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& Est Time:
37 Miles
.9 Hours
State Map
& Segments:
Link to North Carolina DOT
North Carolina DOT Map
Major Crossroads

Lake Junaluska, NC to Hot Springs, NC

Known both as "The Rattler" and "Shiners Run", NC-209 is probably one of the best motorcycle runs in the eastern United States. It has dramatic elevation changes of about 2,500 feet from start to finish, scenic mountain views, lots of hairpin turns, and good places to rest, eat, and stay on either end.

The roadway is in fairly good condition, but there are some problem areas where it's obvious another wet summer will take some of the road down the hillside. All riders are advised to keep a lookout for gravel washing across the road even several days after a rain storm and inexperienced mountain riders should never be very heavy on the throttle - there are surprises at nearly every turn.

The first few miles from Lake Junaluska can be crowded and slow and the flavor of a mountain road doesn't really start until a few miles north of I-40, when a sharp right turn heralds a change of pace from a nice wide state road serving a local town. It's best to remember the northbound view is vastly different from the southbound. The north-bounders see the rising elevation while the south-bounders get a panoramic view of the what lies below - plan to ride both ways, you'll be glad you took the time.

The lower section is full of great sweepers that keep you in the lean for a quarter mile or more, and there are sections where your hips are working overtime as you toss your bike from left to right while you look forward to anticipate the next curve. Find the rhythm at about 50 mph and that grin on your face begins to develop into an affliction called, "Gee, this is fun!"

North of Trust, from the intersection of NC-63, it begins to become much more difficult, and that 15 mile long section will test you. Are you the master of your motorcycle? Or will that next hairpin turn toss you over the double yellow into oncoming traffic? If you have to pause to think of the answer you had better slow down a bit and just enjoy the scenery. Novice riders should consider this run on weekdays or early weekend mornings, before opposing traffic becomes another hazard.

If you only have time to grab a piece of this run as you are traveling from hither to yon along US-25/70, consider using NC-209 and NC-63 as an alternate route around Marshall. It may actually be shorter, and it's certainly much more fun.

Enjoy your ride -