Along the eastern edge of Tennessee and the western border of North Carolina, the Smoky Mountains are one of the most beautiful places in the country. Lush greenery, spectacular views, waterfalls, and rivers provide a stunning backdrop throughout the mountains, and although it's easy to navigate the area in a car, the best way to see it all is on a motorcycle. With several roads that wind in and out of the mountains, you'll never see the same thing twice. For an unforgettable trip, check out these motorcycle-friendly roads in the Smoky Mountains.

The Dragon/Tail of the Dragon

tail of the dragon

Image via Flickr by Ken Lund

Known as both the Dragon or the Tail of the Dragon, this 11-mile route is one of the most challenging and exhilarating motorcycle rides in the world. The path begins on the Foothills Parkway in Chilhowee, Tennessee, and continues on U.S. Highway 129 until it ends in Deals Gap, North Carolina.

What makes the Dragon different from other routes in the Smoky Mountains is that it doesn't offer the breathtaking scenery. Instead, you put your skills to work. In just 11 miles, the road features 318 turns, providing the most seasoned motorcyclists with a true test. With the right motorcycle, navigating the turns are easier, but due diligence is necessary to maintain a safe course and avoid Tennessee State Troopers, who often hide on this road to enforce the speed limit.

Take your time on this road, as it's more enjoyable. Battle-tested motorcyclists should expect to take about 25 minutes to complete the route.

The East Loop

Covering 112 miles between both Tennessee and North Carolina, the East Loop is an excellent route for novice bikers. The ride is easy, staying at a relatively leveled elevation with fewer twists and turns than other roads. Depending on your skill level and stops, the East Loop should take somewhere between four and six hours.

Start your trip in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, on U.S. Highway 19, and you'll wind your way through majestic parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway, U.S. Highway 321, U.S. Highway 441, Tennessee State Route 32, and U.S. Highway 276. Some of the highlights include Gatlinburg, the Oconoluftee Visitor Center, the town of Cherokee, and Clingman's Dome — the tallest point in the Smokies.

Bobarosa Saloon Run

Also beginning in Maggie Valley, the Bobarosa Saloon Run is a Smoky Mountains favorite, attracting riders from across the country. This out-and-back road twists along U.S. Highway 19, North Carolina State Highway 209, and U.S. Highway 25 (Dixie Highway) from Maggie Valley to the Bobarosa Saloon in Del Rio, Tennessee.

Bikers love this route not only because of the scenery, but also the saloon at the end, which features pool tables, live music, biker decor, and one of the best burgers you've ever tasted. With a few stops along the way, the route takes about six hours round-trip, but Del Rio has campgrounds and a motel if you want to take it slow and stay the night.

The Rattler

The Rattler is a unique option in the Smoky Mountains because it allows you to choose the duration of your trip. Stretching from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs, North Carolina, this journey can be a short, 70-mile round-trip or a loop that takes you through the towns of Marshall and Walnut.

Some portions of the trip require expert skills, but not as much as the Dragon, making it a perfect option for riders looking to hone their driving abilities. The tranquil Spring Creek follows the route, while lush foliage and covered bridges provide some natural eye candy.

When you arrive or start your journey in Hot Springs, make sure to check out the Still Mountain Restaurant. On weekends, it's a popular hangout for bikers, while also offering ice-cold beers and great food to help you unwind.

Cherohala Skyway Loop

Perhaps the most popular motorcycle route in the Smoky Mountains, the Cherohala Skyway Loop is an all-day ride, beginning and ending — not shockingly — in Maggie Valley. Along this 245-mile route, you'll encounter unbelievable views of Bald River Falls, the Tree of Shame, and the Fontana Dam.

The Cherohala Skyway covers roughly half of the roads that traverse the Smoky Mountains, so if you decide to do it, you'll cover some of the area's most famous roads, which also lead to short hikes and phenomenal photo ops. You'll need about eight hours from start to finish, but the all-day journey is worth the effort.

With so many stellar motorcycle routes, the Smoky Mountains beckon for you to ride. From once in a lifetime views to challenging routes, these roads offer something for everyone.

Re-post our material is not allowed without permission.