The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is one the most beloved roads in America. It routinely makes the Top 10 lists of must-ride motorcycle roads. The BRP is truly a bucket-list destination for serious riders and is delightful to travel on any type of motorcycle.
It’s easy to see why this is such an attraction when you consider the majestic beauty of a road with few intersections that follows mountaintops for hundreds of miles. What is not always easy to see are some of the incredible roads that connect to the BRP.
There are no advertising billboards marring nature’s beauty on the BRP. There are also no signs indicating where to turn for an exciting motorcycle side trip. Or are there?
If you know what to look for, there are some awesome unannounced roads that an adventurous rider will enjoy. North Carolina Highway 151 (NC151) is one such road, and also one of the more technical BRP side roads. It is tucked between mile markers 405 and 406, with just a simple sign stating the route number in advance of the intersection. The giveaway that this is a motorcycle riding gem is the sign that warns of a steep winding road ahead and that trucks are not recommended. The sign is set back just far enough from the BRP that it’s easy to miss.
NC151 plummets down the mountain in a wonderful series of shaded turns that require your constant attention. Some turns are tight, and you can’t see what is coming next. Other turns offer a view of twisting asphalt ahead that is music to a motorcycle rider’s heart. It seems like the curves and the rapid descent will last forever. Then in an all too brief four miles, you cross a narrow bridge and are down in the valley.
For the next eight miles, from the bridge to where the road intersects Routes 19 and 23, NC151 is an average country road. Gas is available at that intersection, which is something you can’t buy on the BRP.
While the lower section of NC151 is not thrilling, the ride back to the BRP will give you a very dramatic view of Mount Pisgah and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. The view up toward the mountains will give you a different perspective than you get from the very top that is worth the extra miles. It also allows you to get ready for the wild ascent to the top of the mountain!
Till next time, ride safe!
NC151 is just one of the great rides you can take in North Carolina. While visiting the Tar Heel State, you might want to check out these other rides:
Tail of the Dragon and The Cherohala Skyway
Check out some other places to visit across the country in our Rides section.
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