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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Less traveled, great curves, and miles of smiles - Wayah Road, NC

Any biker that has ridden very long has probably heard of the famed US 129 a.k.a. The Tail of the Dragon that runs through the Smoky Mountains in the southern state line area of North Carolina and Tennessee.  The promoters of the road claim it has 318 curves in 11 miles.  I have ridden it 7 times, but I have never attempted to count the curves.  It is a lot of fun and well worth riding, especially on a non-holiday weekday (on the weekends and holidays the road is heavily traveled).

While on my annual summer trip in July 2011 we stayed seven nights in Robbinsville, NC, a mere 18 miles to the east of Deals Gap and the famous 11 mile stretch of US 129.  During that week we rode several other roads that I would greatly recommend to any biker who enjoys riding the twisties.
Shaded, smooth, and scenic - Wayah Road
One road that I had not heard or read much about, but planned on exploring, was Wayah Road.  Wayah Road (known to the locals as Thunder Road) is east of Robbinsville about 14 miles.  We rode US 129 South to Topton, NC and then turned north on US 19/74 for 2.2 miles before heading east on the two lane Wayah Road.  To the left is a parking lot, restrooms, and a put in for the rafters.
A friend on his Harley enjoys the road
The 27 mile Wayah road had sweeping curves, tight twisties, bridges, elevation changes, and some straightaways where we could open up the throttle.  Shaded most of the way and traveling adjacent to the river, for many miles, the road is full of great scenery.  About 10 miles into the ride we rode past the beautiful Nantahala Lake.  We crossed over the river several times allowing for scenic views of the cascading Nantahala River.
Sweeping curves and tight switchbacks can be found on the road.
Nantahala Lake - a big lake with cold blue water
The Nantahala River running through the Nantahala River Gorge
The entire group really enjoyed riding the Wayah Road, enough so that later in the day we decided to ride it back to Robbinsville instead of taking an alternate route.  We also rode it a third time on the last full day of riding.
Slow or fast the road will make you smile
Some of the group took it at a lesuirely pace while others of us enjoyed a crisper pace, either way the road is a great stretch of pavement worth experiencing when you are in the area.  An added benefit to the road is that it will take you to Franklin where you can catch US 28 a.k.a. The Moonshire 28 to Highlands, NC and see two picturesque waterfalls (thats for another post).  So, Wayah Road is fun and at both ends are proper destinations for biker.

7 comments:

  1. I love twisties....that road looks so much like here in New Zealand. Really nice pics there mate. I read a few blogs about the Tail od the Draon, i am determined one day to ride it.

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  2. Enjoyed your post, I'm riding Colorado roads this week but hope to get out there a little later in the fall

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  3. Raftnn - you would love the roads in the Smoky Mountains. The Tail of the Dragon is a must for bikers.

    The roads in Colorado are different, but great also. I love riding in the Rockies.

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  4. Hey Oz, when did you get one of them “Back To The Future” motorcycles? Both this post and your blog banner claim you went to the Tail of the Dragon in July 2012 – that is a year in the future! LOL. The roads in NC sound so great I must make sure I get to ride them one day. Soon.

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  5. Gary, It was a test and you are the only one to pass it. I was checking to see you was reading it carefully - yea that's what I did. :)
    I guess I was already looking ahead to next summer. Thanks for catching it.

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  6. I did the Tail of the Dragon 3 times in one day, oh it was so much fun. I don't think I did the Wayah Road, I guess I will have to go back. All the roads in that area are beautiful.

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  7. That road looks awesome. I'd love to ride on it. Great pics too.

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