This is the classic 65 mile paved road route from Asheville NC, along Blue Ridge Parkway to the summit of the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Fit cyclists and climbers shouldn't be intimidated. New cyclists and non-climbers can drive part way up and ride the rest. Either way, its more accessible than some imagine and a chance to ride in one of the most stunning environments anywhere in the eastern US.
Accessible from the Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet Rail Trails, the playful and rolling Duggar Mountain gravel routes are available in 41, 52 and 68 mile lengths. All three traverse ridges and climb the sometimes punchy hills in the pine glades of the Talladega National Forest near Piedmont, Alabama.
Congress authorized the Foothills Parkway as a scenic drive to provide magnificent views into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Located in East Tennessee, 31 miles of the roadway are open as of 2020. The Foothills Parkway route is 63 miles and 8100 feet of climbing if ridden end to end as an out-and-back. Climbers will love it but even if you don't have the legs for the whole route then at least do the newly constructed eastern section for its stunning views.
The paved Tower of Terror road route climbs and descends the hills northeast of Sosebee Cycling Park in White, Georgia. There is a tower but the only thing frightening about this 66 mile road route is a bit of chipseal. Expect lots of elevation change, some technical descending and virtually no traffic. The area has many interesting features including rushing creeks, a spring which pours out of the mountain and some truly bizarre roads.
The Morgan Valley Century route utilizes the scenic and car-free Silver Comet Trail for most of its length while gently rolling, low traffic Morgan Valley Road eliminates what is arguably the least appealing section of the trail. This could be your first century or your next PR. A variety of trailhead options make this route adaptable to rides of any length.
The Braswell Mountain Metric is a classic 100 km road route west from the Atlanta suburbs into rural Paulding County with one major climb over Braswell Mountain. The return east uses the most interesting section of the Silver Comet Trail including the 800 foot long tunnel under Brushy Mountain and the 750 foot long trestle over Pumpkinvine Creek.
Starting in the alpine city of Helen Georgia, metric, fondo and century options all feature iconic paved climbs and gravel ascents to remote mountain peaks. On some days you can literally ride up into the clouds. Over 135 ft/mile climbing make the Pinnacle routes some of the most difficult one day routes in the state of Georgia.