Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall Foliage Drives in North Carolina

One of our readers from North Carolina sent me a list of her favorite drives for taking in the spectacular displays of fall color during October. The leaves reach their peak color a little earlier at the higher elevations of western North Carolina than they do in Georgia, and there are some great vistas for viewing. A great way to spend a weekend not too far from home.

1. From Interstate 40, take exit 53 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take the Parkway north to Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge (5,946 ft).

2. Hendersonville to Franklin on Hwy. 64. 83 miles of varied elevations and beautiful river valleys.

3. Franklin to Highlands on Hwy. 64 following the Cullesaja River. For Georgians, once you reach Highlands you can make your way back to Sky Valley on Hwy 106. This will take you over Scaly Mountain and offers some great views to the south and east.

4. From Shelby, NC...take US Hwy 221 to Linville Falls (78 miles).

5. Cherohala Skyway- With 8 overlooks at elevations over 4000 ft, the Cherohala Skyway is one of the prettiest drives anywhere, especially in the fall. From Robbinsville, NC- Take Hwy 129 N to Hwy 142 W...Continue on 143 west to the Cherohala Skyway sign on the left.

6. From Gastonia, take US Hwy. 321 north through Hickory and into Blowing Rock.

7. Hickory Nut Gorge to Black Mountain- From Asheville: Take I-26 S to US 64 E to Bat Cave and NC Hwy 9, which has great views of Lake Lure and will take you to Black Mountain. Chimney Rock Park is in this area and makes a great side trip.

8. US 19 from Maggie Valley to Cherokee- Many great leaf viewing sites and overlooks.

Many thanks to Laura Mitchell for this List!

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