Wheels Through Time is one of the most well know motorcycle museums in the country.
They have been on our list of places to see for quite some time, and we were looking forward to that happening once we were in North Carolina. After we finished the Blue Ridge Parkway we were camping north of Asheville on the French Broad River, which made Wheels Through Time a perfect day trip for us!
The museum is located in Maggie Valley, NC. The ride through the hills from the Asheville area out to Maggie Valley is beautiful. This is a popular motorcycle destination, and it was easy to tell why.
There are bike shops, BBQ joints, it’s 5 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and of course a world famous motorcycle museum.
We left camp a bit later than expected but we still reached Wheels Through Time with enough time to see the awesome exhibits. Make sure to get there as early as you can because they close at 5pm and the museum is 38 thousand square feet!
Wheels Through Time consists of over 350 machines, dating back to the earliest days of the motorcycle. This museum is all American made bikes and is truly like stepping back in time to see an amazing evolution of the motorcycle as we know it. The museum is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 by Dale Walksler, who had started his collection back in 1969.
One of the most impressive things about this museum is that all of the motorcycles in it actually still run!
The museum is set back from the road in a pretty, park like setting on Vintage Drive. I was so excited as I passed through the gates, parked my bike, and made my way to the entrance. There were three Harley Knucklehead’s casually parked by the front door and an authentic WWII Harley complete with a rifle in the scabbard.
The staff greeted us graciously as we went inside to pay our admission. At only 15$ for an all day adult admission, it’s an unbelievable value for what you get to experience.
As a non-profit the money goes towards preserving the amazing collection and procuring new pieces to display. Dale and the Wheels Through The team also auction motorcycles off to fund the museum, like incredibly clean 1948 Panhead that was on display in the gift shop!
You can enter the Wheels Through Time raffle yourself by visiting HERE. The bike will be raffled off on Nov. 11th this year.
Now, I couldn’t possible describe all of the wonderful exhibits at this museum in one post, or even five or ten. There are hundreds of vintage American motorcycles (and some very rare antique cars!) that all have their own unique and impressive story. The collection is beautifully displayed and separated into sections that make viewing the exhibits a pleasure.
I was so amazed by the amount of memorabilia and the intricate displays surrounding the motorcycles.
At Wheels Through Time they don’t just park a bunch of bikes in a row for you to walk by and see. They have elaborate, period correct displays that really put you back in time. It adds so much to the experience to really see and feel what it was like at the time these machines were made.
There are displays for all types of American motorcycle racing through out the years. Board track, dirt track, flat track, hill climb, you name it! The hill climb machines I found to be particularly interesting! The modifications and unique engines on these bikes were amazing.
There is a section for choppers and chopper parts know as the “Chopper Grave Yard.” This was a neat display paying homage to the DIY motorcycle customizers of yesteryear.
“Military Might” is an impressive and humbling display about the Harley Davidson motorcycles of World War II.
There are displays about the rarest and earliest American motorcycles made. An incredible collection of pre-war Harley 45’s, and even displays about motorcycle restoration. “Bikes in Pairs” displays amazing restored/unrestored pairs of vintage machines.
I was blown away by the exhibit on the 1936 Harley Davidson, and the engineering breakthroughs that propelled the company to the next level. There is a ton of information about the changes made to the valves and the engineers behind the designs. They even have prototypes of the motors on display.
Wheels Through Time has six of the legendary, handmade 1936 Harley Davidson!
One area that Daryl and I really apreciated was the exhibit on all of the homemade machines people had made from motorcycle motors and parts over the years. There were saw mills, strange small vehicles, and all sorts of other equipment using old motorcycle engines!
The amount of history that is in the Wheels Through Time museum is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. The staff is so knowledgeable, friendly and helpful as well.
I really can’t say enough good things about this incredible experience. I highly recommend you make the time to get to Maggie Valley and experience it for yourself.
Check out the video of our experience at Wheels Through Time below!
Thanks for following along, and stay tuned as we continue our US summer road trip!
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Enjoy the ride,