Visit the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort at the Dragon – a bunch of photos and info

Photo - Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort

Store and gas at the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort - there's so much more here.

I made a stop at the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort yesterday located at the Tennessee end of the Dragon at Deals Gap and came away impressed with all it has to offer.

Photo - street view of Punkin Cneter Motorcycle Resort

It's more than just a convenient navigation marker at the junction of US 129 and TN 72, the trun to make the Cherohala Loop Ride

Located at the junction of US 129 and Tn 72, the turn to make the loop ride with the Cherohala Skyway, and just of the road from the Foothills Parkway,  it’s a very convenient landmark for navigation, but there are good reasons to stop in.

Photo - Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort and the PitStop

You can't miss it when approaching from the north, the Punkin Center Pit Stop is just across the street.

There’s the store of course with souveniers, gear, and accessories. Then there’s the new motel. Next to that is the BBQ restaurant. They have gas outside the store. Jody’s a great source of information. Still, there’s more.

Photo - Inside the sore at the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort

The store at the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort is packed with goodies.

Just up the road is the campground and cabins. There’s a deli here and they serve beer. There’s a stage for entertainment.

Photo - the Campground at the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort

In the middle of the afternoon the campground was deserted - everyone was out riding

There’s not much the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort doesn’t offer.

Photo - one of the cabins at the Punkin Cneter Motorcycle Resort

One of the cabins at the campground up the street

Did I mention there’s a bunkhouse behind the store for groups? It’s all here.

Photo - the Punkin Center Campground Hub

The office and Deli at the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort Campground - good food and beer available

I came on a Tuesday and the restaurant was closed for the day – shame as I came hungry. Maybe next time. It was the middle of the afternoon and while the campground was full, everyone was out riding. Great day for it, hot sunny, and so many good rides nearby.

Photo - the Punkin Center Motel

The closest motel to the Dragon - new, nice, and clean, the Punkin Center Motel

I’ll be returning to sample the food and learn more about this great spot for the motorcycle touring enthusiast. Friendly people, everything you need, everything clean and spotless, it’s well run and I can recommend it from what I’ve seen.

You should check into the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort.


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 –



Some Photos of the Diamondback Motorcycle Ride

Sorry there are no great shots of bikes tearing it up on this great motorcycle ride, but it was early in the morning and I was alone. I missed the couple bikes that did pass and fortunately the early morning turkeys strolling up the road.


While you've already hit some curvy sections on NC 226, once you get on the Diamondback NC 226A, the traffic disappears. The sign hints at what's ahead.

The photo (above) gives you an idea of where you start from relative to where you are going – up on those smoky mountains in the background. There’s a good trout stream along this section if you’re packing the fly rod, and some nice places to stop and cool your feet in the frigid waters.


Once you start climbing, the road begins a series of turns and switchbacks that grow tighter as you gain height.

This ride will appeal to both the cruiser and the sports bike rider. You can take a leisurely approach and simply enjoy it, or you can attack it with vigor and challenge yourself. There are a few short and relatively straight sections between the curves, but they are not long enough to get you into too much trouble if you keep a lid on your enthusiasm.


As you get higher and higher, the road looks more and more like this. One curve after another, the occasional hairpin switchback to keep you on your toes.

Once you reach the highest sections, you’ll want to be wary. No guardrails, the terrain drops off precipitously and going off the road is going to guarantee you some air time followed by a very nasty landing from which only the luckiest will walk away.


The great ride ends at the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway at Little Switzerland. While Nc 226 is more direct, and still very curvy, as it's the shorter route it gets all the traffic.

As you approach the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Diamondback runs parallel to it for a stretch. You’ll pass through Little Switzerland, though it’s hardly noticeable. The Switzerland Inn lies sandwiched between the two roads.

Photo - Switzerland Inn sign

The Switzerland Inn is sandwiched between the Diamondback and the Blue Ridge Parkway near the top of the ride.

It’s unusual to find such a nice resort that actually invites and enjoys motorcycle travelers. You can live it up and get some fancy accommodations or get an affordable room in the Diamondback Lodge bunkhouse. Don’t be fooled by the lower prices, it’s still really nice and you can access the bars and restaurants to enjoy the full experience of the Switzerland Inn. The views are free to all and they are priceless.

