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Epic roads of east TN - Foothills-Dragon-Moonshiner-Cherohala

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 236 miles / 379.8 km
  • Ride Time: 1 day
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $17.94
  • States Visited: Tennessee, North Carolina
Submitted by:

This was an 'EPIC' day of riding... It fits in a little of everything into one route. It covers 4 of the most beautiful roads I have ever riden. (Foothills Parkway - The Dragon 129 - The Moonshiner 28 - The Cherohala Skyway) It is filled in with nice little towns and plenty of places to stop and take it all in. Ample gas stops along the way (I did this run on a Sportster with a 3.2 gallon tank) It starts in Pigeon Forge which has endless options for lodging and eating. It goes over and around Gatlinburg into the Smokey Mnt. National park. Runs along River Road as a tune up for some of the curves ahead. Then turns up and goes down the lower section of the Foothills Parkway (newly repaved) with beautiful vistas and plenty of pull offs. This road ends at the world famous US129 aka 'The Tail of the Dragon'. This road is not for the squemish, or those who are not into tight turns, and 'a lot' of them. **NOTE** there are multiple photography sites setup along this stretch of road that will take your picture when you go by that you can later log onto and see just how good you look on your bike. This road ends 11 miles and 318 turns later at Deals Gap. A cool little motorcyle resort with food/gas/T-Shirts/decals. Make sure to check out 'the tree of shame', a monument to riders/bikes that were 'Dragon bit'. Google this road for more details.Next you will turn onto US28 'the moonshiner'... an awesome stretch of asphalt with sweeping highspeed corners that goes by Fontana dam. Feel free to ride out to the bottom , or up to the top the views are incredible. (I would pass on riding over the dam, it is VERY ROUGH... but you can walk out on it) This road rolls on and connects with US143 that goes into Robbinsville, NC. Great place for a quick bite, and to fill up the tank (an absolute must unless you are driving a fuel tanker). Then on to the famous, and unbelievably beautiful Cherohala Skyway. This road defies description. The road is pristine, the vistas are awe inspiring, the altitude is brisk (reaches over 5000 feet)so make sure you bring extra layers, and leather if you have it (even in the summer). The skyway goes from NC back into TN near Telico Plains. *NOTE* This road is VERY REMOTE with no cell phone reception. Google this road for more details about it.You then turn onto SR360... a very nice wide, and beautiful stretch of road that winds back toward civilization and over a couple of lakes... you will likely be getting here as the sun is starting to set so the lakes are even more beautiful with the color on the water.When you get back to 411 you will turn back toward Maryville Tn. it is a divided 4 lane that you can really stretch out on as there are no curves to speak of. (a stark change to the rest of the route) When you reach 321 you will turn right and head back towards Townsend, Tn. and then continue on through Wears Valley (has some curves too) and back into Pigeon Forge. Where you can try and catch your breath get something to eat... Go on back to the cabin (highly recommend) and revel in what you have just done.Recommendations: *Take some good friends along you don't want them to miss this, and you don't want to do this alone. Safety in numbers, and more memories to be made that way. Everyone pitch in and rent a cabin, it adds to the experience, as well as the relaxation. I promise you once you stay in a cabin you will never want to stay in a hotel again in the area.*Take a camera. You are going to witness some of God's greatest work... you will want a picture or 200 to remember it all.*Don't take chances on stretching your fuel... fill up before you get close to empty at a convenient gas station along the way.*GO DURING THE WEEK... Avoid weekends if you can... this will cut down on the traffic and make your ride much more enjoyable.*Get an early start... recommend getting breakfast out of the way and get on the road by 9am at the latest. The later you start, the more likely you will be riding the last legs of the route back to Pigeon Forge in the dark. Not a problem, but depending on your familiarity with the area can make some folks uneasy.

This is a motorcycle ride in the states Tennessee, North Carolina. This motorcycle route has 8 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by sabr2th in October. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by sabr2th

Rider Photos:

No Photo's Available

Ride Scenery:

ParksFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRuralRiverFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Spring, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadHillyLight TrafficSmoothAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

Fatboy07 says:

I am a 2 year rider & I rode this route in late August '11. I loved it more than any ride so far. The Foothills Parkway is a 17 mile stretch that has awesome views along with several leans that you can take in the 40-45 mph range (2 or 3 at 30). Bring a camera & a good woman for this one. The views are fantastic.
Now as for the Dragon. Awesome ride with a lot of bikes on it. Harley's & bikes alike rode it like I was, nice & slow. 20-35 mph, but the Steet Bikes were almost trying to race up & down it. But there are several pull off spots to let them & convertables pass. Don't miss the overview of the lake with the Dam below at the bottom of the Dragon.
Fontana lake is a beautiful lake to ride by as well. AWESOME RIDE!!!!!
By the time you get back around to HWY 72, you are ready for some straight road, but as you come into Maryville, plan your trip to stop there on a Friday night & see either 6A Maryville HS or ride up to 3A Alcoa HS & catch a Football game. These are the top 2 premier teams in the state & they take Football to another level. Especially if you can catch a game of them playing each I did!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM


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