When traveling north, this route 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. Exit 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. “Uptown” 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 Altapass, milepost 328.3 to taste locally grown products and hear traditional mountain music. If you have time don’t miss the storytelling hayride. The Orchard offers travelers a chance to experience 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.