The Snake is probably the most famous motorcycle route close to Johnson City, TN. It is frequently ridden by locals, us included, but also by motorcyclists vacationing near the area. A must is a stop at the Shady Valley Country Store where one can view each other’s bikes and exchange riding stories.
If you are visiting the area near Johnson City, TN and have time to ride only one “Snake ride”, the riding route described in this post, The Snake Figure 8, is the route to include in your riding plans. This ride is only 120 miles in length so if you want a longer ride, plan on including a 29 mi ride on US-58 east of Damascus to the Grayson Highlands General Store then turn around and come back to Damascus on US-58. You could then complete the Figure 8 described here to give you a total of 180 mi. See the previous post US-58 East of Damascus and the Snake. There is also another Snake Route, The Snake Sportbike Route, that I have included in an additional post; check it out as well for additional “Snake” information.
There are plenty of places to get gas along the way: on TN-91 before coming into Shady Valley, at the Shady Valley country store, in Damascus, at the Grayson Highlands General Store, in Mountain City, and along US-421 south of South Holston Lake.
There are also restaurants along the way, and I will mention a few we have frequented: Big Dan’s BBQ – about 1/2 mi after turn onto TN-91 in Elizabethton, TN; Shady Valley Country Store, Shady Valley, TN; Race Track restaurant across street in Shady Valley; Hey Joes Tacos and More on Shady Ave in Damascus, VA; Mojo’s Trailside Cafe and Coffee on US-58 in Damascus; many restaurants in Mountain City.
Below is the detailed riding route:
Snake Figure 8 starting in Johnson City, TN – 120 mi total
From BP gas station at TN-36/Roan St and Boones Creek Rd/TN-354,
Head northeast on S Pickens Bridge Rd Go 0.4 mi
Left to stay on S Pickens Bridge Rd Go 6.4 mi to stop sign
Right onto Allison Rd Go 0.3 mi
Cross over Bristol Highway (at stop light) and straight onto Piney Flats Rd Go 0.8 mi to stop sign.
Left onto Main St in Piney Flats Go 0.3 mi
Curve to Right onto Tank Hill Rd Go 322 ft
Curve to Left then over RR tracks onto Mountain View Dr Go 2.2 mi to stop sign.
Right onto US-19E S Go 7.0 mi
Exit right on Lovers Ln exit toward TN-91 Go 0.2 mi to stop sign
Left onto Lovers Ln / TN-91 N Go 21.8 mi to stop sign/blinking light in Shady Valley (39.5 mi to here)
At Shady Valley stop sign/ blinking light, cross over TN-91 onto TN-133 N Go 11.4 mi passing though Backbone Tunnel after ~9 mi
Straight onto S Shady Ave entering VA Go 1.9 mi to stop sign in Damascus, VA
Right onto E Laurel Ave/ E 3rd St Go 0.3 mi
Curve to Right onto US-58 E/ Douglas Dr Go 1.0 mi
Straight onto VA-91 S Go 1.5 mi
Straight onto TN-91 S Go 10.7 mi to stop/ yield sign in Mountain City, TN
Right onto N Shady St/ US-421 N Go 10.2 mi to Shady Valley blinking light
Straight onto US-421 N Go 13.5 mi crossing over S Holston Lake
Continue straight on US-421 N for another 3.0 mi
Left onto TN-44 S Go ~1.0 mi to stop sign
Right onto TN-44 S Go 8.2 mi
Left onto Chinquapin Grove Rd (instead of turning right to stay on TN-44) Go 3.9 mi
Continue straight onto Bunker Hill Rd Go 1.4 mi to stop sign (107.5 mi to here)
Right onto US-19E N Go 1.9 mi
Left onto Mountain View Dr Go 2.2 mi
Curve to Right goinig ~300 ft over RR tracks onto Tank Hill Rd
Curve to Left onto Main St Go 0.3 mi to stop sign in Piney Flats
Right onto Piney Flats Rd Go 0.8 mi crossing over Bristol Hwy at stop light
Straight onto Allison Rd Go 0.2 mi
Left onto N Pickens Bridge Rd Go 6.8 mi to BP station on corner of Pickens Bridge Rd, N Roan St, and Boones Creek Rd (120 mi total)