June 11, 2020
Whether you’re coming into town on a bucket-list Blue Ridge Parkway road trip, visiting for a simple weekend away, or checking out all the different nooks and crannies around Asheville, there are a million scenic drives that you’ll want to explore. Saddle up your motorcycle, fuel up your tank, pack a picnic, and set out for an adventure on one of these picturesque Asheville drives.
Long before Asheville was known for breweries & top-tier food, it was put on the map because of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stretching from Virginia all the way through North Carolina, the parkway doesn’t hold a single bad view, however, the best views along the parkway are arguably just north of Asheville. A couple hour drive will lead you high into the mountains with views of Mount Mitchell, Craggy Gardens, the Linville viaduct, and end at Grandfather Mountain and the area of Blowing Rock. Circle back down to Highway 40 and hit the little Appalachian towns alongside including Black Mountain, a charming town with loads of character.
After a day spent sightseeing along the Blue Ridge Parkway, return to your luxurious accommodations at the 1889 Whitegate Inn & Cottage. Choose from cozy rooms, deluxe suites, or entire guest cottages for your ideal getaway.
Follow the scenic French Broad River north of town to the riverside town of Marshall. This quaint community is tucked away into the forests and would be easy to miss if you only took the main roads. Luckily, the French Broad Overview Byway leads you straight into town. Take a 30-minute drive up the winding river road and pop out on the main street of Marshall and enjoy an incredible dinner at the Star Diner. From the outside, this eatery looks like a classic old-fashioned gas station complete with 50’s era vehicles. Step inside and you’ll be met with southern charm and some of the finest American cuisine you’ll ever find.
The little known country backroad of Highway 9 from Black Mountain to Bat Cave is the kind of road you want to roll down your windows and take at a slower pace. Known as Black Mountain Rag by the locals, this curvy road glides up and down hillsides, over rivers, and through meadows and forests. Named after a musical tune, this rag is filled with multiple twists and curves to get your heart racing. After you reach Bat Cave, head over to Chimney Rock for a quick hike and postcard-worthy views of Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Before you leave town, make sure to grab an ice cream and dip your toes in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Lure.
Make Beaufort House Inn your home base while you explore all that Asheville has to offer. After a long day of hiking, driving, and sightseeing, take a bubble bath and walk to downtown for a delicious dinner.
For those looking for a drive riddled with pull-overs, quick hikes, and numerous tunnels, take the Blue Ridge Parkway south of town. You can pull off to climb 1.5 miles to the top of Mt. Pisgah or scramble up the 5 stories of Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower after a ¾ mile hike for views all around. If waterfalls pique your interest, you are in luck! After you turn onto US-276W, Moore Cove Falls and Looking Glass Falls are easily accessible and are a great way to stretch your legs for a bit. On your way back to town, stop by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company for a brew and a well-deserved lunch.
Out west of Asheville lies a scenic byway that leads you through Pisgah National Forest and part of the Appalachian Trail with delightful towns to visit along the way. Take Highway 40 out West to Lake Junaluska before veering north onto Highway 209, also known as the Appalachian Medley Scenic Byway. When you reach the town of Trust, stop at the Trust General Store & Cafe for cold drinks before taking a quick 0.3-mile detour up Highway 26 to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope, a tiny church worth peeking in for a moment of meditation. Follow Highway 209 all the way to Hot Springs where you’ll want to hike the 2-mile loop to Lover’s Leap and look over the town. You can also bring a bathing suit and take a dip in the natural hot springs at Hot Springs Resort & Spa. From here you can either trace your steps back or head over to Marshall and follow the French Broad Overview Byway to loop back to Asheville.
Convertible or motorcycle or truck or car, there is no wrong way to explore the curvy, winding roads around Asheville. Pack a picnic, fuel up on gas, and head out on the open road. Let the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association help you pick out the perfect B&B, inn, or hotel to stay at during your trip to Asheville.
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