You can’t spend a week in Western NC and not drive a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This tour starts at The Welcome Center in Lake Lure and winds along the Parkway and through the Pisgah National Forest. If you start at breakfast time the loop returns you to Lake Lure by dinnertime. This day trip is 98.3 miles long.
1. From the Welcome Center at Lake Lure (2932 Memorial Highway, aka U.S. Highways 9/64/74A), follow U.S. Highway 74A for 20 miles.
– On your way out, grab breakfast and a picnic lunch in Chimney Rock Village, 430 Main Street, Chimney Rock.
– Stop by the Old Cider Mill, 33 Gerton Highway, Bat Cave; visit Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview.
2. Exit U.S. Highway 74A for the Blue Ridge Parkway; turn right at the stop sign to enter. Travel 27.3 miles on the Parkway.
3. Just after Parkway milepost #411, take the exit for U.S. Highway 276 S. Must see along the way: Cradle of Forestry, Looking Glass Falls (photo at very top), Sliding Rock (photo below).
4. Remain on U.S. Highway 276 S. Stay straight at the first stoplight outside of Pisgah National Forest to get onto U.S. Highway 64 E.
5. Continue on U.S. Highway 64 E for 12.5 miles through Hendersonville and Apple Valley. During apple season, late August through October, buy fresh apples in Apple Valley.
6. Turn right at the stop sign onto Memorial Highway (U.S. Highways 9/64/74A) to return to The Welcome Center.