Sunday, July 14, 2013

Little Switzerland, N.C.

We had a chance to get away over the long 4th of July weekend so decided to head for the hills of North Carolina.  Because time was limited we decided to trailer the bikes up rather than ride them.  This would have been my first experience at trailering bike, as I prefer to ride them to the destination.  This of course makes getting to the destination part of the fun rather than something to "get through".  Our plan was to rent an open U-Haul.

We had every thing packed and ready except for loading the bikes.  We'd been watching the weather and in the last few minutes before departure decided to leave our bikes at home.  It was a choice that hurt, but was the best.  I don't think we'd have taken them from the trailer.  It not only rained but rained extremely hard the entire time we were there.  They had flash flooding all through the area and the visibility in the mountains was often less than 100 yards.

Even without the bikes we had a great time and still plan to get back up to the mountains later this summer.  Because we had packed for riding bikes we had plenty of rain gear with us and thought maybe we could rent a couple bikes if the weather gave us a break.  We had made contact with Action Cycle Sports in Boone, NC.  Turned out the weather did not give us a break, but we'd still recommend the good folks at Action if you need to rent while staying in the area.  They had a number of bike choices and we had planned to ride a BMW 650GS and a Suzuki V-Strom 650, two bikes with great reputations. 

We spend our nights at the Big Lynn Lodge in Little Switzerland, NC.  The lodge is located on NC 226A, a well known bike and sports car road that is known as the Diamondback.  Lots of twisties and steep grades, similar to the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee, but without all the traffic.  The view from the Big Lynn was spectacular during those short glimpses we had during breaks in the clouds.  Our room was a cabin that was clean as a whistle and finished in knotty pine.

View from our porch at the Big Lynn Lodge

Breakfast and dinner were included in the price of the room and they have space to park bikes and welcome bikers.  There were a couple other places to stay in the area, but no gas at the top of the mountain, so you don't plan to gas up when you get to Little Switzerland.

One really nice part of being in the mountains when there is so much rain is the waterfalls run full.

The rivers and waterfalls ran full
We spent a good part of our time hiking and taking pictures between rain showers.  The Blue Ridge and the nearby areas are some of the most relaxing back roads to explore and there are so many trails to hike that you could spend a lifelime and not walk them all.

A creek along a foot path

Foot path to a rushing stream

Above is one of the many footpaths we walked.  Because there had been good rain, most foot paths led to streams and waterfalls that might not exist during drier days.  I have to say we were fortunate to be here during this period of heavy rainfall.

The view from the roads is beautiful, this is biker country

During times of good visibility the views were spectacular.  We noticed that we could be in heavy rain and fog that reduced visibility to a few yards, then round a bend that put us on the other side of the ridge and into clear weather for a few minutes.  These little gifts really added to an already fantastic trip.

Sunshine! What a surprise to round a bend to see this.
We have been on the Blue Ridge many times and it is always beautiful and it changes so much with the season and the weather that we are compelled to return time and time again.


  1. It is unfortunate that the weather wouldn't cooperate and the bikes had to stay home, but it looks like you took it all in stride.

    Sure are some pretty views. I really like the fence pictures too. Hopefully you'll get to go back - with bikes next time.

    1. Thanks Trobairitz, The weather was actually part of what made it so nice as the rivers and streams ran so full and photographs sometimes look best when the subjects are soaked. We'll get back up another time for sure. Thanks for the nice photo comments!

  2. Kudos to you for the trailering attempt and then the flexibility to adjust reasonably to conditions. I've trailered now a few times and it can really make sense, allowing freedoms that bike travel-only can't.

    I love that BRP area and though I've been through, didn't spend enough time to do it justice.....anxious to get back in a more off season time of year.

  3. We had a great time even without the bikes. It is an area that we have returned to many times over the past 30 or so years and we always find new and interesting things and places to explore.

  4. Really beautiful area and wonderful photos! I am a "way back" North is a gorgeous state. The geography and the people!

  5. Glad you enjoyed the photos. You are right it is a special place and we keep returning to the area and always enjoy our time. It is beautiful all seasons! Hope you are enjoying your new location as much as you did NC.