Top 5 Best Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina (2021 Riding Season Year-End Review)

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We looked at a full collection of 2021 motorcycle riding season data when millions of riders visited to find the best motorcycles rides and routes in the USA, Canada, and abroad.  For over 20 years now, has been documenting the best/most-popular motorcycle roads, routes, and rides and for about a decade, we have published annual reports after diving into the website's statistics (which routes are riders researching the most, which routes are getting the most photo/video/comment uploads, etc., etc.) to determine which of the motorcycle routes have risen to the top in motorcycle rider popularity.  We look at a complex set of factors (see Note 2 below) to determine which of the motorcycle rides in each of the states and US regions are the most popular and rated to be the best by motorcycle riders just like you.  Our very popular annual "Top Motorcycle Rides per Region" guides cover the best rides for each of the four official riding regions of the USA: the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, and the West.  This year we took things a step further and decided to gone one level deeper and develop guides outlining the Top 5 Best Motorcycle Rides in for the US states and so you are seeing one of those such guides on this page.   

North Carolina may simply be the best state in the US for great motorcycle rides.  Every year does a listing of the most popular motorcycle rides in the USA and every year North Carolina dominates the Top 10 list with perennial favorites like the Cherohala Skyway and the Blue Ridge Parkway always at the top of the list.  And, being that the state borders another motorcycle road blessed state - Tennessee - makes North Carolina even better for riders looking to pack as many great rides into one trip. So, starting from #5 and working our way down to the #1 best motorcycle ride in North Carolina.



After reviewing an entire year of activity of North Carolina motorcycle riders, here are the results:

Top 5 Most Popular Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina!


#5 Great Smoky US441

The route includes a remarkable 360-degree bend and significant altitude changes, which should be on everyone's bucket list. The route is roughly 42 miles one way, including the side drive to Clingmans Dome, which gives spectacular vistas of the Smoky Mountains.

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

NC 80, often known as The Devil's Whip, follows Buck Creek's meandering route. The bottom stretch has some decent twisties, but there are also dwellings, trailer parks, and camping on both sides. Begin your motorcycle journey at Pleasant Gardens, NC, about 30 miles east of Asheville on US Highway 70.

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#3 Hellbender 28

Few motorcycle routes in the United States can compete with The Hellbender's breathtaking landscape. Head west at the intersection of Highway 74 and Mince Road towards the spectacular series of densely covered mountains. Continue west, and the sweepers get increasingly narrow, providing beautiful views of the Fontana River.

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#2 Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a slow-paced and peaceful journey that reveals breathtaking long-range panoramas and close-up views of the Appalachian Highlands' jagged mountains and pastoral areas. The Parkway stretches approximately 469 miles with its upper half passing through the Virginia countryside and the lower half lying in the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina.

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#1 Cherohala Skyway

Ride the mile-high Cherohala Skyway, roughly 100 miles west of Asheville. This is without a doubt one of the most picturesque roads in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. There is little indication of civilization in the numerous mountain views from this 45-mile meandering National Scenic Byway.

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Note 1:  All facts and figures below were gathered in Dec of 2021 and will change over time as new motorcycle roads are added to the collection.  For an update listing, you can go to at any time, search on a state of your choosing, and you'll be presented with a list of the best motorcycle roads in that state.  You can also search on the newest motorcycle routes to be registered in that state as well as sift through the routes based on other filters.  Some examples of filtered searches you can do is to filter results based on - only the routes in your state that have 5-star scenery ratings, or only routes with a 5-star driving excitement rating and at least a 3-star rating for scenery, etc. etc.

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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McR - Great motorcycle roads lead to great motorcycle rides!