Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina – The Rattler Motorcycle Map

Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina – The Rattler Motorcycle Map

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209, a.k.a. "The Rattler".

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209, a.k.a. "The Rattler". Do it as an out-and-back or make a nice loop ride - one of many ways to go on this great biker road

The Rattler Motorcycle Ride is one of the great motorcycle rides in North Carolina and is one to include in your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle adventure.

So you already know about the great motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains, maybe you’ve made a motorcycle tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

You’ve already tasted the Tail of the Dragon (if it didn’t take a bite out of you), and probably enjoyed the sweet curves of the Cherohala Skyway.

By now you realize there must be a ton of biker roads out there“So, WHAT’S NEXT?”

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.

Not one, but two motorcycle rides immediately spring to mind, so I flipped a coin. The Rattler won.

For years, this great motorcycle ride was well known amongst locals (and those in-the-know) as “209” or “Hot Springs”. It’s one of the default, always-good motorcycle rides that you can do over and over again and enjoy it every time. A few years back, it got named “The Rattler“. I don’t know who started that, but it stuck, and you can buy T-shirts along the route – I guess it’s official.

The Rattler motorcycle ride takes you on a 30+ mile jaunt through the mountains and valleys north of Maggie Valley and Waynesville to the tiny town of Hot Springs near the Tennessee border.

Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina - The Rattler

Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina - The Rattler; Nice valley rides coursing along rushing streams, climbs over several mountain passes, and tight-tight twists as you approach Hot Springs

It’s a great “lunch ride” or “afternoon spin” as it only takes an hour or less to ride the twisty two lane. It’s also a “warm up” for those motorcycle touring fans who really know the area.

One you get to Hot Springs, you are surrounded with good motorcycle roads to choose from if you know where they hide.

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209 The Rattler

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209 The Rattler - pastoral views of mountain farms and creeks, winding passes through forests, and some of the most challenging tarmac you'll ride wait for you in North Carolina on The Ratterl

Ride Guide –
36 miles to Hot Springs – About 1 hour ride to hot springs.
98 miles to do loop ride shown – 1/2 day ride.

Route: 

Start: Exit 104 on Highway US 74. Lowes store at this exit. Pass under US 74. Follow NC 209 north.

3.7 mi Cross I-40 at Exit 24. It’s an easy ride through the valleys for a few miles.

11.9 mi Turn Right onto Betsy’s Creek Road to continue on NC 209. Ferguson’s store / gas marks this corner. Lots of signs.

22 mi Junction NC 63. Note and pass through. – Store and gas at this junction. Popular spot for a break, loop returns here.

36.6 mi NC 209 ends at Hot Springs. Return as you came or continue on loop ride.

To continue on loop ride – 

Pass through Hot Springs. Cross the French Broad River and follow US 25 for 5 miles. US 25 will reach a stop sign.

41.7 mi Turn right @ stop sign to continue on US 25 / 70 towards Asheville.

50.9 mi Veer right into Marshall on Main Street. Follow into town.

61.6 mi Turn right at the traffic light in the center of Marshall and cross the bridge over the French Broad River.

You are now on Bailey Branch Rd. It will become Meadows Town Road. Meadows Town Road ends in 10 miles at NC 63.

71.5 mi Turn Right @ stop sign and follow NC 63 to return to the mid point of NC 209.

85.5 mi Turn left @ stop sign onto NC 209 and follow back to Junaluska to finish the ride.

98.4 mi End of ride

Here’s a 10 minute video that takes you through the ride step-by-step

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

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– 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

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The Blue Ridge Parkway – Old World Craftsmanship Endures

Photo--Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Sign

Blue Ridge Parkway - History preserved

As you make that Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle ride this year you will encounter one major detour near Doughton Park just south of the Virginia border in North Carolina. Within this stretch of road, the beautifully crafted stone walls which line the shoulders of the Blue Ridge Parkway are being restored and foundations added to insure they endure long into the future.  Originally built by master stone masons brought from Europe, descendants of the original craftsmen now labor to re-craft the work done by their grandfathers.  This video shows the care being taken to preserve the historic legacy of the national park insuring each stone is returned to its original position.

