Dual Sport Ride Map Near the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway

Dual Sport Ride Map Near the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway

The Best UNPAVED roads WEST of Smoky Park

The Best Unpaved Motorcycle Roads WEST of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the third motorcycle ride map of the unpaved roads and trails from America Rides Maps.

This new map details the great dual sport rides near the Dragon at Deals Gap, North Carolina, along the long stretch of the Cherohala Skyway, and near Tellico Plains, Tennessee. Enjoy the legendary Tail of the Dragon AND take your adventure bike out in the woods on the same day of great motorcycle rides. ADV Riders will love these detailed maps.

Dual Sport Motorcycle RidesThis motorcycle ride map features the great motorcycle roads found near the Nantahala Gorge, as well as the great riding off road riding around Franklin, North Carolina. Enjoy roadside waterfalls, mountain top views, and miles and miles of superb unpaved riding.

Discover motorcycle rides in the vast wild and scenic areas of the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests on Forest Roads and accessible trails.

Dual Sport motorcycle rides TNAmerica Rides Maps has also produced dual sport motorcycle ride maps of the great adventure rides east of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the superb roads near the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Smoky Park. They are sold individually and as a 3 map set.

See this new map and the others here –



Best Motorcycle Rides, NC – Wayah Road

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC – Wayah Road

Best Motorcycle Rides In NC

Best Motorcycle Rides In NC – winding up Wayah Road from the Nantahala Gorge.

30 mile long Wayah Road connects US 64 near Franklin, NC to US 74 in the heart of the Nantahala Gorge near Topton, NC. It’s a useful and strategic road to know of as it’s the only one that cuts through this rugged section of high mountains and national forest and it points to the Dragon at Deals Gap. While the ride lacks panoramic long range mountain views, there is plenty of scenery along the whitewater river. Clear and sparkling alpine Nantahala Lake is a treat near the top.

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC - Wayah Road

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC – Wayah Road – section from Map #7. Only main roads shown. Other great rides near here.

The climb out of the depths of Nantahala Gorge is steep and twisty right from the start by the powerhouse. It follows the  bank of the river as it cascades down the slope from the lake above, crossing it on narrow bridges a few times. You may run into fishermen along the lower stretch, otherwise there’s little traffic.

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC - Wayah Road - Waterfall along Wayah Road

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC – Wayah Road – The ride along the river on Wayah Road is spectacular!

When you reach the top of the climb, the road relaxes and rolls across the heights of the mountain passing through the small community near the lake. The road gets tight again along the shoreline of the clear deep lake, then climbs a bit more to reach the gentle run across the high stretches of Wayah Bald. This last short climb has some very tight turns and is notorious for gravel drawn into the road from unpaved driveways. There is a small restaurant on the lake and a few places to pull off for a break or photo.

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC - Wayah Road

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC – Wayah Road – Picnic lunch at alpine Nantahala Lake

There’s a steep plunge down the eastern slopes with some true hairpin curves. You emerge in a tight valley that grows wider as you approach Franklin. The east end of Wayah Road is marked by ‘Loafer’s Glory” country store and gas station (click her for Yelp review). Wayah Road ends when it reaches Old Murphy Road. Four lane US 64 is half a mile south on Old Murphy Road or you can follow Old Murphy Road about 5 miles in to downtown Franklin.

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC - Wayah Road

Best Motorcycle Rides, NC – Wayah Road. The curves at the top of the climb are some of the most severe and the most fun. Be alert for gravel in these turns.

Wayah Road is a classic so you’ll find it on the “12 Classic Deals Gap Motorcycle Rides” pocket map from America Rides Maps. Do yourself a favor and look at Map #7 if you are coming to ride in this area. “The Best Roads South of Great Smoky Mountains National Park” covers this are in detail. I’ve only hinted at the many nice rides near Franklin with the snippet of map I’ve shown.

