbender 28

The Hellbender 28, also known as NC-28, offers a thrilling ride through the Nantahala National Forest, with its sweeping curves and stunning natural scenery. This route is a favorite among motorcyclists for its challenging twists and the sense of adventure it provides.

Motorcycle enthusiasts often compare the Hellbender 28 to the nearby Tail of the Dragon, although it is generally considered less intense. The ride is characterized by its engaging series of curves and elevation changes, which require a keen sense of riding to navigate successfully.

The Hellbender 28 is not just a road; it's a journey through some of North Carolina's most captivating landscapes, offering a unique blend of excitement and tranquility.

While the Hellbender 28 may not have the same notoriety as some of the other rides listed, it certainly holds its own in terms of rider satisfaction and scenic beauty. It's a must-ride for those seeking to experience the diverse offerings of North Carolina's motorcycle routes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap?

The Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap is a renowned motorcycle ride in North Carolina, offering 318 curves in 11 miles. It's a popular destination for motorcyclists seeking a thrilling ride.

How long is the Cherohala Skyway?

The Cherohala Skyway stretches for about 43 miles, traversing through the scenic landscapes of the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests.

What makes the Blue Ridge Parkway special for motorcyclists?

The Blue Ridge Parkway is famous for its sweeping vistas, gentle curves, and long stretches of road that offer a relaxing and picturesque ride through the Appalachian Highlands.

What type of experience does the Diamondback 226 provide?

The Diamondback 226 is known for its challenging twists and turns, making it an exhilarating route for experienced riders looking for an adventurous mountain ride.

Can beginners ride The Rattler?

While The Rattler offers some technical stretches, beginners can still enjoy this ride if they proceed with caution and are comfortable with curvy mountain roads.

What is the length of Moonshiner 28?

Moonshiner 28 is approximately 103 miles long, featuring a variety of curves and beautiful scenery as it winds through the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Is Devil's Whip suitable for all types of motorcycles?

Devil's Whip is a challenging route with tight turns and steep grades, best suited for more nimble motorcycles and experienced riders.

What should riders expect on the Hellbender 28?

Riders on the Hellbender 28 can expect a mix of sweeping curves and tight switchbacks along the Little Tennessee River, making for an exciting and scenic ride.

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