Project Description

Thunder Road Motorcycle Ride near Maggie Valley

Route: Thunder Road
Type: Lollipop
Begin: Maggie Valley, NC
End: Maggie Valley, NC
Travel Time: Approximately 5 to 6 hours (including rest stops and lunch)
Distance: 140 miles
Highlights: Scenic views, curvy roads, elevation changes

Thunder Road is one of the most beautiful motorcycle routes in the Smoky Mountains. Amazingly, it is also one of the least used routes on our list.  This course begins and ends in Maggie Valley, NC, taking a 140 mile lollipop-type route (to borrow a hiking trail term). US 74 takes riders on a scenic ride along the Nantahala River –there are several turnouts to stop and view the river and rafters enjoying the whitewater. Wayah Road also called Thunder RD by locals continues along the river all the way to Lake Nantahala –this section also has some waterfalls so keep your eyes on the road. There are lots of curves going up to Wayah Gap and multiple back to back switchbacks on the downhill side.

Ellijay Rd is not well known to outside riders –it has very little traffic andlots of curves with a few tight switchbacks going up and over Cullowee Gap going toward NC 107 and Sylva NC.

Points of interest:

  • Nantahala River
  • Lake Nantahala
  • Scenic overlooks