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Hello Indian Nation! I'm planning on riding the parkway from top to bottom with some friends in June. I would like some advice on how far gas stops, food and hotels are on the parkway. We will have some smaller cruiser bikes with limited fuel tanks so we might need to stop every 100 miles or so. We are taking 2 days to ride the 469 miles so I would also like to have some recommendations on hotels or lodging. If anyone has experience riding the parkway please chime in.
Thanks in advance!
 

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The BRP has a speed limit of 45 mph nearly all the way. It's a Federally run park so use your best judgment. That being said, you almost assuredly get some great mileage, so don't be surprised when you get more out of your tank than you are accustomed to. Fuel stops are very rarely simply pulling off the parkway and grabbing gas and a bottle of water then getting back on. in some areas you have to go a few miles, or 10 to get to a gas pump.
I've always had good luck staying at this place - Days Inn by Wyndham West Jefferson | Jefferson, NC Hotels
There's a couple of restaurants in walking distance, they serve a good breakfast, but be aware phone service is difficult.
Make sure to trek to the top of Mt. Mitchell. It's an easy side trip and well worth the jaunt to stand at the highest point east of the Mississippi.
I like stopping at Little Switzerland for at least a lunch.
Asheville is worth a look-see if your eyes need to adjust from the hills back to city life for a minute.
Grandfather Mountain is a good stop. The ride up is fun, and the swinging bridge will give you a great picture no matter what the weather.
Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley is a must stop. Count on a least a couple of hours going through the museum.

2 days will certainly get you there. Take 3 and do a some side trips into if you can. Enjoy yourself.
 

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The BRP is exceptional ride experience. One of the best rides east of Mississippi River. However, it has limited lodging/gas stops available directly on the parkway. There are numerous opportunities to leave the parkway for the nearest town to get gas/food lodging if needed. Bring a good road map and pick up a brochure at the visitor entrance. Also, plenty of scenic pull overs along the parkway if you choose pack a lunch or snack.
Last, my opinion, Skyline drive is overrated. Too many people, 35mph limit and an entrance fee.
 

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The BRP is a national treasure IMHO. I have ridden all of it, though never all at once. EVERY motorcycle rider owes it to themselves to ride it. As has been said, the 45 Mph speed limit can be a pain at times. Still an amazing ride regardless of speed limit.

As to your question about gas availability, there are NO gas stations located directly on the parkway that I am aware of. There are plenty of places to buy gas from exits that aren't very far off the parkway, so I wouldn't worry too much about not finding gas stations.

As far as lodging goes, just like gas stations, there are lots of places to stay off of the the parkway that aren't very far away. There are two hotels directly on the BRP, Peaks of Otter lodge at MM 86 in Va., and Pisgah Inn at MM 408 in NC. BOTH of them are very popular, so if you wanted to stay there I would make advance reservations. Since these are run by national park concessioners, would be a good idea to check with them and see what the status is as Coronavirus plague continues.

One other place to stay that I would recommend is Skyline Village Inn near Little Switzerland NC. It is just off the parkway at MM 330.

ALL of the places I have mentioned have restaurants on site which I really like because I can enjoy a few beers with dinner and not have to get back on the bike.
 

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Several things: two days for 469 miles, at a 45 mph speed limit, with switchbacks, tunnels, sharp turns, meal & gas stops, scenic overviews, traffic, etc...you will not make good time. Don’t be under the illusion you‘ll average 45...probably more like 30 or less. With that in mind, that’s at least a nine hour ride day. Also consider you need to be off the parkway BEFORE nightfall...I made that mistake once. The Parkway hotels will be in Cherokee, Waynesville, Asheville, and Boone. I’m sure there are some mom & pop motels scattered along the way, but theses cities will have the most, along with restaurants. I’d also take cold riding gear, the highest elevation is over 6,000 ft. Be aware of wildlife, water running across the road, and rocks. The BRP is a great ride, take your time and enjoy the tranquility. Also, you’ll have gas available, but don’t stretch your mileage. For instance, if I stopped for lunch and had 1/2 a tank, I’d go ahead and top off.
 

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Been there many times and done the end to end a few, also. My favorite is ----going from north to south---getting off on highway 80 about 30 miles before Asheville and taking 80 down to Marion, NC. The stretch of highway 80 from the BRP to Marion is worth the trip in itself and Marion has plenty of places to stay and restaurants.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the information folks. The closure will be a challenge. I'll have to keep an eye on the updates.
 

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BRP is my favorite unit in the National Park System. I've lived near it for over 25 years. While you might could ride it in two days, you'd be shortchanging yourself the pleasure of really soaking it in. I'd do it in no less than 4 if I was you. It's a "parkway" which by definition means to take it slow and enjoy the ride and scenery. I-81 is the option if you want to make good time.
 

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I second the notion that 2 days is rushing it. I think I would be fine with 3 days. But, I’m not one that does a lot if the side trips. I do some, but not a lot. Also, if you are going to do it in 2 days neither the Peaks of Otter or the Pisgah Inn are good options. In either case you would have one short leg and one rather long leg.

Definitely scout out fuel stops before you go. You often have to go quite a ways off the parkway to get gas.

If you are riding north to south be sure to leave adequate time for the southern end. To me (and I’ve heard others say this), the southern end is more picturesque.

Enjoy!
 

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I second the notion that 2 days is rushing it. I think I would be fine with 3 days. But, I’m not one that does a lot if the side trips. I do some, but not a lot. Also, if you are going to do it in 2 days neither the Peaks of Otter or the Pisgah Inn are good options. In either case you would have one short leg and one rather long leg.

Definitely scout out fuel stops before you go. You often have to go quite a ways off the parkway to get gas.

If you are riding north to south be sure to leave adequate time for the southern end. To me (and I’ve heard others say this), the southern end is more picturesque.

