What better way to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway than on a motorcycle? The feel of wind in your face, the twists and turns of the road reflected in your steering and posture. You can stop when you like at an overlook to gaze at blooms or mountain ranges or just to stretch your legs. A sports car offers some of the same thrill but a bit more comfort and luggage space.
Along with the 469 miles of glorious scenery winding along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the parkway, there are several other motor routes in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia that are popular with motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts. Probably the most well-known route is the Tail of the Dragon that boasts 318 curves in just an 11-mile stretch of US 129 starting (or ending) near Deal’s Gap in Robbinsville, North Carolina.
Some motorists continue onto the Foothills Parkway, a motor route through eastern Tennessee that connects US 129 and US 321. Nearby you’ll find the 43-mile Cherohala Skyway which may not be as thrilling, but offers more sightseeing, between Robbinsville, North Carolina and Tellico Plains, Tennessee. The skyway passes through the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests. And The Diamondback route, NC 226A, twists its way from Marion, North Carolina to Switzerland Inn, on the edge of Mitchell County, North Carolina.
Not to be outdone, Virginia offers their own Dragon routes: The Claw of the Dragon includes loops of varying lengths, some traversing portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway, in the Galax, Marion, and Wytheville areas of Virginia. The routes can be combined to form a 237.1-mile loop that offers challenging curves and thrilling elevation changes. The Back of the Dragon (a subset of the Claw of the Dragon) connects Tazewell and Marion, Virginia via a curvy 30-mile ride on VA 16. Appalachian Backroads has vetted over 1,500 miles of roadways and offers route maps that are rated by technical difficulty. See virginia.org for anything you might want to know about travel in Virginia, including scenic roads to travel.
There’s also a Meadows of Dan loop beginning in Fancy Gap and multiple loops comprising the 268-miles of The Jagged Edge. Here, you’ll explore some of the curviest and most picturesque roads in the southeast, following the Blue Ridge Parkway from near Fancy Gap all the way to Roanoke on any one of the eight loops. One run even navigates 12 separate mountains! From Swain County, North Carolina to Franklin County, Virginia and beyond, the entire region is filled with roads and routes just waiting to be explored. To assist in your planning, we also have some road trip itineraries designed for motorcycle riders and other travel enthusiasts.
If you need to rent a motorcycle, get repairs, or even purchase a new ride, these shops can help you out. You can even have motorcycles delivered to your location! Motorcycle-friendly attractions from wineries to museums are also available near the Blue Ridge Parkway. And when you need to stop for the night, these lodging options offer everything from a cabin along the parkway to a full service resort that provides lodging & dining plus other amenities such as swimming, golf, and more! There are even more motorcycle-friendly lodges and resorts near the parkway just waiting for you to come discover them as you ride throughout the region. Even more resources are available on our motorcycle web page.
We hope these resources are helpful in planning your road trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway region and wish you safe and happy travels!