11 Mountain Road Trips Every Charlottean Should Take

Off-the-beaten-path ideas for a perfect autumn weekend
PHOTOGRAPH BY LOGAN CYRUS
The view from Blowing Rock

IT LOOKS LIKE WE'LL HAVE IDEAL FALL WEATHER this weekend, crisp and sunny. Leaves are changing colors. Apples are ripe and ready. There's no better time to get to the mountains. Here are 11 road trip ideas (and links to full stories) from recent issues of Charlotte magazine to get you started. 

 

1. The Woolly Worm Festival, Banner Elk (Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18)

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROSS MCDERMOTT – AMERICAN FESTIVALS PROJECT

Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Scenic drive rating: 9 out of 10

Elevation: 3,770 feet

Cell phone signal: 4 out of 5 bars

 

2. Take a Deep Breath in Blowing Rock

PHOTOGRAPH BY LOGAN CYRUS

Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours

Scenic drive rating: 7 out of 10

Elevation: 4,000 feet

Cell phone signal: 3 out of 5 bars

 

3. Eat Ashe County Cheese

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VISITNC.COM

Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours

Scenic drive rating: 7 out of 10

Elevation: 3,038 feet

Cell phone signal: 4 out of 5 bars

 

4. Ponder the Brown Mountain Lights in Morganton

PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER TAYLOR

Distance from Charlotte: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Scenic drive rating: 7 out of 10 to Table Rock Mountain; 4 out of 10 to Morganton

Elevation: 1,178 feet in Morganton; 3,390 feet at Table Rock

Cell phone signal: 5 out of 5 bars from Morganton; 2 out of 5 bars from Table Rock

 

5. Float Down the New River Near Boone

PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER TAYLOR

Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Scenic drive rating: 5 out of 10

Elevation: 3,300 feet

Cell phone signal: 4 out of 5 bars

 

6. Eat the Best Meal of Your Life at Knife & Fork in Spruce Pine

PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER TAYLOR

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Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours

Scenic drive rating: 7 out of 10

Elevation: 2,555 feet

Cell phone signal: 1 out of 5 bars

 

7. Walk Inside this Tunnel to Nowhere in South Carolina

PHOTOGRAPH BY SETH BERRY

Distance from Charlotte: 3 hours

Scenic drive rating: 3 out of 10

Elevation: 1,762 feet

Cell phone signal: 2 out of 5 bars

 

8. Hike to Grandfather Mountain's Attic Window

PHOTOGRAPH BY HELEN MOSS DAVIS, GRANDFATHERMOUNTAIN.ORG

Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Scenic drive rating: 5 out of 10 (It's hard to rate the drive as scenic if you go to Calloway Peak, which naturalist John Muir once described as "the face of all Heaven come down to earth."

Elevation: 5,946 feet

Cell phone signal: 3 out of 5 bars

 

9. See a Show in Flat Rock

PHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE BELLEME

Distance from Charlotte: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Scenic drive rating: 4 out of 10

Elevation: 2,205 feet

Cell phone signal: 3 out of 5 bars

 

9. Stop and Eat Bridges Barbecue in Shelby

PHOTOGRAPH BY LOGAN CYRUS

Distance from Charlotte: 55 minutes

Scenic drive rating: 1 out of 10

Elevation: 869 feet

Cell phone signal: 5 out of 5 bars

 

10. Admire this Incredible Stone Bridge in South Carolina

PHOTOGRAPH BY SETH BERRY

Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours

Scenic drive rating: 5 out of 10

Elevation: 1,204 feet

Cell phone signal: 1 out of 5 bars

 

11. Or, Go Over the Other State Line and Drink Wine in Virginia

Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Scenic drive rating: 9 out of 10

Elevation: 3,500 feet

Cell phone signal: 2 out of 5 bars

Categories: Agenda, The Buzz, Travel