US 1 – Carolina Connection
Designated as a portion of US Bike Route 1, which runs from Maine to Florida, this route covers almost 200 miles of rolling terrain. It is the main north/south connector route through the central portion of North Carolina. From Virginia, this route enters North Carolina near the Warren / Vance County border. US 1 continues south between Raleigh and Durham and eventually through Sanford, Southern Pines, and Laurinburg before advancing into South Carolina.
NC 2 – Mountains to Sea
The 700+ mile NC 2 Mountains to Sea route serves as the main artery of the North Carolina bicycle route system, bisecting the state west to east. It ties the mountains in the west with the piedmont in the center; and the piedmont with the coastal region of the east. While traversing the rugged mountains, rolling pastures of piedmont farm country, and the flats of the coastal region, it connects many of North Carolina’s larger cities including Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Durham, and Raleigh. The route begins in Murphy in the mountainous southwestern corner of the state and finishes in Manteo at the Outer Banks in the east.
NC 3 – Ports of Call
This route traverses North Carolina’s long and varied coastline including two major sounds – the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. The ~300 mile route from Virginia to South Carolina passes through the major ports of the colonial era; Edenton, Bath, New Bern, Wilmington, and Southport among numerous other coastal communities.
NC 4 – North Line Trace
Running east/west from the mountains to the coast, this ~400 mile route runs just south of and parallel to North Carolina’s border with Virginia. It travels through or near numerous small towns including (from west to east) Eden, Roxboro, Henderson, Roanoke Rapids, and Elizabeth City.
NC 5 – Cape Fear Run
This 160 mile route roughly parallels the course of the Cape Fear River through the southeast coastal plain to the coast. Rolling hills give way to flat land in the swamps and Carolina bays typical of this region of the state. Just south of the Triangle, NC 5 begins at its connection with US 1 in Apex, continuing through Fuquay-Varina, passing near Fayetteville, and ending in Wilmington at its intersection with the NC 3 Ports of Call route.
NC 6 – Piedmont Spur
The NC 6 Piedmont Spur is a ~200 mile route that is a southern alternate to the piedmont portion of the NC 2 Mountains to Sea route. The western endpoint of NC 6 is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Lenoir and Morganton in Burke County before making its way southeast toward Charlotte. The route stays north of Charlotte, turning northeast to its reconnection with NC 2 in central North Carolina. It passes through smaller towns such as Morganton, Lincolnton, several Charlotte suburbs, and Albemarle before eventually finishing near Snow Camp.
NC 7 – Ocracoke Option
From its western terminus along the NC 2 Mountains to Sea route near Wilson, this ~170 mile route winds its way through the coastal plain to the Cedar Island Ferry over to Ocracoke. It passes through or near several smaller towns including Wilson, Goldsboro, Kinston, New Bern, and eventually Ocracoke.
NC 8 – Southern Highlands
This ~120 mile route begins northwest of Brevard with a 15-mile downhill from its connection with NC 2 Mountains to Sea on the Blue Ridge Parkwaw, passing through small mountain towns such as Brevard, Saluda, Flat Rock, and Tryon. It traverses the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains southeast toward the South Carolina border before turning northeast through Forest City and finishing at its intersection with the NC 6 Piedmont Spur in Lincolnton.
NC 9 – Sandhills Sector
The western terminus of the Sandhills Sector is its connection with the NC 6 Piedmont Spur near the Pee Dee River and the town of Albemarle. Ending near the Cape Fear River at its connection with the NC 5 Cape Fear Run, this route traverses ~125 miles of sandhills terrain characterized by rolling topography rising from 500 to 700 feet above sea level. The Sandhills Sector passes near Pinehurst/Southern Pines and meanders south of Fayetteville.