Motorcycling in North Carolina is a fun, exciting, and healthy way to travel. While there are dozens of scenic and challenging mountain trails in the northwest part of the state, it is really the mountains that offer the biggest challenge to riders. However, for riders willing to conquer the difficulty, North Carolina has a number of motorbike tours available to take them across the terrain and into the heartland. Most bike tours in the northeast have starting and ending points at historic viewpoints, while tours of central and western North Carolina frequently include a wide variety of landscapes, from rolling to rugged and hilly.
Many North Carolina mountain bikers prefer to ride on “dry” roads; these are typically shaded, with trees and other barriers to keep potholes from building up. Highway 24 in the southern part of the state is one of the most popular routes for off-road enthusiasts, and offers some of the best riding opportunities in the state. Highway 24 runs through the Great Smoky Mountains in the southwest part of the state, providing riders with the opportunity to view a number of mountain bikers as they make their way southwest from the continental divide. Other popular road trips include a trip along the Topsail Island Trail, a popular biking route that heads out into Pee Dee National Park.
One of the biggest challenges for riders of any type of motorbike is the arduous task of transitioning from highway to dirt road. Highway 24, which runs between the town of Kill Devil Hills and the Southern Appalachian Trail, is perhaps the most difficult route for off-road bikers in the state. At several points along the route, riders will be riding over steep, narrow switchbacks, which can present a number of problems. State Route 17 crosses three different bridges over the mountain in Blairsville. At this point, riders need to approach the bridge from the left to avoid hitting a utility pole and a tree root, which can cause serious damage. The bridge is also closed in some cases for maintenance.
Another challenging route includes State Rte 31 in Ellijay. This road begins at the Blairsville-Ellijay National Recreation Area, and then heads due westward into Ellijay. This road is one of the most popular biking routes in the eastern half of the state, but it does have a few setbacks. At several points along the route, riders will cross onto a tributary of the Roanoke River, which carries a variety of white and blackfish. As the path continues westward, it passes within the boundaries of the Spotted Bear State Park. Because of the unique wildlife that can occur within its boundaries, riders are encouraged to bring an extra pair of shoes.
Finally, a number of trail options exist in the south. Highway 120 in Blairsville and Highway 16 in Ellijay offer excellent mountain biking trails, as well as other off road options such as ATV trails. Blairsville is home to the historic Black Mountain Ski Resorts, which makes it an ideal place for skiers. Ellijay has a multitude of beautiful trails including the Mountain Laurel Loop 2, both of which start out of the parking lot on Hwy. 16 and feature spectacular views of the Roanoke River and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Bicyclists need to consider all of their options when deciding on a route. Motorcycling in North Carolina offers cyclists the chance to cover a wide range of terrain and scenery, as well as meet a variety of people. Riding in the north can be a great family activity that combines fitness and relaxation. With the right planning, however, even inexperienced riders can have an enjoyable experience. Planning out the best route for motorcycling in North Carolina ensures that all of the roads are traveled on and that your ride is safe and enjoyable.