Route: Thunder Road
Begin: Maggie Valley, NC
End: Maggie Valley, NC
Travel Time: Approximately 5 to 6 hours (including rest stops and lunch)
Distance: 140 miles
Highlights: Scenic views, curvy roads, elevation changes
About Thunder Road
Thunder Road is one of the most beautiful motorcycle routes in the Smoky Mountains. Amazingly, it is also one of the least used routes on our list.
Sure, the Tail of the Dragon is an amazing 25 minute ride, but everyone goes there. During the summer months you may think every biker in America is on the Dragon. Thunder Road is not as well known, but it is a great ride.
Drive Thunder Road and you can spend most of the day on a relaxing ride. This course begins and ends in Maggie Valley, NC, taking a 140 mile lollipop-type route (to borrow a hiking trail term).
The back roads give you plenty of time to just enjoy your bike and take in the scenery. A large portion of this route is under the cover of trees and next to the Wayah Creek.
You will find several turnouts along the route where you may stop and enjoy the Nantahala River. You might even spot a few rafters having a good time in the water.
Don’t relax too much though! Wayah Road, which makes up a large percentage of the route, provides plenty of twisties and switchbacks to challenge your driving skills. You will not forget that you are riding on mountain roads.
If you are looking for beautiful scenery with lakes, creeks, trees, switchbacks, twisties, elevation changes, open roads, and fewer riders, try the Thunder Road motorcycle route. We really believe you won’t be disappointed.
We have created the following map of Thunder Road to give you an idea of the roads and route.
Google Map | Thunder Road Motorcycle Route