I just road this a few days ago, June 18th 2014 and the road has been re-surfaced and is in great shape.
They are still finishing putting up new some guard rails as well.
There is new shoulder gravel put down so there is quite a bit of gravel on the road on the lower portion coming up from 226 which slows the fun a bit, but is still a great road.
- Karl Katuin (6/22/14)
Contrary to comments indicating NCDOT would fix this travesty for all two wheelers (pedal and petro), it is still the same mess as of 3/21/14.
I just did a wonderful ride up in the NC mountains and almost all roads were really clean for this early in the year, except for 226a.
While they are not as treacherous as when first put down, it is still pretty bad and completely ruins the experience of riding this once wonderful section of pavement.
- Anonymous (3/23/14)
Start at Little Switzerland Inn and take 226a down the hill and back up to Little Switzerland.
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs right into this road.
- Rider from Louisville, KY (12/10/13)
Hate to say the tar snakes were an issue, but they were.
More so on the trip heading south and down the hill.
The Diamondback is extremely tight to begin with and adding the difficulty of navigating the Tar Snakes (i.e. downhill off-camber turns), it becomes a road that is hard to find a good rhythm on and is probably better suited for Sportscars than Sportbikes.
At any rate, I came, I saw, I dragged knees.
It is still fun, still worth it if you're in the area.
But if you're on a Sportbike, hit it once (up and back) and spend the rest of your time over on the Whip.
It's in much better condition and you'll establish better pace & rhythm despite the greater elevation changes, except maybe watch Whup-ass corner and Single Cat (Bus Stop Turn-Around).
Oh and watch out for the bicyclist, who also come here for the shear honor of saying they did Mount Mitchell as well.
I salute these guys, their calves must be bricks!
- Nick Gee (10/10/13)
Just got off the phone with Gary Jensen, owner of the Switzerland Inn Hotel at the top of the mountain at 226a.
He says he just got info from state DOT people that they are going to do a process called chip sealing.
They said they did not have the several million dollars budgeted to repave the road entirely.
The chip seal process would take about 30 days to be really ready for the two wheel crowd.
It will take a couple of real hard rains and several vacuuming procedures to get it ready.
This should remedy the tar snake problems.
Everybody should stop in the Switzerland Inn for a lunch break and thank Gary.
He has been on the phone a lot with his state representative trying to get action.
Looks like he has been successful in his efforts.
- Chip Dettlinger (6/25/13)
This used tobe one of my favorite roads with loads of great turns and little traffic even on the weekends.
There have a lot of crack repairs down on the road done since early fall of 2012.
Now, with all the tar snakes, it is no fun at all unless you like riding extremely slow or you're on a trike.
Those riders not familiar with tar snakes are at risk of crashing on this road.
NC DOT should be ashamed of themselves for ruining this road.
- Anonymous (5/30/13)
Rode the section south of the Parkway on Sunday.
It has been 'tarred' to fill cracks.
The result is a very slick surface that makes going more than 25mph on the turns very dangerous.
Your wheels slide on the lines of tar filling the cracks.
Damned shame as the turns would otherwise have been loads of fun.
- Rider from Charlotte, NC (11/12/12)
Great road, especially difficult with two canines on the Gold Wing, tank and passenger seat.
More so than the 'Dragon'.
Taco was mostly diving knee to knee, that means this is great ride.
Good lunch at the inn outdoor seating, pet friendly.
- Anonymous (10/22/11)
Rode this June 4th, 2011.
The road was perfect.
Surface clean and smooth.
Lots of corners so sharp you only see about 2 car lengths ahead.
Take your time the first time you ride, short enough do it again.
Start uphill from Marion to Blue Ridge, easier to control speed and power up through corners.
- Anonymous (6/5/11)
Little Switzerland Restaurant, gift shop, hotel.
Right at the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The 226A is a loop off of the parkway or 226, full of scenic overlooks and twisties that rival the 'Dragon'.
- Marty Hornbaker (4/22/11)
226A, the last Alternate Route in NC, leads from Marion, NC to the Blue Ridge Parkway with numerous switchbacks and steep twisting turns.
Approximately 194 curves in the 12 mile loop.
Top of the ride are restaurants, shops and hotels.
Absolutely incredible sweeping views of the Catawba River Valley and Blue Ridge mountain ranges.
Fun route to access the Parkway from I-40 or in route to Mount Mitchell State Park in Western North Carolina.
- Rider from Morganton, NC (7/28/09)
Absolutely one of the best roads Iíve ridden!
Straight to the top of my favorites list.
Iíd choose this over the Dragon any day!
Smooth road surface, most of the curves are slightly banked, and absolutely beautiful scenery!
Iíve ground my pegs to a 45 degree angle and shaved half the heels off my boots.
It doesnít get any better!
- Rob Bingham (4/9/09)
This was one of my favorite roads while touring the Smokies.
It climbs significantly and has many sharp corners.
The Alpine Inn B&B is near the top just before Little Switzerland.
It is a great spot to get some roadside pictures and relax from the intense ride up.
This road leads to the Blue Ridge Parkway for an alternate ride out.
- Doug DiGiuseppe (1/2/08)
Rode December, 2006 - Little Switzerland's back driveway.
Lots of cabins and small private residences.
Beautiful scenery for an early Sunday morning ride before everyone stirs.
Watch out for snow/ice in cold weather.
- Jeff Ashe (12/14/06)