Heintooga

Cherokee, North Carolina

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Depending on how you'd like to ride it, Heintooga can be a 46.5-mile loop, which incorporates a small section of the Blue Ridge Parkway; or you can tailor the route to make up either and out-and-back or you can set up a shuttle at Heintooga Picnic Area at the top of Balsam Mountain Road. Several overlooks provide comfortable spots to stop and take a break while looking across Balsam Mountain Cove. You may feel like you're riding in a tunnel at times, with rhododendron and mountain laurel growing like crooked fingers over the road. The gravel road begins a narrow and even more steeply pitched descent on its way to Raven Fork, a wide white-water creek. Traffic becomes two way here.

Heintooga Professional Review and Guide

"Depending on how you'd like to ride it, Heintooga can be a 46.5-mile loop, which incorporates a small section of the Blue Ridge Parkway; or you can tailor the route to make up either and out-and-back or you can set up a shuttle at Heintooga Picnic Area at the top of Balsam Mountain Road.

Several overlooks provide comfortable spots to stop and take a break while looking across Balsam Mountain Cove. You may feel like you're riding in a tunnel at times, with rhododendron and mountain laurel growing like crooked fingers over the road. The gravel road begins a narrow and even more steeply pitched descent on its way to Raven Fork, a wide white-water creek. Traffic becomes two way here."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Cherokee
Distance: 46.5
Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Technical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Physical Difficulty: Difficult
Season: Closed if too much snow.
Local Contacts: Oconaluftee Visitor Center, 828-497-1900.
Local Maps: Great Smoky Mountains Trail Map.
Driving Directions: Directions to Heintooga

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May 2018