Don’t get caught up in the traffic on the Park Service Detour Route
These roads allow you to take the shortcuts (or the long way round) that will keep you riding!
Get your free copy! Instructions at bottom of page.
30+ miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed for most of 2012 near the NC / VA border. Detour via NC 18.
There is one significant detour on the Blue Ridge Parkway for 2012. To my surprise, it’s an extension of the detour that closed this middle section of the road near the North Carolina / Virginia border last year. While I found a much better detour route for motorcycle touring in 2011, 2012 is a real challenge in this very rural area where a paved road is a rarity.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed for maintenance, repair, and rebuilding of the historic stone walls found in this 30+ mile section.
The Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed to traffic (including bicycles) in 2012 from Milepost 216.5 near Cumberland Knob to Milepost 248.1 for repair of historic stone walls (see photo). While the wall shown may not seem impressive, this is where the Blue Ridge Parkway was born back in 1930-40. The early masonry work you see on the overpasses, bridges, and walls was done by master masons brought over from Europe. A few third generation descendants continue this restoration work today.
4 Road Closed signs, barrels, barricades, flashing lights, locked gate, - seriously closed!
Last year’s detour was north of the Blue Ridge Parkway through Sparta. I knew of a longer though much better route on the south side and produced a free downloadable map of it. It was fun. That route is included on the map. This years extension of the closure means there is no good way to bypass it completely on the south side of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Allegheny County Courthouse is the cornerstone of downtown Sparta. It's a small crossroads town, little of interest to me.
The 2012 Park Service detour route is simple, just one road – NC 18 which intersects the Blue Ridge Parkway at two points. It’s the easy, elegant solution passing through Sparta. While NC 18 could be a decent motorcycle ride, it’s curvy and rolling, the lack of paved roads in the area means it also carries all the traffic. Few cars and trucks are able to maintain the 55 mph speed limit and there’s always that one or two that can’t seem to get much above 40 mph and the lines back up behind them. It can be frustrating to ride when you can’t enjoy the curves at a proper motorcycle pace.
There - now you've seen Sparta. Don't feel like you've missed much if you bypass it.
Nor is there a compelling reason to go into Sparta. It’s a historic town at the crossroads of NC 18 / US 21, but I saw no places which looked enticing to eat at (one coffee shop), and the 2 gas stations require you to leave NC 18 and go a short distance on US 21. There’s a little museum, but miss Sparta and you won’t miss much.
Download this map and print your copy or save it in your phone!
The roads show on the map offer alternatives to avoid most of the standard route and should save you some time. They will at least help you avoid getting caught up in any traffic that could get backed up on the official detour. For those on adventure bikes I’ve included a couple non-paved options that will let you get your wheels dirty on gravel roads.
Use http://americaridesmaps.com/downloads/BRP-detour-2012.pdf for a map you can print on a standard sheet of paper.
Use http://americaridesmaps.com/downloads/BRP-detour-2012.jpg for an image file you can store in your cell phone, iPad, or GPS.
Wayne Busch - Cartographer
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. 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