Get The most detailed Maps Here – America Rides Maps

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 Rider.com

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 – AmericaRidesMaps.com



100 Great Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains Map

100 Great Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains Map

America Rides Maps motorcycle pocket ride maps has a brand new map!

100 Great Motorcycle Rides  mapin the Smoky Mountains

New map! 100 Great Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains

This map mails out September 6, 2013. This is the first run of these new maps, supplies are limited! Reserve yours now.

Order online here – http://www.shop.americaridesmaps.com/100-Great-Motorcycle-Rides-in-the-Smoky-Mountains-SM100F.htm


100 Great Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rides Map

100 Great Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rides Map – both folded (road use) and unfolded (wall display) versions. Waterproof and durable. Red Roads are best, Blue Roads are best connectors.

12 Classic Deals Gap Motorcycle Rides pocket map

12 Classic Deals Gap Motorcycle Rides pocket map

  • Size: 24 x 36 inches
  • Waterproof and tear resitant
  • Folded and unfolded versions available
  • Supplies are limited!
  • Click here to order

100 Great Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rides is the “grown up” version of our most popular 12 Classic Deals Gap Motorcycle Rides pocket map. This new larger and more detailed map adds in all the great roads that are not featured on the smaller map, more than 100 of them.

Great Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains Map

Size comparison – pocket maps vs. new map unfolded. More detail, easy to read, tons more roads!



100 Great Motorcycle Rides in the Smoky Mountains Map

4.5 x 8 inches folded


Discalimer –

  • There are way more then 100 great motorcycle rides on this map
  • Most of these roads are peripheral to the actual geologic formation of the Smoky Mountains

This new larger format map (24×36 inches) combines at least 3 pocket maps (#6, #7, #8)  and sections of 2 more (#5, #9) into one larger map that encircles and includes all the best motorcycle rides surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This map stretches from Tellico Plains, TN in the west to include the Cherohala Skyway, The Dragon,  and connecting roads, to beyond Asheville, NC in the east. It dips into Georgia and South Carolina, and reaches as far north as Knoxville, TN. Within these borders lie some of the best motorcycle roads in the nation.

  • For the first time visitor – all the great motorcycle roads are at your disposal.
  • For the return visitor – expand on what you’ve already discovered
  • For the local – I bet you find something new

Buy this map now


And you’ll have to wait for it until September 6, 2013;

America Rides Maps notice

Maps will mail Sept 6

This maps just arrived from the printer and I’m about to leave on my motorcycle vacation. Yes, just like you, I need my motorcycle trips.

So all I can do is let you know when you can get them –

  • You can order now –
  • I will start mailing maps again on September 6, 1st Class or Priority Mail –
  • You should have your map by September 10, 2013

Order now


Where can I buy these maps NOW?

I’ve had no time to get them out to sellers so these are the few places they are available and in limited supply at that. Once I return from my motorcycle trip I’ll get more out to the other vendors.


America Rides Maps motorcycle ride maps

How the maps compare in size –

Click here to shop online and see all the maps –


A Great North Carolina Motorcycle Ride near Franklin

Here’s a nice motorcycle ride west of Franklin, NC most riders never see. It’s easy to ride right past it onUS 64 between Franklin and Hayesville.


West view from US 64 looking towards Hayesville, North Carolina.

US 64 has long been a favorite motorcycle ride as it makes a lazy climb through the mountains of the Nantahala National Forest. It’s a popular way to travel from Franklin to Murphy, or approach the great rides found just across the border in north Georgia.

Scenic US 64 is an easy motorcycle ride with gentle climbs and descents, the curves are broad and sweeping, the road wide and well maintained, and there are a couple nice overlooks.


US 64 is an easy ride, well maintained, wide and sweeping, but it can carry a good amount of traffic at times.


Near the middle of this section of US 64 you’ll find West Old Murphy Road winding into a mountain pass to the east. It’s a nice motorcycle ride that loops back to connect with US 64 closer to Franklin in 8.6 miles.

