tail of the dragon scenic route
June 20, 2023

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Smokies is by riding your motorcycle through the Smoky Mountains! There are hundreds of miles of prime motorcycle rides throughout the Smokies, delivering the perfect combination of hairpin turns and spectacular scenery! It is no wonder why thousands of riders are attracted to the area each year, so get ready to hit the open road and cruise with the wind in your face! Here are the top 4 motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Tail of the Dragon

The most famous destination in the Smokies for bikers is the Tail of the Dragon, where you’ll find 318 curves while cruising along US-129! This 11-mile twisting road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, providing a scenic woodland backdrop for your journey. The Tail of the Dragon is also free from intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel, so you have total reign to challenge this incredible drive. Just remember to be cautious at all times with the many tight turns and steep descents!

2. Cades Cove Loop Road

cades cove loop road

Another one of the top motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains is Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11-mile, one-way road that features some of the best sights that the Smokies have to offer! In addition to the gorgeous scenery in this peaceful valley, you’ll also find a variety of fascinating historical structures, including churches, barns, and log cabins! Cades Cove is a great place to see wildlife too, and you may spot white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, and other animals along the loop road!

3. Foothills Parkway

The Foothills Parkway is a national parkway maintained by the National Park Service and is perfect for a motorcycle ride! While the road has been a constant work in progress for over 75 years, there is a magnificent section for bikers that starts in Walland, TN and runs for 16.5 miles through Blount County. The Foothills Parkway offers a leisurely ride for bikers as it features wide lanes, fun straightaways, easy curves, and panoramic mountain views! The road also connects up to the Tail of the Dragon, where you can combine both routes for an epic day in the Smokies!

4. Newfound Gap Road

newfound gap road in the smoky mountains

When it comes to the top motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains, be sure to put Newfound Gap Road on your itinerary! While driving along this impressive road, you’ll experience an elevation gain of about 3,000 feet and ascend through cove hardwood, pine-oak, and northern hardwood forests. You’ll eventually reach the evergreen spruce-fir forest at Newfound Gap, which rises to an elevation of over 5,000 feet! Take a deep breath of the evergreen woodland to enjoy a refreshing fragrance that may remind you of similar forests in New England!

Now that you know about the top motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains, you’re ready to hit the open road and explore the beauty of the Smokies! Just remember that wearing an approved motorcycle safety helmet is mandatory in Tennessee, and be aware of wildlife that may dart out from the forest edges! If you want to stop for a break and stretch your legs with a scenic hike, don’t miss our top 5 easy Smoky Mountain hikes!