Conquer the Blue Ridge Mountains on Asheville NC motorcycle rides from REVER. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a top destination for motorcycle rides near Asheville NC, and there is no better way to tour this section of the Appalachian Mountains. Asheville lies at the confluence of the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers, and this scenic city isn't too far from the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. The REVER App provides all the tools to hit the top motorcycle rides Asheville NC.
Asheville is in a remote part of North Carolina, and it is easy to get turned around in the Blue Ridge Mountains. REVER will keep you on track no matter where Asheville NC motorcycle rides take you. Download top routes all over the world, push your limits with unique challenges and brag about your adventures with the “track your own ride” feature. REVER does all this and more for free, but we know that some trips require more, which is why we launched REVER Pro. Upgrade to premium features like live weather radar and alerts, turn-by-turn and voice navigation, LiveRIDE real-time location tracking and much more. We’ve even rolled out a new feature where fellow riders will alert you to hazards on motorcycle rides Asheville NC before you reach them. The Blue Ridge Mountains will never see what’s coming!
While the Southern US is known for its warmer climate, the higher elevation of Asheville creates cooler temperatures all year round. The summers are pleasant compared to humid areas at lower elevation, which makes for enjoyable motorcycle rides in Asheville NC. The rainy season also comes in the summer, so don’t forget your rain suit before you head out. The winters are cool, but still see many days above freezing. Watch out for potential snow or freezing rain on off-season rides. Finally, make sure to pack your camping loadout on motorcycle rides in Asheville NC to experience the tireless beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The natural beauty of the Appalachians is perhaps the main attraction on motorcycle rides near Asheville NC, and you can immerse yourself in the scenery on roads like the Blue Ridge Parkway. Make sure to stop at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center to learn more about the road and pick out some areas to check out along the way. The city of Asheville is best known for the nearby Biltmore Estate, and it is the largest private home and country estate in America. The mansion contains 250 rooms, and the surrounding gardens, winery and farms that once covered a stunning 125,000 acres. Plus, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs just south of the Biltmore property. If more humble entertainment suits you better, head to the Asheville Pinball Museum. All the classic pinball machines offer unlimited play with admission so you can relive your past glory without pumping in too many quarters. Finally, Maggie Valley, NC west of Asheville hosts three annual motorcycle rallies in their Thunder In The Smokies events. Join thousands of riders and tour some of the best rides in the Smoky Mountains with some company.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is famous for its near endless curves that challenge riders in an unforgettable setting. First planned in 1935 by President Roosevelt, the road was a huge undertaking that wasn't completed until 1966 (with the exception of the Linn Cove Viaduct around Grandfather Mountain that was completed in 1985). The parkway was originally conceived as a scenic road to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The road traverses the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it is packed with tunnels, bridges and scenic overlooks that keep riders engaged. The road is designed to merge seamlessly with the landscape around it, and the parkway does not directly interchange with any other highways, making for a perfect road trip experience. (Don't worry, there are numerous exit roads that lead to the highways the Blue Ridge Parkway passes over, but you'll never have to sit at a stop light or navigate a busy crossroad at a stop sign.
If you've never tackled the parkway before, here are some tips to make the most of your ride. The speed limit never rises above 45MPH on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and it is slower than that in some sections. This is for good reason, as there is always a curve up ahead that twists and turns through the mountain landscape. If you're looking to air out your bike out at high speeds, this is not the setting. Watch out for decreasing radius curves as well, which are curves that tighten as you ride them. Always expect the unexpected on the Blue Ridge Parkway! Speaking of, most of the parkway is a narrow two-lane road, and the shoulders can be a little rough. Try to stay in the center of the lane to avoid any nasty surprises at the edge.
Of course, a road this popular is bogged down by tourists in the summer months. It is not uncommon to see drivers more focused on the sights than the road, so trust no traffic as it passes. When in doubt, the best way to avoid a particularly dangerous driver is to pull off at a scenic overlook and enjoy the view while they pass. While the road is far less crowded in the winter, ice and snow can close sections of the parkway without warning, and it is not advised to tour the parkway on a bike in the winter. The park service owns the land on both sides of the road, so you won't see a lot of service areas right on the road. That said, there are services you can hit off most exits from the parkway. Finally, no commercial vehicles are allowed on the parkway without permission, so enjoy the tractor trailer-free ride!
