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Five Great Fall Drives Near Asheville NC

fall drive grandfather

There are a lot of great perks to living in the mountains, none the least of which is the opportunity to enjoy the full splendor of fall colors. Here in Asheville, the full autumn array has been slow to arrive this year, but is nearing peak in the next few weeks. Through mid-November, make sure your oil has been changed and car maintained and enjoy some of these great mountain drives:

 

1) Grandfather Mountain | Blue Ridge Parkway

From downtown Asheville, Grandfather Mountain is about an hour and a half north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The summit of Grandfather’s unique display has already peaked, but the Linn Cove Viaduct and valley views are at or nearing peak viewing. With Grandfather in view on the Parkway, you can park and enjoy great hikes, including:

  • Rough Ridge (3 miles)
  • Boone Fork (7 miles)
  • Price Lake (2 miles)
  • Beacon Heights (2 miles)
  • Tanawha (16 miles – 32 round-trip)
  • Several other trails totaling 50 or more miles

2) Linville Falls and Gorge | Blue Ridge Parkway

Linville Falls is about an hour from Asheville, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Linville Falls is closer than Grandfather, but you could see both areas in the same day trip. Linville Falls features several easy hikes; however, adventurers may consider some of the lengthier and more difficult Linville Gorge hikes. Either way, the drive is well worth it.

3) Mount Pisgah | Blue Ridge Parkway

Mount Pisgah is about an hour south of Asheville, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pisgah’s leaves are past peak, but the drive will feature excellent color through the middle of November. Pisgah features a 1.5-mile hike to the summit, where hikers are treated to a 280-degree view of the valleys. There will be plenty of color on the hike. Additionally, you can treat yourself to one of the best meals on the Parkway at the Pisgah Inn.

fall drive

 

4) Richard Bald | Blue Ridge Parkway

Beyond Mount Pisgah, Richard Bald will add another 45 minutes to your drive. As the Parkway rises and falls in elevation, drivers will be privy to incredible color displays on both sides of the road, tunnels, and opportunities to stop and hike to additional summits and waterfalls.

5) Fontana Lake/Nantahala Outdoor Center | Highway 74 and 28

One of the most spectacular drives in the state regardless of the season, Highway 74 west of Asheville traverses the incredible Smoky Mountains in the southwest corner of our State. Driving towards the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the southern tip of Fontana Lake, you will have numerous opportunities to stop and see the majestic fall colors through the middle of November. You may choose to turn right or circle back to highway 28, driving along Fontana Lake toward the dam. Regardless of where you travel, make sure your vehicle is ready for the drive. RetroLube will make sure your oil is changed, transmission is serviced, and take care of any additional vehicle maintenance needs.

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