Scenic Views and Spectacular Vistas North of Asheville
Among the many spectacular scenic views of North Asheville, a few stand out and shine. A short drive from Downtown Asheville is the Grove Park Inn’s Back Porch on beautiful Sunset Mountain. This vista offers a luxurious atmosphere but also a very relaxed one. Sunset Mountain affords onlookers a breathtaking view of the entire valley that Asheville is nestled into. A few more miles north into Weaverville is the Reems Creek Valley, the Location of Vance’s Birthplace. History, Parkway Access, and natural beauty make this valley a must see in Western North Carolina. The Botanical Gardens, located on UNC-Asheville’s campus are a lovely in town visit in the spring when everything is blooming. The Bird Sanctuary at Beaver Lake, located in North Asheville, is yet another wonderful in-town escape to nature. If you want some really spectacular vistas find access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive north. Visiting the Craggy Gardens area, Mount Mitchell, or even just driving the Asheville Watershed are all worthwhile and real treats when it comes to scenic views and spectacular vistas north of Asheville.
Town Mountain Road
Town Mountain is located 1 mile from the heart of Asheville. This steep and curvy road offers unparalleled views of the downtown Asheville skyline. All of the most famous pictures of the downtown skyline are taken from this road. Furthermore, if you follow Town Mountain to its conclusion you’ll end up on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Craven Gap. Town Mountain is accessible from College Street, east of the Courthouse.
Horizon Hill is a best kept secret of Asheville, a secret which most of its inhabitants don’t even know about. This scenic route takes you through some beautiful neighborhoods, offers you some spectacular views, and with its vertical climb makes you feel as though you are on top of Asheville. Horizon Hill is accessible North of UNCA from Merrimon Avenue. From Merrimon, drive up and past Beaver Lake and turn onto Glen Falls Rd. From Glen Falls Rd, take a left turn onto Lakeview Rd, and then a left onto Lakeshore Rd. From Lakeshore take a right onto Colonial Pl, and begin your accent to Horizon Hill. You will need to take a left from here onto Horizon Hill. Warning, this is a steep part of town!
Sunset Mountain (Grove Park Inn's Back Porch)
There is a very good reason this is the site of the World Renown Grove Park Inn Resort. Edwin Wiley Grove had visited and became captivated with the rustic, yet grand mountain lodge at Yellowstone Park. Viewing the breathtaking vista from Sunset Mountain, Grove knew he had found the location of his own mountain lodge. Grove Park’s back patio boasts an enchanting, and perhaps one of the most spectacular views of the Asheville Valley. From Downtown Asheville head North on Charlotte Street and then take a right on Macon Ave. Macon Ave will take you to the doorstep of Grove Park and beautiful Sunset Mountain. Grove Park Resort always welcomes visitors and is a sight in itself to explore. There are many events held at the resort so check out our calendar to see if something is going on when you plan to visit.
Visit the Grove Park Inn web site for more Information.
UNCA Quad and Botanical Gardens
The University of North Carolina at Asheville is extremely accessible, and any student can tell you, the Quad and the steps of the Ramsey library offer a spectacular view of the Mountains, in fact on most days Mount Pisgah is viewable. The campus is very beautiful, naturally manicured, and home to the Asheville Botanical Gardens. From Downtown head north on Merrimon Ave, take a left on W.T. Weaver Blvd, and then a right onto College Heights, which is the main entrance to the University.
Beaver Lake is located north of Downtown Asheville off of Merrimon Avenue and is home to some wonderful walking trails and the Asheville Bird Sanctuary. The views from the lake and trails are spectacular and the flora and fauna is very tranquil and inviting. In the bird sanctuary there is a great climbing tree and the Sycamore trees that parallel Merrimon and the lake provide a magical canopy that makes driving down that strip of road very pleasurable.
Reems Creek Valley and Vance’s Birthplace
Reems Creek is a short trek from North Asheville into Weaverville on Route 25 also known as Merrimon Ave. From Route 25, take a right onto Reems Creek and prepare to be dazzled by the majesty of this sweeping farm valley. The next 5 miles to Zebulon Vance’s Birthplace are a motorcycle aficionado’s dream. This is also a spectacular route to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the turnoff is right before Vance’s birthplace, a right on Ox Creek Rd. While in the Valley a side trip to Vance’s birthplace is fun and insightful into the history of one the area’s celebrated heroes.
