Like many riders, I consider fall my favorite time of the year to ride. Cool temperatures allow for comfortable riding while wearing riding gear, the air is brisk and refreshing and beautiful fall colors paint the landscape. This easy day ride continues where we left off on our last trip to the Jonas Ridge Outfitters Store and heads up the road a little to Grandfather Mountain. Travel a little past the store and pick up route 221 towards Boone/Blowing Rock. The entrance to the mountain is 2 miles north of the town of Linville, NC. Grandfather Mountain operates as a privately owned park and nature preserve and one of its main attractions is the Mile High Swinging Bridge. This 228-foot bridge spans an 80-foot chasm and is (yep, you guessed it) 5,280 feet or one mile above sea level. Views from the bridge are incredible and it is said that at the right time of a day you can see Charlotte, even though it is over 90 miles away as the crow flies. One word of advice, often it is extremely cold and windy on the bridge. There is a reason they sell ear muffs at the gift shop. Pack your lunch and stop at any of the picnic areas in the park or visit the on-site restaurant. Admission to the park ($15 per adult) which includes all access to the park including the Nature Museum and preserve where you might see a cougar, eagle or even a black bear!
If you travel to Grandfather Mountain by motorcycle you’ll receive a special pamphlet at the gate, which basically states that visiting by bike offers some unique challenges. Many of the roads have very sharp curves and are off-camber so many riders experience a tip-over, especially if the sometimes slow-moving traffic ascending the mountain stops while they are in the middle of a turn. If you are uncomfortable with low-speed maneuvering on a bike, you may want to brush up on your skills before you visit. This applies more so if you will be 2-up. You may want to consider going on an off time when traffic is light like during the week to better enjoy what Grandfather has to offer.
Get out there and enjoy fall riding!
Written by Doug Posner at Competition Accessories, (800) 543-3535 EXT. 2021