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  • Stay Near the Best Mountain Motorcycle Rides

    Stay Near the Best Mountain Motorcycle Rides – 

    Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209, a.k.a. "The Rattler" This is some of the best motorcycle riding you'll find in the world. These riders are looping back to NC 209 on NC 63.This is some of the best motorcycle riding you'll find in the world. These riders are looping back to NC 209 on NC 63.

    Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina – NC 209, a.k.a. “The Rattler” – This is some of the best motorcycle riding you’ll find in the world. These riders are looping back to NC 209 on NC 63.

    So you’ve heard about the amazing motorcycle riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains and you want to come see the best of it it.

    Where should you stay to have the best opportunity to ride the greatest number of classic motorcycle rides?

    To figure out where the geographic center of the best motorcycle riding was,  I first looked at where all the classic roads were, roads that have been around long enough to have names like “The Dragon”, the “Moonshiner” and “The Gauntlet”. Some of these might be on your bucket list so it’s nice to have them close. I determined the center point between them.

    Map of Classic Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains

    Surround yourself with classic rides.

    Next I moved a large circle around the center point of the classic rides to figure out when it contained the most good motorcycle rides overall. I made rings at 10 mile intervals, made a few adjustments, and came up with the answer;

    Bullseye on the test place to stay

    Bullseye on the best place to stay

    The target falls on Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Cherokee.

    Geographically, Maggie Valley sits at the hub of it all, but any of the towns along the south side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is going to put you near some outstanding riding.

    Here are some pros and cons to help you sort out which of the three places works best for you;

    Maggie Valley 


    Photo - fall colors at Soco Gap

    View heading down from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Soco Gap on US 19 towards Maggie Valley.

    Maggie Valley Pros –

    • There are lots of motel rooms, cabins, and campgrounds in the one road town, it caters well to the motorcycle visitor.
    • The best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is just 10 minutes up the road.
    • The are several good places to eat.
    • Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum is there.
    • The small town hosts several biker events each year, including spring and fall rallies.
    • The town is spread along a 4 lane stretch of US 19 with high mountains on looming on every horizon, you really feel like you’re in the mountains.
    • There are liquor stores in town.

    Maggie Valley Cons

    • 15 min ride to Waynesville for groceries.
    • If you stay close to the middle of town you can walk to some of the restaurants and pubs, but the town is long and narrow so you’ll probably hop on the bike.


    Main Street, downtown Waynesville

    Main Street, downtown Waynesville

    Waynesville Pros –

    • known for it’s good food and picturesque downtown and atmosphere.
    • There are mountains on every horizon.
    • US 276 leaves from the south end of town and leads to some great rides and the Blue Ridge Parkway

    Waynesville Cons –

    • There’s only one motel in the downtown and a couple B&B’s where you can walk to the restaurants, pubs, and stores and galleries.
    • I usually tell visitors – eat in Waynesville, sleep in Maggie Valley unless you can snag one of the few rooms available in town.


    One of the many painted bears in Cherokee

    One of the many painted bears in Cherokee

    Cherokee pros –

    • Strategically located at the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the south entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee is obviously worth consideration.
    • There are lots of motels and campgrounds. No outstanding restaurants come to mind, though I don’t pass through Cherokee often.

    Cherokee cons –

    • Because Cherokee is a hub of tourist activity it is often congested with traffic. The roads leading in to it are busy, there are few of them, and you’ll end up on riding 4 lane roads like US 441 and US 74 more often.
    • You’re on the Cherokee Reservation, if you want drinks you’ll need to go to Harrah’s Casino.


    100 Great Motorcycle Rides mapin the Smoky MountainsYou can get a map of more than 100 Great Motorcycle Rides near the Smoky Mountains that will show you where the roads are hiding and how they link together into endless wonderful wanderings through the mountains.

     Click Here Now
    to see more about the map

    If you enjoy photos of motorcycle riding in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, like MY BLUE RIDGE MOTORCYCLING FACEBOOK PAGE.Facebook


    wayne busch - Smoky Mountain Motorcycle

    Wayne Busch

    – 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 –



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    24 Comments to “Stay Near the Best Mountain Motorcycle Rides”

    Hey Wayne, GREAT JOB! Love the maps and have recommended them to many riders from southern Ohio. I am an officer with the Gallipolis HOG chapter and some of my riding friends from the chapter have been coming to Maggie Valley area for years (many years). The last couple of trips to the area I suggested rides from your maps and they were amazed with the motorcycling quality of the roads. Roads they had passed on the way to the same roads they had ridden for years. Also, thanks for taking calls and suggesting specific routes. Several of our riders have physical limitations and your suggestion for routes with waterfalls visible from the roadside was really appreciated. Thanks for doing the hard work so we can do the fun part and just relax and ride knowing that you will not take us down the wrong road.
    — Wyatt —

    lot of good information here. I stayed at gearhead inn in Cherokee very nice hotel very friendly people even gave us towels to wioe are motorcycles down.

