Rock Slide 2010
June 9, 2010: US 129 reopened !!! Construction and repair of US129 from the March rock slide completed 3 weeks ahead of schedule. THANK YOU TNDOT and Pacific Blasting & Demolition Ltd.!!
May 10, 2010: Contractors are installing anchor bolts to stabilize the slide area. There is an incentive payment if the contractor finishes the project before July 1. TDot installed a construction camera across the lake from the slide area, CLICK HERE to view camera archives. Keep up with construction progress on the TDot Website. The Dragon remains open from 8am to 8pm from the NC side only.
April 20, 2010: The Dragon has been open for a week now and traffic has been light. Saturday was fairly busy. Sunday was a lot slower even with perfect weather for riding. The LEOs have been reasonable in their enforcement of traffic laws. Several tickets have been written, but they seem to have been deserved.
I40 at the NC/TN border was reopen Tues April 27. Cades Cove Loop reopened Saturday, April 24 (@noon both Sat & Sun).
April 2010: We have received reports that the Devils Triangle is a little rough. Watch out on the clockwise loop for new chip-and-seal pavement and a few potholes. We recommend slower speeds until the roadway is resurfaced.
ROCK SLIDE UPDATE April 16, 2010: The rock slide on US 129 is located between the Dragon and Happy Valley Road/Foothills Parkway. TDOT has announced in a press release that the 11 mile section known as the Tail of the Dragon will be open from 8 am to 8 pm beginning Monday April 12, 2010. The only access is from North Carolina US 129. THP announced that there will be zero tolerance for traffic violations, so I’d travel the Tail with extreme caution. Please obey the traffic laws and report any undue harassment to us. We will forward all complaints to the Tennessee and North Carolina senators and representatives who worked so hard to get the road open. We will continue to post the latest information here so keep in touch.
All is going well at the Tail of the Dragon. Traffic is low, so it’s a great time to enjoy the road without fear of semi trucks and big crowds.
The only alternatives for through traffic to cross from TN to NC are the Cherohala Skyway and US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains.
A TDOT completion date of July 31. But that is only a guess by TDOT. The schedule for repairs started April 5 and a bonus for the clean-up if completed by July 1.
Moonshiner 28 is fast becoming one of the great must-do roads of western North Carolina. Everyone has heard of the Tail of the Dragon and now there is another comparable road that is less crowded and offers even more to the two-lane tourist. Stretching from US 129 at the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, Moonshiner 28 winds its way southeastward through Franklin and Highlands North Carolina before turning southward into Georgia and South Carolina at Walhalla.
There are sections of 28 in North Carolina every bit as twisty as the Tail. Bonus …. speed limit is 55 most of the route.
Once one of the major runs for moonshiners with revenuers hot on their bumper, the road today boasts some great twisties, wide sweepers and unsurpassed scenery. Mountain vistas, waterfalls and secluded lakes appear around nearly every corner. You can find good food, accommodations of every type and unique shops with unusual antiques and crafts created by mountain artisans. Read about the Ruby Run and the Clayton GA/Highlands NC trip.
The Cherohala Skyway was completed in the fall of 1996 after being under construction for some thirty-four years. Winding up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 15 miles in North Carolina and descending another 21 miles into the deeply forested backcountry of Tennessee. This road enthusiast’s dream connects Robbinsville, North Carolina with Tellico Plains, Tennessee. It can be desolate at night and extremely dangerous in the winter months. There are no facilities other than restrooms for the entire 36 miles so make sure you have enough gas to make the crossing. There is little evidence of civilization from views that rival or surpass any from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Beginning at Santeetlah Gap on the North Carolina side (at elevation 2660 feet), the road quickly twists and ascends to Santeetlah pull-off, the highest overlook at 5390 feet. Along this section you will ride the mountain tops for another seven miles to the Tennessee state line. It can be cold and cloudy riding the mountain ridges, so make sure you dress properly, even in the summer months. We have been caught in pea soup fog, thick clouds, and bone chilling temperatures. The “mile-high legend” is always a new and unforgettable experience.
At the state line the descent starts into the Tellico River basin. There are more spectacular scenic vistas on the Tennessee side. A detour to Bald River Falls on paved Forest Service Road 210 is well worth the short trip. Water cascades over 100 feet onto the rocks below – all which can be seen from the comfort of your motorcycle /car.
The Tellico River, at the lower elevations on the Tennessee side, is famous for its trout fishing, and when the water is up, can be quite a challenge for canoers and kayakers. The river leads you to the sleepy town of Tellico Plains where you can fill your tank and feed your belly. In Tellico Plains continue south on the twisties of Hwy 68 or do jump over to US411 and take in a Glider Ride. Read about the Tellico Plains Ocoee Loop.