We'll start this ride right in downtown Asheville and take a spur out of town to connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is not the beginning of the parkway, as it winds through the hills south of town towards Cherokee, NC. We'll be riding the other way towards Virginia. Take Town Mountain Road north out of town until you meet up with the parkway at Craven Gap. Turn left to jump on the parkway, and gear up for a pure riding experience! The first stop of note is Craggy Gardens, famous for its mountain flower bloom in mid-summer. There is a visitor center with excellent views just before the Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel. Next, Glassmine Falls is a stunning 800 ft. waterfall that plunges down into a fork of the Swannanoa River, and you can see it from an overlook just off the road on your right. After the falls, the road will turn southeast for a stretch towards Mt. Mitchell. This is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,366 ft. Watch for the left onto 128 if you want to ride into the state park and climb the short trail to the top of the mountain. If not, there is a scenic overlook of the mountain a little farther down the parkway. Mt. Mitchell State Park is a good option for camping in the area as well.
Once you pass Mt. Mitchell, the parkway curves back north for a long stretch. Pass over the exchange with State Highway 80 and keep motoring north into Little Switzerland, NC. There is a little cafe here that specializes in smoked trout and pulled pork, so stop in if you're hungry. Plus, the “mountain chalet” vibe of the town is worth checking out in itself. Back on the parkway, pass through the Little Switzerland Tunnel into Gillespie Gap. The Museum of NC Minerals is here, and you can ride a bit north on 226 to get fuel if you need it. Another remote section lies ahead, and consider a stop at the Chestoa View area for some amazing panoramas. It's a bit of a ride to the next highlight in Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct. This rugged section of the Blue Ridge Parkway was the most difficult to complete, and it wasn't finished until 50 years after the road was first planned. You can take a detour into Grandfather Mountain State Park to hike the Mile High Swinging Bridge, America's highest suspension footbridge, up to the peak of Grandfather Mountain at 5,946 ft. There is also a visitors center before the viaduct if you need a break from the road.
The next section of the parkway runs south of Boone, NC, and this is a good area to stop for services if you need them. This was the area where Daniel Boone blazed a trail to the west, and you can see a plaque commemorating his adventures at Boone's Trace Overlook near Bamboo, NC. Once you pass over Route 421, it is time to leave civilization behind again for more mountain views. The Lump is a unique grassy overlook that provides views of the foothills here, and you can check out a sheer cliff face at Jumpinoff Rock just after that. Up next is the large Doughton Recreation Area, named for an early supporter of the parkway. The Brinegar Cabin built in 1800 is preserved here, and its a good chance to see how early settlers lived in the area. It's not far now to the Virginia border, and Cumberland Knob is the last stop on the parkway before you cross over.
This last section through Virginia has some great sites all its own. The Blue Ridge Music Center is a great place to pull off the parkway and see some bluegrass and folk music. Check out their event calendar to pair a ride with a concert. Just past the Mt. Airy Overlook, there are cabins and a campground if you want to spend the night near the Blue Ridge Music Center. From here, it's just a short ride into Fancy Gap, VA and the end of this route. But don't worry, there are many more miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway to explore if you want to keep going!
<a href="https://rever.app.link/hwp8S4KLtH" class="btn article-preview__btn w-button">View In App</a>
The Blue Ridge Parkway isn't the only iconic road near Asheville. The Tail of the Dragon is even more challenging, and it has gained quite the reputation over the years. In just 11 miles, the Tail of the Dragon assaults riders with 318 curves. Many consider it the ultimate riding challenge in America, and once you've ridden it, you'll likely agree! It takes about 2 hours to ride from Asheville to Deals Gap, NC, the beginning of Tail of the Dragon. You can even take the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to Cherokee, NC for an extra thrill, but it will take longer. Most start the Tail of the Dragon from south to north – North Carolina into Tennessee. Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort acts as a natural meet up point for riders before they try to tame the Dragon. There is not much else in the area aside from a fuel station, so be prepared with lodging accommodations or your camping gear.
