Scenic Views and Spectacular Vistas East of Asheville
East of Asheville holds some special treats for those who are willing to drive a bit. All of the Scenic Views listed are from 20 minutes to 2 hours drive time from Downtown Asheville. Black Mountain and Montreat, Asheville’s quaint Appalachian down home neighbors, are approximately 20 – 30 minutes away but are true gems of Western North Carolina. Black Mountain, known as the “Front Porch of WNC,” with its small town manner, little shops, and spectacular views of the Seven Sister’s, is a great place to visit. The town of Montreat has been described as such, “Montreat is filled with flowing and gurgling streams, abundant native flora and fauna, and gorgeous mountain vistas. Life here is peaceful and serene, blessed with incredible natural beauty and lived at a different pace than anywhere else.” There are many great hiking trails from this little town that offer incredible vistas, “Lookout Mountain,” being a local favorite. If you want truly stunning views, journey south east to the town of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Park. Twisty mountain roads for motorcycle aficionados, a beautiful river with plenty of swimming opportunity, a lake, parks, Rumbing Bald for rock climbers, a charming downtown strip, and Chimney Rock Park are among attractions you can expect with a trip to Lake Lure. Take all that and add in the gorgeous views and you have one heck of a day trip. North and to the east toward Boone North Carolina, is Linville Gorge and Linville Falls, the picturesque location chosen for the filming of the movie, “Last of the Mohicans.” Head up to Boone, the eastern outskirts of Western North Carolina, and there is another world of beauty to be discovered.
Black Mountain and Montreat
Black Mountain, the front porch of WNC, is a small town with a mountain pace attitude, and is named after the Black Mountain Range which some claim are the oldest mountains in the world. Black Mountain boasts beautiful mountain views, pure water, and clean air, attracting thousands to the valley each year. There are excellent recreational facilities, and a multitude of merchants offering everything from a vegan meal to a wood carved bear. Stroll around Lake Tomahawk, or have a meal in one of the many fine dining establishments Black Mountain Offers. If you want to slow it down one more notch, then bop on over to Montreat, North Carolina a unique mountain cove nestled at the foot of Graybeard Mountain near the Tennessee Valley Divide. Montreat is a harmonious town that seems to live with nature instead of against it. Situated at the eastern end of Buncombe County and surrounded by the Mountains, Montreat is overflowing with natural beauty around every corner. Views, flora, a lack of commercial development, and serenity are the norm in this special place. There are no traffic lights, and the preferred method of travel is walking. There are tons of walking paths and hiking trails and visitors are welcome all times of the year. The valley area of Black Mountain and Montreat is located approximately 15 miles east of Asheville.
Hwy 74-A to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock
East of Downtown Asheville, lies the 20 mile stretch of twisty mountain road (74-A) that leads to Lake Lure. This is a very scenic route and concludes in the heart of Hickory Nut Gorge, home to the Town of Lake Lure and the Famous Chimney Rock Park. 74-A is paralleled by Rocky Broad River and is a great photo-op not to mention a popular place to take a quick dip on a hot summer day. The Town of Lake Lure has many activities and adventures for outdoor enthusiasts and tourists alike with swimming, golfing, hiking, rock climbing, and is a popular gathering spot for motorcyclists. Brilliant scenery and awe-inspiring views are what one can find at Chimney Rock Park, along with history, rock climbing, and much, much more. Just south of the Town of Lake Lure is the rock climbing destination of Rumbling Bald.
Note: Returning to Asheville via Route 9 is scenic, and will pop you out in quaint Black Mountain North Carolina, yet another beautiful town to check out in WNC.
Linville Gorge and Linville Falls
Linville Gorge, molded and shaped by the Linville River, is to be found in the northeast corner of the Pisgah National Forest, and is nestled between Lake James and Grandfather Mountain. The Linville River, with its titanic scouring action, formed Western North Carolina’s most scenic and rugged gorge. In fact the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area is so rugged that it wasn’t clear-cut at the turn of the century like the rest of WNC. Today, this accounts for the survival of virgin forests, brilliant overlooks, unruly whitewater and some of the area’s best hiking. The Linville Falls are accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Linville Falls visitor center is located at Mile Marker 316.3. From Asheville go east on Hwy 40 to Marion where you will exit at exit number 85 and then go north on Route 221. Next you either need to catch NC 183 for the Gorge or the Blue Ridge Parkway north for the Falls.
Note: Linville Caverns is located nearby and is a great side trip. For more information see our Attractions, Tours and Daytrips page.
Grandfather Mountain is one of the oldest mountains in the world and is recognized as a nature preserve. Enjoy the 360-degree vistas of this spectacular mountain range, whose profile against the sky resembles the face of an old wise man. Take a nature stroll or hike in the backcountry, glimpse native animals and walk across the famous mile-high Swinging Bridge. Learn about conservation at Grandfather Mountain visitors center, which offers naturalist programs daily.
Learn more about Grandfather Mountain by visiting our Attractions, Tours and Daytrips page.