While the park service has routed traffic north on a detour which takes you through Sparta, I’ve identified another more challenging and scenic detour route that will take you on a ride that gets you away from all the other traffic and takes you to sights those others miss seeing. This video shows you the details of what I believe is a better detour route for motorcycle travelers –

Use this link to download a map of this detour route you can print at home and take with you on your journey. goo.gl/pCRdP

This section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is detailed on America Rides Maps Map #3 – North Carolina / Virginia Border Rides, part of the 6 map Blue Ridge Parkway set.

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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 
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Photos From Another Great Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Riding Day

Photo - 15 mph road sign

15 MPH NEXT 6 MILES - You've probably discovered a good ride when you see signs like this.

So I’m wrapping up this new motorcycle ride map which covers best motorcycle rides in the eastern half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I’m finally to the “get out and ride” stage. Most of the really tedious work is done, the stuff that keeps me in front of the computer. Today I took the afternoon to go out and ride some of the closer roads and it was superb.

When I do a map revision, I typically re-ride almost all the roads from the existing map to re-familiarize myself with them.  I think it’s the best way to judge newly discovered roads against the others I already know by making a fresh comparison. As some of my maps now have more than 50 featured roads I’ve got a lot of miles to cover. Sometimes a road I once considered top-notch pales a bit when new and better ones are discovered. When I do find a new road, I then seek out the best routes to connect them all together. All-in-all it adds up to a lot of mileage.

With a good frost this morning and temperatures that never creeped out of the 40’s, I saw only a few other motorcycles out on the road.  It was warm enough to leave the heated gear on the coat rack. Mid-week traffic was light and it was a great day to be out on the bike. Recent rains had helped clear the roads of the de-icing coating and gravel that had been laid down during the last cold snap.

Photo - Mountain view from one of the roads

I snapped this photo atop the climb one of the great new roads made over a mountain. Views are sometimes better once the leaves are off the trees.

As is usual only a few of the new roads were really good rides though the two I found were so outstanding either would have made for a successful day. I routed my commute between them to include NC 215 so I could shoot some more video along the way for the upcoming production. Damn, that road is fun now that the south end has been repaved. The fresh asphalt has been exposed long enough that the oily surface has aged and the grip on the baby bottom smooth tarmac is outstanding. It’s a Jeckyl and Hyde experience though – as soon as you pass under the Blue Ridge Parkway the new pavement ends and the road quality becomes dangerous in places. Be on your toes where they started patching and paving the north side. I wonder if it didn’t get compacted enough as the gravel in the asphalt is loose. It’s really hard to see how bad it is until you’re in it and by then you’re slipping and sliding just as you enter the hairpin curves.

Photo - NC 215 winter view

Winter riding has it's own beauty - I enjoy the contrast to summers lush growth. This is NC 215 south of the parkway, one of the better sections.

The first road I added was one surprisingly close to home – Crabtree Mountain Road. The last time I explored it there was a long section that wasn’t paved. That’s not unusual in the mountains. The easy sections along the valley floors get paved. The steep sections that climb up and over the mountain passes don’t as it requires so much effort and expense to prepare and then maintain a decent roadbed in the steep and rocky terrain.

Photo - View from Crabtree Mountain Rd

Outstanding views from atop the pass on Crabtree Mountain Road. The smoke plume from paper mill in Canton is easy to spot

Crabtree Mountain Road connects NC 209 (now known as “The Rattler” video here) to NC 215 at the town of Canton. It not only makes a connection between two already great rides, but is a great motorcycle ride on it’s own merits. The scenery in the valley is picturesque as the road winds along with the course of a stream through a collection of nice curves, then darts south to start the steep climb over a high pass. Two of the photos included were from the high point on the road. It then plunges down the mountainside through a series of hairpin turns and switchbacks before it runs into Thickety Road and connects to NC 215 near I-40. Watch for gravel near the top of the pass, but otherwise the road is in good condition and a nice ride.

Photo - Silversteen Road

High quality pavement on Silversteen Road gives you the confidence to exploit the unending series of curves.

