Several years ago, a local rider, the tall fellow Stretch, posted on one of the on-line forums about a "Ridiculously Twisty" road that runs between NC-215 and NC-281. He has probably ridden most of the roads in the upstate of South Carolina, Western North Carolina, northern Georgia, and well beyond. He recently switched to a dualsport, so he is probably doing the same on all the gravel and dirt in the area too.
Anyway, with the end of winter, and the advent of clean pavement without a lot of gravel and sand left over from the ice and snow that sometimes attacks the mountains around here, I finally decided to find the likely road, since he didn't identify it back then.
Google maps is my friend, so I started to explore. I came up with several possibilities.
- Charleys Creek Road/NC-1756, Neddy Mountain Road/NC-1757
- Wolf Mountain Road/Tanasee Gap Road /Joe House Road/NC-1324
- Silverstein Road/NC-1309
Click here for an interactive map and route details.
From home, I go first to Pickens, SC. The road north from here is US-178, and the section between Pickens and SC-11 is mostly sweepers. I enjoy this part of the road because it is usually clean, isn't too difficult, and it contains A Perfect Curve.
North of SC-11, the location of a biker meetup place, the Holly Springs Country Store, the road becomes much more technical, with many tight turns, and lots of elevation change. You need to use your best look-where-you-want-to-go technique here. This part of the route ends at Rosman, NC, but there is an even better road that starts here. It is NC-215, recently paved, and with lots of tight curves as well. I have used this route many times to get to the Blue Ridge Parkway, only 51 miles from home.
Today, though, I turn left onto Charleys Creek Road, at Pushpin B on the map above. I have not been on this road before, and almost right away, the road begins to show itself as ridiculously twisty, and keeps it up to its end, at Pushpin C. The pavement is broken in places, there are a few patches of gravel and sand, and some of the curves are very tight. Naturally, this being a rural route, there are no speed advisory signs, so you are on your own. There are some Christmas tree farms and other nursery operations, but not much else through here. I ride moderately, enjoying the trip through the hills.
I turn south on Canada Road NC-281/NC-1758, for a few miles, an enjoyable road with some interesting curves, eventually passing over the T. Fields Dam on Wolf Creek, where I have stopped before. I take a break, then continue on to Wolf Mountain Road/Tanasee Gap Road /Joe House Road, at Pushpin D. This road is a bit twisty in places, but not a much as Charleys Creek Road was. The surrounding hills are still enjoyable to look at.
I have seen quite a few bicyclists out today. There must be an organized ride.
Why a lot of them insist on taking up the whole lane on a twisty road, I don't know, though.
There is a pack of them at Pushpin D who run the stop sign there just as I am arriving. Two of them, the one on the black bike and the one following him, almost bite the dust as they see the error of their way too late and turn in front of me.
Fortunately, I miss them.
Pressley Fields Road takes me back to NC-215, then on to Macedonia Church Road. I turn into the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI). I am surprised that the gate is open on a Saturday.
This is the former spy satellite tracking station, turned education facility. It is truly an unexpected sight here in the mountains of North Carolina, and it was an important, top secret tool in the cold war. They are having a once-a-year open house today.
I wish I could stay, but I have been here before, and I must move on today, because I have chores to do at home.
The last twisty road nearby (besides US-178 that I will be using to get back home) is Silversteen Road. This is a very twisty route that some say rivals the Tail of the Dragon. It is far less busy than the Dragon, and quite entertaining. Watch what you are doing, however, because it is not well marked for the turns either. I have ridden this one before as well -- seven passes on one day. (I couldn't help myself. It was great fun.)
I meet this group of BMW riders, booking it through the Silversteen turns.
They're having fun too, it looks like.
Silversteen ends at US-64 not far west of Rosman. I go back into Rosman, and head down US-178 again to Pickens, retracing my route, now from the opposite direction. Downhill is a bit more challenging, but I make it through just fine.
I think I found Stretch's ridiculuously twisty road today -- and then some.
I have ridden only 138 miles, but, boy, those roads were sure contorted! Try my route some time, and let me know what you think.