North Carolina Travellers Meeting Rides

Self guided rides in the Western North Carolina area.

The times are estimates. Each ride might take longer. These are primarily self-guided rides, and some maps will be available on the day.

  • 6 Hours. Off Road Ride. Stewart Cabin/Wagon Trail/North River Road. (24-mile very scenic gravel road adventure).
    Hard top roads to start and on return. Return by Cherohala Skyway?? Take bag lunch and water.
  • 5-6 Hours. Road Ride. Portions of NC Scenic Highways' Nantahala and Indian Lakes Scenic Highways plus Tail of the Dragon.
    Left on Hwy 28 to Hwy 19. Right on Hwy 19 to Topton. Right in Topton on Hwy 129 to top of Tail of the Dragon. Lunch stop along the way in Robbinsville. At top of Dragon, turn around and go back down Tail of the Dragon. Stop at store at bottom to buy decal for your motorcycle! Take Hwy 28 back to Stecoah.
  • 5-6 Hours. Road Ride. Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum, Maggie Valley.
    Left on Hwy 28 to Hwy 19. Left on Hwy 19. Follow bypass to Maggie Valley. Visit Museum. Have lunch. Return by scenic Hwy 19 business.
  • 5-6 Hours. Road Ride Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway - Right on Hwy 28.
    Right on Hwy 129 to top of Tail of the Dragon. Turn around and come back down Dragon. Stop at store at the bottom to buy decal for your motorcycle! Follow 129 to Robbinsville. Lunch stop in Robbinsville. Follow signs to Cherohala Skyway. Follow Skyway to end, turn around and come back on Skyway to Robbinsville. Take Hwy 143 back to Hwy 28. Turn right on Hwy 28. (This is more scenic than the Dragon/Skyway loop shown on the Tail of the Dragon site and it is fun to do the Dragon and Skyway in both directions too.)
  • 6 Hours. Off Road Ride - Tatham Gap Road.
    11 miles of the "Gravel Dragon"). Hard top roads to start and on return ride. Take bag lunch and water, or eat in Robbinsville.

"Tail of the Dragon / Cherohala Skyway Loop"

The ride begins at the Ironhorse Lodge (Lower Stecoah Road) and goes as follows:

HWY 28 (Right)

This is a very pretty road that winds along with it's own sets of twisties, beautiful scenery, cruises by Fontana Dam, and drops you off right at the intersection of 28 & 129 where the Deal's Gap resort is (the start of the Dragon's Tail). Deal's Gap can be a good spot to stop for ten or fifteen minutes to have a look at the number of motorcycles coming and going or just hanging out.

HWY 129 (Right)

This right turn at the corner of 28 & 129 where the Deal's Gap resort is places you at the beginning of the Dragon. The next 11 miles will give you 318 turns and enough fun/stress to last you the weekend. A good stopping/scenic spot is the Calderwood Dam overlook towards the end of the 11 mile stretch. Once through the Dragon you will ride along the Little Tennessee River and come to Hwy 72. By the way, you will have crossed over into TN from NC while riding the Dragon.

HWY 72 (Left)

Some very nice scenery of mountains, lakes, farm houses, etc along this road. Nice ride all around. This will take you to Hwy 411 which is the only part of the trip that you will spend on a four lane divided hwy.

HWY 411 (Left)

Although this is a four lane divided hwy there is nice scenery (water and farm land) plus it is a good quality road. We'll be looking for hwy 360 to turn left on. There will be a gas station almost exactly on the corner of 360 and 411. Good place to stop for gas if anyone is running low.

HWY 360 (Left)

This a very pretty back road with not much traffic. It winds its way through nice scenery of lakes, mountains, farms, etc. A very nice part of the trip - "eye candy". 360 ends in Tellico Plains where we take a left on 165. Tellico plains is a very small town at the foot of the Cherohala Skyway. There is a delicious restaurant about a half mile up the road on the left after turning on to 165.

HWY 165 (Left)

Right after turning left on this road we will reach Cardin's restaurant on the left. It sits along a pretty river, the food is great (ranges from budget up to fancy), beautiful setting all around, ample parking. This is a good place to stop for lunch for maybe an hour or so, shoot the breeze, stretch and walk around, lie to each other about how fast we were going and how easy the Dragon ride was, and get ready to ride the Skyway. 165 will cross us back over into NC where it will then be called NC143. The Skyway will take range in elevation from 900 feet to almost 5400 feet. It is full of long sweeping curves and a few tight ones. The road is absolutely beautiful and a pleasure to ride. It is very well maintained. Be careful on this stretch of the ride. More accidents happen on the Cherohala than on the Dragon... it builds your confidence and then throws you a decreasing radios curve right when you least expect it. 143 will take us back into Robbinsville where we will take a left on 143(not 143Bus.) so that we stay on 143 till it hits 129.

HWY 143 (Left, stay left, away from 143Bus.)

This will end at 129 where we will take a right and then shortly a left on 143 again to head towards 28.

HWY 129 (Right)

Stay on 129 for maybe 1 3/4 miles before turning on 143.

HWY 143 (Left)

This is a nice ride taking us from Robbinsville up to HWY 28 once again and en route back to the Lodge.

HWY 28 (Right)

A couple miles on this road and we are back to the corner of 28 and Lower Stecoah Road (look for Tooties Café on the left).

Lower Stecoah Road (Left)

Wind on back to the Lodge...

Short version for tank Bags:

HWY 28 (Right)
HWY 129 (Right)
HWY 72 (Left)
HWY 411 (Left)
HWY 360 (Left)
HWY 165 (Left)
HWY 143 (Left, stay left, away from 143Bus.)
HWY 129 (Right)
HWY 143 (Left)
HWY 28 (right)
Lower Stecoah Road (Left)
Wind on back to the Lodge...


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