High Country Motorcycle Routes

With winding mountain roads, spectacular views, cool temperatures and reasonable speed limits, High Country motorcycle rides cannot be topped!  Here is a list of some routes through the High Country and along the Blue Ridge Parkway:

US 221: BOONE, NC – INDEPENDENCE, VA
55 MILES
SPEED LIMIT: 35-55 MPH

SCENERY: US 221 provides views of lush farmlands as you roll in and out of mountain valleys. You will see many Frasier Fir farms as you are in the heart of the East Coast’s largest Christmas tree growing region.  The route also runs by the New River, which is thought to be one of the oldest rivers in the world.

ROADSIDE AMENITIES: The major towns on this route are Boone, West Jefferson & Independence.  West Jefferson makes a nice stop for lunch and a walk in the quaint downtown district. You will find plenty of gas stations along the route.

NC HWY 194: BOONE, NC – WEST JEFFERSON, NC
26 MILES
SPEED LIMIT: 35-55 MPH

SCENERY: NC HWY 194 provides views of lush farmlands as you roll in and out of mountain valleys.  The route also runs by the New River, which is thought to be one of the oldest rivers in the world.

ROADSIDE AMENITIES: There are plenty of places to refuel and eat in either Boone or West Jefferson.  For an extra treat, stop by the Todd General Store about half way through the route.  The store features crafts, dry goods, food and free live music in the park on Saturdays at 6pm.

US HWY 321: BOONE, NC – HAMPTON, TN
39 MILES
SPEED LIMIT: 35-55 MPH (AVG 45 MPH)

SCENERY: The route snakes through many mountain curves and climbs as you ride through the Watauga River Gorge.  When the road merges with TN 67W, you will pass through the Cherokee National Forest and will ride along the Watauga River and the Watauga Lake.

ROADSIDE AMENITIES: There are a few restaurants and a marina along the way, along with 3 gas stations.  Shirley’s Restaurant in Hampton is a great place to stop for a family-style meal on the weekend.   For a longer ride, take the detour below from Sugar Grove to Bethel that can be accessed from HWY 321.

NC1213 GEORGE’S GAP: SUGAR GROVE – BETHEL
10 MILES             
(From Boone, take 421 to 321, then take Old Hwy 421 to NC1213 Georges Gap Rd.  Georges Gap Road will become NC1202 Bethel Road.  Take Bethel Road to Hwy 321)

SCENERY: This curvy road offers countryside vistas on an up and down route.

ROADSIDE AMENITIES: The Cove Creek Store located on 321 at the beginning of the route and the Stone Mountain Store in Bethel provide gas and food stop along this side route.

US 221: LINVILLE – BLOWING ROCK
(Access to Blowing Rock from Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 295)
19 MILES
SPEED LIMIT: 35-45 MPH

SCENERY: The winding road is heavily wooded.  The road is built on the route of the historic Yonaholssee Turnpike. The turnpike was created for stagecoaches to travel between the Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock and the Eseeola Lodge in Linville.

ROADSIDE AMENITIES:  No gas stations or restaurants are available along this route, but you will find both in Linville and Blowing Rock.   You will see numerous jam, honey and fruit stands along the road. 

NC 194: VALLE CRUCIS – CRANBERRY
 15 MILES            
SPEED LIMIT: 35-55 MPH

SCENERY: This winding road offers views of mountainous farms and valleys

ROADSIDE AMENITIES: In Valle Crucis, be sure to stop by the historic Mast General Store and grab lunch at Simplicity at Mast Farm Inn or the 1861 Farmhouse.  195 will pass through the town of Banner Elk where there are a few restaurants, shops and a gas station. The road continues on to Cranberry, beside the Elk River, where you can add on the route below for a longer ride.

US 19E: CRANBERRY – SPRUCE PINE (& the Blue Ridge Parkway)
25 MILES  (To continue on to the Blue Ridge Parkway, take NC226 from Spruce Pine for 6 miles to the parkway entrance)
SPEED LIMIT: 45-55 MPH

SCENERY: This less traveled road is less winding than others in the High Country, but offers great countryside views and easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway

ROADSIDE AMENITIES: There are multiple gas stations and restaurants in Spruce Pine

NC 181: LINVILLE – MORGANTON
34 MILES

SCENERY: This ride takes you down the mountains to the lower town of Morganton.

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