As much as I enjoy riding US 64, I don’t give it a top rating on my maps. US 64 is the primary east-west connector across the southern border of western North Carolina. Because of this, you’ll rarely have the road to yourself to enjoy. Local, commercial and tourist traffic use US 64 and chances are you’ll run in to at least a little of it.

West Old Murphy Road let’s you escape if you do get caught behind a string of slow traffic crawling up the grade.  If you’re looking for something more challenging and entertaining, you’ll find it on West Old Murphy Road.


One of my favorite break spots, a small cemetery on W Old Murphy Rd.

This great motorcycle ride circles around the south side of the mountain US 64 skirts to the north. It’s devilishly twisty in places, the pavement is decent, and there are a few nice views though it’s another one of those roads you’ll be watching the  twisty pavement more than the pretty scenery.

West Old Murphy Road is easy to find at either end. Nearest Franklin, it’s near the point US 64 goes from two lanes to the four lane section  which circles south of the town. Near the mid point of US 64 look for signage on the east side of the road for Standing Indian campground in the National Forest.

Not far in from the mid point is one of my favorite spots for a quick break. You’ll see a pull-off near a small embankment. Atop the rise is an old graveyard. There are some good places to sit and enjoy the reverent solitude.


You can see W Old Murphy Road is a twisty little bugger, but a lot of fun to ride.


Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch – Cartographer

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Learn Total Control

– 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. It’s time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely, it will change your mountain riding experience. It worked so well for me I became an instructor! Total Rider Tech


West Old Murphy Road and many other roads in the surrounding area is found on America Rides Maps #7 – The Best Motorcycle Rides SOUTH of GSMNP
The start of it is also shown on America Rides Maps  – Map #9 – The Best Rides in the North Georgia Mountains



Motorcycling in the Land of the Waterfalls – Shouldn’t You be in these Photos?

Photo - Soco Road Exit Blue Ridge Parkway

We started from the Soco Rd Exit (US 19) on the Blue Ridge Parkway @ MP 455.7

Absolutely gorgeous weather over the holiday weekend did not go to waste. We took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy riding a “tourist” loop we typically avoid. While the good folks were in church, we knew the traffic would be light and the timing would be right to get out for a Smoky Mountain motorcycle ride that would take us by some of the best scenery the area has to offer and a trip through the Land of the Waterfalls.

Photo - Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

We made our way to Maggie Valley and started the loop from the Soco Gap exit on the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 455.7. Careening down through the curves towards Cherokee, we had the road to ourselves and got the rare chance to enjoy this twisty section of two lane which is normally crowded with travelers and commuters.

Photo - Bear in Cherokee

Cherokee is full of these bears

Cherokee was quiet as we sneaked into town for a quick photo then continued on US 19 into Bryson City on the south side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  On Easter Sunday, the trains of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad sat in reverence as we passed through the back side of town to check out a road I’d been curious about – (I never stop looking for new roads for America Rides Maps).

Photo - Great Smoky Mountains Railway Train

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad train in Bryson City

After 10 minutes on the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway (US 74 /19/23/28), we forked south into the Nantahala Gorge and paused for a break at the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the river.  From now on, this beautiful road which follows the course of one of the most popular whitewater rivers in the east will be filled with lumbering buses hauling rafters and kayakers upstream for the chilly and thrilly ride through the rapids. Thanks to the holiday, there was no commercial traffic, though plenty of others were here to enjoy the hiking, biking, and other pursuits in this hub of outdoor activity.

Photo - Rivers End Restaurant

The Rivers End Restaurant sits on the Natahala River at NOC.

Enduring 10 miles of relatively light traffic, we turned off for the climb over Wayah Bald. Snaking up along the cascading river, we passed fishermen gracefully floating their flies in the quiet pools beneath the numerous falls, then paused for a picnic lunch on the shore of crystal clear alpine Nantahala Lake.

