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Old 04-12-2005, 07:30 PM   #1
beefjerky OP
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GA TN Carolina's Dual Sporters

I'm headed out on the DRZ this weekend. it's a toss up between Suches, or heading up around the skyway for some dirt tourin'. Anybody thinking the same?

I plan on riding out Friday night, toolin around all day Saturday, then boogey home on Sunday.

Somebody told me there's a dirt road that shadows the skyway for about 40 miles. Anybody know any specifics on it?
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:53 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by beefjerky
I'm headed out on the DRZ this weekend. it's a toss up between Suches, or heading up around the skyway for some dirt tourin'. Anybody thinking the same?

I plan on riding out Friday night, toolin around all day Saturday, then boogey home on Sunday.

Somebody told me there's a dirt road that shadows the skyway for about 40 miles. Anybody know any specifics on it?
Wish I could tag along, but moving this weekend. This page should get you started.
Western North Carolina & East Tennessee
Stewart Cabin / Wagon Train Road
Enter this Forest Service gravel road (FR81) at Santeetlah Gap near the beginning of the Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina. This 12 mile trek meanders along the Big Santeetlah Creek for most of the way and ends at Stratton Meadows on the Cherohala Skyway near the Tennessee border. Along the way there are some great trout fishing spots for you to test your skills. There are some remote camp sites and picnic areas. Several years ago, we met our good friend Pete who had just arrived from Oregon on his KLR and was camping on "Big Creek". He bought property in Graham County and now resides here full time - and we bought his KLR.

There are several side roads along Stewart Cabin Road which dead end and provide lots of exploring. The road to Wolf Laurel is a beautiful climb. From the parking area at the end you can take a short hike (several miles) to Stratton Bald. This is one of the more popular camping sites for hikers because of the spectacular views.

There is even the rustic Swan Cabin (and we mean rustic) on Wolf Laurel that can be rented from the Forest Service for a small fee. Or just bring a tent and spend a few days in this wilderness area.

This road is not for unlicensed off-road vehicles (see below for ORV area). This road is closed early January thru late March from Sand Creek to the Cherohala.

North River Road / Bald River Falls Continuing on the gravel road (FR81) passing under the Cherohala Skyway at 4300 foot elevation, you enter Tennesse on North River Road (FR217). The road takes some sharp cutbacks as if descends rather steeply towards the Tellico River. At mile one there is a road off to the left that leads up to Whigg Meadow. This road becomes very rough and is not recommended. After several miles on North River Road you begin to encounter camp sites along the North River which begins as a small branch and grows as you descend. FR217 intersects the paved road FR210 at the Tellico River. This road is known as River Road. The total distance for the Cherohala to River Road is 12 miles.

Take a left on FR210 (River Road) which follows the Tellico River. There is a small hunting/fishing camp complete with rustic motel at Spivey Cove. Believe us when we say rustic - this is way out in the middle of nowhere and not for the squeamish. If you continue on this road for another mile or two, you will arrive at the State Line camping area and the "Upper Tellico Off-Road Vehichole Area". The ORV area starts at the state line and has elevations ranging from 2500' to 4600'. The roads are numbered and signed at intersections, and they are rated easy, moderate, or difficult for vehicles. This is a great place to bring your ATV, jeep, or dirt bike. Get a copy of the Nantahala National Forest's "Upper Tellico Off-Road Vehicle Area" map at the Massey Branch Ranger station, just outside of Robbinsville on 143.

Make a U-turn and head back down River Road following the Tellico River. You will soon enter the Bald River Gorge Wilderness area. There is camping here and one of the highest, easily accessible waterfalls you can imagine. You can get a great view of the falls without even getting off of your cycle.

A few more miles down River Road and you will intersect the Cherohala Skyway (165) again just a few miles east of Tellico Plains.

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Old 04-13-2005, 08:26 AM   #3
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maps of the Skyway area

The TailoftheDragon website sells an excellent map ($3) that shows dirt roads in the area. I think you can find Tailofthedragon stuff at the gas station/store near the end of the TN side of the Skyway.
Andy Simons
Trenton, SC
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:10 PM   #4
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:49 PM   #5
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Fs 81

FS Road 81,the road off of FS-217 in TN. is said to be a "Rough Rd." and not reccomended. This is not true. This is a Gravel Road you can drive a Caddy on. Not unless they have made it that way on purpose. You can follow this road to the very end, park in the open gravel area, and walk to the end of Whigg Meadow and see one of the best views in 50 miles!
This road used to be a rough one 15 -20 years ago, but not any more.
Take a side trip on this road, it will be well worth the view!
Also, I was up there last weekend. BE CAREFUL on FS 217 (N. River Rd) because they are doing some "Logging" (Forest Service, Rat Bastards!!!!) about 2/3 rds of the way UP that road and they have spread gravel of a larger than normal size in many spots. At the JCT of 217 & 81 they even took part of the corner out (for the logging trucks) and put down some rather deep gravel, SO BE CAREFUL on FS 217 (N. River Road).
Enjoy this area, It's real nice. Just Don't Litter!!

"I aint no ruff guy, aint no tuff guy. Don't get out much, and don't dress up fly".......
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Old 04-13-2005, 06:16 PM   #6
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Hey Jerky !!!

If you decide to go towards the Cherohala area PM me before you leave this weekend. I will be in the Cherokee mountains and might be able to meet up w/ you on Saturday.

BTW I'm the guy you rode with on the Dakar down at Suches.
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