Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in USA's Southern Region (New Year 2024 Edition)

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What are the Best Motorcycle Rides the USA's South has to offer?

(Updated to help you plan for the 2024 Motorcycle Riding Season!)

Report based on a full-year of the 2023 riding season's data of the best motorcycle roads in the Southern region of the United States

To produce this listing, I look back at all of the 2023 motorcycle riding season information collected on (McR).  The site by default tracks number of visitors to each registered motorcycle ride description page, how the riders rated each of the routes in the southern portion of the USA, how many riders added photos or videos for the southern US motorcycle roads.  This data comes in from the literally millions and millions of web site page views accessed on the McR web server over the course of the year 2023 by various motorcycle riders (approximately a million riders visit motorcycle roads annually).  There really is just a lot of data to sift through and come up with trends and popularity ratings from and so if you are curious as to the details of how the ratings are calculated, see Note 1 at the bottom of this article of this Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in USA's Southern Region (New Year 2024 Edition).  Also, just for the record, I used the US Census Bureau’s definition of the Southern region (16 states in total: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia). 

The South region of the USA has the most registered motorcycle roads of all US regions!

Overall, the US Southern region currently has 760 registered motorcycle roads on McR making it the region with the most registered motorcycle roads of all four US census bureau.  Each year this number grows as riders add more of their favorite motorcycle rides to the collection.  In fact, the South not only has the most registered motorcycle rides of all US regions but in fact have over 200 more than the region with the second most registered routes (the US West) at the time of this analysis (see Note 1 at the bottom of this article).  That puts the Southern region at an average of 49 registered motorcycle roads per state (compared to the average US region that has only 41.5 per state).  The chart below shows the totals and breakdown of each of the USA regions' share of registered motorcycle roads.

registered motorcycle roads per region - the south has the most


Next, when we compare the South to other regions, in terms of counting the number of routes per region and considering the average number or routes per each state (consider this an indicator of the states of the US South's level of scenic beauty and overall motorcycle road driving quality) we see that the South stands out again, as it has the highest number of registered motorcycle roads of all four US regions (refer to the chart below):

the South has the most registered motorcycle routes per state of all USA Census regions


When it comes to the performance of each of the states within the Southern region, Texas is king with 118 registered motorcycle rides with North Carolina comes in at second place with 105 registered motorcycle rides.  What's interesting to note here is there is a particularly fierce rivalry between two states: Texas and North Carolina.  These two heavyweights of registered motorcycle roads have always been the tops in the southern region in terms of both number or registered motorcycle routes.  Keep reading below to see which of these epic motorcycle rides came out on top this year!   

the US south has the highest number of registered motorcycle roads in the USA


Summary of how many of the motorcycle rides in the south made the overall USA's Top 100 rides:

Now looking at how popular the best motorcycle rides in the south are when it comes to ranking with the overall Top 100 for each US region, we see that even though Texas has the most registered motorcycle roads, North Carolina rises to the top with 13 that made the Top 100 MOTORCYCLE ROADS OF THE ENTIRE USA list.   After North Carolina's 13, Tennessee and Arkansas tie at 9 in the Top 100 and Texas shows up in third position with 6 in the Top 100 motorcycle rides in the USA.  

number of rides in the South that made the USA's Top 100 list


Summary of this year’s Top 10 motorcycle rides in the South rankings:

Moving on from the discussion of quantity of motorcycle rides and on to the quality of motorcycle rides in the South of the USA, reveals some interesting trends.  Even though Texas has the most registered motorcycle roads, North Carolina rises to the top when it comes to motorcycle ride with 6 of its rides making the Top 10 MOTORCYCLE ROADS OF THE ENTIRE USA list  This dominates the other 3 region as motorcycle roads in the West and Midwest rounding out the remaining four spots of the Top 10 with 2 for each region. Additionally, if you expand that view and look at the Top 100 Motorcycle Rides in the USA, the South posts 57 of its routes within the USA's Top 100; far exceeding the next best performing region - the West - with its mere 34 Top 100 postings:


Now, when we look at the best motorcycle routes in the US South (review the map graphic below), you'll see that North Carolina has 4 routes in the Top 10 of the South, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia have two, and Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas each have one (note: some states share routes which explains why the total of states represented in the Top 10 rides in the South exceeds the number 10).

