Nantahala/Smokey Mtn Tour Question
Headed north out of Franklin NC on Wayah Rd to intersection of Hwy 19/74. We will be going north to Bryson City on 19/74 then on to Cherokee NC where we will pick up the Blue Ridge Pkwy. My concern is the road conditions/traffic on SR 19/74. All the rafting company's run this
route. Anybody have any experience with this road?....Thanks for any input..........
19-74 through the Nantahala Gorge is pretty hairy, in my opinion. I've ridden it from the Nantahala Outdoor Center to Wayah Road several times. It's beautiful, flows nicely (like the river), but the shoulders are non-existent for most of the route, and there is a lot of traffic...including rafting buses, semis, river gawkers and impatient car drivers of the ilk who blast big holes in the "Share the Road" signs with their bazookas! After the NOC, the road gets steeper, still narrow, and it's still busy. Past NC 28, you're on a four lane with a wide shoulder.
Bottom line, 19-74 is rideable, but hardly relaxing. Grit your teeth and ride fast! If you can tackle it early in the day, you'll have a safer and more enjoyable ride.
Climbing Above It All
It all depends when you plan to go. If you mean this next weekend, I'd say what ridgerider said. Forget 19 through the Nantahala area. My wife drove through there today and it was a madhouse. If you plan to ride later into Sept. during the week, then perhaps you could pull it off. Will you be loaded touring? After the NOC there are about 4 miles of steep hills on that narrow road. I try to avoid riding it most summer days.
Where are you trying to head to? Is your plan to access the BRP and head north or are you making a loop? There is an alternate way to get to the BRP from Franklin. You can climb Elijay Ck to Cullowhee then to Dillsboro along the river. From there you can ride a couple miles on 74 to head towards Cherokee on smaller roads. Or, you can go through Sylva and climb to Balsam Gap and get on the BRP there.
Thanks for the input. You pretty much confirmed by concerns with 19/74. I think we will take the Ellijay to Cullowhee to Sylva route and access the BRP @ Balsam Gap.