Photo - motorcycle on Wayah Road

Jackie cruises Wayah Road

The ride across the top of the mountain is more challenging than it is scenic filled with curves and twists that attract riders to this favorite motorcycle route. Easing down through the hairpin curves on the back side of the hump, the road traces the course of another stream which builds to flow into the Little Tennessee River once you reach Franklin.  We passed through town then headed south again on US 64 / NC 28 to enter the Cullasaja River Gorge.

Waterfall along Wayah Road

The ride along the river on Wayah Road is spectacular!

It looked like our luck was changing as we found ourselves behind several cars, but each peeled off on side roads before we reached the outstanding curves that carve through the rugged canyon and we actually got to enjoy the ride at speed. That is a rare treat and we appreciated it. Good rains this spring have the waterfalls roaring and they were spectacular.

Photo - motorcycles at Nantahala Lake

Picnic lunch at alpine Nantahala Lake

There are four easy to spot major waterfalls along this stretch of US 64 leading into Highlands, Cullasaja Falls (the largest), Dry Falls, Quarry Falls, and delicate Bridal Veil Falls. We stopped for a unique photo at Bridal Veil Falls where a small paved loop runs behind the cascade.

Photo - Cullasaja Falls

Cullasaja Falls on US 64 / NC 28

The remainder of the ride on US 64 is outstanding for scenery but by mid afternoon the tourist traffic was picking up and we did not always get to exploit the wonderful curves as much as we would have liked. The horizons are flanked with glimpses of the highest naked cliffs in North Carolina, some more than 1000 feet tall, and you cruise through some of the most expensive real estate in the country.

We completed the loop by heading north again on US 215 from Rosman climbing to reach the highest section of the Blue Ridge Parkway on a freshly paved road that snakes through outstanding turns and scenery that make it one of the locals favorite rides.

Photo - Motorcycle behind Bridal Veil Falls

Jackie poses for a photo on her motorcycle behind Bridal Veil Falls just outside Highlands, NC on US 64 / NC 28. How cool is that?

Click on photos for larger view


Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– 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 

Great Food in a Gas Station? Hello, Caffe Rel!

Photo - Hot Spot Gas Station in Franklin

You can't miss the huge Hot Spot gas station in Franklin, home to the Caffe Rel.

I’ve been hearing tales of Caffe Rel for quite a while but a good restaurant in a gas station? It was just a bit hard to believe. Nor does Franklin, NC come to mind when I’m thinking of great places to eat. It does now.

Let’s say I had my doubts when I pulled into the Hot Spot gas station in downtown Franklin. It is a very nice gas station. Big, new, clean. You can’t miss it. We arrived around 5:30 and there were already cars in all the spaces outside.

I had heard the place was small. It wasn’t as small as I supposed, but seating is limited. Get there early. It’s really nice on the inside. It’s not well set up for large parties – tables seat 4, there are a couple that will hold 6, but room is limited and if you come in with a huge group don’t expect to share a table.

Photo - Caffe Rel sign

Still seems odd - a decent restaurant connected to the Hot Spot convenience store.

The menu is extensive and I was surprised at some of the offerings. It’s got a French theme, but also covers a variety of cuisines. One of the specials of the evening was “snails and tails“,  the tails being crawfish. I chose another crawfish dish. We also tried the mountain trout (great), the french style roast beef (excellent), shrimp and grits (not the typical southern recipe, but a nice twist), and assorted ravioli. Everybody got a great meal and we had very good service. What more can you ask for?

So what has this got to do with Smoky Mountain motorcycle riding? A lot of motorcycle riders find their way to Franklin. It’s nice to know those good places to stop when you come to a decent sized town.

Photo - inside Caffe Rel

It's surprisingly nice inside. The food will surprise you as well.

Franklin, NC is one of those towns located at the crossroads of several great motorcycle rides. US 64 passes on the south side of town. Go east to see 4 great roadside waterfalls on the way to Highlands. Wayah Road lies just 5 miles to the west. The great motorcycle ride over Wayah Bald into the Nantahlala River gorge is a classic. The Moonshiner 28 runs north to lead you to the Dragon at Deals Gap. US 441 takes you to Cherokee and the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’re only half an hour from some of the great motorcycle rides in north Georgia. Those are just the well known motorcycle rides in Franklin. There are plenty more on my America Rides Maps.

