County(ies): Pleasants, Ritchie, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell
Submit your on this road.
We rode 16 from Marion to Tazwell, 8/13/12.
The road was in good shape and pretty much free of gravel.
Not much traffic.
One of the best roads to ride in the area.
A heck of a lot of fun.
- Jeff from Illinois (8/22/12)
Just did this road the past weekend.
From Marion to Tazwell . Great ride but not for new riders.
Some gravel in tight turns.
Second half of route all newly paved and centered lined.
- Anonymous (5/27/12)
WV-16 actually has it all.
Scenic, sweepers and twists.
A really nice ride after visiting New River Gorge.
Rode 8 June 2011 on a 7 day trip seeing about 12 different NON-INTERSTATE WV routes.
- B.W. Newman (6/11/11)
I've ridden the other infamous more well known roads (Tail of the Dragon), but Route 16 from Marion to Tazwell puts them all to shame.
Just rode it (Sept, 2010) and there is still loose gravel in alot of the turns which is typical for a country road.
A great riding experience.
The curves, switchbacks, and cliff drop-offs make this highway one to respect and remember.
Once you get to the top of the mountain you can experience the view of the countryside and the abundant plant growth, then you start back down the other side of the mountain with larger switchback curves (not as much pea-gravel).
I personally wouldn't recommend riding it for the 1st time after dark and I wouldn't recommend this trip for a novice rider.
But if you've slayed 'The Dragon', you will enjoy the challenge of this highway!
- Anonymous (9/7/10)
Not exactly sure if it's the same stretch of road or not, but I just finished finding Highway 16 by complete accident this month by riding from Todd, NC up through VA and into WV where our destination was.
We hooked up on Highway 16 which led us into the Hungry Mother State Park in VA, and THEN the fun began!
I've ridden the Dragon and Snake many times over and find them to be no match for Highway 16.
The turns are non-stop, they are very technical, and the stretch of road is three times longer than that of the Dragon or Snake.
You must remain focused at all times though because if your mind wanders for even a moment you may end up a couple of hundred feet down the mountain side with no witnesses nearby.
- Anonymous (7/22/10)
Took the road from where it intersects I-79 in West Virginia up north to St Marys.
As of 4/1/2010, this section of the road is in terrible shape about 90% of the way... lots of patchwork and very rough pavement.
I'd avoid it for now... would be a lot of fun if it was repaved.
Scenery is so-so, and unlike the section of road from Marion, VA to Tazwell, this section has a lot of homes and businesses for pretty much the entire route... which results in more traffic.
Also took this road from Marion, VA to Tazwell, VA.
Road is in average shape as of 4/1/2010 with areas of gravel and stuff they put down over the winter.
This section of the road will be great fun once the road is cleaned off... pavement seems to be in pretty good condition for the most part.
- BAS from Ohio (4/8/10)
I lived in Tazwell for many years and rode the 'Back of the Dragon' for some amount of time.
I have ridden with many friends both as pairs and groups.
Spent many a happy hour or so chasing my good friend, Larry Davidson over the mountains.
(Still think my Fireblade is one of the quickest things over this route).
It is a route that must be treated with the greatest of respect, 3,500 foot drop on one side of the road and rock face on the other, no room for error.
Newcomers should ride it a few of times at moderate speeds to get an idea of where the road goes.
It is easy to get mentally tired as the bends are non stop, going up and down and you are constantly banking over, accelerating or braking heavily.
Once you get the hang of the curves, it is an extremely rewarding feeling to get it right.
As others have stated, it is a quiet 2 lane road, no large vehicles over 35ft, 55mph speed limit.
(A large portion of this route cannot physically be ridden over this limit).
Lightly policed and an abundance of wildlife, especially deer at dawn/dusk.
I now live in NC but still make my pilgrimage to Tazewell to keep my skills honed.
If you intend to try this route out I'm sure Larry Davidson will be more than happy to meet with you and act as a guide as there are also dozens of other routes in the area that are as good as/almost as good as the back of the dragon.
Coal mining towns, particularly in WV do have 25mph speed limits and 27mph will get you a ticket.
If you see 25 MPH then it means 25MPH.
Enjoy the ride and if you get the chance pull over and admire the awesome scenery.
- Ted Edwards (1/10/10)
Wonderful ride full of challenging twisties and some parts with high speed sweepers.
One section has kudzu growing over the edge of the pavement and gives the impression of a magic carpet ride as you descend into a valley.
Funky old coal mining towns like War, WV.
- James Pyke (10/16/09)
I live on Route 16, we locals call it the 'Back of the Dragon' because of the three mountains from Tazewell to Marion.
I personally don't think you will find a more challenging road to drag a knee on, the speed limit is 55 and it's 32 miles from Tazewell to Marion.
Most people who have ridden the 'Tail of the Dragon' with a 45 mps speed limit and then come and ride 16, they say this is a much better ride just not commercialized.
See you on the Dragon's Back!!
