Getting to NC-181 Quickly

If you ride a sportbike and/or enjoy track days or aggressive riding through the curves, you will love riding NC-181.  I have previously posted riding routes that include NC-181 (Favorite Longer Route near Johnson City, TN includes NC-226, NC-80 and NC-181; Little Switzerland (NC-226A) then NC-80 or NC-181).  However, there may be days when you just want to ride NC-181 up and back a couple or more times.  A riding buddy of ours wanted to know the fastest way to get to NC-181, so I thought I would add this post.

Two of the fastest routes to NC-181 from the Johnson City area are shown in this ride route description.  From the intersection of TN-36 and Boones Creek Rd/Pickens Bridge Rd, the route that takes you on Pickens Bridge Rd will take you an hour and 10 min (55 mi) to get to NC-181.  The other route that takes you on I-26 and TN-362 will take you an hour and 5 min.  There are also other routes to get you there.  For instance, you could add going over Roan Mountain from NC-226 if you are staying on the south side of Johnson City.  Once you are on US-19E though the fastest way to get to NC-181 is to go through Newland on NC-194 to the stop sign.  Then take a left onto US-221 then a right onto NC-181.

The route description is shown below:

NC-181_only_map_2017
One of the quickest ways to NC-181 from Johnson City. This route starts from US-19E near Bristol Highway. See route description for an even faster route going through Elizabethton.

If you just want to  ride NC-181 – directions from Johnson City

From intersection of S. Pickens Bridge Rd, North Roan (TN-36), and Boones Creek Rd (TN-354) where there is a BP Gas station,

Head northeast on S Pickens Bridge Rd  Go 0.4 mi.

Curve to the Left to stay on Pickens Bridge Rd    Go 6.4 mi to stop sign.

Right onto Allison Rd  Go 0.2  mi crossing over Bristol Hwy at stoplight.

Straight on Piney Flats Rd  Go 0.8 mi to stop sign in Piney Flats.

Left onto Main St  Go 0.3 mi.

Curve to the Right onto Tank Hill Rd   Go ~300 ft.

Curve to the Left onto Tank Hill Rd.  Go ~0.1 mi then cross over RR tracks.

Left onto Mountain View Dr  Go 2.2 mi to stop sign.

Right onto US-19E S  Go 25.0 mi to Roan Mountain/ TN-143 (Road to Roan Mtn State Park)

Continue straight  on US-19E S for another 7.1 mi.

Straight onto NC-194 S  Go 8.5 mi to stop sign.  You will pass  through Newland .

Sharp left onto US-221 N.  Go 1.5 mi.

Right onto NC-181 S  Go 3.3 mi.  There will be an exit for the Blue Rdge Parkway on this section of NC-181 and you will see  a turn-off for NC-183 after riding this 3.3 mi.

Continue straight on NC-181 N for another 14.1 mi.

Turn around at Morgan’s 181 Convenience Store (on your left) where there will be a picnic table, and you can buy snacks  and drinks.  You must purchase something to use the store’s bathroom. There is no gas here.

Marianne_with_Daytonas_Dec_2016
Picnic tables under pine trees and bike parking at Morgan’s 181 Convenience store off NC-181

Head back on NC-181 N going  13.3 mi to Mountain Crossing Gas station/ Deli.

Go south and north on NC-181 as much as you like.

To head back to Johnson City, from Morgan’s 181 Convenience Store,

Head north on NC-181 N for 17.4 mi to stop sign.

Left onto US-221 S  Go 1.5 mi

Sharp  Right onto NC-194 N  Go 8.5 mi passing through Newland.

Continue straight onto US-19E N.  Go ~32 mi passing through Roan Mountain, Hampton and Elilzabethton.

Left onto Mountain View Dr/ Tank Hill Rd/ Main St, Piney Flats     Go 2.5 mi to stop sign.

Right onto Piney Flats Rd  Go 0.8 mi to stop light.

Straight crossing over Bristol Highway US-19W onto Allison Rd  Go 0.2 mi.

Left onto N Pickens Bridge Rd  Go 6.8 mi to stoplight.

Stoplight is intersection with S. Pickens Bridge Rd, Boones Creek Rd/TN-354, and TN-36/ N Roan St

OR

If you plan to take I-26 and TN-362, from intersection of S. Pickens Bridge Rd, North Roan (TN-36), and Boones Creek Rd (TN-354) where there is a BP Gas station,

West on Boones Creek Rd.  Go 1.3 mi.

Merge left onto I-26 E toward Johnson City.  Go 6.8 mi.

Get off at Exit 24 and merge onto TN-67 E/US-321 N/ University Parkway towards Elizabethton.  Go 5.0 mi.

Right on TN-362 S. Go 5.7 mi.  TN-362 will turn into TN-361 E and you will go another 2.4 mi to a stoplight.

Then take a right onto US-19E S and ride for 17.4 mi.

Straight onto NC-194 S  Go 8.5 mi to stop sign.  You will pass  through Newland .

Sharp left onto US-221 N.  Go 1.5 mi.

Right onto NC-181 S  Go 3.3 mi.  There will be an exit for the Blue Rdge Parkway on this section of NC-181 and you will see a turn-off for NC-183 after riding this 3.3 mi.

Continue straight on NC-181 N for another 14.1 mi.

Turn around at Morgan’s 181 Convenience Store where there will be a picnic table, and you can buy snacks  and drinks.  You must purchase something t o use the store’s bathroom. There is no gas here.

Head back on NC-181 N going  13.3 mi to Mountain Crossing Gas station/ Deli.

Go south and north on NC-181 as much as you like.

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