"Beginners Beware" + ADD NEW ROUTE
18 in North Carolina North Carolina Miles
By Ross Russo
on May 1, 2000
- Trip Toolbox
I usually start my ride out of Marion, NC off of hwy 70. Head west out of Marion and grab hwy 80 going north all the way up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Head north/east on the Blue Ridge Parkway to hwy 226a (Little Switzerland). Head south on 226a until it intersects with 226 and head back north on 226 back up to the parkway. North on the parkway to 221 and where you want to get on 221 heading south and back down to hwy 70/Marion.
To get to the suggested starting point in Marion, from Charlotte head north on I-77 to I-40 west. from Ashville, NC take I-40 east into Marion.
If you dare to take your eyes off the road you will see some of NC's awesome mountain scenery. Photo contributed by visitor in Jun 09 - "Taken above the "Cradle of Forestry". Take the Parkway West towards Mt. Pisgah; its the last overlook before you come to highway 276 (which takes you to Sliding Rock, Looking Glass Falls and the Cradle of Forestry). Its a beautiful ride, not too difficult."
There are some steep drops and lots of tight curves. Hwy 80 can be "interesting" if you encounter a log truck. Traffic is generally light and only locals. 80 is on the narrow side, and has a significant grade. Usually the pavement is in decent to good shape (new blacktop summer of 2001). Curves are banked just right. 226a, 226, and 221 are generally a little more traveled by those dreaded 4 wheel cages but also a lot of fun.
There are several food and fuel establishments in Marion, NC including an ice cream shop at the intersection 80 and 70. Little Switzerland also has food and lodging. There is a country store at the bottom of 226A that serves burgers and dogs and fuel. There are also several food establishments along the parkway in various locations.
Nickname (optional) : Ross Russo