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  • Best Motorcycle Rides – A Mt. Mitchell Loop Ride

    The observation tower atop Mt. Mitchell. Pick a sunny clear day. Clouds will hang on the peak.

    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.


    Blue Ridge Parkway – Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is a popular rest stop north of Asheville with nice views.

    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.


    Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - Pisgah Triangles

    Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina – Pisgah Triangles – Looking Glass Falls on US 276 is one of the most visited roadside waterfalls in North Carolina

    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.


    Turn-by-turn route:

    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.


    The Blue Ridge Parkway section north of Asheville

    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).

    Photo - Lake Lure

    Scenic Lake Lure, south of Asheville, in the Hickory Nut Gorge is worth the side trip

    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.

    Map of Mt. Mitchell / Chimney Rock loop ride

    Click to enlarge

    This ride and all the surrounding roads are detailed on –

    Map #5 – The Best Roads North & South of Asheville, NC

    Map #6 – The Best Motorcycle Rides Near Smoky Park – EAST


    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 –

    Total Rider Tech Logo

    Learn Total Control

    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



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    8 Comments to “Best Motorcycle Rides – A Mt. Mitchell Loop Ride”

    Love the rides.

    I only get about 125 mph per tank filled now what

    Great ride have done the loop but haven’t been on Old Fort rd. Or Hwy 70.

    What are the Hotel expenses in the area for the Loop, or would cabin rentals be the best way to go. I live in Guntersville AL, the wife and I would have to make this a weekend trip. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Richard & Pam Baker.

    Thanks for the great write up. A good restaurant in Lake Lure, NC is Larkins on the Lake. You can also stay at a great cabin that is motorcycle friendly. for details.

    Love the roads in NC!!

    Thanks for all the replies guys. Tank capacity is not an issue, the critical gas station will be found on NC 80, just north of the parkway. Otherwise, you’ll find enough.

    I generally steer visitors to Maggie Valley / Waynesville for lodging, though there are numerous other options. Maggie Valley has a wealth of reasonable rooms and it is ideally located to explore the surrounding area.

    Rode the blue Ridge and Tail of the Dragon last week. Most beautiful!!!!! Will be back later this Summer. Enjoyed the whole trip from Illinois. Camped at The Ironhorse!!!! Everything was perfect!!!! Thank you so much for such a beautiful place to ride!!!! Fishing next time!!!!!

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