Deals Gap lies just above the Little Tennessee River near the Great Smoky Mountains. Deals Gap was once the site of an old toll road used as a gateway to Tallasee, TN and Parson Branch Road, which leads to Cades Cove. The cove once housed several rural families in the 1800s and early 1900s before it was included in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As the name suggests, Deals Gap is at a natural low point and was the easiest path of travel for those following the Little Tennessee River north. There are very few intersections to worry about on the Tail of the Dragon. One is the aforementioned Parson Branch Road, which is a one way out of Cades Cove. This gravel road is only lightly traveled, so you won't see too much traffic merging onto the Dragon from it. The other intersection is at the end of the tail, where there is an overlook for the Calderwood Dam and a road leading to the dam itself. Other than that, it is just you and 318 curves through the remote Smokies!
Well let's be clear. You likely won't be alone when you ride Tail of the Dragon, especially on the weekend. It is a premier destination for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts looking to test their mettle. You will also see a lot of law enforcement on the route. The local community has stepped up their presence due to crashes on the Dragon. Don't let this spoil the fun, and keep these tips in mind to ride the Tail of the Dragon safely. A whopping 318 curves in 11 miles doesn't exactly translate to a lot of straightaways to burn. Stay easy on the throttle and leave plenty of time to brake. Most accidents occur when folks try to take the Dragon too fast. Ultimately, you will have that over-eager driver on your six, but don't let them push this ride above your skill level. Take your time and when possible, let them pass. Remember, there is no admission on this ride! Pace yourself as you learn the Tail of the Dragon's unique sections, and take it multiple times for the best experience.
<a href="https://rever.app.link/RVca38KLtH" class="btn article-preview__btn w-button">View In App</a>
Ride the western section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then loop back around to Asheville along the Pigeon River in this three-hour ride. A cruise down the Blue Ridge Parkway never gets old, and this stretch is easily accessed from the Asheville area. A quick refresher on the unique aspects of riding the parkway. There are no stop signs or stop lights. Just cruise the parkway and weave through the mountain landscape without interruptions. Anytime you need fuel or food, exit via an interchange into a local town. The parkway may feel remote, and that is on purpose. Some stretches are more rural than others, but you’re never too far away from an exit that leads to services. Not to be overshadowed, no commercial vehicles are allowed on the parkway without special permission. So, enjoy a tractor-trailer-free ride, something that is not always easy to come by in the US.
Start the route south of Asheville on Highway 191, and take the interchange with the Blue Ridge Parkway headed southwest. There is an overlook here on the French Broad River that's a good place to rendezvous if you're waiting for other riders. When ready, continue on the parkway southwest. Your first point of interest will be the Grassy Knob Tunnel. Remember, there are numerous pull offs on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so choose your stops wisely. We'll point out some of the best stops along the way. Mt. Pisgah is one of the better views in the area, and this is also the birthplace of the American Forestry movement. You can take a short detour south on Route 276 / Pisgah Highway to visit the Cradle of Forestry in America museum and learn about the early efforts to save forests in the US. Farther down the parkway, Skinny Dip Falls is a local swimming hole and waterfall just a short hike away from the road. Cool off in the summer in one of the pools around the waterfall.
The next section past Skinny Dip Falls is the highest part of the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. Get ready for some amazing views on winding mountain roads. Devils Courthouse provides some epic vistas if you're up for the short but steep hike, or stop at Richland Balsam Overlook to see the highest point on the parkway. The final stop you'll want to make on the parkway before you leave it is the Waterrock Knob Visitor Center. This is a good chance to take a break and marvel at the scenic views around the center. Not too far after the visitor center, you'll want to watch for the exit onto Route 19. Take the ramp to the left and then hang an immediate right to get on 19 headed into Maggie Valley, NC. This little town has a big draw for the motorcycle world. It's the site of Thunder In The Smokies, the biggest motorcycle rally in the region. Actually, there are three events held here throughout the year, so check out the dates before you go. Maggie Valley is also home to the Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum a must-see homage to antique motorcycles and other vintage transportation. If you're hungry, stop at Pop's Butts On The Creek for some BBQ and live music.
