New River Highway to Frost Bottom Road

Average Rating - This road has been rated by 5 visitors

State: Tennessee
Date Submitted: August 18, 2011
Submitted by: wideglide_01_25
Motorcycle Road Length: 34 Miles

Written Directions

State Route 116 in Tennessee runs from its junction with State Route 62 at its southwestern end between Wartburg and Coalfield in Morgan County, to its northeastern end at Caryville, Tennessee in Campbell County. From its southwestern terminus it heads northeast and passes through the town of Petros and past Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. Continuing northeast into Anderson County, the highway then passes through remote mountainous country known for its many former coal mining villages, some of which were company towns and are now essentially ghost towns. Among them are the towns of Fork Mountain, Buffalo, Devonia, Braytown, Rosedale, and Charley's Branch. The Devonia post office which served this entire region was closed in 1975. Once the mines in these towns closed down with the resulting loss of population, the towns' schools were closed and remaining students were consolidated into the Rosedale school, which saw steadily falling enrollment and was closed in the 1990s. This section of Route 116 parallels the New River and the former line of the Tennessee Railroad. There are many abandoned underground coal mines, coal tipples, and railroad yards and sidings along this section of Route 116. Despite the end of most underground mining and the demise of the towns along this portion of the highway, a great deal of strip mining continues however. Route 116 briefly passes into Campbell County and then turns southeast back into Anderson County. From there it passes through the village of Stainville and continues southeast through some remote, sparsely populated mountains to Laurel Grove. There it turns northeast again at the junction with Frost Bottom Road, since 1982 designated as State Route 330. This section of the highway parallels Walden Ridge to the immediate southeast, and a former spur of the Norfolk Southern Railway (now closed), and passes through Briceville, Fraterville which was the site of a 1902 mine explosion, "The Wye" near the former mining camp of Beech Grove, and finally through a gap in Walden Ridge to enter Lake City.


From gentle country road sweepers to gnarly steep switchbacks; from serene straights to Dragon like twisties with guard rails of death; from gentle pull-offs to three foot deep rock strewn gullies just inches from the pavement; from peaceful farmsteads to sections of rutted roadway right out of a horror movie.

Road Quality  

Country road sweepers to gnarly steep switchbacks. Road quality is fairly good, has some patch work in a few areas.

Roadside Amenities  

Very few areas to stop to grab something cold to drink or something to eat. Best place is in Oak Ridge or in Petros before you start heading up the mountain.

Additional Info

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Reviewed by Mid Life Crisis on July 13, 2014
(2 out of 2 members found this review useful.)
Creator: Mid Life Crisis
motorcycle_year: 2002
motorcycle_make: Kawasaki Voyager
motorcycle_type: Touring
Comment: Best ride EVER! We road the Devil's Triangle counter clockwise and had a great ride. The switchbacks are intense and while we did one of them in the rain, it was a fantastic ride. Very technical riding the switchbacks, several within a few mile radius. The rain held off for 85%, of our ride with mostly clear skies, but being in the mountains, the rain seemed to hang around in one area so we rode through it. The section of 116 turning south to 62 from the north was the most enjoyable than all the switchbacks. It had sweeping turns and some tight 180's that keep your attention. We had four riders and felt this was the best ride of our trip, which included, the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway.
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Reviewed by Guest on April 30, 2013
(2 out of 2 members found this review useful.)
Creator: Matt S
motorcycle_year: 2002
motorcycle_make: Kawasaki
motorcycle_type: Cruiser
Comment: Just returned from a beautiful Spring afternoon ride along SR116/SR330 from Petros in Morgan County to Oliver Springs, which sits at the corner of Morgan, Roane and Anderson counties.

The description of this route here on the site is pretty accurate. Running the route clockwise from Petros, you gain nearly a thousand feet of elevation while navigating some of the most technical road in the area. The town of Petros sits around 1,350ft and the crest of the mountain is just shy of 2,200ft. SR116 "straightens" out once your descended the other side of Brushy Mountain and begin riding along New River.

