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Concours owners like to ride, and the primary objective of COG rallies is to bring members and friends together to ride and explore new areas. This page provides several ride suggestions and samples while visiting the Johnson City area. The sample rides listed below come from the Johnson City Tourism, COG, and MSTA. Thanks to COG Calvin Underwood, Ken Ford, and the late John Carver for their contributions to the rides. Many of these sample rides are included in a ZIP file available for download from the link at the bottom of this page.
The team is presently working out details to offer a MSF Advanced RiderCourse (ARC) through a local rider education provider. Click here to view the details and sign up info.
All COG rides are considered sample ride routes and unguided. Follow them as is or adjust to meet your desires. Make new friends and head out for a ride. Hospitality area should have a ride hookup meeting place or place to post notes if you are looking to meet other rider.
POPULAR Area Riding Attractions
The Snake – As shown in the late John Carver’s video, this area is well know for a stretch of Route 421 called “The Snake” where riders experience 489 curves, 3 mountains, and a valley over 33 miles. Calvin Underwood says, “John Carver and I did this one. Nice scenery. Good photo ops at Lakes. The 33 miles of Hwy 421 in the middle is worth it. It was low traffic once you break out of the JC area.”
Southern Dozen – Visit the Southern Dozen web site which lists twelve rides based out of Johnson City and created by the tourism office travel all around the region. As their web site states, “Each one is an adventure in itself that will take you through winding curves, breathtaking natural scenery, historic landmarks, local points of interest, and fun attractions. Whether you feel like exploring caves, seeing wolves, touring historic sites, leaning into heart-pounding curves or just taking in the views, you’ll find a ride that’s exactly what you’re looking for.” These appear to be mostly shorter cruising loops.
COG PROVIDED SAMPLE RIDES
- Valle Crucis, Mast General Store, N Carolina Hwy 194, Valle Crucis, NC 28691. This is a pretty 100 mile/3 hr. round trip ride to the original Mast General Store. It’s a nice destination ride for shopping. Good restaurants in Banner Elk. Good roads. Be cautious of the hairpins on hwy 194. (JC to Valle Crucis via 321, 194, round trip. Pdf)
- Linville Caverns
- Linville Falls, Water Falls of the Blue Ridge Parkway, (JC to Linville Falls.pdf)
- Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It’s about 95 miles/2.5 hrs one way (JC to Mt Mitchell via 19W, 80, BRP.pdf) An alternate route, with fewer twisties, is to take I-26 E to Exit 9, US 19 to Micaville, then NC 80 S to the Blue Ridge Parkway South and to Mt. Mitchell. You can return by going North on the Blue Ridge Parkway to NC 226 over to Spruce Pine and catch US 19E N (that touches the eastern edge of Elizabethton) back to US 19W S that takes you back to the hotel.
- Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful road to ride, and is not far from JC (about 95 miles). Note: Until late spring, the BRP is closed just south of Mt. Mitchell… so be sure to check it out if you plan to ride from Mt. Mitchell to Asheville and points south)
- Biltmore House and Estate, via I-26, A must see. Plan to spend the entire day if you go. It’s only 70 miles, just over 1 hour via interstate. Directions from JC: Take I-26 east to Asheville. In Asheville, take I-240 east to I-40 west. Follow Interstate 40 west to exit 50B (U.S. Highway 25 North). After exiting, stay in the left lane and follow signs to the Biltmore entrance.
- Tail of the Dragon, The world famous “Tail of the Dragon” and Deals Gap, NC is about 3 hours to the south of JC, for those who really want to ‘ride the dragon.
- Carvers Gap and Roan Mountain
There are several nice roads to get there. A more challenging ride is Hwy 19W to Burnsville/Micaville, NC, then back north on Hwy 80 to Bakersville, NC and over Roan Mountain to JC. (JC-Burnsville-Carvers Gap-Roan Mtn-JC.pdf) Its about 150 miles and 5 hours. If you just want to go directly to Carvers Gap/Roan Mountain, its only about 40 miles/1 hour (one way) from JC via TN 143. (See JC to Carvers Gap via Roan Mtn 143.pdf) An alternate route with fewer twisties is I-26 E to Exit 9 ,US 19 to Burnsville and on to Spruce Pine; then NC 226 to Bakersville.Simplified Directions for Carver’s Gap Loop ( Twisties Run into NC and back over Roan Mountain/Carvers Gap); approximately 150 miles, approximately 5 hours
- US 19W run right by the hotel.
- Take US 19W S (I-26 E) to Exit 9 in N.C., US 19 (becomes US 19E N) ( to Burnsville, NC).
- US 19E N to NC 80 (just past Micaville; it a small sign, so pay close attention).
- NC 80 to 226 (Bakersville) (Caution: lots of switchbacks; lots of road patches)
- NC-261 from Bakersville to Carvers Gap (State line). Roan Mtn National Park to the left. If we are lucky the Rhododendron will be in bloom.
- TN-143 (road number changes at state line) to Roan Mountain, TN
- 19E N past Elizabethton’s western edge towards Bluff City intersect with 19W S /11E
- 19W S takes you back to the hotel
- Dual Sport Group Ride
Approximately 140 miles of fun! It consists of about 60% gravel and dirt jeep roads, mostly in the Cherokee National Forest, and 40% twisty asphalt. It passes through some of the prettiest forest in eastern Tennessee and around TVA project lakes. A Garmin gps route will be provided at sign-up. Maps won’t be particularly helpful unless you have trail maps of the Cherokee N.F. It will be an easy paced group ride with everyone having the opportunity to “ride your own pace”. We will regroup at each major intersection. The route is suitable for all size dual sport bikes. At least 60/40 d/s tires would be helpful but not necessary for the most part. There is one short (6 mi.) technical section for those adventurers, but there is also an easy by-pass for those less inclined.Please sign up Sun – Tue. at registration. We will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the hotel lobby with key time at 9:00. Be gassed, dressed and ready to go. There is a lunch stop (on your own) on the route and plenty of places to rest if necessary. There are also opportunities to “bail out” if necessary. We expect to return to the hotel around 3:00 p.m.
MSTA PROVIDE SAMPLE RIDES
Shared courtesy of MSTA, included are six ride routes originating from the Holiday Inn of Johnson City, TN. In the download, there is a Garmin file that can be opened using Garmin Mapsource or Basecamp. For those without Garmin, PDF maps and route sheet files are also included in the ZIP file. The six rides are: Coal Fields, Cumberland Gap, Shady Valley, Lunch Ride, South Twisty and Sparta Loop.
DOWNLOAD Rally Ride Samples
The fine print… (review before downloading)
The sample ride routes are being shared for download with the understanding that the Concours Owners Group (COG), MSTA, and individual contributors cannot assume responsibility for your personal safety when traveling these sample routes.
If you choose to use these sample routes you do so voluntarily, based on your own assessment of your abilities, the route conditions and facilities, and therefore assume all risks. You release and hold harmless COG, MSTA, and individual contributors, its officers, agents and members from any and all injury and/or loss to your person or property that may result from using these routes or participation in this event. You understand that the routes available for for your use as samples of possible routes in the event area.
The sample routes are provided without any guarantee of accuracy, road quality, or safety. As with any route provided, we recommend following the route on a map first. This way you will have a better idea of where you are going and have more fun doing it.
By downloading these files you acknowledge that you have read and agree to this statement.