It’s no secret that the Smoky Mountains are home to some of the best motorcycle rides in the country! While you might be familiar with some of the area’s famous roads like the Foothills Parkway, Cades Cove Loop Road and Tail of the Dragon, you’ll also want to check out the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail! This 5.5 mile one-way loop road winds through the forest and offers plenty of cool things to see, making it a perfect side trip in the Smokies! Here are some of the top reasons why you’ll want to explore the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail:

1. Easy Access from the Parkway

You won’t have to go far to reach the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail as it’s easily accessible from the Parkway! Just head south into Gatlinburg and turn left off the main Parkway at traffic light #8 onto Historic Nature Trail Road. Follow this road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance into the national park and once you travel just beyond the Rainbow Falls Trailhead, you have the option to turn right onto Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Note that the road is closed during the winter, so always check the seasonal road schedule in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the latest updates! It opens in early April each year.

2. Gorgeous Scenery

place of a thousand dripsAnother one of the reasons why you’ll want to explore the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is because of the gorgeous scenery! The trail (which is actually a paved road) gets its name from the Roaring Fork stream that flows alongside it, which itself is named for the loud noise it produces due to its relatively fast flowing speed. As you ride along the trail, you’ll find numerous scenic overlooks where you can enjoy stunning views and take some awesome photos! Don’t miss the Place of a Thousand Drips, a unique waterfall that cascades around piles of rocks!

3. Fascinating Historical Structures

Along with lots of natural beauty, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail also offers several fascinating historical structures! Just before entering the trail, stop at the Noah “Bud” Ogle nature trail to see an authentic mountain farmhouse that was built around the 1880s. Once entering the trail, you’ll find several other historic homesteads and buildings that were part of the Roaring Fork Community. These include the Alex Cole Cabin at Jim Bales Place, the Ephraim Bales Cabin, and the Alfred Reagan Place, which features a long wooden aqueduct that leads to a small tub mill alongside the creek!

4. Amazing Waterfall Hikes

grotto fallsWhen you’re ready to stretch your legs for a bit, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail offers several exciting waterfall hikes! The Rainbow Falls Trail is just past the Ogle Place on Cherokee Orchard Road and is one of the most popular destinations in the Smokies due to its magnificent 80 foot tall waterfall! Shortly after turning onto the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, you’ll find the Baskins Creek Falls trailhead that leads to a 40 foot tall waterfall. Finally, the Trillium Gap Trail that leads to Grotto Falls is also found along this road! Grotto Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls in the national park as it’s the only place where you can actually stand behind the falls!

After exploring the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, come on over to enjoy the menu at our Pigeon Forge bar and have a drink with your fellow bikers! We look forward to seeing you soon!

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