Best Motorcycle Roads in North Carolina

A recent survey by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) revealed that more than a quarter-million of its members chose the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina as the second best motorcycle road in the entire nation. The AMA President and CEO, Rob Dingman, noted that when it comes to the best destinations to ride in the United States, no group of riders is more knowledgeable.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is said to draw hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts each year, enjoying spectacular scenery as well as breathtaking overlooks and popular attractions along the way. But it’s not the only outstanding motorcycle road that is fairly accessible from Charlotte, N.C.

For those who are getting ready to embark on a motorcycle trip, being prepared is essential for a great experience. Some useful suggestions that long-time riders have discovered through trial and error may help you avoid the challenge of learning through misadventure.

  • Carry a spare key by hiding it on the bike with duct tape or trading spares with a riding partner.
  • Bring a portable weather radio to prevent being caught in a massive storm.
  • A backpack hydration system is practically a must in the summer, allowing you to drink while you ride.
  • Investing in waterproof, breathable linings for boots as well as jackets can transform your experience riding in inclement weather. Look for a lining that features anti-water intrusion, such as the Spidi Ergo 05 available through Bike Bandit’s motorcycle jackets, which contains waterproof pockets as well as a wool neck warmer that can be a lifesaver in a rainstorm.
  • To be sure your gear will stand up to the test, try it out at home on a rainy day before hitting the road.
  • Bring a packable motorcycle tarp that can discourage would-be thieves as well as keep your bike clean and dry overnight.

When you’re ready to go consider one of these great motorcycle road trips, including one of America’s favorite, which are convenient for Charlotte residents and visitors:

Best of the Blue Ridge Parkway: Asheville to Cherokee

Photo by freefotouk via Flickr

Asheville can be reached from Charlotte in only about two hours via U.S. Highway 74 West. The very best stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina can be found between Asheville and Cherokee, just south of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

This hour and 20 minute ride will bring you to a number of overlooks that offer breathtaking views. Waterrock Knob, found at mile post 451.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is an ideal place to stop and enjoy a sunrise or sunset as well as take in the spectacular Smoky Mountain Range. Take time to stretch your legs by hiking the trail from the visitor center that leads to the summit. Devils Courthouse is located at mile post 422.4 and sits at an elevation of 5,720 feet. Once at the top, you can see views of up to four states.

Photo of Waterrock Knob by sirenbrian via Flickr

Graveyard Fields, at mile post 418, is one of the most popular places to stop but the scenery is worth battling the crowds. There are seven waterfalls in the area, and on a warm day you can take a dip in the large pool below Second Falls. The town of Cherokee has a rich local history as well as a number of attractions, including a casino, Cherokee Indian museum, an 18-hole golf course and even an authentic 1750s Cherokee village.

Outer Banks, Highway 12

Photo by "JT" Taylor via Flickr

If you’re looking for picturesque water views, you can't go wrong driving along North Carolina’s Highway 12. This 114-mile drive begins in Corolla and will take you to Ocracoke Village. The mostly two-lane road links a number of communities filled with weathered beach houses; on one side is the Atlantic and the other side is the Intercoastal Waterway. Stop and explore historical lighthouses on the route including Bodie Island, Hatteras and Ocracoke.

Photo of Bodie Island by Kaua'i Dreams via Flickr

The Outer Banks are about a half day’s drive from Charlotte, but is well worth the time and effort for the fresh seafood as well as the sights, sounds and smells of the sea.

Boone, N.C. to Independence, V.A., and Whitetop Mountain

Photo of Boone by Appalachian Encounters via Flickr

Boone is less than two hours northwest of Charlotte, offering access to this beautiful drive north on Highway 221. While in Boone, visit the Linville Caverns to see incredible stalactites and stalagmites at one of the only publicly accessible caverns in the entire state.

Photo by RebelAt via Wikimedia Commons

The 56-mile drive to Independence is filled with miles of miles of sweeping curves as well as amazing views of evergreen farms and a picturesque river. At Independence, ride west on U.S. 58 for another 38 miles to Whitetop Mountain, the second highest mountain in Virginia. At the summit, enjoy panoramic views of three states.



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