I’ll be shooting a video of the Diamondback, the Switzerland Inn, and some of the surrounding rides ASAP similar to the NC 209 video. Once the Asheville Bikefest is done it’s next on the list.


Motorcycle Friendly Lodging – Blue Ridge Parkway – The Switzerland Inn

Photo - View of the grounds at the Switzerland Inn

The Switzerland Inn - A beautiful Resort on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Switzerland Inn, located directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 334  between North Carolina’s Mt. Mitchell (tallest peak east of the Rockies) and Grandfather Mountain with it’s mile high swinging bridge, is perfect for overnight stops while traveling the entire parkway, or a good multi day stop if motorcycle riders want to get off the Blue Ridge Parkway and ride some great local roads on your motorcycle vacation.

Photo - Always popular with motorcyclists.

Always popular with motorcyclists, the Switzerland Inn aims to please.

The Switzerland Inn provides a variety of accommodations, dining, and amenities as you plan your motorcycle vacation. If you’re traveling through and want a clean low cost room, the Diamondback motorcycle lodge is perfect ($65.00). If on the other hand a couple are traveling and want a comfortable suite with great mountain views, private balconies, etc. and wish to explore and enjoy the many relaxing and beautiful sights in the area, a luxury suite can be reserved ($180.00).

Photo - A rider heads out for a day of scenic riding

Ride hard all day, rest easy each night. Beauty surrounds wherever you are.

The Switzerland Inn is a full service resort with two restaurants, two bars, hot tubs, pool, concierge service for fishing, horseback riding, golf, whatever a guest needs or wants while on vacation in the mountains.  They have covered bike parking, motorcycle rentals, airport service, and motorcycle tour guides if needed.

Photo - Covered Parking for your bike

Of course, there is covered parking for your bike.

Gary and his wife are both avid riders with a garage full of toys, so they know just how to cater to the motorcyclist traveling through the region. Popular over the years with both sports cars and motorcycles who come to enjoy such unique and challenging roads as “The Diamondback” (NC 226A), the Blue Ridge Parkway, and other notable and challenging roads nearby, The Switzerland Inn has something to offer everyone.

Photo - View of the Switzerland Inn

A spectacular setting popular with car clubs and motorcyclists

Learn more and make your travel arrangements at:


Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Vacation Touring – Rider’s Roost

Rider’s Roost Motorcycle Resort & Campground is located not far from Boone, NC, near the midpoint of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It offers the motorcycle touring rider an affordable and comfortable place to bed down for the night, whether it’s in a tent or rental cabin. It’s an exclusively motorcycle resort so you won’t be dealing with blaring RV generators or throngs of kids running through your camp, and it could make a great place to spend part of your motorcycle vacation.

It’s more than just another motorcycle campground, for some it’s a must stop touring destination. Comedy nights, pig roasts, live entertainment, a central pavilion with a game room offer lots of ways to shake the kinks out after a day on the great roads in the surrounding area. Take a dip in the river or just settle down to watch the sunset, get into touch with home via wifi.

It just off NC221, and while I haven’t stayed there yet, it’s been highly recommended. I’m planning to visit next time I’m staying up that way on my motorcycle tours. Texas Ron has a nice testimonial in one of his blog posts –

“Riders Roost was a great Bike Campground, No cages, no kids, no hassles. Uncle Roy and Mary really know how to take care of “motorcycle pilots”. “The Road goes on forever and the party never ends.” I think that’s the Roosts motto or it should be. There’s a perfect little river that runs through the camp ground and in the rocks is a place that is like natures recliners, complete with moss to scratch the back. The water temperature is cool but after riding all day in the sun and heat….man what a refreshing way to relax and wash the road off ya. Most gather at the party headquarters located under the pavilion/game room. There is a pool table and darts to keep one entertained. This is also where the midnight auction is held too. What a way to start an adventure.”

Get more info at the Riders Roost web site at

For the most detailed motorcycle ride maps of the area see