Motorcycle Rides in East Tennessee

East Tennessee is a great place for motorcycle riding, with Knoxville and Bootlegger Harley-Davidson® as a base. Read our guide to great motorcycle rides around the region here. Be sure to check our calendar of motorcycle events, too, for information on group rides and rallies. And connect with the East Tennessee H.O.G. Chapter to find fellow riders for your trips around the breathtaking mountains and valleys of Tennessee.

Before or after your ride, stop by Bootlegger Harley-Davidson to check out our in-stock new Harley-Davidson motorcycles for sale and used Harley-Davidson motorcycles, or shop for genuine Harley® parts and accessories.

Map of motorcycle rides around Knoxville, East Tennessee

Five Mile Ride

A quiet place to be. From the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg follow the nature trail signs and you will return on the other side of town.

  • Enjoy beautiful Gatlinburg
  • Gentle ride through the mountains
  • Easy to follow road signs
  • Plenty of time to stop and check out the views along the way

Deals Gap

318 curves in 11 miles - true and if you want to ride this area remember that you can easily get in a bad situation if you do not ride carefully and pay attention - Hwy 321 West to the Foothills Pkwy, Foothills Pkwy to end at Hwy 129. Turn east (left) on 129 and in approx. 5 miles be ready, many scenic places and pull offs - The N.C. state line is the end and there is a service station/deli to rest. At this point there is a choice of two ways to go. If you go left it will take you towards Fontana Dam. If you go right it will take you towards Robbinsville and the Cherohala Skyway.

  • 318 curves in 11 miles
  • Ride carefully and pay close attention
  • Ride ends just across N.C state line
  • Other options to get back home

The Day Trip

This is a nice all day round trip from Knoxville. Highway 25 to Newport and continue following the river to Hot Springs N.C. Turn right onto NC 209 and follow to I-40. This section is a scenic river valley with places to pull off and enjoy the view. I-40 pick up Highway 276 into the Maggie Valley area. While in Maggie Valley stop and look over the antiques at the Wheels of Time Museum. Many interesting motorcycles, cars and other old-time items. Return to 276 and continue over the mountain to Brevard N.C. Along the way there are some interesting scenic spots to stop and see. In Brevard turn west on Hwy 64 to Franklin N.C. Pick up Hwy 23N to the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the Parkway turn south and go to the end of the Parkway north of Cherokee N.C. Turn right (north) onto 441 to Gatlinburg TN. Side trip to Clingman's Dome at the Newfound Gap (top of mountain) IF the weather is clear. Continue to the Sugarlands visitor center (worth taking a look here) just prior to Gatlinburg. Turn left - west - and follow the river road through the park. Warning this section is the most popular section of the park and can be heavily traveled and congested. At the western end take the left fork to Cades Cove. This loop road in season can be a long slow trip as the road is a narrow one way road with lots of traffic and wildlife. Returning after the loop, follow Hwy 321 to Maryville and then Hwy 129 to Knoxville. Enjoy the full day of riding.

  • All day round trip from Knoxville
  • Stops in Maggie Valley at antiques and wheels through time
  • Crosses through Cherokee and back to Gatlinburg
  • You may also enjoy the sites of Gatlinburg

The Dam Ride

7 TVA lakes within a 50 mile radius and all have a beautiful vista to overlook the lake. Pull out your map and choose which dam and how to get there - all worth the ride.

  • The ride starts by heading to beautiful Norris Dam
  • Then heads southeast on 421 and 11e to Cherokee Dam
  • Then you are headed south to the last stop, Douglas Dam
  • Great day trip with beautiful scenery

The Cherohala

Hwy 321 West to the Foothills Pkwy, Foothills Pkwy to end, turn right (west) on Hwy 129 to Hwy 72, Hwy 72 to Hwy 411, turn left (south) on 411 to Hwy 360.

Turn left onto 360 and follow to the Town of Tellico Plains and Hwy 165. Warning drain body and refill bike in Tellico Plains as Hwy 165 is the Skyway and there are no facilities for the next 45 miles until you get to Robbinsville N.C.

In Robbinsville turn north on Hwy 129 and follow it to the Foothills Pkwy and return.

  • 18 miles of riding in North Carolina
  • 23 Miles of riding in the deep woods of TN
  • Crosses the Cherokee & Nantahala National Forests
  • Connects Robbinsville NC to Tellico Plains TN

Devil's Triangle Motorcycle Ride

This ride is an experience in uphill/downhill curves. The ride will take you over two mountains with tight uphill/downhill comeback curves. The valley floor road follows mountain streams with numerous places to pull off and enjoy the scenery. Traffic with rare exceptions is light. However, because you are in the mountains and this is coal country, watch for coal trucks.

