North Carolina is a motorcyclist’s playground with fantastic roads that will delight everyone, from tourers to sport bike riders to cruisers. This state’s Appalachian Mountains are home to some of the best twisty roads in the nation, including the infamous Tail of the Dragon, which it shares with its neighbor, Tennessee. In addition, North Carolina is blessed with miles of scenic coastal routes and fun rides through open country.
There is one road in North Carolina that has become the standard by which all other twisty roads in the nation are now measured against, the Tail of the Dragon. This road, which is also known as Route 129, is very technical and loaded with 318 curves in its short 11-mile length. This road’s twisties include tight hairpins, steep S curves, elevation changes, and are often accompanied by unforgiving sheer drop-offs. This is definitely not a road for novices and should be ridden with respect by even skilled motorcyclists. To get to the Tail of the Dragon, motorcyclists can take State Route 28 from Franklin or US-129 from Robbinsville. The beginning of the Dragon starts at the intersection of these two roads.
Most riders hit the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort after challenging the Dragon. This is a great place to swap stories with other bikers, grab a drink, or just shake off any jangled nerves after tangling with the Dragon’s wicked twisties. The Gap, as it is also known, is the site of the Tree of Shame, a makeshift shrine to various motorcycle parts that have been sacrificed to the Dragon’s mean bite over the years. Deals Gap is located in Robbinsville on Tapoco Road. It is closed during the winter months.
This area of North Carolina is full of great roads; some that motorcyclists swear are as good as or even better than the Tail of the Dragon. One of these roads is Route 28, which is also known as Moonshiner 28. This scenic road has a little bit of everything motorcyclists love, including pretty views of picturesque lakes and waterfalls, twisties and fast sweepers. You can pick this road up from the Tail of the Dragon and ride it southeast toward Georgia and South Carolina. Route 28 earned its nickname by being one of the main routes that moonshiners used to take while outrunning the law. Today, motorcyclists will find some great little shops and distilleries to visit on this road.
Riders who prefer sweepers to twisties will enjoy the very scenic Cherohala Skyway, which carves its way through some of North Carolina’s 5,400-foot mountains. This 36-mile road stretches from Robbinsville, North Carolina to Tellico Plains, Tennessee, and it is North Carolina’s most expensive highway. Scenic vistas abound on this beautiful route, which is especially stunning in the fall when the leaves are turning and the hills are ablaze with color.
Of course, North Carolina is not only about the mountains, as pretty and twisty, as they may be. This state also has miles of beautiful roads that skim the oceanfront. Riders who enjoy great coastal rides should head out to the stretch of US-70 that runs from Morehead City to Cedar Island. This coastal route brings motorcyclists past swamps and the bay. This is a mostly flat road, but it does boast some nice sweepers. At the end of this ride, motorcyclists who have the time can choose to catch a ferry to Ocracoke Island, which was once the stomping grounds of pirates, including Blackbeard.
In addition to all of its fantastic roads, North Carolina is also the site of numerous motorcycle rallies, shows and rides, including the Boone Bike Rally, which is held in June. This two-day event takes place in Boone’s High Country Fairgrounds and features live musical acts, games and vendor booths.
Disclaimer: All information is provided as a service to motorcycle riders, and the opinions expressed here are subjective. Although we have tried to research this information thoroughly, it is possible that changing circumstances can cause this information to become inaccurate. In addition, the conditions and roads described can change without notice for a number of reasons, including closings, weather conditions and maintenance. Motorcycle events such as rallies and rides may also be cancelled or dates changed without notice, as well. This site is not responsible for these types of circumstances, which are beyond our control, and riders relying on this information will be doing so at their own risk. This site is not liable for any actions a rider takes based on the information provided here. Please consult other sources before heading out on these roads and do not use the directions given here as a map, as again, circumstances may have affected their accuracy.