- 33 miles (53 km)
- 45 minutes
- There is no fee to drive the byway.
Climb out of the flatlands of North Carolina into the rolling eastern foothills of the Appalachia Mountain Range by driving north on the rural South Mountains Scenic Byway. Or, if you've had your fill of the undulating hills of the Black Mountain Range, head south and drive through the bucolic, rural Piedmont region. Either direction, north or south, will provide a smooth transition that will surely catch your attention. This country route meanders through cornfields and apple orchards, and into North Carolina's Civil and Revolutionary War past. The Piedmont Valley retains much of the charm and character of the mid-1800s, and you will find yourself transported back to the age of simple rustic life amid North Carolina's rich farmlands. Continuing south along Route 182 will take you into the heart of Shelby—host to several museums that chronicle this region's wealth of history. The names of veteran generals and early settlers echo in the names of the towns and counties along this idyllic road.
The South Mountains Scenic Byway skirts the South Mountains State Park to the north, which boasts High Peak -- one of the highest points in the area east of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Wandering trails and secluded camping spots are abundant in this tucked away recreational area. Climb the several peaks and peer to the west to see the impressive Appalachia Mountains stretch across the horizon. Stop in one of the quaint small towns to pack a lunch before your hike to Shoals Falls. At the base of the falls, you can treat your ears to the symphony of an eighty-foot waterfall while you treat your taste buds to some of the local produce. The South Mountains Scenic Byway is your path away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life and into the relaxed and pleasant tempo of country living.