Asheville, North Carolina, is one of the most picturesque cities in the United States. Its lush mountain landscape and winding mountain roads are a sight to behold.
For visitors looking to get the full Asheville experience, there is no better way than to take a leisurely scenic drive down one of its many highways and byways.
With panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, forests full of wildlife, and crystal-clear rivers running through rolling hills, it’s an outdoor lover’s dream come true.
No matter how you choose to explore Asheville, a scenic drive will surely be a memorable part of your visit!
Overview Of Scenic Drive In Asheville
Asheville, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, is a dreamy mountain town full of scenic views and historical attractions.
The newly-created route travels through relaxing river valleys, stunning mountaintop vistas, mountain meadows, and lush forests providing visitors with an incredible chance to explore the outdoors and forage for their own adventure.
Along the way, one can find many charming small towns offering some unique dining and shopping experiences as well as delightful lodging options for those looking for accommodations.
Popular Scenic Drive in Asheville
One of the best ways to enjoy its natural beauty is by taking a drive along some of the most popular scenic roads in the area.
A trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must for any visitor looking for sweeping vistas, lush greenery, and a chance to explore rustic Appalachian towns.
The parkway boasts some of the finest stretches of road through the Great Smoky Mountains, with numerous points to stop for hikes, picnics, and more.
Additionally, many visitors opt to tour some of Asheville’s other picturesque locales, such as French Broad Road or Lyman Street, each offering spectacular views of rolling hills and farmland below bold mountain peaks.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway was created by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 and stretches 469 miles along the Tennessee and Virginia borders.
The narrow, two-lane asphalt highway offers incredible panoramas of lush mountains, untouched forests, rolling hills, vibrant wildflowers, and majestic wildlife.
Along the route, you’ll find several historical sites, museums, and numerous stops for shopping and dining experiences that can be as memorable as the spectacular drive itself.
Newfound Gap Road
Newfound Gap Road in Asheville is an amazing scenic drive that should not be missed by anyone visiting the area.
With its stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is easy to see why this road has been a favorite for tourists and locals alike for many years.
The winding road takes travelers through lush forests filled with rhododendron and mountain laurels before making its way up to the Newfound Gap Overlook at 5,046 feet above sea level. From here, you can take in awe-inspiring views down into Smokemont Valley and Clingman’s Dome.
While taking the journey along Newfound Gap Road you will experience different climates as you move up in altitude from warm foothills to cool mountaintop temperatures.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, is known for its breathtaking scenery and spectacular views of rolling hills.
Traveling along the scenic drive in Asheville takes visitors through forests and waterways among some of the most amazing natural sights.
As you journey deeper into the park, you will find numerous activities to explore such as hiking trails, camping sites, wildlife viewing centers, and observation towers that offer panoramic views of the mountains.
With its myriad of mountain streams and valleys, a scenic drive in Asheville offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to take lovely pictures for a lifetime memory.
The Tail of the Dragon
Nestled in the foothills of Western North Carolina, Asheville is a picturesque town filled with natural scenic beauty and endless outdoor opportunities. One of the most unique experiences in Asheville is a scenic drive on the legendary “Tail of the Dragon.”
From the beginning near Deal’s Gap, North Carolina, this eleven-mile stretch of road has some of the most thrilling curves surrounded by breathtaking views.
Every curve offers a view that’s been described as “second to none,” taking drivers through some spectacular mountain landscapes before ending near Deals Gap, Tennessee.
It’s also known for hosting numerous motorcycle events each year, drawing motorcyclists with machines capable of taking on its thrills to enjoy its every twist and turn.
The Cherohala Skyway
Nestled in the heart of Tennessee, the Cherohala Skyway offers some of the most spectacular views you can imagine.
Stretching over an amazing 41 miles and at a height of 5400 feet, it is one of the highest scenic byways in the state.
The Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests are areas rich in wildlife and history, making this area a beautiful backdrop to take your breath away.
Along the Cherohala Skyway, you will take notice of mountain edges lined with locust and oak trees, valleys filled with blueberry bushes, and hidden waterfalls just waiting to be discovered.
Its convenient location between Asheville and Tellico Plains makes this drive extremely accessible for locals and tourists alike.
The Foothills Parkway in Asheville provides the perfect setting for a leisurely drive through breathtaking mountainscapes.
On the curvature of the road, lush evergreen forests delve into rolling meadows and thick woodlands as it stretches out to embrace magnificent views of faraway mountain ranges.
For those seeking more adventure, multiple hiking trails are accessible from numerous entrances off the parkway, making them perfect for cyclists looking for a rustic journey or nature admirers who want to explore marvelous sights up close.