Wayah Road, also known as Warrior Road, is a terrific ride that can be tied into the Moonshiner28 run. This 27 mile fun ride from the Nantahala River to Franklin North Carolina has three sections. The first we call the waterfall run as the road follows the path of the Nantahala River with cascades around every corner. The second is the lake section with spectacular views of Nantahala Lake, the highest lake east of the Mississippi. The third section is the mountain run as you climb to 4180 feet near Wayah Bald and then descend into Franklin.
The Devils Triangle is located north of Oak Ridge Tennessee and consists of TN 62/330 on the south with Oliver Springs at the intersection, and TN 116 on the north part of the loop. The total distance for the Triangle itself is 45 miles.
TN 62 is nothing to write home about, just a two lane connector with some traffic. The traffic disappears when you turn right onto TN 116 at White Schoolhouse Corners. Soon you pass through the rural community of Petros (pronounced Pee-tross) where the last gas and snack food is available.
Heading north out of Petros you’ll see the Brushy Mountain State Prison entrance. This is where the real fun begins as TN 116 takes a sharp right and climbs from 1440 to 2140 feet elevation in 1.6 miles. There are some great curves here, but not a place to push your limits. There are some railings, concrete barriers, steep drop offs, and three foot deep drainage ditches on the high side of the roadway. Tone it down a bit and enjoy the variety of twisties here.
At the gap the road then descends in the next 1.7 miles to 1560 feet. The downhill is as much fun as the uphill and just as dangerous. These beginning 3.3 miles have excellent pavement, but watch-out for downhill momentum into some of the switchbacks.
The next 10 miles have a few interesting sections, but for the most part the scenery is of interest. At one point you can see the giant wind generating equipment on the distant mountain top. The pavement is not the best in this middle section. It is rather typical of what you’ll find in rural areas. There are many driveways and some slower traffic so stay alert.
At Stainville TN 116, which has been running northeast, takes an abrupt turn back to the southeast. This forms the triangle the road is named for. This 10.6 mile section of road begins tamely for some 5 miles and then turns into a haunted looking strip of asphalt with some corners that will challenge the best of riders. The pavement is good in the counter-clockwise direction, but if you are riding clockwise as we were you’ll need to watch for heaves and uneven pavement from serious road patching.
At one point there is a triple switchback on a steep grade that will get your attention. We saw a group of cruisers come though while we were stopped and a few had difficulty staying in their lane.
At Laurel Grove TN 116 takes off to the northeast again heading to Lake City and I-75. Turning right we rode into Oliver Springs on 330 where we gassed and snacked.
The Foothills Parkway and Little River Road offer some of the most scenic vistas in the mountains and some great twisties. From several pull offs on the 16 mile long Parkway you can view the Great Smoky Mountains on one side and the flatlands of Maryville and Knoxville on the other. The ridgeline of the Cumberland Mountains are visible even though they are 50 miles distant.
Townsend has some good places to eat and you might want to chill on a tube ride down Little River. TN 73, also known as Little River Road, leads you into the Great Smoky Mountains and follows a winding path along Little River most of the way to US 441. Along the way there are cascading rapids, small falls, nature trails, pristine forest and awesome rock outcroppings.
You might also want to visit Cades Cove, an 11 mile loop that takes you back in time to early settlers in the area. NOTE: Cades Cove is closed for repaving until May 21.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the road wonders of the US. Stretching from Cherokee, North Carolina to Front Royal, Virginia (includes the Skyline Drive) this road winds its way along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains for 469 miles. There are some desolate sections miles from fuel, food, and accommodations so plan well.
The BRP offers amazing views and natural wonders along its entire length. There are mountains over 6,000 feet in elevation near Waynesville at its southern end. And as an added bonus, most of the side roads leading up to the Parkway are a real hoot.
Hot Springs and Boone, North Carolina have some great roads. Check them out here CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE
The Joe Brown Highway around the north side of Hiwassee Lake near Murphy, North Carolina.
US 64 along the Ocoee River in Tennessee.
TN 68 from Tellico Plains Tennessee to the Georgia border.
TN 30, 315 and 39 from Ocoee to Tellico Plains.
Richard Russell Scenic Highway (GA 348) Blairsville to Helen Georgia.
Wolf Pen Gap Road near Suches Georgia.
Learn more about the roads of north Georgia at SIXGAP.COM
Warwoman Road near Clayton Georgia.
And there are actually too many other roads to list here. Come find them.