The second road I added was near Lake Toxaway and I suspect it may become one of my new favorites. Silversteen Road connects the fabulous riding on NC 281 to one of the twistiest sections of US 64. This road had me thinking of The Dragon at Deals Gap. Though a third shorter than the Dragon at at 8.1 miles in length, the tight curves are relentless throughout the ride. Also, like the Dragon, while it doesn’t offer much in the way of scenery, you’re too engaged in just maintaining control to let your eyes wander to the horizon. It’s easy to find from NC 281 as it intersects on a hairpin curve, and the southern end at at US 64 is marked by a gas station.

Progress is going to have to wait a week as I’m taking a short vacation. I be back in the saddle after Thanksgiving. I posted some of the video I shot today at my Youtube Channel – http://youtube.com/americaridesmaps. Until then, enjoy the ride.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1HbSTAk7C4

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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 

 

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Video – The Diamondback Motorcycle Ride Near the Blue Ridge Parkway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmUlsQzX-fw

Ride along with Jackie (from America Rides Maps)  as she careens down the Diamondback Motorcycle Route. Accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is one of those side roads you should add to your motorcycle vacation plan. The Diamondback is one of the big three motorcycle rides in North Carolina, joining the Snake and the Dragon in the pantheon of classic and challenging rides. Included are scenes from the Switzerland Inn, one of the top motorcycle friendly destinations on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

You can find videos of other great Smoky Mountain motorcycle rides, video tips, and more at America Rides Maps YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/americaridesmaps

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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

 

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Motorcycle Touring the Blue Ridge Parkway – Crabtree Falls Visitor Center – Is it worth the stop?

So what does the Crabtree Falls Visitor Center offer those on a motorcycle tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway and is it worth a stop?

Image located at http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/crabtree1.htm

Image from NC Waterfalls site -http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/crabtree1.htm. For detailed info and more photos use the link.

http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/crabtree1.htm

If you pull into the Crabtree Falls Visitor Center near milepost 339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway expecting to see a dramatic and breathtaking cascade you’ll be disappointed. The waterfall is a mile hike distant down a rough trail, not the ideal venue for riding boots and gear. Should you want to see the falls, come prepared to change into something more appropriate for the hike to reach it. Of course, if you’re spending a night at the campground (71 tent and 22 RV sites, May – October, $14) it’s a must do.

Photo - Visitor Center at Crabtree Falls

The Visitor Center at Crabtree Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Visitor Center serves as a convenience store for the campground and parkway traffic. You can get snacks and sandwiches, drinks, and limited supplies.

Photo - seating area at the Crabtree Falls Visitor Center

Seating area at the Crabtree Falls Visitor Center where you can savor your snacks

There’s an indoor seating area as well as a porch, though I would consider the views of a small clearing surrounded by trees all that inspiring. Still, it’s a nice and quiet place to spend a break.

Photo - Gift Shop at Crabtree Falls Visitor Center

One section of the Gift Shop at Crabtree Falls Visitor Center

The Visitor Center at Crabtree Falls is as much a gift shop as it is a convenience store with the usual craft and parkway related items.

Photo - Inside the visitor center at Crabtree Falls

Supplies are limited, but you won't starve if you come in off the road looking to camp.

So is it worth a stop on your motorcycle vacation? If you’re making your motorcycle trip by camping along the way it might just be the nice quiet campground that you’re looking for. It’s certainly a good pit stop for those passing through who need break, a bathroom, and a little something to sustain them on their way.

For info about other waterfalls on or near the Blue Ridge Parkway look at Virtual Blue Ridge -Parkway Waterfalls.

If you’re really into seeing roadside waterfalls, check out America Rides Maps 2 map bundle – The Carolina Waterfall Tour with nearly 2 dozen roadside cascades to enjoy with little if any walking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBrB5lrtZ9I

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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

 

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Motorcycle Friendly – Shady Valley Country Store and My Video of The Snake

Photo - The Tower at the Shady Valley Country Store

If you miss the tower at the Shady Valley Country Store you've been riding way too long. Time to stop for a rest.

I passed through Shady Valley, Tennessee on my motorcycle earlier this week and finally took the time to stop in at the The Shady Valley Country Store , see the place, and meet Kimberly and David Dail.