- Larry Davidson (7/28/09)
Rode this north from Marion to Tazewell, and I just wanted to add to the cautions.
Be prepared to take your time on this road, especially on the middle stretch from the VA-42 junction to Route 601; the right-hand turns are very tight and very blind, with some gravel and small rocks in the road.
That being said, it's an incredible ride, and the views (when you have time to look) are well worth the trip.
- Rider from Durham, NC (4/27/09)
I make it a point to ride this one at least once a year from St Marys to Gauley Bridge.
It's my back road to the New River Gorge area.
There is something for everyone on this one.
Twisties, sweepers and at least one KMA turn.
I'm most familiar with the section between St Marys and Route 47, which has plenty of hills and turns to keep you alert.
There are plenty of deer as well.
You start up a long hill out of St Marys and cruise through a series of sweepers headed south into Ritchie County.
After you get to Elenboro the road changes personality drastically from sweepers to twisties.
As you continue south you'll get a healthy dose of twisties before the road eases up and you find yourself hitting some straighter areas.
It just settles down though and doesn't get boring.
I've never taken it past Fayetteville.
As stated in other reviews, watch out for the Speed Trap at Gauley Bridge.
They've never got me on the bike but they did hit me in my van.
Bogus ticket but they know you are from out of town and it isn't worth trying to take it through court.
Standard fine for this town is $150.
Fastest traffic stop I've ever been a part of.
I think they have the tickets prewritten and just add a name and license #.
I was back on the road in under 5 minutes.
Stealthy black Dodge Charger cop car with minimal markings and a internal light bar set up.
- 'NomadRider' (4/6/09)
Route 16 is a very nice road.
If you are an aggressive rider you will be pleased.
However I would like everyone to avoid the town of 'Gauley Bridge'.
Five of us rode through on a Sunday afternoon and were given speeding tickets for 30MPH in a 25MPH zone.
They gave 2 out of 5 of us tickets, at a cost of $150.00 each.
Please do not stop to give this town any revenue.
Thank you and watch your speed!
- Rider from Goldsboro, NC (3/25/09)
Very, very twisty and tons of fun!
If the road surface was a little better and more consistent, it would be far better than the infamous 'Tail of The Dragon'.
As it is, it's still more fun than 129 because the traffic is lighter.
A definite 'must ride' if your anywhere in the area.
- Anonymous (8/11/08)
I first rode this route from Marion, Va to Tazewell, Va in October this year (07) when I set War, WV as a destination for a day long ride from NC.
I have returned 3 times just to ride the 32 miles from Marion to Tazewell.
It is 32 miles of nothing but curves.
Beautiful scenery, virtually no traffic on a week day.
Highway 16 climbs over 3 steep ridges between Marion and Tazewell.
Two 3 mile sections of Highway 16 are posted with 15 mph cautionary signs.
It is isolated, remote and well worth riding if ever in the area.
Some turns are so tight your handle bars nearly graze the rocks when you roll into them.
WARNING: There are parts of this road where, if you leave the roadway, your body may not be found for a long time.
If you continue north on 16 into WV, it's 52 miles of twisting asphalt from Marion, Va to War, WV.
- Kevin Harding, Hays, NC (11/21/07)
Not much traffic, trucks over 35 ft are prohibited, great mountain views, and best of all...it's still posted 55mph!
- Anonymous (10/3/07)
I live in Bristol and ride this road regularly.
It is NOT for beginers.
The road is extremely diverse from the pavement and lack of maintanence, to the types of curves (decreasing radius).
There are places near the top you almost need dirt bike suspension to stay in control at speed.
Beware of the deer and other animals, as most of the road is remote.
If you are a new rider to 16, a couple of slow ride through would be in order.
- Bill Hagy (9/24/07)
I rode this route the first weekend in August, 07.
It's just as good as the 'Tail of the Dragon'.
- Michael J. Dunn, Sr., Downingtown, PA (8/29/07)
I've been on this road pulling a trailer with my Chevy S-10.
Some of the turns are so tight, I could almost see the back of my trailer out my passenger window!
- Anthony P., Fredericksburg, VA (7/22/07)
Parts of this road are DEFINITELY not good for beginners.
- Rider from Virginia (5/1/07)
Truly country road riding.
The road is narrow in lots of places, switchbacks here and there, rough in spots, a real adventure.
Some nice scenery. Look out for gravel in some turns.
There are some surprises on this road; decreasing radius turns and some hairpins that show up unexpectly.
Be careful. Like I said, it's an adventure. Great road to ride. One of my favorites.
At times it looks like a road designed for riders in the middle of no-where.
Most of the time there is little traffic.
Once you get to US 60 (at Gauley Bridge) you can run that to White Sulphur Springs (79 miles) or go north on US 19.
Head over for great rides in the National Forest (US 219) or over to the New River Gourge National Park.
- Rider from Morgantown, WV
Twisty and hills.
Will see signs telling trucks over 35 ft. prohibited.
- Rider from Pennsylvania