Blue Ridge Bliss - North Carolina
The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches for 469 miles, from North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south to Waynesboro, Virginia, in the north. On our Blue Ridge Bliss tour, you’ll explore more than 300 of the very best of those miles; in fact, the North Carolina mountains offer some of the best cycling in the country.
Pedaling the iconic crest of the southern Appalachians, you’ll enjoy expansive views and rolling terrain as you skirt the highest peaks in the East, including 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell. We’ll spin past historic farmsteads and lodges, ride through the many valleys known locally as “hollers,” twisting and turning through a rural landscape of dark forests, sun-bathed fields, and mountain meadows delineated by rustic split-rail fences. Immerse yourself in Appalachia’s unique mountain culture and join us for Blue Ridge Bliss in North Carolina!
Grab some friends and join today! Each rider in a group of 5 or more will receive a 15% discount. Learn more...
Our 2022 departures have already taken place, check back for future dates.
“I immensely enjoyed this tour! I have completed several other tours but this is the most enjoyable ride I’ve encountered — smaller group, more relaxed, most beautiful scenery by far.”
Day 1. Cherokee, North Carolina to Fancy Gap, Virginia, 0 miles
We’ll get an early start to our weeklong adventure, meeting your leaders in Cherokee in the morning then shuttling to our northernmost point of the tour in Fancy Gap, Virginia. We’ll stay overnight in the small town of Fancy Gap, where we’ll enjoy our first meal together as a group and prepare for our ride ahead.
Day 2. Fancy Gap, Virginia to Glendale Springs, North Carolina, 61 miles
On our first day of Blue Ridge Bliss, you won’t want to miss the outstanding Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1997 and operated by way of a partnership involving the National Park Service and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the center celebrates the traditional music and talented musicians of the Blue Ridge region. Facilities include an outdoor concert amphitheater and an indoor interpretive center.
Day 3. Glendale Springs to Pineola, 57 miles
On our second day of riding, we’ll see the mountain arts town of Blowing Rock, located just a couple of miles off the parkway. It offers everything from ice cream and fine dining to crafts and outdoor gear. Near Blowing Rock, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park preserves the country estate of the well-known textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist. Its centerpiece is the 1901 Flat Top Manor, a 20-room, 13,000-square-foot mansion now home to the Parkway Craft Center, one of five shops administered by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Here local artisans demonstrate mountain crafts like weaving, glass blowing, and woodcarving. The 3,500-acre estate also features 25 miles of carriage paths open to hiking. Then our ride will bring us to an engineering marvel, the Linn Cove Viaduct, a 1,243-foot concrete segmental bridge that snakes across the face of Grandfather Mountain. The viaduct has won dozens of national design awards and is the most popular section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We will camp near the Linville River at the aptly named Down by the River Campground.
Day 4. Pineola to Burnsville, 36 miles
Early in the day, you might opt to make the 1.6-mile side hike to Linville Falls. The most popular waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Linville, is a spectacular three-tiered waterfall that plunges into Linville Gorge, the “Grand Canyon of the Southern Appalachians.” Today we will enjoy steady climbing on rolling terrain as we pass the Museum of North Carolina Minerals and the quaint hamlet of Little Switzerland. We will spend the night in the shadow of Mount Mitchell at Albert’s Adventure Inn within walking distance of the picturesque, 100-foot-tall Roaring Fork Falls.
Day 5. Burnsville to Lake Powhatan, 56 miles
If your legs are up to the additional challenge, you can tack on the optional five-mile climb to the summit of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern U.S. Then, be sure to stop at Craggy Gardens, one of the most dramatic viewpoints on the entire parkway. In early summer, Craggy Gardens transforms into a mountain-sized bouquet, with rhododendron thickets covering the landscape in pinks and purples. We’ll finish the day at Lake Powhatan.
Day 6. Lake Powhatan to Sylva, 57 miles
If Blue Ridge Parkway views are among the reasons you chose this tour, you will not be disappointed. Attaining elevations that exceed 6,000 feet, you’ll look out on mountain ridges that seem to ripple away forever into the distance. Today you’ll want to take in the view from the Pisgah Inn at milepost 408 and marvel at the forested peaks, misty coves, and slopes of fragrant flowers. From Mt. Pisgah, you will ride over the southwestern shoulder of 6,410-foot Richland Balsam. Tonight we’ll camp at Moonshine Creek Campground, where we can relax to the tranquil sound of the mountain stream near our campsite.
Day 7. Sylva to Cherokee, 35 miles
The southern portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway features the road’s largest concentration of tunnels, and we’ll waste no time getting to them. There are 26 tunnels along the parkway in all, 25 of them located in North Carolina. We’ll pass through many of them on this day of riding, when we’ll also earn amazing mountain top views as we climb for nearly 20 miles through the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Our roller-coaster ride ends near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, where museum exhibits tell the story of Native Americans and early European settlers in this area and chronicle the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the development of the national park. The adjacent Mountain Farm Museum contains a fascinating collection of log structures including a farmhouse, barn, smokehouse, applehouse, and corn cribs. Even though our tour has ended, you and your newfound friends will head for home, full of bliss — and anything but blue — after this amazing two-wheeled journey through the mountains of North Carolina.
Know before you go
Please consider the terrain and potential weather conditions when preparing for this amazing mountain-region tour. You can expect substantial climbing — up to 17 miles long, 4,400–6,700 feet per day, 33,350 feet total. The weather in June is generally very pleasant, but the higher elevations — up to 6,683 feet — can experience unexpected extremes including high winds, freezing temperatures, and even snow on rare occasions.
Information for eBike riders:
Because every rider, eBike, road condition, and elevation profile is different, it is ultimately up to the participant to judge best whether their battery will last through each tour day. We recommend using pedal assist in its lowest setting or off when not needed to maximize battery range. Bringing a second battery is also recommended, and it can be carried by staff and available at a designated stop during the day.