For more information please visit our Attractions, Tours and Daytrips page.
The road to this popular local hangout and scenic overlook is popular for the hardcore road bikers in the Asheville Area. From downtown take Merrimon north and then at the north Merrimon Ingles take a right onto Beaverdam Lake Rd. Very soon you will see the Country Club of Asheville golf course on your left and you will be taking a left onto Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. This is a curvy road but there is a reason why it is called a Scenic Highway, and the property along this stretch is unbelievable. The road will take you right up to the doorstep of Buzzard’s Rock, which is on the right before you reach the turnoff for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although this is a beautiful spot, be prepared for the fact that there has been a lot of littering at this overlook.
Road to Hot Springs (NC 209)
The author is a motorcycle buff and this is one of his favorite rides. It is a ride that has it all, national forest, spectacular views, twisty country roads, straight-aways, riverside driving, and the option to stop and enjoy what the town of Hot Springs has to offer. From downtown Asheville, head west on Hwy 240, and get off on the Patton Ave exit. Next bear right onto NC 63 which is also known as New Leicester Hwy (a deep local debate on how to pronounce the name of this road has been going on since its creation, but we won’t get into all that). You will follow NC 63 for awhile until you get to Trust where NC 209 intersects with NC 63. Take NC 209 north to Hot Springs and return by following US 25/70 to Marshall and then take a right onto 251 (also known as Old Marshall Hwy/Old US 25-70/Dixie Hwy and Riverside Dr). This last part is a beautiful jaunt along the French Broad River and will take you right back into Asheville.
Note: Max Patch is a very famous bald in the Appalachian Ranger District and is an excellent side trip to this scenic route. Off of NC 209, look for SR 1175 (Meadow Fork Road), and then SR 1181, and finally a right onto SR 1182. From NC 209 it is a little over 10 miles to Max Patch, and it is well worth the drive!
Blue Ridge Parkway North
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a gem of Western NC, and no matter what section of it you decide to explore, disappointment is hardly an option. The Northern section of the Parkway provides endless opportunities for scenic vistas, because of the higher elevation, and there are hiking trails everywhere.
For more information please consult our Blue Ridge Parkway page.
Visit our maps page for a map of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center
A short 25 min drive from downtown Asheville will take you up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and to the Craggy Area. Town Mountain road is a fun way to get up to the Parkway and then remember to go north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a super popular area and one of the best, most accessible slices of Parkway heaven for Ashevillians. The first stop on the Craggy journey is Craggy Gardens (mile marker 369.6). There are many picnic tables, spectacular views, and some short hikes. If you continue straight on the Parkway a few more miles, you will reach the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (mile marker 364.6). This is a true panoramic with views to the east and the west and a great shot of Asheville’s water source, the Asheville Watershed. At significantly higher altitude than Asheville(5,892 feet), the air here is crisp, and the temperatures are generally 10-20 degrees cooler. Go north just a tiny bit more, through a short tunnel, and look to the left for the turnoff to Craggy Pinnacle, a short but extremely rewarding hiking area. The trails are easy to moderate and have spectacular vistas, rare and endangered flora, mountain fauna, and exciting minerals. If you like rocky crags on high peaks, views of distant southern Appalachian ridges, native rhododendron that blooms pink and purple in mid-June, wildflowers galore, and beautiful balds, then this is the place for you. This is a very special locale, and has been recognized by the state of North Carolina as a Natural Heritage Area and has been recommended as a National Natural Landmark.
From milepost 355.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway take NC Highway 128 to Mount Mitchell. At 6,684 feet. Mt. Mitchell is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. On a clear day, the 85-mile view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the observation tower is breathtaking. Allow time to hike in the tranquil 1,855-acre Mount Mitchell State Park, or enjoy lunch at the picnic area. With temperatures generally 10-15 degrees cooler than downtown Asheville, it's an ideal place to find relief from the summer heat. In other seasons, bring a jacket. There is no admission fee.
November - February
March and October
April and September
May - August
Closed Christmas Day
8 am to 6 pm
8 am to 7
8 am to 8 pm
8 am to 9 pm
|For more information go to the Mount Mitchell Web Site.|