Eleven Best Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains2019-09-05T10:31:39-04:00

Eleven Best Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains

You like adventure. I know this because you are reading about the eleven best motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains. If you are like me, you want to climb on your bike and have a memorable riding experience.

You want a ride that activates all your senses, leaving you eager to do it again. A ride where mountain streams, vistas and dragons are part of the same story. Where lifelong friends and memories are made together. If this is you, you have come to the right place.

The Smoky Mountains are home to some of the best motorcycle rides in the world. We have beautiful mountain vistas, rivers, forests, and incredible views; and you can see it all from the seat of your bike. Although our most famous route, The Dragon, hardly has any views at all.

You could ride for weeks or months in the Smoky Mountains and never take the same route twice. Many great motorcycle rides are just waiting for you to discover.

We decided to put together a list of the Eleven Best Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains. Pick one or two, or ride them all. We’re pretty sure you’ll be back again no matter what.

NOTE: State law in North Carolina and Tennessee requires all motorcycle riders and pillion to wear an approved helmet and to have lights on at all times.

1. Cherohala Skyway Loop

Route: Cherohala Skyway Loop
Type: Loop
Begin: Maggie Valley, NC
End: Maggie Valley, NC
Travel Time: Approximately 8 hours (including rest stops and lunch)
Distance: 245 miles
Highlights: Twisties, views, sweepers, Fontana Dam, Tail of the Dragon, Bald River Falls, Cherohala Skyway

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2. Smoky Mountains Loop

Route: Smoky Mountains Loop
Type: Loop
Begin: Maggie Valley, NC
End: Maggie Valley, NC
Travel Time: Approximately 8 hours (including rest stops and lunch)
Distance: 250 miles
Highlights: Twisties, views, sweepers, Clingmans Dome, Bald River Falls, Foothills Parkway, Cherohala Skyway

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3. Foothills Parkway

Route: Foothills Parkway
Type: Point to Point
Begin: Walland, TN
End: Chilhowee, TN
Travel Time: 26 minutes (non-stop without traffic)
Distance: 16.8 miles
Highlights: Panoramic mountain vistas, foliage, easy ride, slight curves, straightaways, water

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4. The Dragon | Tail of the Dragon | US 129

Route: The Dragon or Tail of the Dragon
Type: Point to Point
Begin: Chilhowee, TN
End: Deals Gap, NC
Travel Time: 25 minutes
Distance: 15 miles
Highlights: 318 Curves in 11 Miles, Photographers Along the Route

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5. Cherohala Skyway

Route: Cherohala Skyway
Type: Point to Point
Begin: Robbinsville, NC
End: Tellico Plains, TN
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Distance: 51.8 miles
Highlights: Two national forests, long curves, scenic views, leisurely ride, low traffic

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6. Thunder Road

Route: Thunder Road
Type: Lollipop
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

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7. Cades Cove Loop

Route: Cades Cove Loop
Type: Loop
Begin: Townsend, TN
End: Townsend, TN
Travel Time: 3-5 hours
Distance: 11 miles
Highlights: Historic buildings, pastoral valley, wildlife, slow-ride, beautiful views

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8. Gatlinburg to Cherokee

Route: Gatlinburg to Cherokee
Type: Out and Back or Point to Point
Begin: Gatlinburg, TN
End: Cherokee, NC
Travel Time: 1 hour 24 minutes
Distance: 47 miles
Highlights: Majestic mountain roads, twisties, scenic vistas, forests, Clingman's Dome, Rockefeller Memorial, Appalachian Trail, horseback riding

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9. Blue Ridge Parkway

Route: Blue Ridge Parkway
Type: Out and Back or Point to Point
Begin: Oconaluftee, TN
End: Biltmore Forest, NC
Travel Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Distance: 80 miles
Highlights: Majestic mountain roads, twisties, scenic vistas, Biltmore Estate, Waterrock Knob, fall colors, tunnels

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10. Bobarosa Saloon Run

Route: Bobarosa Saloon Run
Type: Out and Back
Begin: Maggie Valley, NC
End: Maggie Valley, NC
Time: Approximately 6 hours (including rest stops and lunch). Non-stop riding is 1.5 hours in each direction depending on travel conditions.
Distance: 130 miles RT
Highlights: Switchbacks, views, great destination

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11. The Rattler | US 209

Route: The Rattler
Type: Point to Point
Begin: Hot Springs, NC
End: Lake Junaluska, NC
Travel Time: 1 hour
Distance: 33.3 miles
Highlights: Curves, straightaways, lush vegetation, canopied roads, scenic views, riding skills needed

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