As you ride out of the Maggie Valley area, you'll approach Lake Junaluska. There is camping here, or you can break out the fishing pole and catch popular lake species like bass, bluegill and trout. Otherwise, watch for a right just before the lake onto Route 276 to continue. You'll ride down to Waynesville, NC and stay on 276 through town. Then cruise up and over Pigeon Gap to meet up with the Pigeon River. Before 276 crosses the river, take the left into Bethel, NC on Highway 215, and then take another immediate right to follow 215. A short distance after, continue on 215 / Old River Road with a left. This will trace the Pigeon River Valley into Canton, NC.
Once you're in Canton, leave 215 with a right over the river into downtown on Route 19-23. Shortly after the one-way becomes a two-way again, hang a left onto Bridge Street to stay on the route. Your next turn is a right on Newfound Street as you'll leave Canton for one last stretch of mountain scenery before Asheville. This last section is a quick ride over Interstate 40 and then up to Newfound Gap between two nearby mountains in the Asheville area. Enjoy the scenery until Newfound Street ends at the New Leicester Highway / 63. Hang a right and take 63 back into Asheville. You can finish the day at one of Asheville's great restaurants along the French Broad River.
<a href="https://rever.app.link/pBkLBeLLtH" class="btn article-preview__btn w-button">View In App</a>
The majestic Great Smoky Mountains offer hands down some of the best rides in America. This three-hour ride from Asheville to Gatlinburg, TN skirts around the north side of the national park for an alternative to Route 441 that goes directly through the park. Start in the outskirts north of Asheville on Elk Mountain Road just off Route 19-23. You'll ride through the little community of Elk Mountain and meet up with the French Broad River. Turn right on Highway 251 / Riverside Drive to head north along the river. Pass by the Craggy Dam and then take a short stretch away from the river. When the road meets back up with the French Broad, you can stop at Ledges Whitewater River Park to get a closer look at the river. The bluffs will start to tower over the road as you follow the river into more rugged terrain. This section is a fun ride as you follow the river meandering through the hills.
Once you reach the fork with Business Route 70, turn left to stay with the river towards Marshall, NC. Up next is the downtown stretch of Marshall, NC, and watch for a left on Baileys Branch Road over the river. You'll immediately tackle a series of switchbacks over the river, and then enjoy the ride through a small canyon. At a five-way with Bear Creek Road, Baileys Branch becomes Meadows Town Road. Stay straight and keep riding south until you reach Highway 63. Hang a right onto 63 and gear up for an exciting climb into the Great Smoky range. Highway 63 is filled with tight curves and switchbacks to keep you entertained. Once you're over Doggett Gap, you'll wind through a canyon into Trust, NC. There is an old school general store and cafe here if you're hungry or need a break. Highway 63 ends here at a junction with 209, and take the left to head south towards Luck, NC. This area is filled with mountain coves and smaller gaps to ride up and over.
When Highway 209 turns to the south at a stop, take the right instead onto Max Patch Road towards Fines Creek, NC. Shortly after, watch for a left onto Fines Creek Road. This will take you to Interstate 40, and take the on ramp headed north towards Hartford, TN. This section of interstate is an excellent ride as you follow the curves of the Pigeon River through the Smokies and into Tennessee. Just after the state border, take the exit at Browns, TN, and turn left to ride over the interstate. Then hang another left on Tobes Creek Road to cross over the river. Watch for another quick right to take the interchange to Waterville Road, and then bear right to ride back along the other side of the river. You'll pass the Waterville Power Station back into North Carolina, and then enter a beautiful canyon along Big Creek. Follow the creek for a short stretch, and then take a right onto Mt. Sterling Road / 32. This next section snakes through the hills and ravines, and it is nothing short of epic. Take your time with the curves and enjoy the roller coaster!
As you leave more rugged terrain behind, you'll enter the foothills north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Keep an eye out for the left on Route 321 to stay along the northern border of the park. We recommend a stop up ahead at Docs 321 Cafe. You'll know when you find it, and we don't blame you if there's an urge to keep on riding by! But you'll regret it, because their BBQ menu is one you won't want to miss. Back on Route 321, cruise along the foothills as it's not too far until you get to Gatlinburg, TN. Once you get into town, there are a lot of tourist attractions (and yes, tourist traps) to check out, or you can keep riding south into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
<a href="https://rever.app.link/LFAV2hLLtH" class="btn article-preview__btn w-button">View In App</a>