Map of the Top 10 Motorcycle Roads in the South


Motorcycle Riding Hotspot Alert!!!

The area of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains is a virtual Hot Spot of great motorcycle riding.  Additionally, Arkansas has been steadily rising in the years and particularly the northwest corner of Arkansas has become its own motorcycle riding Hot Spot as well.  I have written an article about both of these motorcycle riding Hot Spots and a couple others if you are interested.  Rounding out the remainder of the list, each of the following states has 1 route in the Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in the South - Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, & Texas.  General locations of each of The Top 10 motorcycle rides in the south are shown in the illustration below followed by a description paragraph and links to each of the these route's full page description which includes the route's map, photos, videos, comments, etc.  


The Top 10 motorcycle rides in the US South region

So, with all that summary information behind us, let’s jump right in to the listing of the Top 10 Best Motorcycle Rides in the South and I’ll try to eek out just a bit more suspense by starting the list in reverse at the #10 ranked motorcycle ride and working my way to #1 ride:

 #10 North Carolina's Route 80 (AKA Devil's Whip)

ark 123 motorcycle ride

At #10 this year is a route that enters the Top 10 Routes in the South for the first time and is called - "Devil's Whip."  It is currently the 4th most popular motorcycle road in all of North Carolina and lies the western portion of North Carolina, It was given a 5-Star rating for both Scenery and Motorcycle Drive Enjoyment by the original submitter way back in 2009 and has amassed a lot of rider reviews and photos.  Its not uncommon for riders to state that they prefer this route over the Dragon (AKA Tail of the Dragon), like Lathan who states "We liked this better than the dragon. There was a lot less traffic and the curves and switch backs were tighter. It was really cool seeing the road ahead at times and what you were facing. The road just drops off to the side with no shoulder and no pull off. Its pretty rural. The views are great. The ride was like a roller-coaster. Definitely recommend!"


#9 Skyline Drive (motorcycle rode in Virginia)

skyline drive VA motorcycle ride

At #9 this year is a route in the western portion of Virginia, just a bit west of Fredericksburg, VA called Skyline Drive.  The last time we did a Top 10 Rides of the South list, this route entered the Top 10 at the #10 spot for the first time.  Since then it's worked it's way up to the 9th spot.  This is the rated the second best motorcycle ride in Virginia and rides through the Shenandoah National Park area of the state for 105 miles of blissful mountain motorcycle riding.  And, one of the greatest aspects of this motorcycle ride is that it is conveniently located just north of the were the iconic Americana style motorcycle ride - The Blue Ridge Parkway (coming up in the list below) - ends.  So, if you are riding the Blue Ridge parkway from the south to north, you could continue on Skyline drive and make your route just that much more awesome!!


 #9 The Arkansas Dragon - Hwy 123 (motorcycle road in Arkansas)

ark 123 motorcycle ride

The next route slipped from the #8 spot down to here at the #9 spot but is still a great one as its name implies it is to be compared to an epic US route ... this great motorcycle ride is referred to as the Arkansas equivalent to the TN/NC Dragon and like the Dragon (11-miles), this one is a short-but-sweet 15-miles.  You know you are in for a twisty motorcycle ride when the local government has posted as sign that prohibits truck traffic and bluntly states that the route has "impassable hairpin turns ahead."  Well in this case, truck traffic's loss is your gain as not only will you not have to contend with annoying trucks along the way but also you will simply not have much traffic to deal with in general as this road is known for its low traffic levels.  Additionally, because of the lack of commercial truck access, the pavement doesn't take as much of a beating so you'll be treated to some great pavement conditions.  This motorcycle ride is in fact so popular that there is a bit of controversy on McR as it appear some Rider Comments are intentionally rating the route low so as to keep the ratings down and keep the word about this great Arkansas motorcycle ride from getting out.  


