- 17 miles (27 km)
- 45 minutes
- There is no fee to drive this byway.
This byway begins in Cranberry, North Carolina, originally called Cranberry Forge for the iron believed to have been worked by the Indians. Cranberry was founded in 1850 and named for the abundant supply of Cranberries found in the region. About 12 miles along the route is Valle Crucis, where the mission for which the byway was named can be found.
The land for the mission, 3000 acres, was purchased by Bishop Stillman Ives, who, in 1842 founded a divinity school and began the first Anglican Monastic Order since the reformation. In 1852 the school and monastic order were forced to disband. In 1895 the mission school was founded and was run until World War II.
Today the mission serves as a camp and conference center for the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina. The name 'Valle Crucis' means "valley of the cross" and is named for the converging rivers found in the valley.
All along the byway there are historical points of interest as well as recreational opportunities. The largest concentration of ski resorts in North Carolina is found near the byway. And don't miss the Mast Farm Inn, one of the best preserved 19th century farms in North Carolina, and the Mast General Store, opened in 1882. The store now offers outdoor supplies to visiting skiers.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Located near the byway, this museum gives an overview of life in the Appalachian Mountains through the ages.
Boone, North Carolina
Banner Elk (NC)
The picturesque community of Banner Elk offers a haven to travelers on the byway.
On NC 194.
Beech Mountain (NC)
Beech Mountain is a resort community high in the mountains. Part of North Carolina's ski resort territory, this area is an excellent vacation spot near several byways.
Off of NC 194
Blowing Rock (NC)
Blowing Rock is a historic community on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a perfect location for traveling the Byway and stopping at the sites. The town of Blowing Rock offers all services to visitors and is a place that has captured all the atmosphere and romance of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
This community on the Blue Ridge Parkway is named for a nearby geological formation known as Blowing Rock. Such a formation is not without a story. The legend tells of a Chikasaw Indian princess who met an Indian brave from the plains on the edge of the rock. They spent many days together in the woodland mountains of the area until one day a strange reddening sky appeared as a bad omen to the brave. Torn from having to choose between his true love and returning to the plains, he jumped off the Blowing Rock into the woodlands below. The maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit until another evening came with a red sky. This time, a mighty gust of wind blew her lover back to the Rock where she was waiting for him. Since then, the wind continually blows upward from the valley below to the top of Blowing Rock. The wind is so strong that sometimes,the snow even seems to fall upside down.
South of the byway on US Highway 221.
Grandfather Mountain (NC)
Grandfather Mountain is one of the most environmentally significant mountains in the world. It is set apart by the U.N. as an International Biosphere Reserve, a place where man and nature thrive in harmony. Only 324 biospheres exist and this mountain is the only one that is privately owned. There are 47 rare and endangered species located in the area.
No matter the season, Grandfather never fails to stir the soul with its ancient black cliffs, laddered trails, and astonishing views. The pinks of its rare Azalea Vaseyi and reds of its rhododendron are as celebrated as gospel singing in June and Scottish gatherings in July. Even its weather - its beautiful mists and winter icicle days - add to the mystique of the mountain.
Located south of the byway off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Hickory Ridge Homestead (NC)
This living history homestead is located in Boone, North Carolina.
Located in Boone, North Carolina
Mast General Store (NC)
This general store has been operating since 1883 in Valle Crucis.
In Valle Crucis off of NC 194.
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park (NC)
Moses H. Cone was a self-made man in the best American tradition. His textile mills produced the high quality denim fabric, earning him the title, "Denim King." Fond of nature and plagued by poor health, Moses was drawn to the mountainous region of western North Carolina with its moderate climate, fresh spring water, and clean air. In 1897, at the age of 40, Moses and his wife, Bertha, journeyed to Blowing Rock to design and build their summer estate.
The 3,516 acres of the estate included Flat Top Mountain and Rich Mountain. Situated on top of a hill, the luxurious 20-room Flat Top Manor looked down across five acres of apple orchards leading to Bass Lake. In order to see the mountain vistas, Cone had a lookout tower constructed on top of Flat Top Mountain.
The magnificent Flat Top Manor now houses the Parkway Craft Center and a National Park Service information desk, both open daily through October. During the summer, artisans demonstrate their skills on the front porch.
Just south of the byway off of US Highway 321 and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Pisgah National Forest (NC)
One of the four national forests in North Carolina.
The Pisgah National Forest Surrounds the byway on both sides.
Valle Crucis (NC)
Valle Crucis was settled 200 years ago and is home to many historic places today. Visit the Mast General Store or and the old Episcopal Mission that was established in 1842.
Off of NC 194 on the byway.