Tennessee motorcycle trips are an adventure anytime you plan to take on the challenge of a seasonal ride. Whether negotiating the network of twisting and turning highways or opening it up along the straight portions of scenic highways, there’s always something of interest around every curve.

1. Deal’s Gap AKA Tail of the Dragon

Distance: 11 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour

This stretch along US Hwy 129 is a popular destination for Tennessee motorcycle trips as it is a challenge for bikers who want to be tested by the more than 300 curves, extremely sharp hairpin turns, close-to-the-vest tight turns, and sheer drop-offs into the terrain below. For seasoned riders, it can be an exciting run. For those new to cycling, this one can be scary. Either way, take precautions by staying focused on the road ahead and keeping a close eye on trucks and other vehicles as you head into the turns. 

2. Cherohala Skyway

Distance: 43 miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 hour

The Cherohala Skyway takes you on a visually stunning ride of unlimited beauty while riding through the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest. The route is a National Scenic Byway for good reason, with its miles of uninterrupted mountain views, refreshing waterfalls for a cool oasis to take a break and old tree growth that blankets the forest, ensuring natural habitats for wildlife. The 43-mile stretch goes from Tellico Plains in Tennessee to the quaint town of Robbinsville, in North Carolina. Be aware the area is dark, desolate, and imposing at night, so drive carefully. Also, this run is not recommended by other riders for winter trips as it can be extremely dangerous. 

3. Great Smoky US 441

Distance: 42 miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 hours

When traveling along US 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will be riding in the most-visited national park in the U.S. You have the option of stocking up on items at the visitor’s center at either end of the route. Inside the park, there are no shops, but there are restroom facilities. Expect altitude changes as you navigate through the Newfound Gap. There are multiple areas to stop and enjoy the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you venture off the route to visit Clingman’s Dome, you can see over a dozen mountain ranges in the distance. For food, fuel, and beverages, Cherokee, North Carolina, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee are nearby and can supply just about anything you need. Do be aware, that because of the park’s worldwide popularity, the highway can be crowded during the tourist season. 

4. Natchez Trace Parkway

Distance: 400+ miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 days

The Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the longest and offers one of the best motorcycle rides in Tennessee and is noted as an ‘All American Road’ by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Be prepared for plenty of scenery as you travel from Tennessee, a portion of Alabama, and on through Mississippi. The southern region features a diverse landscape of dense forest filled with oaks, beeches, magnolias, and pine trees with the signature Spanish moss that prefers warm climates. The northern point of the route is Leipers Fork, about 30 miles southwest of Nashville. Sites to see along the route include antebellum architecture, the ancient Indian Emerald Mound ceremonial site, the Ross Barnett Reservoir, Elvis Presley’s boyhood home, Tishomingo State Park, David Crockett State Park, and at the end, the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

5. The Snake – Hwy 421 and 34

Distance: 23 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour

For bikers who enjoy the gentle weaving of the motorcycle back and forth along scenic highways, The Snake is for you. The starting point is Mountain City, and the endpoint is Holston Valley. In-between, you’ll be amid the forests and the trees residing in the Cherokee National Forest. You’ll ascend mountain ridges with plenty of twists and curves along the way. It is estimated the route has nearly 500 curves, plus multiple mountain ranges to cross, and one valley to explore. 

6. Devil’s Triangle

Distance: 44 miles
Time to Ride: 2-3 hours

Taking this ride from New River Highway to Frost Bottom Road, your driving skills will be put to the test. Not for the faint of heart, the Devil’s Triangle features steep switchbacks, deep gullies, and twists, so severe guardrails are in place. After navigating these features, you get a chance to relax on a straight highway for a while for a smooth ride and pull-offs to rest a spell and enjoy the view. It is best to fuel up the bike and yourself before tackling this mountain road. 

7. Tennessee 32

Distance: 14 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour

For Smoky Mountains motorcycle trips, this 14-mile route is one not to be missed. The route provides double the scenic beauty as you will ride through both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. It is a short and sweet ride for those in the know with ample experience maneuvering a motorcycle. The road can be difficult, even for seasoned riders, with its many tight turns and switchbacks, steep climbs, heart-stopping descents, and changes in altitude. A nice way to unwind and just cruise a well-maintained roadway, just know it is technically challenging. 

8. Cades Cove Run

Distance: 31 miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 hours

For a breathtaking ride that offers beautiful scenery every mile of the way, consider the Cades Cove Run. Located in the western portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the two-lane road is all about mountain and river views. As you follow the river, there are plenty of twists and turns as the river meanders its way through the park. This is a cool ride on a well-maintained surface with small bridges and overhanging rocks along the way. Remember to fuel up before going into the park as there are no restaurants inside the park. Best to stop at local venues in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge for refreshments. 

When planning your itinerary for Tennessee motorcycle trips, summer rides are awesome with sunlit days and reasonable temperatures. Spring is full of life and colorful flora and fauna, and the fall features a palette of warm hues with the changing of the leaves. Winter riding is brisk, and the landscape is a winter wonderland. Keep in mind if planning Smoky Mountains motorcycle trips in the winter that some roads, especially in the mountains, may not be passable due to snow and ice.