FALL LEAF LESS TRAVELED
mostly in the
and other scenic drives for all you leaf lookers....like myself....
I complied this list from
newspapers, magazines and just driving on some of these Backroads...
by James Roberts
ALABAMA Better Known:
Lookout Mountain Parkway and Guntersville Lake Area.
Little River Canyon(22 miles). A 12-mile stretch of State 176
near Fort Payne hugs the
rim of Little River Canyon, part of DeSoto State Park. Add 10 miles of County 275 (narrow,
roughly paved, unmarked on most maps) for tree-framed glimpses of the canyon. I
might add that the Little River Canyon is a very unique place in that it has a
river running through this canyon that is on top of a mountain. You won't find
something like this just anywhere. It has been a well kept secret to outsiders
for many years. The Little River Canyon has only recently been added as a
National Park. Don't tell a lot of folks about this place; we would like to keep
it a secret. One of the songs from the singing group "Alabama" is
about this very river.
ARKANSAS Better Known:
State Scenic Highway 7 and 23-the "Pig Trail".
State 16 between Scenic 7 and the "Pig Trail" (50
miles), through Ozark National Forest. Detour at Deer to see Alum Cove.
State 27 from the Arkansas River south through the Quachita
National Forest and across Lake Ouachita to Mount Ida (67 miles).
GEORGIA Better Known:
North Georgia Mountains.
Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway (38 mile loop) on State 348, State
180, and State 75. Waterfalls, wilderness areas, state's highest point (Brasstown Bald),
and the Bavarian-themed hamlet of Helen.
State 180, State 60, and U.S.19 from Vogel State Park to Dahlonega (28 miles). A white-knuckles
stretch of State 180 is known as Georgia's most winding road; thick kudzu seems poised to
overtake the pavement if any fewer cars pass.
Another suggested route through the Northeast Georgia mountains
is scenic 197. The route begins in Clarkesville and goes northwest through Batesville.
Georgia highway 197 the takes a northeasterly turn toward Lake Burton. It goes north
beside Lake Burton past Moccasin Creek State Park and intersects with US highway 76. The
return trip to Clarkesville can be made by retracing the original route or by going east
on US 76 to US 441. Travelers can take that highway south to Historic 441. Historic 441
south goes through Turnersville and Hollywood to Clarkesville.
There is a toll-free number, 1-800-532-2521, for information
about fall leaf color in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Northeast Georgia.
KENTUCKY Better Known:
Red River Gorge and Big South Fork National River and Recreation
Area in Daniel Boone National Forest.
Old Frankfort Pike between Frankfort and Lexington on State 1681 (13 miles), Idyllic farms with picturesque barns, pastures,
stone fences, rail fences, and frequently a tunnel like canopy of red, yellow, and orange
leaves overhead. Explore side roads to see pumpkin patches and drying corn and tobacco.
Share the road with the occasional bicyclist, Throughbred, or slow moving farm vehicle.
Cumberland Gap via U.S. 25E,
State 74, and State 190 (40 mile loop). The loop twists from Pineville up to Cumberland Gap
National Historical Park's craggy gap, rides steep ups and downs past Fonde Mountain, and
returns to Pineville along scenic ridges and valleys.
MARYLAND Better Known:
Catoctin Mountains and Cunningham Falls Park.
U.S 40-Alt, from Frostburg to Keysers Ridge (21 miles). Newer I-68 carries the load, so this route sets a poky pace
across the Allegheny Mountains. Eat fresh baked goods at Grantsville's Mennonite-run
U.S. 219 from I-68 south to Oakland (26 miles). Ridges, valley's, forests, and farms all the way. Side trips
to a fish hatchery, waterfalls, lakes, Wisp Ski Area, and a rare patch of subartic swamp.
MISSOURI Better Known:
Table Rock Lake, Mark Twain National Forest, and a tangle of loop
roads outside Branson.
Any direction from intersection of State 19 and State 106 at Eminence in the Big Springs Region.
Jacks Fork River and Current River form the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Leave the
car, float a canoe on either, and don't miss the bright red Alley Spring Mill.