Road quality is great. Though, there are some areas where some patchwork has been done, so be careful as some of those areas are located in turns. Also watch out for gravel in the corners and mining and logging trucks and even though this road is not a "high traffic" one, those who do drive it often like to cut corners and cross over into the other lane around turns. Just be careful and vigilant and you should be OK.

Once SR116 meets up with SR330, you can either follow SR116 northeast to Lake City via Briceville, or head southwest on SR330 to Oliver Springs. The route shown on this site has you traveling toward Oliver Springs. SR330 is a nice two-lane stretch of highway with several straights and quite a few long, sweeping curves as it runs parallel to the northern side of Walden Ridge.

Once you come into Oliver Springs on SR330, turn left to go to Oak Ridge or right to head back toward SR61/SR62.

Overall, SR116 is a highly technical road and is not for the novice rider. As far as technical curves, this road puts the Tail of The Dragon to shame.
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Reviewed by GIJoe on January 3, 2012
(2 out of 2 members found this review useful.)
Creator: GIJoe
motorcycle_year: 2004
motorcycle_make: Honda
motorcycle_type: Cruiser
Comment: We always called this route, the Devil's Triangle, by adding the lower route, which is just a nice TN Backroad. Can be ridden clockwise or counterclockwise, I've only ridden it counterclockwise, and I can tell you there are a couple turns that will increase your pucker factor by about 8 to 9 points!! NOT for the weak hearted, great route and not as well known as it's cousins to the South!
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Reviewed by Guest on September 6, 2012
(1 out of 1 members found this review useful.)
Creator: CycleGuy
motorcycle_year: 1989
motorcycle_make: Yamaha Venture
motorcycle_type: Touring
Comment: After riding over 45 years, this is by far the most technical road I've ever ridden. Enjoy the route, but take your time and evaluate everything and because all is not as it first appears. We traveled from Lake City to Petros, and the first hairpin is a real fooler. At first I could not figure out where the road went, then I figured out it was not only to my right, but above and behind me probably 25 or more degree uphill. A real challenge when I realized that second gear was probably not low enough. My daughter and I took our time, rode the whole distance with grins on our face, and hearts in our mouth on some turns. Watch out for very large dump trucks on the upper sections and gravel in the hairpins. Take it easy and enjoy the ride.
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Reviewed by drD on May 13, 2012
(0 out of 0 members found this review useful.)
Creator: drD
motorcycle_year: 2005
motorcycle_make: BMW
motorcycle_type: Enduro
Comment: Thanks Wideglide, for the excellent review (I especially liked the history of the region). At this writing, the pavement from SR 62 going northeast is fresh. Once it turns southeast, its variable. You'll notice Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary on the left as you head clockwise from SR 62. This is where James Earl Ray (who assassinated M. L. King, Jr.) lived out his days. The next few miles after the prison are quite technical. It climbs and descends the mountain with numerous switchbacks and big drop-offs. Use caution the first time through. Since most know the Dragon, the really twisty part of this ride is tighter, shorter, has less visibility with bigger drop-offs, and has more elevation change. Great fun once you've been through it once. After that, the road is less twisty but more scenic. You'll be along the river where curves, homes, and old coal tipples, etc., make for a great ride. On 5/11/12, I took the road Google maps currently marks in yellow called Norma Road (heads northwest when SR 116 turns southeast). I was coming from the south going to Big South Fork and this looked like a good short cut. The first 11 miles were gravel. They were just putting fresh gravel (typical after the winter) as I ran into a grater and a gravel truck. Not very pleasant even on my GS. The creek it ran along was not very visible either, so it lacked scenery as well. This is logging country; I caught or passed 6 logging trucks on my way to SR 63. I wanted to mention this in case you are actually trying to get somewhere using this route. I have not been on SR 330 but I can say that SR 116 is a great road. Enjoy.
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