Photo - inside Caffe Rel

The next time you're near Franklin, remember the Caffe Rel and try to stop during the off hours.

I didn’t find a web site for Caffe Rel, but then, they don’t have a bathroom either. Use the one in the gas station. Maybe it has a web site. Don’t much care.

We’ll be revisiting the Caffe Rel, looking for opportunities to stop during the off hours. By normal meal times, the place is packed. Hope you get a chance to try it.


Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– 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 

I Get Paid To Do This!

Jeez, that was fun! I’d just completed the reconnaisance to verify the directions for the upcoming Make-A-Wish Foundation charity ride April 4th (see earlier blog) and stopped in to gloat a bit with my buddy Ken at Gryphon Bikes and Choppers. For those who make their living in the motorcycle industry, the reality that it involves far less time in the saddle than an outsider fantasizes is a bitter pill to swallow. Time on the bike in the line of work is precious and I’d had my first good “work” ride of spring.

Few would appreciate the act more than Ken who manages a Harley-Davidson rental business. It’s got to be heartbreaking to watch his immaculate fleet of showroom maintained motorcycles roll in and out the doors each week while he is tied to the shop. Watching those well loved babies leave then living vicariously through the tales of fabulous mountain rides on their return is tough. To own a fleet of perfectly great motorcycles and have so little opportunity to enjoy them is a cross I doubt I could bear. Nice guy that I am, I had to rub it in.

I can justify the work expense as I located a few road signs which had changed over the winter. I’ve got a couple hours of work ahead updating the maps affected. There are a few improvements to be made to the original draft of the route description. I can be guilt free for the work time spent in such an enjoyable pursuit.

I revisited roads I knew well and enjoyed them. Though the hillsides are still mostly brown, the Bradford pear trees are white with blooms, the crocus and daffodills sprinkle the roadsides with the first of the color, the yellow forsythia lend brillance to an awakening landscape. The willows are greening and the redbuds adorn the crowns of their trees. Even the time I spent on the four lane necessitated to reach the various stops where riders will build their poker hands on the circuit were more enjoyable than usual.

It was the two lane that made the ride. One section I had not ridden for quite some time made it all worthhwile. I’d forgotten how good it was. Yeah, the 28 mile run over Wayah Bald with the sparkling blue waters of alpine Nantahala Lake and the frequent roadside waterfalls fresh from a recent rain were a distraction from the hairpin curves on the climb and descent. But it was the gradual climb back up and over Cullowhee Mountain that made the day.

From the time I entered the 15.8 mile stretch of road to it’s end near Western Carolina University I saw no other vehicles. Not one car. The road was all mine, and I took advantage of the freedom to put the fresh rubber on my wheels to it’s first real test. It was surprisingly clean of winter gravel, a good thing considering the severity of the curves and nonstop flow from one edge of the rubber to the other as I carved my way up the gradual climb. I was quickly satisfied I’d made the right choice of tires, solid anchors which did everything I asked without a single slip or drift. They surprised me more than once when I exploded out turns to find the front wheel no longer in contact with the pavement, occasionally in third gear. These babies hooked up!

Had it been a fun ride, I would have followed this section with another 50 miles or so of the same to arrive at home, but today I was at work and I took the more pedantic route back to stay on the course of the ride and tick off the last few stops on the loop more casually on the four lane. I’ll gladly pay for this treat with the hours at the keyboard which follow. It’s re-awakened my recognition the new season is upon us and before long I’ll be hundreds of miles from home on challenging new roads as I explore the secret mountain roads of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky and expand the stock of maps I produce. After all, sometimes it is a fantansy job. That’s what keeps me going.


>> Go to America Rides Maps.com http://americaridesmaps.com/