Photo- Shady Valley Country Store

Just look for all the motorcycles at the Shady Valley Country Store. Everyone stops here, it's the best place for miles and miles.

Don’t worry about having difficulty finding the Shady Valley Country Store while you’re out motorcycle touring. If you miss the tower in the parking lot at the crossroads of US 421, TN 133, and TN 91, your probably fixin’ to die in some horrible accident, you’ve been out in the sun too long.

Photo - Snake Burger

Three bites wide and thick as your thumb, a Snake Burger will satisfy. It was really good.

Come inside the spacious building, find a table, and get Kimberly or Dave to fix you up with something to cool your brain. While you’re at it, try a Snake Burger. They’re huge, they’re good, or you might want to try a heaping fried bologna sandwich instead. David’s not stingy when it comes to portions, you get your monies worth.

Photo - Inside view of the Shady Valley Country Store

Plenty of room, lots of tables, good food, a great place to either cool off or warm up inside the Shady Valley Country Store.

I filled the tank with Snake Venom at the pump outside, then headed back to finish my motorcycle ride home. I shot a little video of the section of US 421 between Mountain City and The Shady Valley Country Store to give you a taste of the kind of motorcycle riding you’ll experience on The Snake. There are some better videos at the store as well as T-shirts and other Snake charms to help you remember your visit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPaoEexDxcU

While I was there I got an education on The Snake and learned it encompasses more roads than I’d thought. I’m amending the maps now and new versions will be available at The Shady Valley Country Store. There’s some great motorcycle riding found here and The Shady Valley Country Store sits at the crossroads of it. Add it to your list of places to visit and ride on your motorcycle vacation. From the Blue Ridge Parkway, exit at Boone and follow US 421 north.

Photo - Kimberly and David Dial at the Shady Valley Country Store

Kimberly and David are friendly and will insure you get what you need. Come see them.

The Shady Valley Country Storehttp://www.shadyvalleycountrystore.com

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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

 

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Brighten Your Day With Some Motorcycle Parody Videos

Is Harely Too Cool For Buell?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izzlN2zC8PU

Teutonic BMW Trick or Moped Magic?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh1wnZrSVq8

We Can Always Use A Little More Training, Can’t We?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryqse5mX1Nk

CHiP’s Off The Block (of cheese)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYTucV5kYsU

And If you haven’t wasted enough time, the exciting CHiPs CHaSe!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tXR-kq2BEw&NR=1

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Video Compilation of People Running Red Lights – Stay Alert!

A video to remind us to keep our heads up and remember most accidents happen at intersections. It a compilation of people running red lights and the results.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=-qvXbIenivk

There are thankfully few motorcycles involved. Many of the accidents happened while vehicles were making turns, something to consider the next time you’re doing so.

Don’t let your motorcycle vacation plans get spoiled by not paying attention and watching out for the crazy drivers out there. Better yet, avoid intersections altogether and stick to the back roads.

Have you ever been hit by someone running a red light?

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Motorcycle Group Riding Video – Good to review before the Asheville Bikefest

I stumbled across this video and with all the rides scheduled at the Asheville Bikefest May 13 – 16, it’s a good one to review. There will be guided tours as well as self-guided rides and something to satisfy most any motorcycle rider. With all the bikes in town, it will probably come in handy up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erpkyD7SMfw

Asheville Bikefest

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Bet you didn’t know about this Classic Motorcycle Ride – Video

My winter project is finally done, a gift to you, a video guide to one of the best kept secret classic motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg-pDqHpUsY

While it’s well known to those who live nearby, few from out of the area ever discover this great motorcycle ride to Hot Springs, North Carolina. Fewer yet ride the hundreds of miles of wonderful motorcycle roads which surround it. Great scenery, engaging and challenging two lane mountain roads devoid of traffic, and miles and miles of fun are waiting for you just east of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is one of those ‘must do” rides for those who come down the Blue Ridge Parkway and wonder what to see once they reach the southern endpoint.

Discover more at http://youtube.com/americaridesmaps

For the most inexpensive, comprehensive, and detailed maps of the area go to http://americaridesmaps.com

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