NORTH CAROLINA Better Known:
Blue Ridge Parkway and Nantahala Gorge.
Blowing Rock to Banner Elk on U.S. 221 to Shulls Mill
Road and State 105, State 1112, State 194 (16 miles). Hang on tight past hairpin turns,
steep grades, and shoehorned-in farms. Stop at Moses S. Cone Memorial Park (ride horses,
buy crafts); The Gamekeeper Restaurant; vintage Mast General Store and Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis; and ski resorts around
quaint Banner Elk.
Hot Springs to Lake Junaluska on State 209 (38 miles). From the
French Broad River (whitewater rafting), climb a deep gorge along Spring Creek to vistas
at Betsy's Gap, then drop down to Pigeon River. Blink and miss the towns of Bluff, Trust, Luck, and Crabtree, but brake for a $2.69
Mountain Burger at Trust General Store. Stretch your legs at Max Patch Mountain or Rocky
Bluff Recreation Area in Pisgah National Forest.
Some Suggested Driving Routes:
From Ashville: follow routes
U.S. 70 or Interstate 40 east to U.S. 221 north at Marion. Take U.S.221 north to Linville.
At Linville, take N.C. Highway 105 north to Boone. To make the return trip to Ashville,
take U.S. 421 north/west to Vilas, the N.C. Highway 194 south until it merges with U.S.
221 near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Either follow the Parkway south back to Ashville or U.S.
221 south to I-40 and back to Ashville.
From Ashville: follow US
19/23 south, continuing through Waynesville, Sylva and Franklin, take US 64 east to
Highlands. On the return trip to Ashville, take US 64 east to Brevard, then NC Highway 280
north/east to I 26 west. Take I 26 west to Ashville.
From Ashville: take the Blue
Ridge Parkway north past Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell to Grandfather Mountain. On the
return trip to Ashville, take US 221 south to NC Highway 194 west, then turn south on US
Highway 19E through Spruce Pine and Burnsville and back to Ashville.
From Ashville: follow NC
highways 191 and 280 south to Brevard, then take US 64 west to Cashiers. On the return
trip, take NC highway 107 north to Tuckasgee, Cullowhee and Sylva, then take US highway
19/23 east through Waynesville to Ashville.
From Ashville: follow US
highway 19/23 south and turn south on NC highway 151. Take that road through South Hominy
Valley to the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Note; 151 is not recommended for trailers or motor
homes, steep and very sharp turns). Drive the Parkway south to US 276 west to Waynesville.
From Waynesville follow NC highway 209 north through the Sandmush Community and into Luck.
From Luck, follow NC highway 63 south back to Ashville. This drive will take about 3 hours
From Ashville: follow US
highway 74 east 25 miles to Chimney Rock Park and Lake Lure. This route takes travelers
through thick forests, filled with colorful leaves. From Chimney Rock, go back on US 74
west three miles to NC highway 9. Take that road north to Black Mountain. To return to
Ashville, follow I-40 west 15 miles. This drive takes about 2 hours round trip.
From Ashville: follow the
Blue Ridge Parkway north past the Folk Art Center to the Zebulon Vance Birthplace exit.
Take Ox Creek Road until it merges with Reems Creek Road and follow the signs to the
birthplace historical site. To return to Ashville, take US highway 19/23 south. This drive
takes about 1 hour round trip.
In Ashville: follow Charlotte
Street east from Interstate 240 about three-fourths of a mile and turn left on Edwin
Avenue. This route will provide a view of the changing maple trees. Continue on Kimberly
to Elk Mountain Scenic Highway, traveling north to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Drive the
Parkway back to Ashville. This drive takes about 1 hour round trip.
From Brevard: take US 276
north to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Follow the Parkway south to Highway 215 south. Follow
highway 215 south to US 64 east. Take US 64 east back to Brevard.
Other suggested routes;
include US 64 between Highlands and Murphy and NC highway 19/28 west from Bryson City to
Fontana Dam, both of which offer prime vantage points for viewing leaves and waterfalls,
US 15/501 north from Southern Pines to Carthage.
Visitors can use a toll-free number, 1-800-VISITNC, to ask for
color updates and travel information.
