The Best Roads Are Here

What Are The 8 Best Motorcycle Rides In North Carolina?

- Cherohala Skyway (27 miles)
- NC Route 28 (53 miles)
- Blue Ridge Parkway (NC, 205 miles)
- Route 80 - Devil's Whip (38 miles)
- Copperhead Loop (75 miles)
- Shiner's Run (33 miles)
- Wild Dam Waterfall Loop (80 miles)
- Newfound Gap Rd (35 miles)

Below is our detailed list of the best North Carolina motorcycle rides!
Motorcyclists will appreciate the western region of the state with the Appalachian Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On the east coast, riders can check out the small fishing villages, pristine beaches, and lighthouses along the Atlantic Ocean. Click on each North Carolina motorcycle map link for the direct Google Maps routes. The best motorcycle roads in NC are here!


Route 143
DISTANCE: 27 miles
TIME: 45 mins

One of the best motorcycle roads in North Carolina is full of mountainside forest scenery and elevation changes. Describes as a "Drive among the clouds", this motorcycle dream route reaches elevations of over 5400 ft high. While many riders come to this part of the state to ride the legendary Tail of the Dragon, many actually find this road to be more enjoyable. Along with multiple vistas and overlooks, the Skyway provides easy access to various protected and recreational areas to stop and stretch your legs. The Santeetlah Overlook is a must stop for anyone wanting the complete experience. Enjoy the experience of riding one of the best motorcycle rides in NC!


DISTANCE: 53 miles
TIME: 1.5 hours

The western portion of this NC motorcycle road is referred to as Hellbender 28, and for good reason. Riders will enjoy an awesome road experience through dense, forested mountains with sweeping curves and drop offs along Fontana Lake. The eastern side offers scenic waterfalls and more tight cornering. Right next to Deals Gap, this fantastic motorcycle ride is less known and less populated, but certainly no less enjoyable!


via Google Maps


TIME: 10 hours

Truly one of the best roads in the entire eastern United States, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a national treasure and an absolute joy to motorcycle. High elevations, steep grades, tight curves and lots of tunnels all can be experienced along the North Carolina section of this motorcycle road. While the entire Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles in length, the road spans approximately 205 miles within NC. Look out for wildlife, especially during dusk and dawn. There are many overlooks to pull over and take in all the beauty, so allot plenty of time for this great motorcycle ride in North Carolina.


DISTANCE: 38 miles
TIME: 1 hour 10 min

Steep inclines, switchbacks, quick and tight turns - all describe this extremely challenging NC motorcycle ride dubbed Devil's Whip. Ride this south to north, so as to navigate the tight corners uphill. NC-80 crosses under the Blue Ridge Parkway between Crabtree Falls and Mount Mitchell State Park. While the "Devil's Whip" is generally considered to end at Micaville, NC-80 continues to be a great road up to Bakersville. There are many fatalities on this road, so even the most experienced riders will want to navigate this route with caution and focus.


NC-276, NC-215, NC-64
DISTANCE: 75 miles
TIME: 2 hours

Much of this North Carolina motorcycle ride follows the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway through the Pisgah National Forest, and is a perfect combination of everything riders would want - uphill/downhill, curves, switchbacks, sweepers, amazing views and peaceful mountain streams. Even experienced riders will enjoy the challenging technical curves this loop provides, but there's also easy-going sweeping turns and some rapid elevation changes. See why the Copperhead is “Beauty ­With An Attitude!"


via Google Maps

via Google Maps


DISTANCE: 33 miles
TIME: 1 hour

Shiner's Run is the stretch of North Carolina State Road 209 that starts at I-40 and goes north for 33 miles before ending in Hot Springs, NC. Referred to by locals as "The Rattler", this great North Carolina motorcycle road features many challenging twisties, high-speed sweepers and long straightaways across valley floors. You'll see old farms, rock bed rivers and scenic mountain overlooks. It’s one of the better kept secrets in western North Carolina and a ride not to miss. The road is in very good shape overall as well.

via Google Maps


Routes 281, 64, 107
DISTANCE: 80 miles
TIME: 2.5 hours

As the name of this loop implies, this great motorcycle ride in North Carolina will offer fantastic views of some of the state's best waterfalls, as well as crossing over scenic dams in the southwestern part of the state. NC-64 is a beautiful scenic ride through the Cullasaja River Gorge with a few waterfalls to stop by and check out. On NC-281, you enjoy a series of sweeping downhill turns as you roll down to Tuckaseege. 

via Google Maps

via Google Maps

via Google Maps


DISTANCE: 35 miles
TIME: 1 hour

The beginning of this epic mountain motorcycle road starts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and winds through Smoky Mountains National Park to Cherokee, NC. With significant altitude changes as you ride through Newfound Gap you have several scenic pullouts that afford long range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The biggest downside to this road is the popularity (there will be traffic on most days), but if you can catch this ride on a less busy day, there's lots of beautiful scenery and sweeping curves.

Photo by S. Profenna

Photo by S. Profenna

via Google Maps


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is North Carolina motorcycle friendly?

Home to beautiful mountains, seaside vistas and thriving agriculture, North Carolina also has over 80 amazing motorcycle rides! Due to it's mild winter climate, its not uncommon for motorcycles to be on the road year-round, so motorists are used to seeing bikes on the roads every month of the year.

How long is the Tail of the Dragon Road?

The Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap is 11 miles in length, and features a whopping 318 curves.

What's the speed limit on Tail of the Dragon?

Despite many thrill-seekers looking to race on the Tail of the Dragon, the world famous road does have an official speed limit of 30 miles per hour.  TN and NC Patrol units routinely patrol the Tail of the Dragon.

How long does it take to ride the Tail of the Dragon?

It takes about 30 minutes to ride the Dragon's 11 exhilarating miles. If you're traveling by motorcycle, don't forget your helmet—they're required for both drivers and passengers in North Carolina and Tennessee.

What is the best month to motorcycle the Blue Ridge Parkway?

The Blue Ridge Parkway spans from Virginia to North Carolina. Despite the relatively mild colder months, the best time to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway is from spring to autumn. Roads are not maintained in the winter, so it's a good idea to check ahead of time for road closure information.

Where Can I Find The Best Motorcycle Roads In The Carolinas? is the place to find the best motorcycle roads and rides in the Carolinas. Discover great motorcycle roads in states near North and South Carolina with our route descriptions and Google Maps links!

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