Hit the Road - Fabulous Fall Drives in Western North Carolina

Hit the Road - Fabulous Fall Drives in Western North Carolina: With autumn color on full display, discover WNC’s most scenic drives, plus insider tips and points of interest along the way
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Indian Lakes Scenic Byway - 60 miles ➼ 2 hours
Area lakes bearing Cherokee names earned this drive its name... read more

Newfound Gap Road - 33 miles ➼ 1 hour
Topping out at 5,046 feet, Newfound Gap is the lowest driveable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, connecting Cherokee, North Carolina, to Gatlinburg, Tennessee... read more

Nantahala Byway - 43 miles ➼ 1.5 hours
The drive from Marble to Whittier along US 74 travels through Nantahala National Forest, with 20 miles encompassing the scenic Nantahala Gorge... read more

Waterfalls Scenic Byway - 98 miles ➼ 3.5 hours
From the intersection of US 64 and NC 215 in Rosman, this byway winds along US 64 west all the way to Murphy... read more

Kistler Memorial Highway


Pisgah Loop Scenic Byway - 47 miles ➼ 2.5 hours
Presenting a loop through Pisgah National Forest, this road trip takes in the mighty Linville Gorge and Lake James as well as points of historical interest, with portions of it requiring fourwheel drive... read more

Mount Mitchell Scenic Byway - 52 miles ➼ 1.5 hours
Expect an autumn drive to the summit of Eastern America’s highest mountain to be a scenic spectacle. This road trip includes just about every mountain ecosystem and color zone possible... read more

Forest Heritage Scenic Byway - 65 miles ➼ 2 hours
For sheer scenic diversity, it’s hard to beat this official US Forest Service Byway, which is a loop that includes two crossings of the parkway as it takes the measure of the Blue Ridge from deep valleys on both sides of the range... read more

Yonahlossee Road, with the Blue Ridge Parkway above.


Mission Crossing Scenic Byway - 17 miles ➼ 45 minutes
Mission Crossing runs the rural western edge of the High Country along NC 194 from Elk Park to Vilas below the Tennessee border, and remnants of the byway’s once-isolated past make this a worthy scenic drive... read more

Yadkin Valley Scenic Byway - 65 miles ➼ 1.5 hours
Look no further than the Yadkin Valley of Surry and Yadkin counties to understand why North Carolina has reached the top-10 list of states for both wine production and number of wineries... read more

Little Parkway Scenic Byway - 18 miles ➼ 45 minutes
In 1890, more than a half-century before the Blue Ridge Parkway was even conceived, today’s US 221 was already snaking its way from touristy Blowing Rock to the isolated outpost of Linville... read more

New River Valley Scenic Byway - 35 miles ➼ 45 minutes
Even if the ironic name of the world’s second oldest river is the New, the pastoral rolling countryside of this byway won’t get old as you motor along this ancient stream in far northwestern North Carolina... read more

Cherohala Skyway


While scenery abounds along these curvy routes, it’s the drives themselves that are the allure for both motorcyclists and motorists alike... read more

Photographs courtesy of TheBigMK/shutterstock; Photographs (Fontana lake) jill lang/shutterstock; (Joyce Kilmer forest) thebigmk/shutterstock; courtesy of (1) Wehrloom Honey; (1) Stecoah Valley cultural arts Center; (fontana village) by bill nichols; (Lakeview at Fontana) by Cassie McCracken; (newfound gap road & clingmans dome) Sean Pavone/shutterstock; (Mt. Leconte) Kelly vanDellen/shutterstock; (sunset) ZakZeinert/shutterstock; (cherokee museum) courtesy of ebci destination Marketing; courtesy of (train, Nantahala River, and mountain view) Bryson City/swain county NC chamber of commerce, by J.R. vanLinden; (winery) Calaboose Cellars; (Hotel) charles snodgrass, deep creek arts; Dave Allen Photography/Shutterstock; John Campbell Folk School; JayL/shutterstock; thebigmk/shutterstock; Grennady Stetsenko/shutterstock; thebigmk/shutterstock; (Kistler Highway and Wiseman’s View) Craig Zerbie/shutterstock; (Linville Falls) RodClementphotography/shutterstock; (Linville Caverns) Epic Revelations/shutterstock; (lake James) courtesy of NC Parks; (opposite) by Shawn Mitchell Photo/shutterstock; Photographs (quilt Trail) MaryTerriberry/shutterstock; (Craggy Gardens) jadimages/shutterstock; (Mt. Mitchell State Park) NaturalStocks/shutterstock; (Pottery) Kim mcwhirter; (Summit) courtesy of NC Division of Parks & recreation; (Looking Glass Falls) Makasana Photo/shutterstock; (Shining Rock Wilderness) Serge Skiba/shutterstock; (Living Waters) Jon Beyerle/shutterstock; (More cove falls) Rob Hemphill/shutterstock; (Cradle of forestry) courtesy of the Library of Congress; Photographs (Elk River Falls and Valle Crucis, opposite) Craig Zerbie/shutterstock; (General Store and Community Park) courtesy of Wiki Images; (Mast Farm Inn and Over Yonder) by Revival Creatives; (Roan Mountain) Cvandyke/shutterstock; Photographs (Elkin Creek Winery and Stony Knoll) courtesy of Tourism Partnership of Surry County; (Pilot Mountain) Xian Zhang/shutterstock; (dessert) courtesy of Surry County Tourism; (beer) Skull Camp Brewing; Photographs (Westglow) courtesy of Westglow Resort & Spa; (Swinging Bridge and Yonahlossee Road) by Skip Sickler, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation; Photographs courtesy of Northwest Trading post; Rivergirl Fishing Co.; (New River State Park) NC division of Parks & Recreation; (Mt. Jefferson) by Jill Lang/shutterstock; (rolls) Greenart/shutterstock; Darryl Cannon/ Killboy.com; William Silver/Shutterstock; by Todd Bush; Courtesy of the Bryson City/Swain County NC Chamber of commerce, photo by Charles Snodgrass