Known for its natural beauty, North Carolina boasts some breathtaking views, transcendent rock formations, and amazing beaches. It is also a historically significant state with a strong culture of adventure and hospitality, and these things in tandem make it one of the greatest locations to ride a motorcycle in the world.
We’ve done our best to highlight 10 of the best motorcycle rides in the state- you’re not going to want to miss out on any of these glorious treks!
Our 10 Favorite Motorcycle Rides in NC
Crossing over from the Tennessee state line, the Cherohala Skyway features a long, scenic, and accessible ride. With high elevation, sweeping turns, and well-placed rest stops, it is a leisure riders dream. There is a roadside waterfall lookout among other highlights, and Cherohala is often combined with the Tail of the Dragon as one epic ride. Which takes us to…
Often referred to as ‘The Dragon’, this 11 mile stretch of curves boasts 318 turns. It is the intersection of the NC 28 and US 129, and runs through marvelous forest roads with pull-offs to enjoy the country scenery. It is a technically challenging ride, and can certainly be treacherous if you are not careful. However, it offers a wide range of challenges for all levels of skill, and most of all, it is one of the most engaging and exciting rides in the country.
Another ride that crosses through the scenic highway structure of North Carolina, this is a 77 mile cruise best-suited for an afternoon of easy riding. Though there are some technical challenges to the loop and its curves, with the proper respect it is a highly rewarding experience for savvy riders. We recommend planning to take most of it slow, but ramp it up where the road allows.
One of the flagship rides of North Carolina, this cruiser’s delight is a relaxing ride surrounded by diverse nature and Americana. There are rest stops, picnic sites, and camping on a sweeping open road. You can make it into a whole vacation with lodging and accommodations, and enjoy the luxurious tunnels and turns in a single day trip. Either way, you won’t leave without a greater appreciation for the open road in the Tar Heel State.
Adventure mode activated- this ride is going to take you for a memorable route past the Blue Ridge Parkway and overlooking Cold Mountain itself. The twisting pass takes you past Lake Logan and over beautiful stone bridges, and the 15 mph challenge turns are more than adequate for all skill levels of rider. Most importantly, you’ll gain an appreciation for how diverse the landscape of North Carolina is and how great the motorcycle rides are as a result.
If you’re looking for a mix of sightseeing, local culture, and a fun riding culture, Smoky Mountains Loops is just for you. It is highly trafficked during peak season, but for good reason – it boasts local landmarks such as John Oliver and Billy Tipton’s respective cabins, and Cades Cove. Because the road is a small, single lane loop, it is recommended to treat it as a leisure ride and appreciate what the land around Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer.
The Pisgah National Forest looks like something out of a movie, with its surrounding rivers, waterfalls, and dense verdant coverage. Riding through it is an experience unlike many you can find in the United States- you can really get lost in your own world. Just as quickly, however, you can connect with many different historical landmarks such as the Cradle of Forestry or other designated nature areas, and the ride itself is a breathtaking and forgiving ascent through relatively easy turns. It also happens to be next to another one of our favorite rides in the state!
The partnering ride to Pisgah would be Cherokee National Forest. As you make your way up I-40 NC, you can choose either of these for a day trip. However, we recommend making a few days of it and camping if you can. The scenery is exquisite in Cherokee, and its sweeping turns allow you to determine how you want to take the ride. A slightly more difficult jaunt than Pisgah, it also shares the waterways and lush green atmosphere that will leave you in awe of North Carolina’s road quality.
Many of the rides have signature sweeping curves in North Carolina, and the Hellbender (AKA route 28) is no exception. Its layout makes the windmill twist, and turns are enjoyable and technically challenging even under the speed limit (though when there’s no traffic, it can be taken at least as is). Some locals consider it the precursor to the Tail of the Dragon, but it offers even better scenery and a different type of ride in its totality- don’t miss out on this gem.
While Old Liberty Road isn’t going to put expert riders’ skills to the test, it will leave a lasting impression on whoever cruises this short pass. Starting just outside of Asheboro, the scenery embodies the blend of farmland, forest, and waterways that North Carolina boasts for its scenic makeup. We recommend using Old Liberty Road as a group ride to start or end a series of great North Carolina motorcycle rides, but we certainly won’t judge you if you just want to relax and go for a quick spin for a couple hours.
There are plenty of other beautiful roads with rich history and diverse riding elements. We encourage you to explore as much of North Carolina as possible, and let us know if we missed your favorite spot to ride.
Call Law Tigers if You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
At Law Tigers, we know how to protect the riding community because we’re part of it. Our team is committed to finding the best rides for you and your crew while also providing you the best legal resources.
If you find yourself needing representation following a collision, reach out for a free consultation today: we’ll get you the best result possible so you can be back on the road in no time.