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Grandfather Mountain ride (US 221) + ADD NEW ROUTE


43   in North Carolina North Carolina22 Miles

By Aaron Baltosser
on October 1, 2009

3.7out of 5

6 Riders rated

 Scenery

 Road Quality

 Roadside Amenities

Written Directions

The ride started in Blowing Rock, NC with the turn south onto 221 South. It ends up at Grandfather Mountain which is a worthy ride by itself. The switchbacks, are really dramatic in the park.

Scenery

The road was completely covered by the trees throughout the whole route. It was 21 miles of twisty mountain road, with some rock formations reaching almost into the road surface. You are riding in themountains in and around the Blue Ridge area. When the trees open up you get glimpses of a beautiful valley spread out below you in all it's glory. When I went the trees were still filled with green leaves. It would be a great run in the fall. The trees have long ago grown overhead and form a canopy for you. It's like riding a natural tunnel with green leaves all around you. The drop off on the east side is steep enough that anyone going over the side will need a high angle rescue team to find them. When you do get a few glimpses through the trees on the east side the valley below is laid out in all it's glory. In one corner there was a small waterfall just off the right hand side of the road. In a few places there are pull offs and several folks were parked there rock climbing just across the road.

Road Quality

The road is not as curvy as the Tail of the Dragon, but it was a challenging technical road for anyone who has never been through a mountain road run. It is easy to go into some of the left hand turns since you have more visibility, but the right hand turns going south were blind about half the time. The drop off on the south side of the road is pretty bad so keep it on the paved surface. The road itself was in good shape, and we probably could have taken it faster than we did. I was leading someone that had never been in the twisties, so I took it easy. You will not find a straight flat piece of road here. Several rock outcroppings were just off the north side of the road so be careful.You have to lay the bike over pretty hard in some of the corners to keep up the momentum. Caution is required since there any errors involving going left of center have a potential to be fatal. This was a great road to run, and the features along with a good road surface make it a need to ride route.

Roadside Amenities

You have gas stops and tourist attractions at both ends ofthe run, but absolutely nothing in between. There are several pull offs on the south side of the road, where you willl find people going bouldering or mountain climbing. Blowing rock offres a ton of things to do, and you could easily spend a full day at Grandfather Mountain as well. There are trails to hike, not recommended for anyone with mobility issues because of steep up grades and stepping over rocksIf you want to shop for antique; Boone, NC is the place to be. Rolling through a small section of the main street I counted at least 6 shops catering to antiques. There was a nice small park to picnic, with dozens of people just sitting and watching traffic go by. Tons places to eat and stay (camping, or hotel)were all around as well. At the southern end of the run Grandfather Mountain waits for you. It has a swinging suspension bridge wide enough for you to be able to stop and take pictures. You can drive up to the top parking lot if you are going to the bridge to look around. If you are hiking on the mountain, you have to park below the bridge level. The switchbacks on the road leading up to the top of the viewing are for the bridge are scary at anything over crawling speed. You are handed a sheet of paper making you aware of the risks involved with high speed, and mountain roads. Be on the look out for the plentiful deer in the park. Have your camera ready.

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Nickname (optional) : Aaron Baltosser

What Riders Say About this Route Add Review & Rating

By Brainsprain
on January 29, 2016 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2013

Motorcycle Make Suzuki V-Strom 650

Motorcycle Type Sport-Touring

I've been on this trip in a cage and now on my bike. June is great when the Rhododendrum are blooming. Fall is magnificent. My girl and I were there in August 2015 on the Bike. I've ridden mountain roads alone but with a passenger it's different. The parkway is not difficult if you don't push it. Speed limit is 45 so that says something. Grandfather Mountian Rd is not bad going up but a bit intimidating, but school buses do it. Soooo! Going up one can keep a steady 10 to 15 miles with no prob. Coming down is somewhat terrifyingly steep and hairpin turns. The first is at the bottom of a 400 ft steep ramp and to the right. I stopped and walked my bike around it. You can't see what's coming. Just take care.

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By Guest
on February 11, 2011 0 out of 1 members found this review useful.

3.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Kawasaki

Motorcycle Type Sport

This is a great ride, lots of switchbacks & bank turns & beautiful scenic route but the road is horrible, so until they pave it please be careful! Lager pot holes, ruts, bumps. It’s gotten rough over the last couple of years.

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By Guest
on October 20, 2010 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 1988

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

A nice easy ride great for when the leaves change. Some twisties but not too many. Some cars during the fall months and be sure when in Blowing Rock not to get crazy on the throttle. All in all a nice enjoyable road to ride.

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By Guest
on October 11, 2010 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2007

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type

This part of the trip was great. Nice slow cruse with low amount of other traffic. After getting to Grandfather mountain, we hiked it. The colors were just starting to change and it was very windy. At this time (10-3/5-2010), if this is average temps, you may want to dress in layers. It was 37 degrees at 6:00 pm. although it didn't feel like it was that cold to me, but a bit colder than Zephyrhills, Fl. The whole area is amazing. Very good ride if you like hills and turns with lots of trees, rock walls and some bridges. Lots of overlooks as others have mentioned. We traveled all around Boone, Blowing Rock, Grandfather mountain and Sugar Mountain area. If you like, There are some very nice cabins for rent in Valley Crucis. There's a private lake with otters and fishing, catch and release only. Loved it all but wish I had made it later this month so we could have seen all the colors. It is a beautiful ride. One note: while traveling up to the area, 321 was under construction with bumps and uneven pavement, still worth the ride. Will do it again soon. God bless you all.

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By Guest
on September 28, 2010 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

1.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 1996

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Touring

This is a great ride for all the reasons above and more. The Blue Ridge Parkway route is much tamer as far as curves. If you stay on 221 all the way to Grandfather Mtn, it is not to be taken lightly. The road has a few rough patches and gravel on the pavement in the curves will get your attention. I met a number of sport bikers hugging the centerline at a much higher speed than we were traveling, so be on the lookout. Nothing that can't be overcome by sensible riding. The ride up and down Grandfather Mtn is great but may not be for the inexperienced rider. The day we went, winds were 25-30 mph gusting to 40-45. The beauty is well worth it all!

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By Guest
on August 25, 2010 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Touring

This is truly a great riding experience, lots of overlooks, we stayed in Blowing Rock at the Flintrock Campground (Cabin) 50.00 per night on creek, super. Florida bikers need to take a look at this daytime temps 65 to 75 August, Julian Price park beautiful but no hookups premitive camping only.

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