A secluded stretch of Ashe County became North Carolina’s 60th Scenic Byway last week at the monthly N.C. Board of Transportation meeting.
The newly christened Big Horse Creek Scenic Byway winds along for nearly 18 miles, following part of the North Fork of the New River and Big Horse Creek through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The route begins in Warrensville at N.C. 194 and ends at the North Carolina-Virginia border.
The byway offers a unique picture of North Carolina landscape, taking travelers past dense forests and creek beds and through pastures scattered with farmhouses. Remnants of the Virginia-Carolina Railway can be seen from much of the byway. This byway also runs close to a number of beautiful nature destinations including Pond Mountain, a wildlife conservation area, and the Cherokee National Forest.
The Greater Lansing Area Development nominated the route for a Scenic Byway designation. As part of the new designation, the route will be marked by official N.C. Department of Transportation Scenic Byway signs and included in NCDOT’s nationally distributed Scenic Byways Guide.
North Carolina has nearly 2,300 miles of Scenic Byways, three of which are designated as National Scenic Byways. These routes are carefully selected to embody the state’s diverse beauty and culture and provide travelers with a safe and interesting alternate route. Visit the Scenic Byways website for more information, maps, videos and other resources.
Road, bridge, and other transportation improvement projects like this one are currently underway across the state as part of Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Transportation Vision to enhance travel safety and to better connect North Carolinians to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation opportunities.
New transportation projects in the state’s current 10-year plan are funded through the Strategic Mobility Formula, a new way of more efficiently investing transportation dollars by using a data-driven scoring process along with local input to fund more projects and create more jobs. The new mobility formula was passed into law in 2013 under Governor McCrory’s leadership.
The Big Horse Creek Scenic Byway offers beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.. Photo:NCDOT