Max Patch is a high alpine bald in a remote area on the NC/TN border. Surrounded by 6000 foot peaks and bisected by the Appalachian Trail, you will want to linger when you get there. There are several popular routes to the top. The 44 mile version published here approaches the bald from the southwest via the long Harmon Den gravel climb. On the way you will visit Buzzard's Roost with its sheer drop and impressive view of the interstate far below. Several roads on the Max Patch route rank among the highest quality gravel ever ridden by SoutheastCyclingRoutes.com.
The adventurous and steep Cherohala Bald Buster route is set in the rugged Unicoi Mountains on the NC/TN border. This 36 mile mixed surface route visits mountaintop balds and descends 3000 feet on the paved Cherohala Skyway. The last mile will likely be hike-a-bike. Unique ecosystems, panoramic vistas and the opportunity to ride in a true alpine environment are some of the rewards for those willing to make the effort.
The 33 mile Little Crusher gravel route is the lite version of the full Conasauga Crusher. Set 35 miles east of Chattanooga TN in the Cohutta Mountains, the route is as rugged and remote as it is beautiful but with 10 fewer miles and 1300 feet less climbing than the full Crusher version.
Paved start and finish sectors bookend one continuous stretch of gravel fun near Reliance, Tennessee. The Jenkins Grave Gap routes are classic Southern Appalachian gravel - steep, rough, and incredibly beautiful. 36 and 46 mile options cross a 450 foot long cable suspended bridge over the Hiwassee River and includes many ridge traversals and shelf roads, some of which are unmaintained.
The 53 mile mixed-surface Cades Cove route enters Great Smoky Mountains National Park via a seldom used gravel road over Rich Mountain. Cades Cove is one of the most visited locations in the entire national park system and simply too beautiful to ride fast. The 11 mile paved loop road and gravel roads within the cove are sometimes closed to motor vehicles to allow car free access to cyclists.
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 46 mile Cloudland route consists of three long horizontal paved sectors interrupted by two short vertical gravel sectors. The first gravel sector descends the west side of Lookout Mountain to the hamlet of Rising Fawn, GA and another ascends back to the crest. Stunning views, the gorge and waterfalls at Cloudland Canyon State Park and the ride along the escarpment make this an unforgettable route.
The 41 mile mixed-surface Tellico Gorge/Bald River route circles the Bald River Wilderness east of Tellico Plains, Tennessee. The route starts and finishes on the Cherohala Skyway. It includes River Rd through the Tellico River Gorge and 18 miles of gravel through pristine federally protected forest.
The 197 mile Appalachia Bikepacking route provides a four to five day immersion into the rugged landscape and unique culture at the intersection of north Georgia, southeast Tennessee and extreme western North Carolina.
The 44 mile mixed-surface Hiwassee Footbridge route is set in a fascinating and gorgeous area along the state designated class III scenic Hiawassee River in southeast Tennessee. The gravel climbs are ballistic and the scenery is spectacular. Two long paved descents worthy of an aero-tuck will delight your inner roadie.
The Cohutta Death March is a 76 mile circumnavigation of the federally protected Cohutta Wilderness in North Georgia and adjoining Big Frog Wilderness in Tennessee. Using gravel forest service roads for all but one mile, this route lives up to its name.