Starting at Highway 25W (Clinton Highway) north to Lake City, turn left onto Highway 116, a narrow winding road that is the start of the “Devil’s Triangle." It follows Coal Creek and a railroad that passes through many small communities that were once thriving coal towns. You are still in the valley when you will come to the intersection of Highway 331 (on your left). This road is a shortcut around the two mountain passes you are about to cross. It will take you to the town of Oliver Springs through another beautiful valley on a smooth, winding road. Passing Highway 331 you will start up one of the two mountains with sharp comeback uphill curves. Take your time and be extremely careful. If you are not used to these types of roads they can bite if you are not careful.

After going over the first of the two mountains you will enter a narrow valley with a stream and railroad as your companion. At the bottom of the second mountain overpass and its sharp comeback downhill curves is Brushy Mountain Prison. This was the home for James Earl Ray for many years and, because of its remote location, prisoners who escaped did not stay that way for long. After the prison the road soon “T” intersects with Highway 62. There is a gas station and small grocery at the intersection. Turn left onto Highway 62 and follow until you come to the intersection with Highway 61. This is at the edge of Oliver Springs, where the movie "October Sky" was filmed. If you desire, at the traffic light go into town on the old road and you can see the buildings used in the movie. This is also where Highway 331 comes out if you took the bypass mentioned earlier. Follow Highway 61 and 62 toward Oak Ridge.

When you get near Oak Ridge, Highway 61 breaks off and goes around and continues back to Highway 25W. However, we suggest you continue on Highway 62 (straight) into Oak Ridge. Oak Ridge is called the secret city as it was built in the early 1940s and was not on any map because it was built for the Manhattan Project (the home of the atomic bomb). The Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge traces the development of the atomic bomb and is worth the time and effort to visit. From Oak Ridge your return to Knoxville will continue. Shortly after crossing Melton Hill Lake your choice of Highway 62 or 162 “Pellissippi Parkway” will take you back to Knoxville.

  • Mountain Riding
  • Uphill/Downhill Curves
  • Mountain Streams
  • Amazing Scenery
  • Brushy Mountain Prison - Prison of James Earl Ray
  • Passes by October Sky Filming location

Big Ride

This is one of those back roads we enjoy that has a variety of terrain and very little traffic. It is peaceful and cool for one of those hot summer night rides that takes the edge of a stressful day. Highway 25W north to Clinton and continue to Lake City - In Lake City take highway 441 S (right) and you will soon come to Norris Dam, stop at the overlook just before the dam and amaze yourself with the view. This was the first dam built by TVA; across the dam is a visitor’s center and picnic area with restrooms. Continue on 441S and turn left onto highway 61. Take your time to enjoy, as for the next 20 plus miles there are limited facilities. You will pass Big Ridge State Park, which is a family outing place in the summer time. Swimming area, picnic tables, ball fields etc make this a popular place for family fun. The road, after the park goes over two small mountains and along small streams. This road has many decreasing radius curves and some uphill switchbacks. At the intersection of highway 61 and highway 33, turn left with highway 61 into the small town of Maynardville, (many places to eat and gas up if needed), continue on highway 61 and follow through the small town of Luttrell. This town is the home of two of East Tennessee’s famous sons, Chet Atkins and Kenny Chesney. Continue on highway 61 until you get to the intersection of highway 11W, (small town of Blaine) turn right to return to Knoxville.

  • Back road trip
  • Norris Dam
  • Variety of Terrain
  • Amazing views at Norris Dam
  • Big Ridge State Park
  • Passes by Hometown of Kenny Chesney
  • Passes by Hometown of Chet Atkins

East Lakes

Back roads crossing two of East Tennessee’s lakes with the base of the Smoky Mountains thrown in. This ride has the most variety of all of the area rides.

Interstate 40E to Rutledge Pike (Exit 392 – Hwy 11W) Hwy 11W starts off as a 4-lane but will turn into a 2 lane near the community of Blaine.

Continue on 11W to Rutledge –turn right on Hwy 92. Follow 92 over a small mountain; again watch the curves, and shortly, Cherokee Dam and Lake with visitors center will be on your left.

Continue on Hwy 92 through Jefferson City and into Dandridge. This is an old town with many memories, stop in the center under the trees and walk around. There are a couple of good places to eat here, one is the B-B-Q restaurant on the south east corner just before the bridge, the other is just after you cross over the Douglas Lake bridge on Hwy 92 (The Point).

