Best Scenic Drives in North Carolina

This list represents the most popular scenic drives in North Carolina. Use this list to plan your next North Carolina scenic drives trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Blue Ridge Parkway: Asheville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park


A 75-mile paved section of one of the most famous routes in America, following the dramatic crest of the Pisgah and Great Balsam Mountains to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Blue Ridge Parkwa…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Asheville, NC - Scenic Drives - 75 miles BestScenic Drives Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Linville Gorge: Pisgah National Forest near Linville Falls


A 19-mile gravel and paved route that encircles rugged Linville Gorge. This drive partially encircles Linville Gorge, a yawning chasm where the Linville River tumbles 2,000 feet in 14 miles. The route…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Linville Falls, NC - Scenic Drives - 19 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. Blue Ridge Parkway: Blowing Rock to Asheville


A 90-mile paved segment of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the famous scenic drive that connects Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic routes in…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Boone, NC - Scenic Drives - 90 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Deals Gap Motorcycle Ride


Actually, there’s more than Deals Gap on this ride, but it is definitely the highlight. The 318 twists in the 11- mile section of road that pierces into Tennessee say it all. This piece of civil engin…
From the guidebook "Motorcycle Adventures in the Southern Appalachians Book 1"
Topton, NC - Scenic Drives - 100.3 miles
Published by Milestone Press

#5. Heintooga-Round Bottom Road: Great Smoky Mountains National Park


A 35-mile paved and gravel road through a scenic but lightly visited part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you are tired of the crowds in some parts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, t…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Cherokee, NC - Scenic Drives - 35 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Mountain Waters Scenic Byway: Highlands to the Nantahala River Gorge


A 61-mile paved route that winds through some of the most spectacular country in the Nantahala National Forest, including multiple waterfalls, a roaring whitewater river, and tremendous mountaintop vi…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Franklin, NC - Scenic Drives - 61 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. Smokin’ Dragon Motorcycle Ride


Smokin’ Dragon takes its name from two of the finest riding destinations in the country—the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a stretch of US 129 known simply as “the Dragon.” US 441 cuts throug…
From the guidebook "Motorcycle Adventures in the Southern Appalachians Book 2"
Cherokee, NC - Scenic Drives - 131 miles
Published by Milestone Press

#8. Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia State Line to Blowing Rock


A 75-mile section of the paved recreational Blue Ridge Parkway, which follows the scenic crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Virginia state line to Blowing Rock. This drive follows the northern…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Blowing Rock, NC - Scenic Drives - 75 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#9. Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest: Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest to Tennessee State Line


A 25-mile paved road through beautiful, undeveloped Nantahala National Forest, including old-growth trees at Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and tremendous views from the crest of the Unicoi Mountains. T…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Robbinsville, NC - Scenic Drives - 25 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Reed Gold Mine: Morrow Mountain State Park to Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site


A 32-mile paved drive from the wooded hills of Morrow Mountain State Park to the exhibits and musty tunnels of Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site. This drive is both very scenic and historic. It start…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Locust, NC - Scenic Drives - 32 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Whitewater Falls: Highlands to Rosman


A 41-mile paved route through the resort towns of Highlands, Cashiers, and Lake Toxaway via Whitewater Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. From the town of Highlands, th…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Cashiers, NC - Scenic Drives - 41 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Crowders Mountain: Kings Mountain National Military Park, SC to Crowders Mountain


A short, paved 10-mile route chock-full of interesting sights, including a Revolutionary War battlefield, two state parks, a living history farm just over the border in South Carolina, and prominent P…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Gastonia, NC - Scenic Drives - 10 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Bentonville Battleground: Cliffs of the Neuse State Park to Bentonville Battleground


A 33-mile paved route from a state park with cliffs (surprising for the coastal plain) to Bentonville Battleground, the site of the last major Confederate offensive of the Civil War. This drive connec…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Goldsboro, NC - Scenic Drives - 33 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Newfound Gap & Clingmans Dome: Great Smoky Mountains National Park


A 24-mile paved road that climbs from the base of the Great Smoky Mountains to the highest peak, past historic sites, rushing mountain streams, numerous overlooks, and lush forest. When combined, the…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Bryson City, NC - Scenic Drives - 24 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Elk Falls: Vilas to Elk Falls


A 25-mile mostly paved road through rugged mountains, past a historic general store to a large, accessible waterfall. This drive follows a winding route through the mountains west of Boone, past the h…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Banner Elk, NC - Scenic Drives - 25 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. Mount Mitchell - North Carolina Highpoint


Highpoint rank by height: 16th. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a spectacular scenic road that winds through beautiful hills and forests. Due to the lack of passing areas and the frequent curves on this hig…
From the guidebook "Highpoint Adventures: The Complete Guide to the 50 State Highpoints"
Asheville, NC - Scenic Drives - 0.1 mile
Published by Colorado Mountain Club Press

#17. Spivey Gap: US 19 / US 19E Junction to Earnestville, TN


A 29-mile paved road that climbs up and over a remote, rugged mountain area into Tennessee. This drive winds through the rugged Bald Mountains, over a divide, and into Tennessee. It follows a quiet ro…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Higgins, NC - Scenic Drives - 29 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Boone & Banner Elk Motorcycle Ride


Starting in Boone and passing through the small burgs of Valle Crucis, Banner Elk, Cranberry, Minneapolis, Plumtree, and others, this route passes many historic and scenic areas in North Carolina. Alo…
From the guidebook "Motorcycle Adventures in the Southern Appalachians Book 2"
Boone, NC - Scenic Drives - 62 miles
Published by Milestone Press

#19. Green Swamp: Clarkton to Supply


A 44-mile drive across a very lightly developed area of the coastal plain, past the interesting Green Swamp. This is a low-key trip across a very lightly developed section of the coastal plain. Traffi…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Supply, NC - Scenic Drives - 44 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Hanging Rock: Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock


A 24-mile paved road between two prominent remnants of the ancient Sauratown Mountains, often called “the mountains away from the mountains” because of their isolation from the Blue Ridge. This drive…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving North Carolina"
Mount Airy, NC - Scenic Drives - 24 miles
Published by Falcon Guides