RoadRUNNER’s Bucket List Roads: U.S. Route 421, Richmond, KY to Boone, NC

May 20, 2017 View Comments by

US 421

In its totality, U.S. 421 runs for 941 miles (Michigan City, IN, to Fort Fisher in North Carolina), but we believe one of the best sections for motorcyclists is between Richmond, KY, and Boone, NC. The route is mostly two-lane tarmac, winding its way through rural Appalachian Mountain terrain.

US 421Best Time to Go: Spring through fall
Scenery: This route crests mountain ridges and follows the meanderings of several streams and rivers, providing riders with classic Appalachian ambiance.
Curves: Many curves, switchbacks, and elevation changes.
Services: Gas, food, and lodging are plentiful along the route.
Traffic: Relatively light in most sections.
Distance: Approximately 270 miles
Technical Difficulty: A technically challenging route, which includes a section in Tennessee known as “The Snake.” The route is appropriate for most street bikes and those with mountain riding experience.

Points of Interest

  • Richmond, KY: Things to see in the Richmond vicinity include Fort Boonesborough State Park, Battle of Richmond Visitor Center, and White Hall State Historic Site.
  • Kingsport, TN: A great overnight stop. Check out the charming, historic downtown.
  • Shady Valley, TN: The Shady Valley Country Store welcomes motorcyclists in this bucolic Appalachian valley. Be sure to check out the V8 powered riding lawn mower.
  • Boone, NC: This lively college town, located near the Blue Ridge Parkway, is an excellent start or turnaround point. While there, riders may want to tour the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine and/or stroll King Street.



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