We had one more day of riding with Jim before he headed home so we chose do the last of the big three roads in the area, the Moonshiner 28. We rode to the southern end of the route and took it all the way north back to Ironhorse. We put on a lot of miles so didn’t make too many stops for pictures and sightseeing. We did stop at a couple of waterfalls along the way, one of which was Whitewater Falls. Whitewater is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies but unfortunately the wooden stairway to access the best views were burned up in the forest fires last fall so we only got a limited view. The contractors were in the process of rebuilding the stairs so it may be worth a trip back in the fall.
After being disappointed at Whitewater, we followed the signs for Licklog Falls a little further down the road. The signs led us miles down a side road before directing us for another few miles down a gravel road. The road got narrower, rougher and more rutted as we went and even had a couple narrow stream crossings. Unfortunately, the signs stopped and we had no idea where the falls were. We went as far as we could, until the road turned into more of a trail through the woods than a road, before we finally turned around without ever seeing any sign of a waterfall. We were 0 for 2 on the waterfalls so far.
We hooked into The Moonshiner in South Carolina and dipped a few miles into Georgia before heading back into North Carolina. The twisties on this road rival the Dragon and went on for miles and miles. We had lunch in the cool little town of Highlands, NC (elevation 4117 feet). The cool temperatures at that elevation have long been a draw to southern tourists looking to escape the heat and humidity of the long summers.
A few mile north of Highlands we finally had success with the waterfalls. Bridal Veil Falls are immediately adjacent to route 28 and you can’t possibly drive by and not see it.
These falls are so close to the road that vehicles used to be allowed to drive behind the water cascading off the overhanging cliff. Vehicles aren’t allowed anymore but you can still walk behind the falls.
I tried to tempt Jim into riding behind the falls anyway but he didn’t go for it.
The Moonshiner continued north with a very challenging section through Cullasaja Gorge. It would have been nice to sightsee but you definitely need to keep your eyes on the road! The road straightens out a bit as it approaches Franklin, NC then follows the Little Tennessee River for a bit before climbing back toward the Smokies with another twisty section.
Overall, the Moonshiner 28 is was great choice for our last ride. It combines some very challenging roads with great views, scenery and some cool little towns to stop off and explore while the appeal of the Dragon is simply for the high concentration of twists and turns over a relatively short stretch of road.