#7 Talimena National Scenic Byway (motorcycle ride in Oklahoma & Arkansas)

Talimena National Scenic Byway motorcycle ride

Also slipping one spot (this one from #7 to #8) this year is a Arkansas/Oklahoma motorcycle ride that is in the far western part of Arkansas and crossing into the far eastern side of Oklahoma.  This ride is an official Federal government Scenic Byway that has portions in both Oklahoma and Arkansas: The Talimena National Scenic Byway.  This 55-mile route has been on McR all the way since 2004 and is by far the most popular motorcycle ride in all of Oklahoma and has a very strong 4.35 out of 5 Rider Rating on McR.  When most people think of Oklahoma they do not think of mountains and/or impressive elevations. What they don't realize is that Oklahoma has a particularly rugged mountainous section in the Southeastern portion of the state.  In fact this route boast being in the midst of the highest points between the entire Appalachian mountain range and Rocky Mountain ranges: Stair Mountain and Rich Mountains.  This rugged terrain makes for some great curves and elevation changes ... some of those elevation changes are quite dramatic as the author pointed out that there are sections with 13% grades.  And, as you can see in the photo above, this route has some particularly inspiring fall leaf colors that if you can time your ride correctly, will leave you amazed.  So if you're looking for an Oklahoma scenic surprise (note the route travels in portions of western Arkansas as well) and you love fall "leaf peeping," put this route into your McR "To Ride" list and work it into your future riding plans

#7 Georgia's Dragon - The Suches Loop (motorcycle ride in Georgia)

Suches Loop motorcycle ride

Jumping up one position from #8 to #7 this year is a great great motorcycle ride & loop in the northeast corner of Georgia that has been on McR a relatively short amount of time but gathering a lot of attention and notoriety in that time (it currently has 50+ Rider Reviews on McR so you'll have plenty of advice/opinions from other riders to review if you are interested in researching this ride further.  Last year this Georgia motorcycle ride ranked a bit higher taking the 7th slot but this year it slid just a notch down to the #8 spot  The route is by far the most popular motorcycle ride in the state of Georgia and part of a motorcycle riding Hot Spot called The Blue Ridge Box.  Many riders describe how the route has become a bit of a right of passage experience for those who think they love twisty roads and those really do!  Portions of this route are noted to be particularly narrow and caution is advised as there are a lot of driveways along this route which has residential traffic entering/exiting the road and causing a particular need for riders to stay aware of their surroundings and drive safely! Either way, if you are looking for Georgia's version of the Dragon and looking to for a ride that essentially has put Georgia on the map of great motorcycle rides, this is a drive you need to work into your plans.  


 #6 Arkansas Pig Trail - Arkansas 23 (motorcycle ride in Arkansas)

Arkansas Pig Trail - Arkansas 23 motorcycle ride

Another Arkansas route that slipped one spot this year is the #1 route in Arkansas and the 6th most popular motorcycle ride in the south.  This Arkansas motorcycle ride has a nice catchy name and a great following among riders in the Arkansas area - The Pig Trail.  This route has been the rated the best motorcycle ride in Arkansas for a number of years which says a lot as Arkansas itself is really beginning to be recognized as a great Hot Spot of motorcycle riding.  The ride is relatively short at only 19 miles but the Pig Trail has 50 Rider Reviews posted currently on McR so you'll find plenty of motorcycle rider opinions on this great Southern region motorcycle road.  In addition to the great Ozark mountain scenery you'll be treated to, you also will get a virtual buffet of twisties to "dine on."  The author said it best when he/she described the motorcycle rides drive enjoyment factor as including: "Hair raising hairpin turns, switchbacks, curves, curves, hills, curves and more curves!" ... get the point!  And, check out all the great photos posted on McR to give you a feel of some of the views of "yesteryear" as you drive past vintage Arkansas backwoods buildings with some falling into dilapidation and others being maintained and turned into nice little places to stop and enjoy a bite to eat and some souvenir shopping.   Like a handful of routes in McR (e.g., The Dragon, the Triple Nickel in Ohio) this route even has its own patch floating around so if you can take this motorcycle ride along Arkansas Route 23 and can get your hands on one of these patches, you'll be able to show the rider world that you've rode the famous Arkansas Pig Trail!

