- 65 miles (104 km)
- 2 hours
- There is no fee to drive the byway campgrounds and attractions may charge.
Along the twisty roads of North Carolina, you'll find over a million acres of thick forest growth to explore on Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. Plentiful opportunities for historical experiences, outdoor recreation, and local culture await you along this vibrant byway.
Start off your trip by visiting the town of Brevard, named after a Revolutionary War colonel and surgeon who drafted the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Stop for a souvenir of your trip or simply relax in this tree-shaded town located within the Pisgah Forest. While moving along the forest roads, keep your eyes open for more stops along the way.
To learn about the start of forestry in the United States, stop at the Cradle of Forestry in America, located inside Pisgah National Forest. The discovery center offers a wide range of chances to learn about the Pisgah Forest through informational movies and exhibits. Learn about forest fires by riding the fire-fighting helicopter simulator, then go underground to find out which animals live under the forest floor. Various trails around the facility will lead you to historic buildings and scenic places located within the forest.
For a dose of local history, don't miss the Allison-Deaver house, also located along the byway. Built in the early 1800s, this is the oldest frame house in western North Carolina that is still open to visitors today. It was originally built by Benjamin Allison and later sold to William Deaver after a fire nearly destroyed it in 1830. Over a century later, an anonymous donor again saved it from destruction. The Allison-Deaver house is now maintained by the Transylvania County Historical Society.
Some of the more scenic areas in the forest can only be accessed by trails, such as Shining Rock Wilderness. This area earns its name from the white quartzite rock that stands at the peak of the 5,940-foot summit. The trails spreading out around the wilderness area provide you with panoramic images of mountain peaks covered with a riot of colors. A well-liked area for both experienced and novice hikers, Shining Rock Wilderness offers access to other popular trails, such as Mountains to Sea, Graveyard Fields, and the Art Loeb Trail.
Be sure to visit spectacular Looking Glass Falls, named for a monolithic face of granite that gleams like a mirror because of the water that seeps out of the stones. Sliding Rock Falls, another water-friendly site along the byway, is nicknamed 'Nature's Waterfall.' Sliding Rock is a great place to stop and cool off in the summer. You're welcome to put on your swimsuit, take a slide down the falls, and relax in the seven-foot deep pool that is at that bottom. Lifeguards supervise the area, so don't be afraid to take the plunge.
From beautiful mountain scenery to rich local history, Forest Heritage Scenic Byway has a number of activities for any traveler. By the time you leave, it will be with a deeper understanding of the history of the forest, the people that once lived there, and those that are working today to make it as enjoyable and full of life as it was in the past.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Allison-Deaver House (NC)
The oldest frame house in western North Carolina.
On NC 280, just north of intersection with US 64.
Brevard is another North Carolina city nestled in the forests off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Named for Dr. Ephraim Brevard, the town holds Revolutionary War heritage in its name. The city is now a place for travelers to stop on their way into the great outdoors of the Pisgah National Forest.
Off of US Highway 64 or 276.
Cradle of Forestry in America (NC)
Located in the Pisgah National Forest, the Cradle of Forestry in America is an information and discovery center dedicated to the beginning of forestry in the United States.
The Cradle of Foresty retells a history of the fading North Carolina forests that were regrown and better managed through forestry. This event could be credited to George Vanderbilt of Biltmore Estate as he hired a man to restore the forest on his vast grounds.
Today, the Cradle of Forestry includes several enticing activities for visitors to western North Carolina. Visitors will learn all about the forest through informational movies, programs, and special events that occur there. Hikes and trails around the facility lead to historic buildings and to scenic places in the forest. Discover the roots of the forest at the Cradle of Forestry.
In the Pisgah National Forest off US 276.
Looking Glass Falls (NC)
Beautiful 30 foot falls near Looking Glass Rock.
Off of US 276.
Pisgah Fish Hatchery (NC)
Visit the place where thousands of trout are raised for North Carolina streams.
On the Davidson River off of US 276
Pisgah National Forest (NC)
One of the four national forests in North Carolina.
Western North Carolina
Shining Rock Wilderness (NC)
The Shining Rock Wilderness consists of a collection of mountain peaks and foot trails. Shining Rock itself is a mountain with white quartzite rock at its 5940 foot summit. Most of the hikes in the Shining Rock Wilderness are for the dedicated hiker. The trails can be considered strenuous, and many visitors will be drawn to the scenic alpine area. Right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Shining Rock Wilderness offers access to some popular trails including:
In the Pisgah National Forest off of US Highway 276
Sliding Rock Falls (NC)
In the summer, visitors may enjoy a cool slide down the rock of Sliding Rock Falls into the pool of water below. The falls are supervised by life guards and a bath house is provided where visitors can change clothes.
Off US 276