Blue Ridge Parkway Detour Itineraries

A recent slope failure along the Blue Ridge Parkway has resulted in a closure between mileposts 355 and 374, about 10 miles north of Asheville. This effectively restricts access to the Craggy Gardens area until further notice. Click here to see a map showing the affected area.

We encourage you to explore the scenic beauty and interesting small towns that are adjacent to the Parkway using these suggested detour itineraries.

Option 1: Waterfalls, Caverns and Exploring Linville

Estimated Driving Time - 1 hour and 15 mintues

Visitors traveling south on the Parkway and approaching the Linville Falls area may consider this chance to see the natural wonder of the Blue Ridge up close and personal. Before getting off the Parkway stop by the Linville Falls Visitor Center at milepost 316. At 90 feet tall Linville Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Western North Carolina. Several hiking trails in the area offer visitors a chance to see the falls from several view points as well as an opportunity to experience the surrounding area. Stop for a visit the small mountain resort town of Linville.

After seeing the falls, take the exit at Milepost 317/Highway 221 South. Head down the mountain through the winding and beautiful mountain scenery approximately four miles to another natural adventure, the Linville Caverns. Explore the caverns and learn about the wonders inside of a mountain. After the caverns, continue down 221 towards Marion to find a gorgeous, public golf course at Linville Golf Club. And don't forget to visit the local cheese makers at English Farmstead Cheese before driving further south to pick up I-40 West towards Asheville, NC and back on the Parkway at exit 55. 

When traveling north, take I-40 East towards Marion. Take exit 85 for Highway 221 North and continue up towards Linville.

Option 2: Black Mountain, Old Fort, and a Mount Mitchell Adventure

Estimated Driving Time - 1 hour and 30 mintutes

When traveling North on the Parkway take this detour to see some of the small town charm along the Blue Ridge mountains. The detour starts by exiting the Parkway at milepost 382 and turning onto Highway 70 heading east into the community of Black Mountain, NC. Known for great shopping and tasty local food this quirky downtown offers travelers a great stop for fun.

After Black Mountain hop onto I-40 East towards Old Fort. Take exit 72 for Highway 70 East and travel through the town of Old Fort. While in Old Fort, visitors can stop and visit the Old Fort Train Depot, Railroad Museum and Visitor Center. Inside the ca. 1881 depot, you'll find area information and railroad artifacts.

Stretch your legs for a walk to the Mountain Gateway Museum where Western North Carolina's pioneer era is interpreted. Explore the area's hiking, waterfalls and biking trails and stop by and see Andrew's Geyser. And don't miss the Old Fort Mountain Music every Friday night. From Old Fort, continue east on 70 towards State Road 80. Turn left on Highway 80 and enjoy a curvy drive up the mountains towards the Parkway and Mount Mitchell. Once reaching the Parkway head South to Mount Mitchell and a view from the tallest mountain in the Eastern United States.

Have extra time? Back track the Parkway driving north to stop by Little Switzerland, Emerald Village, the N.C. Minerals Museum and the Orchard at Altapass, between mileposts 344 and 328.3.

History buffs may choose one last option here, a stop at Historic Carson House. At the State Road 80 intersection, drive past the stoplight and Tom Johnson's Camping Center, turning right into the long, drive to this ca. 1793 plantation home. Today, the Historic Carson House, operates as a private musuem interpreting the county's history from the Revolutionary War though the end of the 19th century.

Option 3: Discover Spruce Pine and Mountain Minerals

Estimated Driving Time - 1 hour and 15 mintues

When traveling north this detour offers visitors a chance to visit the town of Spruce Pine, NC and take in the wonderful views and sample the local shopping and food.. The detour starts by exiting the Parkway onto Highway 74 West in Asheville and immediately getting onto I-40 East towards Marion. Take exit 86 for Marion/Highway 226 North. Follow 226 N into the mountains for beautiful scenery and majestic views. Before reentering the Parkway again, visit the Museum of North Carolina Minerals to learn about the richest minerals and gem deposits in the United States.

Also near the Parkway access is the Village of Little Switzerland. "Up town" consists of local arts and crafts shops while "downtown" includes a cafe, bookstore, antique shop and general store. Continuing north on the Parkway, stop at the Orchard at Atlpass, milepost 328.3 to taste locally grown prodcuts and hear traditional mountai music. If you have time don't miss the story telling hayride.The Orchard offers travelers a chance to experinece locally grown products and hear traditional mountain music. 

When traveling south, exit the Parkway at milepost 331 onto 226 N to visit Spruce Pine, returning to I-40 via 226 S towards Marion and I-40 West towards Asheville.

Option 4: See the Traditions of Appalachian Arts and Crafts

Estimated Driving Time - 1 hour

Here’s a fourth option for travelers from Asheville to reach the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy some of the quaint small towns along the way, one that will give you a “crafty” journey.   

In Asheville take I-26 West (also marked 19/23) going north toward Tennessee.  At Exit 9, turn onto 19E and head toward the mountain town of Burnsville.  Here you can find examples of great local arts and crafts at the Toe River Arts Studio. A wall-sized masterpiece quilt is on display in the Burnsville Town Center, and the town itself is decked out in murals and colorful "barn quilt" squares mounted on buildings large and small.  

From Burnsville, take a short drive down the Micaville Loop Road to tiny Micaville where you’ll find more amazing, high quality local crafts at the OOAK Gallery.  Then return to 19E and travel on to Spruce Pine, where you can quickly rejoin the Parkway. But before you get back on, you might want to take a short side trip and visit the world famous Penland School of Crafts. Also be sure to take time to visit the town of Spruce Pine, with two great craft galleries, the second Toe River Arts Studio and The Market on Oak.  At the entrance ramp to the Parkway, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the mineral riches of the region at the NC Minerals Museum.

For those traveling down I-26 East from Tennessee, you can take Highwy 19E at exit 9 and head towards Burnsville. At the town of Micaville travelers can take State Road 80 South and head towards the Parkway and Mount Mitchell.