 #5 The Hellbender 28 (motorcycle ride in North Carolina)


The Hellbender 28, just two years ago sat at #9 position but last year rose to #6 and this year continues to climb to the 5th most popular motorcycle ride in the South.  This route has made the biggest gains of all Southern motorcycle rides and now has muscled its way into the 5th spot.  Overall, this motorcycle ride has really grown in popularity over the years as it is in close proximity to the Dragon and viewed by many riders as either a tune-up for riding that famous route.  Either way it is considered to be one of the triad of must drive motorcycle rides in the Southwest North Carolina/Tennessee border area - Hellbender, the Dragon, and the Cherohala (all described on this page).  It is a 22-mile route which makes it twice as long as the Dragon and doesn't have as nearly as much traffic (which makes this a more preferred ride over the Dragon for a lot of riders).  It offers typical incredible Appalachian Mountain scenery that includes great views of Fontana Lake and the nearby dam.  Gas/food/lodging options are sparse in this area so plan ahead if you plan to make the trek.


#4 Blue Ridge Parkway (motorcycle ride in North Carolina & Virginia)

blue ridge parkway motorcycle ride

A perennial favorite for motorcycle riders not just in the USA but worldwide and is one of those very few long distance rides (100+ mile routes) that actually is a continuous drive across drive across multiple states and has become one of the most famous rides in the world (particularly famous among the auto touring crowd too!):  the one and only Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). Like its fellow 400+ mile cousin parkway way to the west, the Natchez Trace Parkway (NTP.  Described in the #10 slot above), this route (~467-miles) is also a US federal government designated parkway.  Both the NTP and the BRP are recreational rides with modest speed limits (the NTP's max is 50 mph but more frequently around 40-45 mph where the BRP max is 45 mph and has multiple sections down at the 35 mph limit).  The differences between the two parkways is scenery however is quite stark.  The NTP travels among lovely green forest primarily along flat landscapes yet the BRP is almost entirely meandering roads in the high country of the Appalachian mountain range.  The route has many nature stops and scenic overlook pull-overs along the way but very few gas & food opportunities along the way so you will need to plan your route to weave in the needed gas, food, and lodging stops along the way.  Despite the fact that this route requires some planning and has restrictive speed limits, the route is very popular among the motorcycle riding community as it has a 4.63 out of 5 Rider Rating with 53 reviews waiting for your perusal.  


#3 The Three Sisters (AKA The Twisted Sisters)- Ranch Roads 335, 336,337 (motorcycle ride in Texas)

The Twisted Sisters Texas motorcycle ride

As has been the case for decades now, there is a fierce rivalry in the world of motorcycle roads between two fantastic riding states - Texas and North Carolina - each with two world famous routes - The Three Sisters of Texas and the Tail of the Dragon of Tennessee.  Last year, these two routes were both ranked at #1 (first tie ever on the best motorcycle rides in the USA list) however, this year the Three Sisters got bumped down two spots to overall the #3 most popular motorcycle ride in the south.  This is the first time ever the Three Sisters wasn't at least the #1 or #2 spot and so we'll have to see if this trend continues or if the Three Sisters will rise next year. Despite the fact that it found itself at the #3 spot this year, this Texas motorcycle ride has a near cult following and has garnered an incredible amount of comments and ratings on McR (150+ enthusiastic Rider Ratings at the time of this report).  It lies just northwest of San Antonio Texas in a region they call Texas Hill Country and as you can see in the photo offers 130-miles of great scenery, winding roads, and at times motorcycles seem to own the road.  The route travels along side or crosses over many different rivers, streams, & creaks and portions of the road are carved out of rock walls and some nice scenic pull-overs will give you expansive views.  In addition to the three roads that officially make up the sisters, there are some off-shoot roads through canyons and other beautiful rolling hill areas that offer you additional options for extending your ride in this Hill Country region.  Like a lot of such popular motorcycle roads known for scenery and curves, this route travels through some remote areas where gas and other necessities are few and far between so you'll need to do some trip logistical planning if you're heading to the sisters anytime in the future.  And, for those of you that have never driven motorcycles over cattle guards, you probably need to ask around and/or research that as those have been known to cause inexperienced riders a bit of riding stress and this route has more than a few of these along the way.  Either way, if you have not yet driven the Three Sisters, this route should find its way into your motorcycle riding bucket list as it has been drawing riders from all of the world and a ride this celebrated must be living up to the hype to stay this popular.  


