Hitting the Open Road: Our Favorite Scenic Drives

Our Favorite Scenic Drives

The Asheville area is a treasure trove of beautiful drives and breathtaking sights. The Blue Ridge Parkway, perhaps our best known scenic drive, is truly a sight to see. In addition to that world renowned byway, we have an impressive number of gorgeous roads in and around the city center just waiting to be discovered by you!  We’ve outlined just a few of our favorites below.  Visit our Guide to Scenic Drives for more suggestions!

Highway 80/The Devil's Whip

Adventure drivers will find an absolute thrill along WNC's infamous stretch of road known as The Devil's Whip. From Micaville, Highway 80 South drops 2,000 feet in elevation in just 12 miles, then ends at Highway 70 in Old Fort. Highway 70 West leads to Interstate 40 West, which will take you back to Asheville. This journey is a beautiful, relatively empty, stretch of steep drops, tight, twisty roads and amazing views. Your passengers can get great vistas of Mt. Mitchell while you keep your eyes on the road.

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Cold Mountain to Pisgah Forest Loop

Cold Mountain, which rose in fame with the publication of the namesake book by Charles Frazier, is located in the Shining Rock Wilderness of the Pisgah National Forest. From Asheville, take I-40 West to exit 37 ( East Canton) and follow Smokey Park Highway/US 19S/US 23S for five miles to NC Highway 110 South/Pisgah Drive (keep an eye out for Highway 110 South signs as you wind through Canton). The residential area will begin to thin out as the elevation rises. After five miles, turn left onto NC Highway 276 (Cruso Road) and continue up the mountainside for 14 miles. Cold Mountain rises up to your right as you drive south on Highway 276, which meets up with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take the BRP North for 19 miles back to Asheville, where it exits onto Highway 191/Brevard Road at the Arboretum.

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Marshall and Hot Springs Loop

The quaint towns of Marshall and Hot Springs are less than an hour away, but will transport you to another era. The drive takes you along the French Broad River to Marshall and on into Hot Springs. The return trip takes you through the country hills of Leicester. From I-26/US 19/US 23 take exit 24 for Elk Mountain Road. Turn left onto Elk Mountain Road and then right on NC 251, which becomes Old Marshall Highway and will lead you into Marshall. Continuing on the same road, NC 251 turns into NC 70 toward beautiful Hot Springs. Take a moment to plant your feet on the Appalachian Trail before hitting the open road once again and heading south on NC 209 to NC 63. This route travels through Truth, Leicester, and the community of Erwin. Get back to downtown Asheville by heading east on Patton Avenue.

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View from the hot tub at Doolittle Mountain CabinStay Local

Sometimes a stay in the mountains is exactly what you need to recharge and regroup. Carolina Mornings has dozens of properties in and around the Asheville area - many of which have views that rival those that make our scenic drives so famous!  Doolittle Mountain Cabin, a 3 bedroom cabin located in Marshall, NC boasts truly outstanding views. Situated at the top of a mountain in Madison County, surrounded by 30 pristine acres, Doolittle Mountain Cabin is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.

To begin planning your mountain vacation in the Asheville area, contact Carolina Mornings at 877-902-9441. A professional Vacation Planner will help line up your vacation rental accommodations, Biltmore Estate tickets, and outdoor adventures such as ziplining and whitewater rafting (included with every Carolina Mornings Rental!)

By: Dana Carrico