The Moonshiner 28
Just outside of downtown Asheville lies The Moonshiner 28, one of the most breathtakingly-scenic drives in the country.
While it’s certainly a drive to remember, it’s also an experience that paints a vibrant, picturesque portrait of Western North Carolina.
On this 28-mile stretch of highway, you’ll pass through four distinct forests – hardwood, cedar, hemlock, and cove, each featuring its own unique beauty.
The moonshiner is also home to several waterfalls and vistas of mountaintops boasting patches of wildflowers. All in all, it makes for a calming, unforgettable ride along the edge of the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville.
The Devil’s Whip
The Devil’s Whip, located in Asheville, is a 47-mile scenic drive full of breathtaking views, mesmerizing rock formations, and unique geological creations.
From the Craggy Gardens with their abundance of wildflowers to the majestic Looking Glass Rock with its kaleidoscope of colors, this drive will captivate you from start to finish.
Along the way, you can find such gems as the infamous Irish Creek Flow Path and Duffy’s Tavern Picnic Area.
Whether you are seeking quiet reflection or yearning for a chance to explore nature up close and personal, The Devil’s Whip has something for everyone.
Asheville is home to the picturesque Diamondback Scenic Drive, a hidden gem tucked away in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
This spectacular 25-mile stretch of loosely winding roadway offers captivating views of the Appalachian countryside – from dense forests, rolling hills, and lush meadows to vast mountain vistas.
Travelers who journey along this peaceful drive marvel at breathtaking mountain scenery including waterfalls and scenic overlooks that provide magnificent views for miles around.
Furthermore, as an added bonus, The Diamondback passes near some of Western North Carolina’s most impressive natural attractions, such as Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure.
The Back Of The Dragon
The legendary Back of the Dragon Drive, located in Asheville, is a scenic experience like no other. Featuring over 30 miles of challenging curves, the drive consists of around 316 curves during its duration, making it one of the most exciting and beautiful roads you’ll ever explore.
Along the way, eager travelers can spot various wildlife among towering mountains, untamed forests, and various hideaways for adventure.
For those wishing to enjoy a longer route, there are even multiple points from which drivers can hop on or off as often as they desire. The countryside landscape alone offers an unforgettable journey beside winding rivers and winding paths.
Tips for Enjoying the Drive
To make the most out of your drive, it’s important to plan ahead! Make sure you have enough fuel, supplies, and a full tank of gas.
Before leaving on your journey, find out what kind of maps and detours may come up as you travel so that you can plan alternate routes if needed.
Be mindful of seemingly-endless twists and turns; take it slow for safety’s sake. When possible, stop off at trails or overlooks for a picnicking opportunity or sightseeing adventure; don’t forget your camera.
With a few pre-trip preparations and travel tips in mind, your drive through Asheville will be an unforgettable experience.
Best Time To Visit
The best time for a scenic drive through Asheville is during the fall months. This season brings out some breathtaking foliage displays along with the added bonus of cooler temperatures and less humidity.
Preparing For The Drive
Before hitting the road on your scenic drive in Asheville, it’s worthwhile to prepare. Pack snacks and light refreshments so you don’t have to leave the car for anything.
Have a full tank of gas before you start and plenty of water as well. Bring a map or GPS system with you, as cell service can be spotty in some areas near Asheville.
If possible, check the current weather to plan accordingly, if skies are cloudy expect much less foot traffic, while if clear skies are expected, bring extra sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes for walking around the roadside attractions that occur during especially beautiful days.
Make sure you bring along these must-have supplies for a stress-free journey.
Pack plenty of snacks and drinks so you don’t get stuck in tourist-filled cafes or drive-thrus; if you’re feeling adventurous, throw together some sandwiches or pack a picnic basket with your favorite goodies.
A map or GPS can also come in handy, particularly when tackling the rural roads of Asheville.
Finally, make sure you exit with a full tank of gas before hitting the road; although Asheville definitely has its share of gas stations, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when out exploring.
Make sure all your supplies are ready before setting off on your scenic drive through Asheville – you won’t regret it.
If you’re planning a trip to Asheville, be sure to include this iconic drive in your itinerary! The road conditions are well maintained, allowing for a smooth journey; you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the area without worry.
All in all, a scenic drive in Asheville is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of western North Carolina. Not only are their stunning views, but there are also plenty of activities to experience as well.
Whether you decide to stay on the main thoroughfare or explore some of the more rural roads, the drive offers plenty of opportunities for relaxing and having fun.
With a mix of rolling hills, lush forests, and breathtaking vistas, it’s easy to see why this area is such a popular vacation spot, definitely worth your time and effort.