WNC High Country
Fall Color Scenic Drive
Stunning is the best way to describe this WNC High Country fall foliage scenic drive through the beautiful fall color in the mountains between Boone North Carolina and Spruce Pine.
Our high country fall scenic tour begins in Boone North Carolina, which is named after the famous pioneer explorer Daniel Boone who camped in the area as a young man. Today the small city is a bustling university town and a center for outdoor activities across this region, which is often referred to as WNC High Country. At an elevation of 3,286 feet Boone is the highest city east of the Mississippi with a population greater than 10,000.
From Boone, two-lane country roads wind through a delicious landscape of high mountains splashed with vibrant autumn colors before descending into the lovely valley of Valle Crucis.
Stop at the original Mast Store in the small town of Valle Crucis to wander down narrow isles lined with tall shelves filled with a mix of old time and modern merchandise. This is one of the most popular and authentic historic country stores in North Carolina, featuring old-time country toys, candy, maple syrup and house wares as well as modern shoes and hiking boots. If you arrive on a weekend, there are often talented local WNC High Country musicians playing traditional music out on the back porch.
From Valle Crucis follow NC 194, one of Western North Carolinas most scenic highways. Autumn is especially beautiful when the surrounding mountains are blanketed with the bright reds and yellows of fall foliage.
The WNC high country fall color scenic drive continues into the high elevation mountain town of Banner Elk. The town is located near three ski slopes, and home of the annual Wooly Worm Festival during fall foliage season. The long running festival is held the third weekend in October, and draws up to 15,000 festival goers with family fun, music, crafts and Wooly Worm races to celebrate the approach of winter snow season.
From Banner Elk continue out of town to the junction with US 19/19E. This rural highway through the WNC high country is equally scenic with fall colors blanketing the mountains as the road heads south, passing by the tiny historic towns of Cranberry and Plumtree and winding through the lush and lovely Green Valley on the way to the bustling town of Spruce Pine NC.
Spruce Pine has loads of mountain charm, and you can find some very good restaurants here. Stop in at the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree store, an inviting shop named for a beloved children's story that takes place in Spruce Pine. Inside, the store is chock-full of Christmas-themed crafts created by local artisans. All of the crafts are based on the book The Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, a well known childrens book author who was born and raised in this area.
WNC high country scenic fall color tour route: From Boone North Carolina take NC 105 south out of town and continue on NC 105 (don't take the bypass) to NC 1112. Turn right and drive into Valle Crucis. Drive south out of Valle Crucis on NC 194 through Banner Elk. Continue to the intersection with US 19/19E and take it south through Cranberry and Plum Tree, and then to Spruce Pine NC.
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Return from WNC High Country to Fall Foliage Forecast
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