Continue south on Hwy 92 and you will view the backwater of Douglas Lake and the road prior to the filling of the lake. Shortly you will arrive at the small community of Chestnut Hill, home of the Bush cannery, smells good when canning.

“T” intersection here with Hwy 441, turn right towards Sevierville and continue on Hwy 441. At the intersection of Hwy 336, traffic light, turn left (south) onto Hwy 336 and in about a mile and you will see a sign for the Harrison covered bridge, short hop over if desired.

Continue on 336 and it will turn towards the mountains (right). This portion of 336 has many blind and decreasing radius curves so use extra caution while riding and enjoying. On your right in the distance Mt. La Conte may be visible (clouds permitting), the highest mountain in the Smokey’s.

Hwy 336 “T” intersects with Hwy 321. Turn right on Hwy 321 towards Cosby and Gatlinburg, winding up and down over several small ridges. Watch for Hwy 416 on your right as it is not marked very well.

Turn right on Hwy 416 and slow down, this road winds along the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River for many miles. You are in a deep valley that has minimum traffic and no cell phone service. Beautiful, peaceful, enjoyable, relaxing are only some of the adjectives to describe this road. 416 turns right at a “T” intersection, continue on 416 to the intersection with Hwy 441, traffic light.

Turn left on Hwy 441 (Dolly Parton Parkway) into Sevierville. In Sevierville you have a decision to make – continue on 441 towards Knoxville or take Hwy 66 N to the Interstate. If traffic is heavy in town continue on 441 as this is the road less traveled. Hwy 66 is the main road to the mountains and can be backed up with the many traffic lights along the way to the Interstate.

  • Mountain Riding
  • Cherokee Dam & Lake
  • Douglas Lake / Dandridge
  • Home of Bush Cannery
  • Decreasing Radius Curves
  • Possible view of Mt. LeConte

Go West

This ride west is just an enjoyable ride through some different variety of riding terrain.

Highway 70 West (Kingston Pike) past the “Y” intersection we call Dixie Lee Junction (highway 11 goes left but take highway 70 straight ahead), after a few miles you will come to a traffic light at the intersection with highway 321.

Turn right onto highway 321 (Warning the highway number will change to highway 95 after you go under the interstate), continue straight ahead on highway 95. At the intersection of highway 58 take the left fork (highway 58) for about a ¼ mile to a traffic light, turn right on highway 327 and you will pass the remains of the old “K-25” plant, the birthplace of the Atomic Bomb.

The plant is under decontamination and removal, the size of the original plant (over 1 mile under roof) and the years of contamination will take years and mega dollars to complete. At the “T” intersection of highway 327 and highway 61 turn right towards Oliver Springs, at the intersection of highway 62 turn left on highway 62 towards Wartburg. Along the way you will pass numerous abandoned strip mines and small country towns. Prior to the town of Wartburg is Frozen Head State Park, not a lot but is interesting and quiet.

In Wartburg 62 intersects highway 27, turn right and follow highway 27 & 62 north. North of Wartburg, highway 62 turns left (watch as this is not well marked) and follow highway 62. At the intersection of highway 298 is a small station and country grocery store. Good place to rest the buns and get refreshment. Turn left on 298 and follow to Crossville through the Obed River valley. The river is pure and pristine with no commercial and little residential development. Crossville is a town of many interesting features, one of which is the local theater. This theater puts on numerous plays each year by a local theater group, worth the stop if you have the time.

In Crossville pick up highway 127S (left) and at the edge of town where highway 127 bears right continue straight ahead on highway 68. Not much for a while but you will come to the edge of the plateau and the view of the valley below is a must to stop and take in. highway 68 intersects with highway 27 in Spring City;

Turn right on highway 68 / 127 south until highway 68 turns left. Follow 68 and it will cross Watts Bar Lake and past the Nuclear Power Plant of the same name. Just after crossing the lake turn left onto highway 294 (north) towards Kinston, winding road along the shores of Watts Bar Lake. Highway 294 will “T” intersect with highway 27, turn left onto 27 to Kingston, capital of Tennessee for a day. This is a nice clean small town with many conveniences.

From here you have the choice as to your return home. highway 70 is the old road to Knoxville, slightly curving low traffic, motorcycle road, or the Interstate.

  • Variety of Riding Terrain
  • Passes by K-25 - Birthplace of the Atom Bomb
  • Passes Abandoned Mines
  • Obed River Valley
  • Watts Bar Lake
  • Nuclear Power Plant Kingston
  • Capital of Tennessee