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By ST13MtnRdr (2 McR Points) on Jun 28, 2018

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Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring


US HWY 221 is a BLAST of a road to ride if you like tight, twisty and technically challenging mountain roads!! Some of the reviews describe this road like it's the Parkway - with overlooks, pull off areas and nice, gentle sweepers...That is INCORRECT. This is NOT the Blue Ridge Parkway!! The BRP crosses this road at BOTH ends (near Blowing Rock and again by Grandfather Mountain) but this is NOT the BRP.

As a clue, when you get on the road, there's a prominent sign, with flashing lights, saying "NARROW STEEP WINDING ROAD NEXT 19 MILES" and "TRACTOR-TRAILERS PROHIBITED." Look for it on googlemaps street view :-) The BRP can be ridden by anyone with confidence - this road cannot. It will bite you if not careful.

The last time I was on this road was about 2015. At that time the road was well paved and in good physical condition. The biggest concern is rocks/gravel in some of the corners. There are also some decreasing radius, multi-apex corners which will catch the inexperienced off guard quickly. Guardrails do exist on *SOME* parts of this road but there are others where a mistake teaches you that you can't fly.

Another concern is the number of bicyclists who ride this road. There is a bike race in the fall(?) and a lot of bicyclists train on the road all summer. There are only a couple of pull-offs and no overlooks that I can remember. The foilage is beautiful with nearly full shade during the summer. During the fall though, watch out for fallen leaves on the road surface!

Once you get outside of Blowing Rock, the speed limit goes up to 55. The odds are you won't reach that number much though (except on the couple of short straights...) Be aware, there are several residential driveways directly off this road and there are slow vehicles on there frequently. Passing opportunities are very limited.

I love this road on a bike or in a cage!! It's technically challenging, senic (with boulders hanging OVER the road surface in a couple of places!!) and has limited access except at the ends. There's nothing but twisties between Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain. A fun road to run to be sure!

3 riders found this road review useful.