Why You Should Plan Your Next Motorcycle Ride in Eastern U.S.

With summer in full swing, it’s time to get the motorcycle out for trips across the open road. Like traveling in an RV, it’s a great way to experience the outdoors while still practicing social distancing. With essentials like windshields and Bluetooth-equipped helmets, a motorcycle is even a viable road trip vehicle option.

So, where should you take your motorcycle ride? You can experience scenic motorcycle routes around every corner of the country, but the eastern U.S. has the most. Here are some of the best places.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee and North Carolina)

A man driving a motorcycle on the highway near grass fields and hills
A man on a motorcycle ride on a highway | RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

This park features 400 miles of paved roadway and 800 square miles in total to explore. It’s home to several popular long or short roadways, including the 43-mile Cherohala Skyway. The Blue Ridge Parkway also has some beautiful sights to see, like the 215-foot-tall Natural Bridge. Elsewhere, a trail leads up to Mount Mitchell, one of the most beautiful peaks in the area. Meanwhile, for those less adventuresome, you can take a leisurely motorcycle ride down the six-mile Greenbriar road. 

Skyline Drive (Virginia)

Located in Shenandoah National Park, this overpass stretches 105 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can’t go more than 35 mph, but that gives you even more time to enjoy the scenery. It’s open 24/7, except when closed due to inclement weather conditions.

The trail takes three hours to complete, but there are plenty of sights to keep motorcycle riders entertained. You might see deer, turkeys, or some adorable black bear cubs. Additionally, there are also 70 overlooks and multiple picnic areas if you need to take a break.

Tunnel of Trees (Michigan)

This is a 16-mile natural tunnel stretching from Harbor Springs to Cross Village. At the end of this evergreen and hardwood and tree trail, there’s a breathtaking bluff that overlooks Lake Michigan. Mackinaw City recommends visiting in autumn when the leaves have reached their peak. 

The road itself is narrow and twisty, so it’s the perfect place to see how well your motorcycle handles. Horror fans might be delighted here, as one of these turns, the Devil’s Elbow, is even believed to be haunted.

Route 100 (Vermont)

Obviously, this trail is one of the best places to see Vermont’s famous foliage in the summer. There are also plenty of stops along the way for other activities. USA Today recommends visiting the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory for a tasty refresher during your motorcycle drive.

You can visit several restaurants, country stores, and even massive tree houses along this route. The Green Mountain Forest is also a great place to bring your ATV or snowmobile during the winter.

Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway (Kentucky and Tennessee)

This hidden gem lies in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. “The Trace” stretches across 43 miles of rolling hills and plenty of greenery to appreciate. This area has some interesting stopping points, including Civil War sites.

In addition to your motorcycle, you might also want to take your canoe or motorboat along to enjoy the largest lake in Kentucky. Riders can stop and safely feed birds like eagles or waterfowls in the wildlife refuge areas.

Tail of the Dragon (Tennessee)

Motorcycle Roads highlights this trail as the best motorcycle ride in Tennessee. It’s actually located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, taking up 11 miles of U.S. Route 129. It features 318 turns and reportedly attracts 250,000 bikers each year.

However, the Tail of the Dragon is also predictably one of the most dangerous paths in the country. 37 people have died on this route, with the latest death occurring in 2017. While this is only a handful of fatalities, you should still take extra precautions before attempting that motorcycle ride.

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