The U.S. 421 Scenic Byway travels through Watauga County’s portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The byway offers sweeping views of the valleys, woodlands, and mountains between Deep Gap and Boone. The byway begins on U.S. 421 North at the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just after passing the Blue Ridge Parkway, the byway enters Watauga County near the town of Deep Gap, home of master traditional musician and cultural icon Doc Watson.
Continuing north along U.S. 421, the byway passes the intersection with U.S. 221 and enters the New River watershed. The byway then ascends a ridge, providing motorists with panoramic views of Snake Mountain and Elk Knob. Along the way, motorists can take in views of the area’s hardwood and mixed forests, as well as horse and cattle farms. Also visible are a number of Fraser fir Christmas tree farms.
After continuing through the communities of Brownwood and Laurel Springs, the byway ends at the South Fork of the New River and the Boone town limits. Boone, the Watauga County seat, is the home of Appalachian State University. The Little Parkway, Mission Crossing, and New River Valley scenic byways are located nearby.
Length: 8 miles
Drive Time: 15 minutes
For a detailed driving route and map, download the NC Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways guide.