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Road biking in Nantahala?(9 posts)

Road biking in Nantahala?Biking in NC
May 19, 2001 12:57 PM
Any of you have any suggestions on road biking in the Nantahala area in NC? I'll be there in about a week. I find mostly mountain bike related stuff on the net. I plan on trying to do some of Tsali trails, but I don't see much info on road rides.

Anybody have info on nice road rides in that area?

re: Road biking in Nantahala?Ian
May 19, 2001 1:16 PM
You may be hard pressed to find much right in the Nantahala area around Tsali. I have visited Tsali about 10 times in the last 5 years and I have never seen much that I would feel comfortable road riding on. The roads near there are pretty narrow with lots of blind corners. I would suggest heading about 1 hour east towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. You will find some great road riding there.

If you are a mountain biker and have not been to Tsali, that may be all you will want to ride, it is wonderful.
re: Road biking in Nantahala?Jim
May 19, 2001 8:15 PM
I second that about the Trails around the Nantahala area. Go over to the Nantahala outdoor center ( and check out the shop and get info about all the trails there. Incredible trails from easy to very difficult.

I also second the blind corners thing. Could prove to be dangerous. Plus, all the rafting shuttles FLY around those hairpins! One about every five minutes. I'm afraid in a car in that area. Find a road less travelled,...or wider.
YesBlue Ridge Boy
May 19, 2001 2:20 PM
great road biking, oops make that cycling, but the routes are secret, and therefore I cannot tell you anything about them
Ah, Southern Hospitality ;-) (nm)mike mcmahon
May 19, 2001 2:26 PM
Here's a good one.Bruce G
May 19, 2001 3:18 PM
Forest Service road 711 starts about a 15 minute drive south of the put-in for the Nantahala and runs 15 miles through the national forest. It's paved, scenic, has an 1800 ft climb to Wayah Gap and you might see one car. The Nantahala Outdoor Center can give you directions.
There are some good options ...bianchi boy
May 20, 2001 9:03 PM
If you don't mind driving a little first. First, I would avoid US 19, which runs along the Nantahalah River. Like others said, it has lots of blind curves -- and lots of rafting buses and other traffic. Definitely not safe. Here are some good options within reasonable driving distances:

1. NC 28 between Lauada (just east of NOC) and Franklin. This is a beautiful road with little traffic that winds through the Nantahalahs. It's about 20 miles one way. According to my NC hwy map, there's another unmarked road that heads west from Franklin back to Nantahala, about 10 miles west of NOC, but you would have to ride on US 19 for that last 10-miles stretch, which I would avoid.

2. The Blue Ridge Parkway starts near Cherokee, about 30-45 minutes drive east of NOC. This is a beautiful section of parkway and it has wide shoulders and nice views. Lots of long climbs and descents, though. The stretch just east of US 23/74 at Balsam Gap has the highest point on the parkway -- Balsam Mtn, which is over 6,000 feet.

3. Smoky Mtn National Park is about 45-60 minutes drive northeast of NOC (to the southern entrance). The traffic on US 441 through the park can be heavy, but it's a nice road with a hellacious climb up to Newfound Gap, where the Appalachian Trail crosses at the NC-TN line, and Clingman's Dome. The best riding in the park is on the Tennessee side -- from the visitor's center near Gatlinburg west toward Cade's Cove, as well as the loop road through the cove. If you can do that on a weekday, it's a fantastic ride, but the traffic can be heavy on weekends. Cades Cove drive is one way and very bicycle friendly.

4. The Foothills Parkway runs near the western edge of the Smokies in Tennessee, from Tallassee at US 129 towards Gatlinburg. It's a lot like a Blueridge Parkway -- a scenic drive with lots of nice views.
There are some good options ...Tim Jones
May 21, 2001 8:30 PM
If you don't mind a drive (45 min+-), the Cherohala Skyway (NC143-TN165) outside of Robbinsville N.C. is a great rode for cyclist. Similar to the Blue Ridge but undiscovered. Be prerared for some climbing as the skyway reaches 5390 feet at one point on its way some 42 mountainous mles to Tellico Plains TN. Inquire at NOC for directions to the skyway.
May 21, 2001 8:37 PM
I would have to recommend against option 1. I have driven that road and it although it would be beautiful to ride, it is way to twisty and has more blind corners than US 19. I nearly got taken out by a tractor-trailer on that road, and I was in a large Dodge pick-up. I don't even want to think about what he would have done to a cyclist.