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.
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 start of the 68 mile Gravel Reaper route is located two hours north of Atlanta in the heart of Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The area is a mecca for outdoor activity and on summer weekends you may encounter dozens of others on MTB, gravel and road bikes. This route climbs and descends several ridges and passes Camp Merrill, home to the US Army's 5th Ranger Training Battalion.