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No Hollywood storylines here—ride the real Cold Mountain Loop in North Carolina

Added March 28, 2017
motorcycle in mountain

The 2003 movie “Cold Mountain” sets a tragic love story against the backdrop of the Civil War. In the movie, based on the book of the same name, we witness a budding romance interrupted by the horrors of war and the struggle of a man to return to the love of his life back home at Cold Mountain. While the mountains filmed in the movie are located in Romania, there’s a real Cold Mountain in North Carolina, and you can reach it from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Ride report

The Cold Mountain Loop includes two awesome roads that cross the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP), along with a stretch of the parkway itself. The loop is an enjoyable run in both directions. Perhaps the best way to begin this ride is at the Cold Mountain overlook near mile marker 412 on the BRP. From the overlook, you can see Cold Mountain, which rises to a summit of 6,030 feet. This lookout is conveniently located adjacent to the U.S. Route 276 interchange, where our ride begins.

U.S. Route 276

Leaving the BRP, at the bottom of the ramp turn right, going under the bridge and north on U.S. Route 276 toward Waynesville, North Carolina. In no time you’ll trade the wide open sunshine of the BRP for a mix of deep shade and patches of sunlight as you start your rollercoaster ride down the mountain.

When you reach the sleepy community of Cruso, you’ll pass the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground. From here the road relaxes a bit, but it’s still full of twists and turns.

When you come to a traffic light, you’re at the juncture of N.C. Route 215. If you need gas, go straight toward Waynesville. When you double back, you can’t miss this intersection, since two of the three routes have big yellow warning signs for truckers because of the 9 percent grade and 15 mph curves! If your tank is full, turn left onto N.C. Route 215 south.

N.C. Route 215

The first section of N.C. Route 215 south runs along valley farmlands until a stop sign intervenes. Turn left and you’re into the twisties again on your way back toward the BRP.

Before the road begins to really climb up the mountain, you’ll pass along and over Lake Logan, a popular fishing destination. As the ascent continues, you’ll pass over two beautiful stone bridges and—if you look close enough—glimpse a waterfall.

Keep your eyes on the curves, as there are more 15 mph challenges. When you arrive at the BRP, head north to finish the loop. Then turn around and run it the other way.

Till next time, ride safe!