Great scenery is one ingredient of an awesome motorcycle run, but it’s far from the only consideration to weigh before hitting the highway.
How the route lends itself to all that’s great about motorcycle touring – from the pavement’s twists and turns to the chance to feel nature envelop you – is equally important.
These four motorcycle routes all offer great foliage along roads that seem made for the ride itself.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina, Virginia:
The Blue Ridge Parkway deserves a place on every motorcycle rider’s bucket list. The famed 469-mile route links Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. A 45 mph speed limit (25 mph in some congested areas) makes it impossible to miss stellar scenery while winding roads ensure an enjoyable ride. The parkway is lined with attractions to help break up a trip among two or three days. Consider Grandfather Mountain, in North Carolina, where a 2-mile curvaceous trip leads to sweeping summit views.
Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada:
Cabot Trail is sometimes referred to as one of the most scenic motorcycle routes in the world. The 185-mile loop runs along the northern half of the island and includes stretches through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The area explodes with color in the fall, a palette that perfectly complements a curving route that occasionally skirts cliffs along the Atlantic Ocean.
Kancamagus Scenic Byway, New Hampshire:
Leaf peepers have long appreciated the hotbed of foliage activity that seizes the White Mountains each fall. It’s hard to miss the red, orange and yellow hues, no matter where you travel, though no trip is complete without a blast down the “Kanc.” This 34.5-mile section of Route 112, through White Mountain National Forest, approaches an elevation of nearly 3,000 feet and is loaded with fabulous New England scenery. Riders will especially appreciate this as a motorcycle route for its regular twists and turns.
Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee:
Research the country’s best motorcycle routes and you’ll come across Tail of the Dragon. Its claim to fame is an intense network of 318 curves spanning 11 miles along Route 129. The challenge starts at Deals Gap, near the North Carolina-Tennessee border, though some riders start runs farther south by Cheoah Dam, a site made famous by actor Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive.” Though it’s a thrilling ride, the serpentine structure doesn’t lend itself to sightseeing. If that’s what you’re after, or you want to celebrate the safe completion of your ride with a more relaxed route, consider Cherohala Skyway. The national scenic byway runs 43 miles along 4,000- and 5,000-foot-plus peaks connecting Robbinsville, N.C., with Tellico Plains, Tenn.
Make sure you’re covered this fall! AAA has you covered in more ways than one on your next ride. AAA Premier and Plus members can sign up for motorcycle roadside assistance, and all riders can call AAA to make sure they’re getting a good price on motorcycle insurance. Visit AAA.com/Insurance for more.