#2 Cherohala Skyway (motorcycle ride in North Carolina & Tennessee)

Cherohala Skyway motorcycle ride

This North Carolina/Tennessee shared motorcycle ride has risen to the #2 spot in the South for the first time ever ... bumping the Three Sisters above!  This route has essentially been the #2 motorcycle ride in North Carolina and the #2 ride in Tennessee for essentially as long as McR has been documenting the motorcycle roads of the USA (since 1998).  And, despite the fact that other state's #1 and #2 routes often change position from year to year as the ratings are dynamic and are influenced by changes in rider enthusiasm for each route in the McR database, unfortunately I believe this route will be perpetually doomed to be a #2 route.  That is because, unfortunately for the Cherohala Skyway, has the unfortunate circumstance of being in the same states as the near-universally venerated and iconic motorcycle ride is - The Tail of the Dragon.  Yet, this perpetual #2 offers such incredible beautiful mountain scenery and 4 times the number of miles of great curves as it's rockstar cousin (the Dragon is 11-miles and the Cherohala Skyway is 44 miles), and significantly less traffic, that it would be a #1 state route in just about any other of the 50 US states.  So, suffice it to say this route has lived in the shadows of the Dragon and been relegated to a #2 ranking but it would be a major mistake if you were to overlook this simply awesome motorcycle ride.  If you read through some of the near 60 Rider Reviews on McR you'll see that many riders rate it above the Dragon and have begun spending more time on this routes pavement than that of its more larger than life neighbor to the north (The Dragon is just about 10-miles (as the crow flies) to the north of the Cherohala Skyway).  No matter which route you end up coming away thinking is better, putting a motorcycle trip together that includes these two neighboring/ultra-poplar motorcycle roads and adding the Hellbender 28 described above (they are in the same general area), just may be the best possible trifecta of motorcycle rides available in the USA and the ingredients for some motorcycle rides of a lifetime. 


#1 Deal's Gap AKA "The Dragon" Or "Tail Of The Dragon" (motorcycle ride in Tennessee)

riding the dragon motorcycle ride

Every year, around this time (Dec/Jan) I put together the Top 10 motorcycle roads of the year guides like this for each of the 4 Regions of the USA, it is at this moment that I look forward to the most because essentially the #1 ride in the US South has also been the #1 in the USA for about a decade or so now.  Not only is the Tail of the Dragon the most popular motorcycle road in the USA, its most likely the most popular motorcycle road in the world!  This Tennessee motorcycle ride's reputation has been building for decades (30 or so years ago when I heard about it, most referred to it as Deal's gap ... yet over the years, for whatever reason (I believe its our societies addiction to hype) it is more commonly referred to as the Tail of the Dragon or simply, the Dragon).  Overall, it is simply a fantastic, ultra-short (at only 11-miles, but ultra-sweet (a reported 318 curves packed tightly in those 11-miles), and a following among the motorcycle community that is simply iconic.  It is a motorcycle ride that should be near or at the top of every motorcycle rider's bucket list!   


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Note 1:  All facts and figures below were gathered by reviewing the activity on over the course of 2023 and will change over time as new motorcycle roads are added to the collection. 

Note 2:  How were these popularity ratings calculated? 
A motorcycle road’s popularity can be based on a wide variety of factors.  Our analysis considered some obvious indicators of motorcycle road popularity such each roads’ “Rider Rating” scores (star ratings) and which motorcycle road description pages were visited the most.  But, the analysis dug deeper and looked at some less obvious yet valuable indicators of a motorcycle road’s popularity such as how often a given motorcycle road was added to riders’ “To Ride” lists, how often a given motorcycle road was added to riders’ “Rode it” lists and enthusiasm indicators such how often photos and/or videos were uploaded for a given road and which roads are attracting the most buzz among motorcycle roads indicated by those roads that are receiving the most number of new/recent comments.  For the sake of being consistent and as objective as possible we use a popularity algorithm that “crunches those number” and allows us to develop a ranking of the popularity of each of the motorcycle roads used as a basis for this guide.



As always, I hope to provide you with insightful & valuable motorcycle riding community information to help you get the most out of all of your motorcycling experiences.

I'm always looking for ways to make better and more helpful so if you have any suggestions to improve the website, just contact me through the Feedback button you'll find near the top of every page.  And as always, if you have a favorite motorcycle road of yours that is not yet registered on, please get that favorite of yours "on the map" by registering it at  Registering a motorcycle road (or event, or club, or place) is quick and easy and you'll be helping out our motorcycle riding community!!! 

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