From Unicoi, TN, Take route 107 toward Limestone Cove/Buladean. this will become NC226. Continue to Fork Mountain Road and turn left onto it. Left on TN261/Roan Mountain Road.
The first portion of this ride is spent traversing Iron Mountain, which will consist of a mountain road covered in tree canopy. The second half is ascending to Roan Mountain, and the panoramic views only get better as you continue to climb. Stop at Carver's Gap at the top of Roan for a hike to view the Rhododendron (peak in June), or continue on for more amazing vistas with breathtaking panoramic views of the valley(s) below.
Road quality is excellent, as all roads along this route have received recent repaves. Do watch for gravel in the early spring, and after storms as the elevation changes/steep climbs/decent will cause runoff.
Roan mountain state park is beautiful, and worth the visit. There are fuel stops in Unicoi, and at the base of Roan Mountain. Thomas Grocery (at the base of Roan) is a step back in time, old general store. Be sure to stop in and converse with the old timers in there.
Motorcycle Road Additional info
In the peak spring and summer months, use caution (i.e. reduce speed) at Carver's Gap (the top of Roan Mountain), as the Appalachian Trail crosses here and this area can become congested with Hikers and Cager traffic.