Nantahala Gorge & Wayah Bald

Nantahala Gorge is known for it’s whitewater rafting as much as it’s stunning scenery. Climb to the rivers alpine source then cross Wayah Bald on a ride everyone loves. Complete your loop with a ride on one of North Carolina’s best curvy rides, NC 28 then return to Maggie Valley on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fun!


Distance: 145 miles

Ride Time: 1/2 day or more

Difficulty: Moderately difficult

START: Maggie Valley

  • Follow US 19 west, climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

4.1 Miles

  • Pass under Blue Ridge Parkway. Continue through Cherokee to Bryson City.

26.3 Miles

  • Turn right, then left at the traffic lights in Bryson City to continue on US 19 west.

 29.4 Miles

  • Merge onto Highway 23 / 74 and continue west. Junction US 19 / Alarka Road / Highway 23 / 74 (Exit 64).

34.9 Miles

  • Veer left to continue on US 74 into Nantahala Gorge at the junction with NC 28.

46.9 Miles

  • Turn left onto Wayah Road.

 74.8 Miles

  • Turn left @ stop sign onto Old Murphy Road. Follow into Franklin. Old Murphy Road becomes West Palmer Road in Franklin. 

79.5 Miles

  • Turn left @ traffic light onto Porter Road.

79.6 Miles

  • Turn right @ traffic light onto Main Street. 

79.7 Miles

  • Turn left @ traffic light and exit town on NC 28 north.

100 Miles

  • Turn right @ stop sign onto highway towards Waynesville.

133 Miles

  • Turn left onto Blue Ridge Parkway ramp.

133 Miles

  • Turn right @ stop sign onto Blue Ridge Parkway towards Cherokee.

145 Miles

  • Exit Blue Ridge Parkway.

 145.1 Miles

  • Turn right @ stop sign to return to Maggie Valley on US 19.

START: Maggie Valley

Ride: Maggie Valley through Nantahala Gorge

  • From the Haywood Visitor Center follow US 19 - Soco Road to pass under the Blue Ridge Parkway and continue through Cherokee. Pass through Bryson City, then get on US 74W and follow to where the highway forks. Bare left into Nantahla Gorge on US 74 and follow along the whitewater river to reach Wayah Road

Ride: Nantahala Gorge to US 74

  • Climb from Nantahala Gorge along the Upper Nantahala River and across Wayah Bald. Descend to reach Old Murphy Road and follow it into downtown Franklin. Harrison Avenue will lead you north from town and onto NC 28. Enjoy the twists and turns of NC 28 to reach US 74

Ride: US 74 to the Blue Ridge Parkway then back to Maggie Valley

  • Turn right to follow US 74E for 32 miles to reach the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Balsam Gap. Turn left onto the parkway entrence ramp, the right to follow the Blue Ridge Parkway over Waterrock Knob to the junction with US 19 at Soco Gap. Follow US 19 down to reach Maggie Valley

END: Maggie Valley

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    Link Details

    1110 Soco Road
    Maggie Valley, NC 28751

    (800) 334-9036 

    Printed maps of all the great roads surrounding the Smoky Mountains can be purchased at the Haywood Visitor Center in Maggie Valley, North Carolina

    America Rides Maps offers the most comprehensive and detailed motorcycle rides maps of the hundreds of great roads throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains from Virginia to Georgia.

    Order online


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