10 Best Blue Ridge Mountain Drives

The Blue Ridge Mountains off some of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the world.  Traveling down one of the numerous Blue Ridge Mountain drives will take you over rivers and creeks, to high-elevation scenic views that will take your breath away, by beautiful waterfalls and through the beautiful dense forests.  

Along the way, you'll find tons of things to see and do, and you'll most likely see some wildlife as well. A Blue Ridge Mountain drive on one of the many scenic routes is a great way to get out, see the mountains, and explore new areas.

The Best Blue Ridge Mountain Drives

Blue Ridge Mountain Drives

This guide will highlight the very best Blue Ridge Mountain Drives.  All of these provide incredible scenic views, waterfalls, and curvy windy roads to explore.  Be sure to bring a picnic or stop by one of the many small mountain towns these roads travel through.

There is nothing better than a Blue Ridge Mountain road trip and all of these drives will take you on a wonderful tour of these scenic mountains.

Fall on the Blue Ridge Parkway

1 - The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina/Virginia

One of the most scenic roads in the world and in America, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers incredible scenic views, and access to many things to see and do.   This 469 mile long Blue Ridge Mountain drive will take you from Virginia to Cherokee in NC and can be driven as a whole or in sections. Be sure to take a Blue Ridge Parkway scenic drive, you won't regret it.

2 - Skyline Drive, Virginia

The Skyline Drive in Virginia, runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. The drive offers incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.  This is one of the most beautiful scenic Blue Ridge Mountain drives in Virginia.

Fall on Newfound Gap Rd

3 - Newfound Gap Road - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This is an amazing Blue Ridge Mountains drive anytime of year, and will take up up 3,000 feet in elevation in less than 18 miles, from Cherokee, up to Newfound Gap at over 5,000 feet, then back down to Gatlinburg.  You'll see creeks, historic sites, wildlife, waterfalls, and gorgeous views that go on for miles.

4 - Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway (Highway 215), North Carolina

Nationally recognized, this Blue Ridge Mountains scenic drive is a winding 79-mile route that crosses through beautiful forest, waterfalls, hiking trails and provides scenic  views.  This is also named the Copperhead Loop by motorcyclists.   This is a drive you won't want to miss, and is exceptionally gorgeous in the Fall.

Bridal Veil Falls NC Highlands

5 - Waterfall Byway: US Highway 64, North Carolina

If you love waterfalls, Highway 64 is the drive for you!  You'll drive 98 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, seeing plenty of beautiful waterfalls, forests, and passing through wonderful small towns.   

Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway

6 - Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway, Georgia

Surrounded by the beauty of the Chattahoochee National Forest, this 40.6-mile national byway will take you through the valleys and mountain gaps of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia.  You see the vistas from atop Brasstown Bald waterfalls, and scenic wonders.  Several scenic overlooks and interpretive signs are features of this route.

Heintooga Round Bottom Road

7 - Heintooga Round Bottom Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you prefer a more remote and back mountain scenic drive, Heintooga Round Bottom Road might be the right option for you.  This rugged, 14 mile gravel road, will take you from the high elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway, down to Cherokee.   Along the way, you'll see beautiful wildflowers, remote scenery, creeks, and waterfalls.

Daughter of the Stars Scenic Drive

8 - Daughter of the Stars Loop, Virginia

The Daughter of the Stars Loop Scenic drive, will take you from Front Royal Virginia, down through Luray, and through some beautiful scenery.  The road follows along the Shenandoah River, and provides a number of access points for viewing and enjoying this historic and beautiful river.

Road to Nowhere Tunnel

9 - Lake View Drive - The Road to Nowhere, North Carolina

Lake View Drive, located just outside of Bryson City NC, is a beautiful but unfinished road, that ends at the far end of a tunnel.    This curvy Blue Ridge Mountain drive, provides beautiful scenic views of Lake Fontana, access to hiking trails, and the ability to talk through the tunnel at the end. 

Chattahoochee National Forest

10 - Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway, Georgia

The Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway in Georgia, is a 54 mile scenic drive that takes you through the natural beauty and history of the rural communities surrounding the cities of Dalton and Chatsworth in northwest Georgia. 

Helpful Tips for taking Blue Ridge Mountains Drives

Here are some handy tips for your Blue Ridge Mountain road trip:

  1. Plan ahead - Research and plan your route in advance, considering the attractions and viewpoints you want to visit along the way. There are numerous scenic byways and roads to choose from, so make sure to select the ones that align with your interests and time available.
  2. Timing - The Blue Ridge Mountains offer breathtaking views in every season, but be mindful of the weather conditions. Fall foliage is especially stunning, with vibrant colors painting the landscape. Spring brings blooming wildflowers, while winter offers a snowy wonderland. Keep in mind that popular areas may be more crowded during peak seasons, so plan accordingly.
  3. Bring the necessities - Bring along essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit. Cell phone service may be limited in some areas, so having a physical map or GPS device can be helpful for navigation.
  4. Check for road closures - Before setting off, check for any road closures or construction updates along your planned route. This will help you avoid unexpected detours or delays.
  5. Take your time - The beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies not only in the destination but also in the journey. Slow down, savor the views, and take breaks at scenic overlooks or picnic spots. Don't rush through the experience; allow yourself to fully immerse in the natural splendor.
  6. Watch for Wildlife - The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to a variety of wildlife, so keep an eye out for animals crossing the road. Drive cautiously and obey speed limits to ensure the safety of both yourself and the wildlife.
  7. Explore the small towns - Along the way, make time to explore the charming towns nestled in the mountains. These towns offer unique shops, local cuisine, and cultural experiences that add to the overall charm of the region.
  8. Take photos - Don't forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking landscapes. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide countless photo opportunities, so take advantage of the scenic vistas and charming details.

Remember, the key to memorable Blue Ridge Mountain drives is to embrace the journey, soak in the beauty, and create lasting memories. Enjoy the drive!

Final Thoughts on the Best Blue Ridge Mountain Drives

Cruising along the scenic roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains is like stepping into a postcard come to life. Each twist and turn reveals jaw-dropping views that will make your heart skip a beat.

Whether you're a nature lover, a history nerd, or just craving a peaceful getaway, these mountain drives have you covered. 

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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