Scenic Fall Drives in the North Carolina Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob in NC

Take a scenic drive to enjoy the fall foliage colors in the mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. The most spectacular scenic drive is the Blue Ridge Parkway. A short drive north from Asheville (24 miles from downtown) takes you up about 3,000 feet in elevation to Craggy Gardens with wonderful mountain views. There is a large picnic area and a short hike to the top of Craggy Pinnacle. Continue north on the Parkway for nine miles and turn left onto N.C. 128 to Mount Mitchell State Park. The highest mountain east of the Mississippi River provides sweeping views.

Drive south on the Blue Ridge Parkway and return to Asheville via the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway.  From the Parkway, take the exit for US 276 Forest Heritage Scenic Byway (at milepost 412 on the Parkway) to Brevard and stop at Looking Glass Falls and Cradle of Forestry, or hike to to the top of Looking Glass Rock. Once in Brevard, follow NC 280 back to Asheville. See our Forest Heritage Scenic Byway Guide.

Drive along the winding US Highway 64 for 100 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, including charming towns like Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Cashiers and Highlands, and by plenty of beautiful scenery and waterfalls along the way. See our Highway 64 Guide.

Starting at the top of Mt. Mitchell, drive 52 miles among the peaks and valleys of Yancey and Madison counties, through the Toe River Valley and through Burnsville on the Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway Guide.  In addition to expansive views, Mt Mitchell features an observation tower, hiking trails, picnic areas, a natural history museum and a restaurant.

See our NC Mountain Fall Foliage Forecast and Guide for more scenic drives and places to see.


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