The High Country Back Roads below meander through some of the most spectacular scenery in Eastern America. It's easy to download printable Route Guides and maps.
Both these scenic loops in Ashe and Watauga Counties are accessible from both sides of the mountains. From the east, take US-421 from the Winston-Salem area or US-321 from Hickory (Interstates 40 and 77). From the west, both of those highways also reach us from the Bristol-Johnson City area of Tennessee (Intersates 26 and 81). These tours are also a snap to reach from the Blue Ridge Parkway, a prime route through the heart of the High Country that runs 469 miles from Northern Virginia to Southwest North Carolina.
The Southern Loop, from Boone south through Banner Elk and Blowing Rock, is 50 miles long and takes about two hours to drive.
The Northern Loop, from West Jefferson through Warrensville, Lansing and Helton, is 34 miles and takes about 1 hour to drive. Both estimates are driving times, and don't include stops (and you'll want to make many!). Connecting these two enticing loops, the beautiful NC-194 “Scenic Byway” is 26 miles long and passes historic Todd, NC, with its old-fashioned Todd General Store.
Download the Details!
The Route Guides below include narratives that highlight major landmarks and turning points that are also marked on the Maps.Download Printable Route Guides (PDF Format):Northern Loop Outline (2 Pages) | Full Route Guide
Southern Loop Outline (3 Pages) | Full Route Guide
View, download and print maps of the High Country Back Roads Northern and Southern Loops complete with numbered routes that makes it easy to coordinate your travel with the audio and text route guides.
Select a map below to view, save, or print (maps are in PDF format -requires the free Adobe Reader):Northern Loop Map - Ashe County-Northern Loop Map
Southern Loop Map - Watauga & Avery Counties-Southern Loop Map