SOUTH CAROLINA Better Known:
State 11-Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway.
U.S. 276 from Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway up, up, up to
Caesars Head State Park (6 miles). Makeshift apple stands sprout by the roadside.
State 28 and State 107 from Walhalla to North Carolina (24 miles). Pass pumpkin stands and historic Stumphouse
Tunnel, the enter Sumter National Forest. On Saturday, bluegrass pickers gather at Cuzzins
TENNESSEE Better Known:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Foothills Parkway, Cades
Cove, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Newfound Gap Road and Clingman's Dome.
State 30 from U.S.411 to U.S. 64(15 miles). Parallel the
good-canoeing Hiwassee River past narrow farms and dilapidated barns in Cherokee National
Forest. Buy Moon Pies and RC Colas at Webb Bros. Store in Reliance or rent a tube to float the
Hiwassee river. Then swerve through mountains to reach the Ocoee River. Best side trip:
State 315 from Reliance
to Tellico Plains (17
Roan Mountain from Elizabethton via U.S. 19E (28 miles). Famous for spring azalea blossoms, the
6,285-feet-elevation mountain's clear views and fall color are just as impressive. Enjoy
Cherokee National Forest and Roan Mountain State Park scenery en route. Rock hounds
explore huge cliffs created during road construction.
Tennessee Tourism Development Department 1-800-636-8900 for
information on fall colors.
TEXAS Better Known:
Surprise- Texas does have fall color. In the East Texas hills,
hardwoods show up nicely against the backdrop of pines, small towns, rolling hills, and
quiet lakes accent nearly every road.
Try State 11 from Sulphur
Springs at I-30 east to Linden (80 miles) through Winnsboro and Pittsburg. Or State 155 from Linden to Palestine (120 miles) through Big Sandy and Tyler.
The Lost Maples. Here's the real surprise-a small colony of
bigtooth maples grows in the Hill Country west of San Antonio, far from kin in the Rocky
Mountains. From Bandera connect
State 16, Ranch Road 337, U.S. 83, and Ranch Roads 1050 and 470 for a 100-mile loop to Medina, Leakey, and Utopia. Oak, ash, black cherry,
sycamore, and other hardwoods lend colorful accents.
VIRGINIA Better Known:
Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, and the entire Shenandoah
U.S. 58 from Damascus east to Galax (60 miles). Cross countless little trout streams. Weave among Virginia's
highest peaks and thickest forests. Access Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Grayson
Highlands State Park, Appalachian Trail, Virginia Creeper Trail, and New River Trail. Eat
pizza in Damascus, hear fiddle music in Galax, and pass through the tiny town names Mouth of Wilson just to say you did.
State 311 from Roanoke
north to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (65 miles). Pack Dramamine for this winding drive. It
includes tire-squealing turns while climbing over a series of ridges through the Jefferson
WEST VIRGINIA Better Known:
U.S. 60 past Hawks Nest and Babcock State Parks, and U.S. 19
across the New River Gorge Bridge.
U.S. 219 from Lewisburg to Elkins
(106 miles). Pass caverns, Civil War sites, ski resorts, trout streams, farms and
Monongahela National Forest. Best side trip: Highland Scenic Highway (22 miles)
overlooking Cranberry Wilderness Area.
West Virginia Turnpike (I64-7/77) from Charleston to Beckley (60 miles). Well trafficked,
but great for fall color. Wildly S-curving interstate lanes navigate a tangle of
overlapping mountains. Rusty coal tipples cling to vertical hillsides. Continue east on
I-64 to Sam Black Church (40 miles) for softer vistas.
I am getting loads of SPAM or JUNK EMAIL
as they call it and only trying to hide from this junk email. This is an
attempt to stop the automatic "harvesting" of my email address
from my web site. All those junk emails is getting just too much to
bear. To send email to me, use the address below:
Note: You will need to type it into your email "Send
To" window, because the email address above is a picture
the automatic email harvesting routines will not be able to figure this
Thanks for your email!
Back to My Home Page
Back to Top
This page last edited on
Saturday, May 23, 2009 4:12 PM
© copyright James Roberts 2005-2009 All Rights