Enjoy!
I strongly agree that there is by far more to see once you get down to North Carolina, especially Linn Cove Viaduct and Linville Gorge/Falls area and beyond. And that's 300 miles into the ride from the northern terminus.
If going north-to-south, some lodging options to consider:

Peaks of Otter is awesome, but since it's only about 85 miles into the ride, that makes for a very short first day.

Roanoke area - plenty of motels/hotels right off the parkway. This is about 120 miles. This would also make for a short first day. But if you go past Roanoke, I don't know of good lodging options until you get to about Boone or Blowing Rock, NC, which is about 285 miles.

Boone is a college town, so you can find good food/beverage options. Blowing Rock is more artsy but nice, too. If you stay at either, then you'd be fresh for seeing a lot of cool things the next day.

Little Switzerland, NC, has a nice hotel complex. Caters somewhat to motorcycles, with one lodge with dedicated bike parking. Spartan but clean lodging. Good restaurants and awesome views, along with gas-fired fire pits. This is about 345 miles into the ride. The Diamondback (NC 226A) starts right there, too.

Asheville - could spend days there. Hell if I could afford to, I'd retire there. :)
Tons of lodging options, but very expensive.

Pisgah Inn is terrific, but you need to reserve several weeks ahead of time unless you go midweek. It's about 408 miles into the ride.

From that point, you're only about 60 miles from the end of the Parkway.

Have fun! Be safe. It is patrolled, so watch speed. Oh, most importantly, watch out for bicycles! Especially between Mount Mitchell and Asheville, particularly on the weekend. If you pass one bicycle, you're almost certainly going to pass another. And often on a blind curve.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I strongly agree that there is by far more to see once you get down to North Carolina, especially Linn Cove Viaduct and Linville Gorge/Falls area and beyond. And that's 300 miles into the ride from the northern terminus.
If going north-to-south, some lodging options to consider:

Peaks of Otter is awesome, but since it's only about 85 miles into the ride, that makes for a very short first day.

Roanoke area - plenty of motels/hotels right off the parkway. This is about 120 miles. This would also make for a short first day. But if you go past Roanoke, I don't know of good lodging options until you get to about Boone or Blowing Rock, NC, which is about 285 miles.

Boone is a college town, so you can find good food/beverage options. Blowing Rock is more artsy but nice, too. If you stay at either, then you'd be fresh for seeing a lot of cool things the next day.

Little Switzerland, NC, has a nice hotel complex. Caters somewhat to motorcycles, with one lodge with dedicated bike parking. Spartan but clean lodging. Good restaurants and awesome views, along with gas-fired fire pits. This is about 345 miles into the ride. The Diamondback (NC 226A) starts right there, too.

Asheville - could spend days there. Hell if I could afford to, I'd retire there. :)
Tons of lodging options, but very expensive.

Pisgah Inn is terrific, but you need to reserve several weeks ahead of time unless you go midweek. It's about 408 miles into the ride.

From that point, you're only about 60 miles from the end of the Parkway.

Have fun! Be safe. It is patrolled, so watch speed. Oh, most importantly, watch out for bicycles! Especially between Mount Mitchell and Asheville, particularly on the weekend. If you pass one bicycle, you're almost certainly going to pass another. And often on a blind curve.
Great information , thank you!
 

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I’ve been riding the BRP every year since 1981, sometimes twice a year. It never gets old. My familiarity with the parkway is now at a point that could it take me two days instead of the usual three. Two days? I strongly advise against it. Trust me, you will not enjoy the experience. It takes planning and a minimum of two days, which entertains fatigue and safety concerns. Three days is best, especially if you make stops for sightseeing along the way.

Here is a PDF file of a write up I did for a magazine afew years ago. . . .
 

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No fuel directly on the BRP. The most convenient gas stations as I remember are,
Mile 0 Waynesboro VA plenty of everything
Mile 60 ish Big Island VA- one gas station about a mile off the BRP, they have great fried chicken too.
Mile 120 ish Roanoke VA lots of everything.
Mile 200 ish Fancy Gap two or three gas stations varying distances of less than 3 miles.
Mile 290 ish Boone/Blowing Rock NC #321 plenty again within short distance.
Mile 375 ish # 25 Asheville NC plenty again.
Mile 388 Asheville NC fuel about 1.5 miles off BRP ( good idea to fuel up here because it’s cumbersome to get fuel further south.
Mile 430 ish #19 into Maggie Valley fuel and food.
After this I usually run to the end and turn north on 441 over through the SMNP and head for Townsend TN and definitely fuel up because that’s about 100 miles +/-.

If you’re camping the BRP has several but they are basic and possibly closed from time to time. Plenty of copperheads and rattlers.

Must do’s,
Blowing Rock old Main Street
Little Switzerland
Mount Mitchell spur road.
Asheville old downtown area.
Maggie Valley Wheels Through Time Museum

Hotels abound in the cities but phone ahead. Unusual stays can be had at Peaks of Otter Lodge mile 86
My. Pisgah Inn mile 408
Motorcycle related accommodations
Willeville Campground mile 180 ish ( Meadows of Dan cut off )
Little Switzerland Lodge mile 330 ish
Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground mile 410 ish take #276 about 6 miles west.
 

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The parkway is a great ride. I live about 10 miles from the Peaks of Otter. We used to stay at the Stations Inn Laurel Springs, NC. It's around MM 247. Very motorcycle centric lodging. We haven't been there in quite a while, but it might still be a good spot to stop.
 

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Around June 6th
Excellent time of year for the BRP. Mountain Laurel and other wild flowers will be in full bloom. Take a camera and plan on lots of stops! Also know that temperature swings can be about 30* during daylight, so pack accessible layers.
 
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