Road Trips

Fill up your gas tank and get ready to embark on an unforgettable road trip on the byways and trails of the NC Triad.

Take the Scenic Route

At the western edge of the NC Triad is one of the great treasures of the Americas: the Blue Ridge Parkway. Spanning more than 450 miles of North Carolina and Virginia, the parkway offers visitors vistas unavailable anywhere else on the continent. Drive past pastoral beauty untouched since the 17th century, through viaducts built by the New Deal, and around mountain passes that offer stops for photographs that will last a lifetime.

The Birkhead Wilderness Route Scenic Byway is just 14 miles long, but you’ll want to leave yourself at least an afternoon to explore every inch of it. Winding through the Uwharrie National Forest, the byway offers opportunities for visitors to park and hike into remote sections of the trail or enjoy the man-made beauty of Pisgah Covered Bridge.

Starting north of Greensboro and heading northeast toward Yanceyville, a trip up the Colonial Heritage Scenic Byway is a journey into the colonial history of North Carolina. President George Washington traveled through these towns on his famous 1791 tour of the southern states, and there remain well-preserved general stores, churches, farmsteads, and civic buildings.

Hanging Rock Scenic Byway connects road trippers with two of the most spectacular state parks in the NC Triad and their namesake natural formations: Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock. The byway’s 38 miles also pass through picturesque Mt. Airy—the childhood home of Andy Griffith and inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry.

Traversing the Uwharrie National Forest east-west, the Flint Hill Ramble Scenic Byway pays tribute to the settlers attracted to the region during the middle of the 19th century. A stop at Jumping Off Rock provides stunning views of the surrounding wilderness and more than 20 miles of hiking trails.

More History, Ecology & Sights

If you’re a sports lover you won’t want to miss the Football Road Scenic Byway, following the route UNC fans used to pour into Chapel Hill on weekends to watch the Tar Heels play. And, if cycling is your sport, much of the byway is a designated bicycle route. 

The 23 miles of Indian Heritage Scenic Byway are rich with history, including Town Creek Indian Mound—the state’s oldest historic site. Must-see sights include the Rankin Museum of American Heritage and the Mount Gilead Museum. 

The name says it all. There may not be any area in North America which can boast a richer history in the field of pottery than Pottery Road Scenic Byway. With more than 75 active potteries still along this route, you’ll want to leave plenty of time to stop and peruse the wares. 

The Sandhills Scenic Drive Byway carries roadtrippers down a 46-mile route that represents the full ecological diversity of the NC Triad. Over rolling sandhills covered by native grasses, through pine stands of the region's swamp forests, with the peaks of the Uwharrie mountains in the distance, and spanning bridges over water features like the Pee Dee River—this is truly a route for those drawn to dynamic vistas and ever-changing scenery.

While any route named after North Carolina’s national forest may sound like a nature lover’s dream, the Uwharrie Scenic Road Byway is as much about the people who settled this area and the legacy they left behind. A stop in the town of Denton reveals multiple examples of restored barns, churches, general stores, mills, and granaries. 

The Overmountain Victory Trail stretches more than 300 miles through Virginia, Tennessee, and both of the Carolinas. It honors the “Overmountain Men,” a hardy band of fighters during the Revolutionary War who had mastered travel and battle in the Appalachian Mountains. Beginning in Elkin, the trail follows the course of the Pee Dee River toward the site of the important Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

Also starting in Elkin is the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail, one of the tastiest trails in the NC Triad. There are dozens of wineries in the region and this particular trail is in easy reach of both Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

Hit the road in a car, bike, motorcycle, or RV. From private campgrounds to public access to state and national parklands—many of which you can book in advance—visitors looking for everything from primitive campsites to locations with modern hookups have countless chances to stop and stay along the NC Triad’s byways and trails.

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