Video. Once you get out of Blowing Rock, the road becomes progressively twistier as you head towards Grandfather Mountain (a must-see if you haven't been).
The road condition in Avery County could be better, but is still decent.
IMPORTANT - as of this writing (9/12) the last 2-3 miles between GFM and Linville have a large amount of gravel due to road work.
- Rider from Durham, NC (9/21/12)
I rode US 221 from Linville to US 181 south.
Be advised there is a LOT of sand on the road from the severe winter we just had!
If you plan to ride it fast just be aware of the sand and pea-gravel in the main groove of the road.
This was my 1st time there and I found the road to be very challenging, steep downward slope and blind hairpins with sand in the groove.
I will probably try it again in a few weeks after the rain washes the road.
- Charlie, Statesville,NC (4/2/10)
US 221 is a nice twisty ride from Jefferson to Independance with good pavement and paint, limited shoulders and few guardrails.
Around Scottsville, NC there is an accesspoint for the New River State Park which has a nice facility with restrooms.
As you aproach Sparta the road open ups a bit to some nice panaramic views and a few sweepers.
Sweepers with a 35 mph speed.
221 crosses the New River just north of the state line and there is a campground right on the river.
I have taken this road 3 times now and enjoyed each ride.
- Kevin Harding (3/9/09)
This stretch of road parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway - which, by comparison, is downright straight!
I first rode it south to north last fall, very cautiously, in a blinding rainstorm.
I just re-rode it, north to south, in excellent weather - and needed to be just as careful.
Extremely tight twisties (someone else can count how many), heavy forest canopy, and no guardrails; fortunately, very light traffic.
In short, a fabulously challenging ride!
There was some sand in a few corners, but it looked mostly like residue from snow removal earlier in the winter.
I haven't ridden the Dragon yet, but I can't imagine it being significantly better than this!
- Rider from Durham, North Carolina (3/28/07)