    Hi from South Africa. We had planned a trip to your part of the world for last August, but had to cancel after my wife was badly injured in an accident. We are planning to head there this Aug/Sept, but my wife won’t be riding, so we were looking for a comfortable place for her to stay. I was looking at spending 5 nights at Little Switzerland and then another 5 at Best Western Dillsboro or Fontana Village. The idea is to try and cover the broad general area from Blowing Rock, Mountain City, Blue Ridge, Helen, Seneca, Boone, with a view to covering all the best riding roads within this general area. Any comments on the choice of accommodation, given our circumstances ? Thanks for your great site !


    Hoon – I’d choose Fontana over Dillsboro. You might want to consider a day or two in Asheville, shame to miss some good food and beer.

    Do you know if the “Great Smokey Mountains motorcyle campground” on the road about 6 miles from the parkway is still operating? and how I can get in touch with them? Thanks, Leighann

    This place is located near Asheville, owned and operated by a motorcycle enthusiast (me) and offers many great roads leading to many of the destinations on your map.

    Also on Facebook -

    Hey, Wayne, next time you are in Cherokee, check out Granny’s Kitchen; US 19, one mile east of Harrah’s Casino on the right; country cooking, buffet style. I found it one day when I was lost and gotta give it a thumbs up.

    I have an efficiency off Rt 40 in Tennessee for riders on their way to great rides. We also have a little Dragon ride closeby.

    We lived in Canton NC for 6 years, we have rode most of the roads ,but I like is from Waynesville to Hot Springs hwy 209 or 216 north

    It’s hwy 209 from Waynesville to Hot Springs is my favorite

    Stay at the Chalet, the Lake House or the Lodge and ride The Snake; the Little Snake and lots of other UnNamed rides in NE Tennessee…only 2 hours riding from the Smoky Mountains.

    Lots of good rides, good food and good lodging. So come, share the magic of the mountains.

    Iron Mountain Inn B&B, Creekside Chalet log cabin and Lake House on Watauga

    Such a great place to enjoy a week of relaxing riding in the mountains. Take a look here for a place to stay close to all the good riding.

    I lived in Lenoir NC for a bit. In a car I’ve been to blowing rock, Boone, Cherokee amongst other places. I loved the area. Grandfather mountain and the mile high swinging bridge. That whole area is worth 2 weeks vacation and you can be in a different area every day! Keep up the good work

    The Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground is THE place to stay!

    Thanks for all the hard work that you have put into this. We visit the area at least once a year, and sometimes more. We normally stay in Robbinsville, NC at The Two Wheel Inn, but it stays booked most of the riding season. One of our favorite towns to visit is Highlands, and Bryson City, NC. There’s a great little Italian restaurant in Bryson City called Anthony’s across from the train museum. If you real authentic Italian style Pizza, this is the place.

    Love the roads in the Deals Gap area. Been there 3 times and can’t waite to go back. Riding arround there is so much fun and exciting.

    My wife and I live in NW Fl and have been enjoying the Smokeys for over 30 years. Sometimes 3-4 trips a year. Only thing, we are not cyclist. We love the relaxing of our autos. What we have seen through the years has been an increase of rudeness from cyclist. We love to come up and relax and take in the beautiful nature. However, we continually stay in edge with being tailgated by several cycles at a time. They pass in some of the most dangerous spots. On top of their lack of respect for the auto drivers who want to take it easy, seems they want to make as much noise as possible. Last year, we sold our cabin located in the outskirts of Maggie Valley because of the noise in hwy 19. Please spread the word and start a campaign to slow down…enjoy what you have there. Have a little respect for those who are there for relaxing not speed. If we wanted the noise and speed, we would stay in downtown Atlanta..ha. Thank You. Garvin Leonard.

    thank you for not mentioning Bryson City NC……love the solitude and some of the best roads ( on and off) around!

    Hey Wayne I was wondering if we are related somehow….

    Looking for a suggestion from you–we are planning to do Blue Ridge Parkway coming from New York. We will start at North Entrance and use two days. Second night we plan to stay in Maggie Valley, but not sure where to stay on our first night…suggestions?????

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