Friday, February 12, 2016

A Waterfall Motorcycle Destination, White Oak Mountain in Columbus, North Carolina

     Are you looking for a fun motorcycle ride near Asheville, North Carolina or Greenville, South Carolina or Charlotte, North Carolina or Spartanburg, South Carolina or Tryon, North Carolina?  Can you find your way to Columbus, North Carolina?  Columbus is the county seat of Polk county.  If you are traveling west on Interstate 26, Columbus is the first exit across the South Carolina North Carolina state line.  It is exit number 67.  From downtown Columbus, ride up to the top of White Oak Mountain.

     This road is not for novice riders.  It is not for sissies.  There are very few guard rails.  Death and danger lurk
Shunkawauken Falls on White Oak Mountain is 100 feet tall
around every curve.  There are plenty of curves. There are plenty of extreme curves.  When you get to the top, you can see all the way to Walt Disney World.

     The highlight of the ride will certainly be Shunkawauken Falls on Horse Creek.

     Let me tell you how to get to Columbus.  If you are headed north from Spartanburg, Columbus is the first exit on Interstate 26 over the state line.  If you subscribe to my STAY OFF THE INTERSTATE policy, you could come north on U.S. 176 through Inman, Campobello, Landrum and Tryon.  This is a much more scenic ,colorful, vibrant, local ride. If you do STAY OFF THE INTERSTATE and come north on U.S. 176, stop at the state line at Bird Mountain Wine and Liquor and put on your helmet.  I know that South Carolina riders are smart enough to know whether or not you need a helmet.  I know that because Governor Nikki Haley told us so.  Watch this video.  Unfortunately, the state of North Carolina does not agree.  The law requires a helmet on North Carolina highways.  Of course, Sir Isaac Newton's law is enforced in all fifty states.  As you go through Tryon, North Carolina, U.S. 176 will just naturally turn into highway 108 at the Sunoco station.  Head toward Columbus on Highway 108.  Cross the Interstate .  As you come into Columbus, the first traffic light is at Houston Street.  Turn left on Houston street.

     I forgot to tell you South Carolina riders this.  Stop in Landrum and buy gas.  North Carolina gas prices will shock you.

     About a half mile after you turn left on Houston Street , there will be a fork in the road.  Stay to the right.  Stay on Houston street.  A half mile later you will come to White Oak Mountain Road.  Turn left.  A quarter mile later you will see a speed limit sigh that says, 10 miles per hour.  This means you.  If you are wearing short pants and flip flops, you might want  to reevaluate the situation.
Ride with extreme caution on western North Carolina roads

     If you are headed south from Hendersonville on Interstate 26, the Columbus exit is exit 67.  Ron says,"STAY OFF THE INTERSTATE".  Do not come down the steepest grade in the eastern United States on the interstate .  As you leave Hendersonville, North Carolina take exit 54 off Interstate 26 .  Get on U.S. 176.  Ride through Saluda, North Carolina. Follow U.S. 176 into Tryon.  U.S. 176 will intersect with Highway 108 at the Sunoco station.  Turn left.  Head towards Columbus.  Cross the interstate.  You can go through the twin traffic circles twice if you want to. It is fun.  At the first red light in Columbus, turn left on Houston Street.  If you have never been to Columbus before, you might want to take a picture of the Polk County Court House.  It looks like a court house is supposed to look.  From Houston street, turn left on White Oak Mountain Road.

     If you are coming in from Hickory, North Carolina, Come south on U.S. 221 towards Rutherfordton.  Just before you get to Rutherfordton, turn west on Hiway 64 towards Lake Lure and Chimney Rock.  Follow Hiway 64 to Hiway 9 in Lake Lure.  Go south on Hiway 9 to Hiway 108 in Mill Spring, North Carolina. Go west on Hiway 108 into Columbus.  Since you are coming into Columbus from the opposite direction, you will turn right on Houston Street to get to White Oak Mountain Road. Also, in downtown Columbus you will pass  The Brick Pizzeria and Cafe.  Local people think this is the best pizza in the world.

This is a view of Columbus N.C. from White Oak Mountain
      As you ride up White Oak Mountain Road, ride with extreme caution.  After you come to the waterfall, keep going up the mountain.  You will see a sign that says "Road Narrows".  Are you kidding me? About a quarter mile after that, you will come to a huge condominium.  Stop there for a photo opportunity.  This is a view with a capital V.  Yes, that is Walt Disney World in the distance. No, this is not the best view on this road.  Go past the condominiums.  There will be plenty of curves.  Use extraordinary caution.  You may encounter gravel and dirt on the road.  Sometimes there is water flowing across the road depending on recent weather.  About a mile past the condominiums, there is a clear spot with a view from the other side of the mountain.  You can see the Washington Monument from here.  PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!
White Oak Mountain has several waterfalls

     About a mile later, you will find a smaller waterfall.  Just when you think you can not handle any more curves, you will come to a T intersection.  This is Skyuka Road.  Turn right.  It is about a half mile to Hiway 108.  When you get there, turn left if you want to go back to Columbus, North Carolina and grab a beer and pizza at The Brick Pizzeria in downtown Columbus.  If you had the foresight to pack your own picnic lunch, turn right.  It is about a half mile to Harmon Field.  This is a big beautiful park with the Pacolet River running through it . If you get to the Sunoco gas station, you missed Harmon Field Road about a half mile back. 

     No matter how big your group is, there are plenty of picnic tables and a gazebo and restrooms.
Wet curves make White Oak Mountain Road dangerous

     If you think you are ready for "The Tail of The Dragon", ride up White Oak Mountain in Columbus just to warm up. 

No comments:

Post a Comment