Best Motorcycle Rides – A Mt. Mitchell Loop Ride
A lot of bikers ask about riding to the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. This loop will spice up the ride with a fun run by Chimney Rock.
Who wouldn’t want to ride their motorcycle to the peak of the highest mountain in the eastern United States? At 6,684 feet, the views from the top are worth the trip, as is the enjoyable ride to get there. Located on NC 128, a spur road off a remote section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s just a short walk to reach the observation tower the crowns the crest.
While a ride up this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is a satisfying experience, why not kill two birds with one stone and come back on a different route? For those looking for a more challenging ride than the park road, this loop will give you some classic curves and outstanding scenery. You’ll pass through dramatic Hickory Nut Gorge, home to beautiful Lake Lure and Chimney Rock, and wind your way home through some of the nicest curves in the Pisgah Forest.
While there are some challenging sections, this is a great route for cruisers as most of it is pretty laid back and you can take your time.
Distance: 205+ miles with side trips
Duration: All day ride
Difficulty: Easy to moderate ride
Before you go:
- Fill up first – Long stretches with no gas stations.
- Watch the weather – High elevations will have the most extremes. Bring extra clothing. Pick a nice day to visit Mt. Mitchell, the clouds will come in here first.
Start in Waynesville. Follow US 276 to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
6.3 mi Traffic light in Bethel. Last chance to fill up before the long ride.
20.8 mi Turn left @ junction US 276 and ramp to Blue Ridge Parkway.
21 mi Turn right @ stop sign onto Blue Ridge Parkway (towards Asheville).
77.1 mi Turn left @ junction Blue Ridge Parkway and NC 128. Follow to top of Mt. Mitchell – 4.8 mi one way.
88.3 mi Exit and follow ramp to NC 80. Blue Ridge Parkway exit at NC 80.
88.4 mi Turn right @ stop sign. Junction ramp and NC 80.
100 mi Turn right @ traffic light. Junction NC 80 and NC 70. Follow NC 70 into Old Fort.
109 mi Turn left @ traffic light. Junction US 70 and Catawba Avenue in Old Fort. Pass through town. Follow Bat Cave Road south.
121 mi Turn left @ stop sign. Junction Bat Cave Road and NC 9.
128 mi Turn left @ stop sign. Junction NC 9 and US 74A (Gerton Highway).
128.3 mi Traffic Light. Junction US 74A and US 64. Go through traffic light to see Chimney Rock in 2 miles. Explore Lake lure. Turn right to leave the area on US 64 (left turn when leaving).
140 mi Cross over I-26 on US 64. Continue into Hendersonville.
143 mi Turn left, then right @ traffic lights downtown to continue west on US 64.
160 mi Pass straight through traffic light @ Junction US 64 / US 276 / NC 280. onto US 276. Good place add some gas to your tank.
175 mi Pass under Blue Ridge Parkway and continue on US 276.
195 mi Return to start in Waynesville via US 276.
There is a restaurant at Mt. Mitchell. You’ll also find food in Chimney Rock / Lake Lure, as well as Hendersonville and Brevard.
Hendersonville is a bit congested with some traffic.
This ride and all the surrounding roads are detailed on –
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here - AmericaRidesMaps.com
Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. Isn’t it time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely? It can transform your mountain riding experience. Total Rider Tech