Scenic Drives Near Asheville NC
There’s no shortage of scenic drives near Asheville NC, however, these are our 5 favorites. All these scenic loops start from the Asheville Mountain House and we’d recommend stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery or try hiking to one of our favorite waterfalls.
Town Mountain Road Loop
This is the quickest and closest of the scenic drives near Asheville NC and takes about an hour. It combines views from the Blue Ridge Parkway along with views overlooking Downtown Asheville and some pretty spectacular homes. Take Riceville Road to Tunnel Road and head east to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance 3 miles from the Mountain House. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway north about 5.5 miles to Town Mountain Road. Town Mountain Road will take you on a 6.5-mile scenic ride into Downtown Asheville to the stop light at College Street. Turn left at College Street, which turns into Tunnel Rd., and go 4.2 miles back to Riceville Road. The total drive is about 20 miles and it’s one of our favorite ways to see the sunset over Asheville.
Elk Mountain Scenic Hwy Loop
This scenic drive takes about 2 hours and combines views from the Blue Ridge Parkway along with the beautiful homes and views from Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. Take Riceville Road to Tunnel Road and head east to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance 3 miles from the Mountain House. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway north about 7.8 miles to Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. Turn left onto Elk Mountain Scenic Highway and drive 7.3 miles to the end of the road at Beaverdam Road. Turn right at Beaverdam Road and go ½ mile to Merrimon Road/US 25. Turn left on Merrimon Road and go 2 miles to I-240 East. Take I-240 East 2 miles to Exit 7 to US 70 East/Tunnel Road East. Take Tunnel Road 2 miles back to Riceville Road.
Take the Blue Ridge Parkway north to NC Highway 128 which is the entrance to Mt. Mitchell near Milepost 350. It’s a 27 mile beautiful drive that will take about an hour or so. Mt. Mitchell is the highest point East of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet above sea level. Once on NC Highway 128 it is a 4 mile drive up to the summit where you’ll have 360 degree panoramic views. Plan on at least 3 to 4 hours for this trip as there are lots of places you’ll want to stop.
Lake Lure & Chimney Rock
Located about 28 miles from the Mountain House, this might be the most beautiful scenic drives near Asheville NC will take a little less than an hour. Take Riceville Road to Tunnel Road east to the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway south for 2 miles to US 74-A East. US 74-ALT East takes you all the way to Lake Lure. While in Lake Lure, we highly recommend you pay the admission for Chimney Rock State Park. The view from the top is 2nd to none! You’ll want to allocate at least a ½ day for this road trip. If you go to Chimney Rock, plan on a full day adventure.
Forest Heritage Scenic Byway
This is one of our favorite day trips. It takes you by Sierra Nevada Brewery, the town of Brevard, several hikes and/or waterfalls and 30 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This could easily be an all day venture by combining a few stops or hikes. It’s a 37 mile ride the Pisgah Ranger Station/Visitor Center. On the way, be sure to stop at Sierra Nevada Brewery in Mills River for lunch and a self guided tour. When you arrive at the Ranger Station, stop and talk to a ranger and plan your trip to see several waterfalls that are located along or near 276. This stretch of scenic byway is about 15 miles and there are lots of places to stop so be sure to get a map from the Ranger Station. US 276 leads you back to the Blue Ridge Parkway where you’ll have a very scenic ride back to the Mountain House.
you’ll be to 3 miles to BRP, 37 miles/47 minutes to 276 by Brevard, 15.4 miles to BWP, 30 miles back to tunnel Road, 3 miles to Mountain House.